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    Fenugreek Tea Benefits: What It Is And Why You Need To Drink It

    The herb Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia. In light of its widespread use in both cooking and herbal preparations like fenugreek seed tea, this annual is now cultivated on a large scale in North Africa, India, Western Europe, and China, and other places where they understand how to harness the numerous fenugreek tea benefits.

    Fenugreek, a member of the pea family, has light green leaves – which are used in cooking – and attractive small white flowers. However, it is not either of these parts of the plant that are utilized the most for human consumption. The true value lies in the small, yellow-brown, flat, aromatic, and slightly bitter fenugreek seeds.

    The seeds are usually dried and then either ground or left whole. While they are an important part of Indian cuisine and the oils or extracts are used in some cosmetics and soaps, the focus here is on the range of health benefits these unassuming-looking seeds offer. Part of their value lies in the minerals and vitamins that they contain: copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and vitamin B6.

    Traditional and historic uses of Fenugreek

    Greeks and Romans both used fenugreek.

    Although the ancient Greeks and Romans may only have used Fenugreek as cattle fodder, the Egyptians recorded medicinal uses for the plant dating back more than 3500 years. There are also records that this herb was grown in the imperial gardens of Charlemagne in the 1st century AD.

    It was used for digestive and respiratory problems, to induce childbirth, as an anti-inflammatory, and in poultice form it was utilized for swollen muscles and joints, wounds, boils, and cellulitis.

    Active ingredients found in Fenugreek Seeds

    According to Organicfacts.net and other sources there are a range of substances found in Fenugreek seeds that are responsible for the health benefits:

    • Compounds: Glycoside steroidal saponins (Graecunins), Diosgenin, and coumarin
    • Fenugrin B
    • Trigonelline
    • Polyphenolic flavonoids
    • Galactomannans (water soluble natural fiber)
    • Amino acids: lysine and L-tryptophan
    • Protein
    • Enzymes: aromatase and 5α-redactase

    Each of these offers one or several benefits to the human body.

    The health benefits of Fenugreek tea

    Learn more about the many fenugreek tea benefits.

    As with many natural, plant-based substances and preparations there is a degree of skepticism from the medical fraternity about Fenugreek’s efficacy. However, according to various articles and studies published online by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) there are several benefits of Fenugreek seeds which have already gathered a promising amount of clinical or scientific support.

    • Digestion: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, Fenugreek soothes the gastric lining which helps alleviate inflammatory conditions such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and it also aids with constipation.
    • Cholesterol: This remarkable herb lowers the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol which reduces the risk of hardening and or narrowing of the arteries which are risk factors with several cardiac and cerebrovascular conditions.
    • Blood sugar: Studies of patients with diabetes who are not on insulin / medication also reported a reduction in blood sugar levels as Fenugreek slows sugar absorption by the gut and stimulates insulin production.
    • Internal inflammation: In addition to assisting with digestive conditions caused by or resulting in inflammation, Fenugreek also eases respiratory and kidney inflammation, joint inflammation such as that caused by arthritis, lymph node inflammation and swelling, coughs, and various sores including mouth ulcers and boils.
    • External inflammation: As a topical application Fenugreek helps to ease and treat leg ulcers, gout, swollen muscles, wounds, dandruff, eczema, and even sciatica (inflammation of the sciatic nerve in the lower back).
    • Benefits for men: Some studies indicate that this herb helps to overcome erectile dysfunction and impotence by increasing testosterone levels and libido. It may also help lessen or fight baldness in men.
    • Benefits for women: Early results indicate that these seeds stimulate milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Furthermore, there is now some evidence that this herb eases dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods) and menopausal symptoms thanks to compounds in the seeds that are similar to the female hormone estrogen.
    • Appetite stimulant: Indications are that regular consumption of this herb boosts appetite. While this is very useful for those who are convalescing or other individuals who don’t want to eat it does not prevent or cure eating disorders.
    • Boosts physical performance: The creatine in Fenugreek has been shown to improve muscle strength and lean mass in athletes.

    However, both Drugs.com and Webmd.com, caution against premature acceptance of the efficacy of Fenugreek in terms of its ability to lower blood sugar.

    Drugs.com states that further research is necessary before firm claims can be made with regards to these seeds and the lowering of cholesterol and that there is no evidence that this herb is an effective anti-inflammatory! Webmd.com indicates that there are conflicting findings in relation to boosting physical performance and that there is insufficient evidence as to Fenugreek’s value when it comes to heartburn or stomach upsets, mouth ulcers, coughs, impotence or erectile dysfunction, improving appetite, constipation, hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, gout, or baldness. This does not mean that this source is dismissing these various claims but that they feel further studies and trials are warranted and necessary.

