Our passion for quality and sustainability drives our quest for the finest teas available.
Since 1995, Equator has been committed to sourcing excellent coffees and teas, while having a positive impact on the lives of those we do business with. As with our coffees, our passion for quality and sustainability drives our quest for the finest teas available. By working with purveyors who have direct relationships with markets throughout the world, we are able to connect to tea gardens and tea masters in every growing region. Our belief that quality leads to sustainability is our guiding principle. Over the years, we’ve grown our tea program by continuously learning, and expanding our offerings to include truly unique and rare teas. We invite you to join us on our journey to explore and learn more about tea with each cup.
We source teas globally, from producing countries in North & South America, Africa, Asia, and beyond.
The origins of tea as a brewed beverage originate hundreds of years ago in the southeastern regions of China, most notably the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. From there, tea made its way to nearby countries like Japan, Tibet, Thailand, and Vietnam. Along the way, each region developed it’s own styles and rituals around the growing, brewing, and drinking of tea. One of the largest countries in terms of tea production is India, though it wasn’t until the 19th century that commercial production was introduced to the region. Tea is now grown globally, with producing countries in North and South America, Africa, and the Middle East, among others.
Processing has a profound impact on the aromatics and flavors found in every cup of tea.
Processing refers to the creative techniques used to control the drying of freshly harvested tea laves. As soon as leaves a plucked, deeply complex flavors and aroma develop as natural chemical reactions take place. While there is much variation, unique methods and specialized technology, there are generally five steps in the production process: withering, oxidation, firing, rolling, and drying.
Withering: Once picked, each leaf is spread out to wilt and soften, making it pliable. This also has the effect of removing some moisture, and gradually starting the process of oxidation.
Oxidation: In this stage, the leaves begin to darken as certain chemicals are enzymatically broken down. Oxidation is where many flavor compounds develop. While White and Green teas do not go through this stage, Oolongs range between 5 – 70% oxidation, while Black teas reach 100%.
Firing: Firing uses heat to slow down or stop the chemical reactions taking place by neutralizing the enzymes. This is traditionally achieved by tossing in a wok or by steaming, though more modern technologies are available as well.
Rolling: This is where tea gets its varied shapes. Rolling can be done by hand, working with small batches at a time, or by machine for larger quantities. Teas can be formed into many different shapes, from the long thin shape of most black teas, to the round beads of Jasmine Pearls.
Drying: When oxidation & rolling is complete, the tea must be dried to remove moisture. Drying is done in conveyor ovens, compressed hot air roasters, or even in bamboo baskets over hot coal. This stage is responsible for many flavor compounds in White and Green teas.
A lifetime isn’t long enough to savor the infinite variety of tea grown around the world.
Step 1: Start with cold, fresh filtered water.
Step 2: Heat water according to your tea type. Do not over boil or reheat water; the tea will taste flat.
Step 3: Pour water over tea leaves. Cover the pot or cup and infuse to taste. Each tea tastes different at different steep times.
Step 4: Strain your tea leaves and drink.
Step 5: Re-steep your tea. Many teas can be re-steeped, yielding different flavors with each steeping.
Each tea type has water temperature and steep time that works best to highlight the range of flavors it offers. Refer to the chart below for guidance. Additionally, each of our offerings has a specific dose that we recommend, which can be found on each tea’s page.
|Tea Type||Water Temperature||Approximate Steep Time|
|White Tea||165° – 175°F||1 – 3 minutes|
|Green Tea||170° – 180°F||2 – 3 minutes|
|Oolong Tea||180° – 190°F||1 – 4 minutes|
|Flowering Tea||212°F||3 – 4 minutes|
|Black Tea||190° – 212°F||4 – 5 minutes|
|Herbal Tea||212°F||5 – 7 minutes|
|Pu-erh Tea||212°F||1 – 2 minutes|
While we enjoy teas brewed to these parameters, and think you will as well, we recommend experimenting with temperature and steep time to find a recipe that works best for your palate.