    Possible side-effects, contraindications & interactions

    As with any substance, one should exercise caution as there may be adverse reactions. Some individuals are also more vulnerable than others.

    Side effects

    Some side-effects may be experienced but only if large quantities of seeds are consumed. Negative effects from drinking Fenugreek Seed Tea are unusual. However they are not unheard of and include bloating, indigestion, gas, and diarrhea.

    In rare cases there may be nasal congestion, wheezing, and coughing. With some exceptions all the side-effects settle after just a few days.

    Contraindications & interactions

    There are individuals and groups of people who should use Fenugreek with caution:

    • Patients on medication for diabetes
    • Pregnant women
    • Individuals with bleeding disorders
    • Those on anticoagulant (blood thinners) medication
    • People with hypersensitivity to any of the substances in Fenugreek
    • Children and infants
    • Those with allergies to plants in the Fabaceae family (soybeans, peanuts, or peas for example).

    How to make Fenugreek Seed Tea Recipe

    Fenugreek seed tea recipe

    Making Fenugreek Seed Tea is a simple process and the seeds can be purchased with ease. This health-giving tea can be consumed hot or cold.

    • Use 1 teaspoon of seeds for each cup of tea
    • The seeds must be gently crushed in order to break the husk and allow access to the inner part of the seed (using the flat of a knife blade works well)
    • Boil water and add the seeds to the water
    • Cover the container
    • Allow the seeds to seep for anything between 3 and 45 minutes
    • Strain the liquid to remove the seeds.

    As with other teas it is a case of personal taste as to whether a sweetener such as honey, stevia, or sugar is needed. Although other herbs can be added, milk should not be.

    Conclusion

    Despite the fact that there is some contradictory scientific evidence and further clinical studies are needed, there seems little doubt that Fenugreek seeds offer a range of valuable health-promoting benefits.

    However, as with any other substance—natural or not—that one consumes, caution must be used. It is crucial to consult one’s pharmacist or medical practitioner before starting to drink this tea to ensure that there are no potential risks or contraindications in terms of medical conditions one is suffering from and medications or supplements one is taking.

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    Best Tea For Headaches: Here’s Our Relief Rundown

    Can tea help get rid of a headache?

    A headache can totally ruin your day, even those minor headaches that just kind of linger and only hurt when you move around, not to mention intense migraines. Is there a best tea for headaches and finding relief? Yes, there is, we’ll get to that in just a moment. Now, if you’re like me, there are a few different things that will trigger a headache, usually it’s some combination of…

    • Not having drank enough water so far that day, or not eaten enough food,
    • Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out,
    • Having one or two too many drinks the day before,
    • And a number of other reasons…

    Now, when you’re thinking about drinking tea to help with headaches, it’s important to remember that tea isn’t a painkiller, but it can help with a variety of the things that cause your headaches in the first place. We’re going to be going over a few different types of tea that can help to get rid of the things that cause various types of headaches, but first we need to make sure that your tea isn’t going to make your headache worse.

    Can caffeine cause headaches?

    Caffeine can definitely cause headaches for some people, and for other people it’s caffeine withdraws that gets to them if they’re used to drinking a lot of tea and coffee, or energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine. So, as far as this one goes, if you’re sensitive to caffeine then you’ll want to stick to herbal teas and decaffeinated teas, otherwise the caffeine in regular tea could actually aggravate your headache and make it worse.

    Headache relief and Tea

    Using tea for headache relief.

    So, let’s look at different types of headaches, and their triggers, to start with. If you have a headache becasue of lack of water or dehydration, then drinking any type of tea is going to help, essentially, since you’re going to be hydrating yourself. Of course, there’s that caveat about the caffeine that we just discussed, but that aside – any tea should help with this type of headache, since you’re going to be hydrating yourself, especially if you aren’t adding anything else like sweeteners to the tea.

    Then you’ve got stress headaches. This is where we like to look at chamomile tea in particular, and here’s why…

    Note: The following two tea recommendations are both caffeine free, so whether or not you’re sensitive to it and whether or not caffeine gives you headaches, you won’t have to worry about it – since neither of these options have any caffeine in them.

    Chamomile: The best tea for Headaches?

    Chamomile tea for headaches

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    Chamomile tea is exception for helping with mood and stress, in our experience. We’re not sure if there’s any bulletproof, rock-solid studies that show it’s particularly better than other type of tea when it comes to treating stress, but frankly just the act of brewing it, the ritual, enjoying the smell, and taking the time out of your day to relax for a bit and enjoy a cup of tea is why it’s most effective for combating stress and, therefor, stress headaches, in our experience at lease. We can’t speak for everyone, and once again – tea isn’t a painkiller, but it can help to address the various causes of headaches you might experience.

    Does peppermint tea help with headaches?

    is peppermint the best tea for headaches?

    Get it on Amazon

    Many people around the world in all different cultures use peppermint for a variety of things, including for headaches. If you have peppermint oil, some people swear by rubbing it into their templates to help get rid of a headache. It could simply be taking the time to massage the temples and focus, and enjoy the fragrance that helps – similar to the stress stuff we talked about earlier, or there could be unique properties in the peppermint that help as well. Either way, relief is relief, right?

    As with many herbs used for healing, tea can be a great way to consume them, and peppermint is no exception. So – next time you’re fighting a headache, and wondering if peppermint tea will help with your headache, give it a try!

    Final thoughts on using tea for help sooth headaches

    Make sure you pop back to this page and let us know whichever you’ve found to be the best tea for headaches, because we’re eager to continue to keep this page up to date. What works for someone might not work for someone else, but it never hurts to have more options, right?

    There can be a lot of different causes for headaches, and some people prefer not to take a painkiller, and painkillers don’t even work for certain types of headaches. If you have on-going headaches that just won’t stop, it could be the sign of something more serious and we strongly urge you to schedule a visit to your doctor if you haven’t yet.

    Otherwise, steep that tea, and enjoy the all-natural relief!

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    5 Best Yerba Mate Brands That Give You a Better Buzz Than Coffee

    Yerba Mate is some magical stuff, that’s for sure. It gives you more of a kick than regular teas, tastes great, and is the single best alternative to coffee, with some people even preferring to drink yerba over anything else. The best yerba mate brands do it far better than the runner-ups, so let’s look at the favorites of the most experienced mate aficionados.

    Taking your Yerba Mate flavors to the next level

    Now, green tea has something in it called theanine and that’s an animo acid which helps with focus and concentration and even creativity as a by-product of those first two. It’s why a strong green tea can be kind of a secret weapon for a lot of entrepreneurs or people who need that extra focus for work or play.

    Theanine and caffeine complement each other perfectly.  There’s a common misconception that Yerba Mate blends also have a lot of theanine, just based on how they makes you feel, but that’s not the case – they actually don’t.

    However, you can steep some green tea along with your yerba, or even take an L-Theanine supplement for an even heightened experience.

    But even without the added boost of the theanine, it is still an incredible drink that’ll give you a powerful, high jolt of energy, clearheadedness, and an overall good feeling.

    The Best Yerba Mate Tea Brand in 2017

    Before we go into a more in-depth rundown of each of these options, here’s just a quick overview of our top choices if you’d rather get right down to business. If you want to learn a bit more about each of these reviews, however, just keep reading and we’ll clue you in.

    All of our top teas on this page are excellent options, and you truly won’t go wrong with any of them, so if you’re in a hurry and you just want some solid yerba, take your pick from this table, otherwise keep reading to see why each of these teas made our list, what makes it unique, and also some recommendations on how to properly prepare Yerba Mate tea and some additional accessories for that authentic experience.

    5. Taragui Elaborada Con Palo – Best Budget Option

    best yerba mate tea

    Weighing 1kg, this is a heaping bag of loose leaf tea, enough to keep you going for quite a while – that’s for sure. It’s also our top budget choice.

    This same company also offers a special set that comes with a mate Bombilla and a Gourd for an authentic experience. These accessories aren’t absolutely necessary, but they definitely add a certain je ne sais quoi. You can check out that package right here.

    4. Guayaki Organic – Orange Exuberance – Best Pre-made

    best yerba mate

    Canned teas are gaining popularity in North America in recent years, after being popular in other parts of the world for a long time already.

    In North America, we all know that Arizona Iced Tea can, it’s iconic at this point, but that’s where most people’s canned tea knowledge ceases.

    Here’s a pre-made mate that you can enjoy on the go, it makes an excellent energy source, due to the professional nutrient extraction and mate recipe, and an endlessly healthier alternative to standard energy drinks which are loaded up with sugar and who knows what else. Why deal with that when you can have this instant Yerba on the go?

    3. Guayaki Yerba Mate Shots – Easiest way to drink

    best yerba mate tea brand

    Here’s a small drink made with various extracts including that of yerba mate, in shot form so you can drink it really quickly.

    It’s our easiest way to consume this beneficial drink because it just takes a sip or two and you’re done, like one of those “energy shots” you’ve seen at gas stations, except this is made with all sorts of natural and organic goodness.

    There are two flavors available, and you can order a variety of sizes but the 12 pack is usually the best value.

    Click here for Lemon Shots.

    Click here for Wild Berry Reishi Shots.

    2. Cruz De Malta Tea Bags – Best bagged option

    yerba mate tea brands

    These tea bags by Cruz de Malta are a great starting point if you want to try out this drink, but haven’t made the leap to loose leaf teas yet.

    It’s kind of like an ‘easy mode’, but without going for a shot or a canned option, it’s still a leaf that you’re steeping and drinking warm.

    It’s got a smooth, mild taste and can also be served cold, over ice, or pre-steeped then put in the fridge like an iced tea.

    1. Mate Factor – Best Yerba Mate brand overall

    The Mate Factor is the best yerba mate brand.

    Mate Factor offers a lot of different flavors, and their teas give a real kick – definitely the best mate tea for energy! They offer 10 different varieties, in 6 different sizes, and this brand is very popular in Canada but you can get it all around the world.

    They don’t smoke or age their leaves, it’s all fresh green yerba mate in a natural leaf style and you can taste the difference. Their teas are grown in Brazil and then shipped to their HQ in Canada. They don’t use any added flavorings, you’re tasting exactly what’s in each cup and exactly how nature intended it.

    They do also offer a delicious dark roast beverage, and we highly recommend picking up a few different items from Mate Factor’s stellar product line, like their mate straws, because we’ve yet to find one that we don’t like – they’re all worth trying.

    It’s just high quality, good stuff. It’s easily the best tasting yerba mate tea on the market, too. It does what it’s supposed to do, it’s reasonably priced, and easy to order since they now stock it at Amazon.com.

    Click here to see all of the Mate Factor teas on Amazon.com.

    Now that we’ve helped you choose which drink to order, you might want to start thinking about accessories. You can absolutely just use your normal tea cup and go with a bagged option, but if you do opt for loose leaves instead, you might as well go all out and get yourself a little gourd to drink from and a ‘bombilla’ which is a filtered straw to keep the leaves out of your mouth.

    Choosing a yerba mate gourd and bombilla

    Choosing a mate gourd and a bombilla is an easy process. Basically, you’ve got more traditional style ones, and more modern ones, and beyond that you just want to get something that’s a high-quality product with a lot of good reviews from other people.

    As far as a more “modern” style, we recommend: Silicone Mate Gourd with Bombilla.

    For something a bit more traditional, here’s an excellent bombilla and here’s the gourd to go with it.

    Final thoughts…

    At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any decent quality version of this powerful drink. Whether you’re new to Yerba Mate, or maybe tried it on vacation one time and are looking to have some at home, we hope that some of our recommendations have caught your fancy.

    If you know of any other great brands out there, make sure you leave a comment and let us know. This list of the best yerba mate tea brands is always growing and evolving, and our goal is to feature the very best products for our readers, especially when it comes to something that can be so beneficial to drink.

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    fatCoffee Review: Is This a Game Changer for Butter in Coffee & Tea?

    Whether you call it Fat Coffee, paleo coffee, Bulletproof Coffee, keto coffee, coconut oil coffee, or another name… Or if you make it using tea instead, this drink, in one form or another, has been around for centuries, maybe even thousands of years, and this fatCoffee review is taking a look at one company in particular who has made a very interesting product to make the whole process a lot more simple for us.

    All about butter in coffee.

    Around the world, people would mix ghee with coffee for long-tasting energy, and this drink has had a surge in popularity recently, mainly to do a handful of bloggers and entrepreneurs.

    We want to take a look at another brand who are taking the idea of butter coffee, and rather than trying to cash in on the idea by slapping a fancy name onto regular ‘ol coffee beans and bottles of MCT oil, they decided to innovate and actually find a solution for one of the most annoying aspects of making and drinking paleo-style coffee everyday.

    One of the annoying things about making butter coffee is that it’s kind of a whole to-do… From measuring out the ingredients, to blending them together, to having to clean everything afterwards, it’s just not the most fun first thing in the morning when you need that first cup.

    The folks at Ninja Goat Nutritional have created something new called fatCoffee, which is a little packet that has a mixture of healthy fats pre-measured so you’re good to go.

    Here’s a look at the ingredients in fatCoffee (“keto coffee”) by Ninja Goat:

    • Organic ghee,
    • Organic coconut oil,
    • MCT oil,
    • Whole powdered goats’ milk,
    • Organic cocoa butter,
    • Some will also have vanilla, mint, and other natural flavors added,
    • You’ve got to try the Pumpkin Spice.

    I recently had a chance to try a few packets of fatCoffee after they offered to send some our way. This is not a paid review, and the only compensation that I received was 4 packets of fatCoffee valued at $10. If you decide to check out their trial pack or place an order, we’ll receive a small commission as well, so thanks for helping to support Tea Perspective while enjoying amazing coffee! We hope you find this fatCoffee review to be helpful and insightful, and we’re looking forward to featuring other brands offering different methods in the near future, as well, so you’re in the right place for all your keto coffee needs.

    fatcoffee review

    Where the fatCoffee packets really shine is the fact that they make it simple to put this drink together (It only takes a couple of moments), and they mix more easily so you don’t need a blender. Everything you need to make your oil coffee is in the packet, save for the coffee itself.

    The easiest way to put butter in coffee

    So, all you’ve got to do is brew a cup of coffee however you normally would, add the packet, and mix it together. You can use a handheld milk frother, you can use a shaker bottle, you can even use a whisk and a bit of moxie.

    Alternatively, you can use a blender as well, but one of the nice points about these packets is that you don’t need a blender if you don’t want to fuss around with cleaning it. Because of how easy they make it to create this popular drink, they’re also excellent for travel or taking with you to the office.

    If you like to pick up a cup of coffee from a drive-thru in the morning, you can even mix one of these packets into it on the go, presumably. You’ll need to put in some work with that stir stick, but it can be done. Granted, I haven’t used these packets outside of my home because that’s where I drink my coffee.

    Also, note this is an on-going review, since I’ve still got one packet left, and I’m going to mix it with tea soon and I’ll report back with the results.

    If you’re interested in trying this stuff for yourself, just visit the Ninja Goat Dojo and pick up a trial pack of their fatCoffee for $10.

    This page will be updated shortly with a video, some photos, and some more information about my experience drinking this tasty Bulletproof coffee alternative.

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    Apple Cinnamon Tea Recipe: Refreshing, Low Calorie, EASY!

    Iced or not, this infused tea recipe made with apple cinnamon tea is a tasty treat. If you want to drink a hot version of it, follow the same instructions below except use more hot water, no cold water, and no ice.

    So instead of filling it up halfway with the hot water, you’ll fill up your vessel to the top and you won’t add ice. Also, make sure you take out your tea leaves sooner, or you’ll get a burnt bitter taste in your glass. Apple tea is great because it adds a level of natural sweetness, and you don’t need any extra  sugar at all.

    Here’s what you’ll need to make this cinnamon apple tea recipe:

    Cinnamon Apple Tea Recipe

    • Tea: Loose leaf or bagged will both work just fine. If you use loose leaf, you’ll need an infuser, but if you go with tea bags instead – you won’t need an infuser.
    • A glass: Or a pitcher, or a tea kettle, or a jar, or whatever type of container you’d like to use to steep your drink, just make sure it’s decently large!
    • An infuser: One that you can submerge works nicely (like this one), but whatever you have that will fit should be just fine!
    • A knife: This is for cutting your apple.
    • An apple: From a hardworking blue collar gala apple, to the modern-day luxury of a honeycrisp, whatever you’ve got will do just fine.
    • Cinnamon sticks: You could use powder as well.
    • Ice cubes: You know what these are.
    • Cold water: Or just more hot water, if you’d like to enjoy this drink warm.

    Apple Cinnamon Infused Tea

    Start by slicing up the apple, then adding the apple, cinnamon, and boiling water into your jar or pitcher. Add your tea, allow it the appropriate amount of time to steep, add cold water, pour into a glass or mug to serve, and then add some ice cubes, and lemon or lime if you’d like.

    It’s a very light, refreshing drink that can also make an interesting base for tea latte if you allow the flavors more time to infuse into the water.

    What are some of the apple cinnamon tea benefits?

    Cinnamon is widely regarded as a healthy spice, and also one of the more tasty ones. The benefits of cinnamon tea range from having antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and a variety of others which are detailed here with studies of varying conclusiveness to support t hem.

    Calories in Apple Cinnamon Tea?

    The amount of calories is going to be minuscule, but not zero. Natural sugars in the apple slices will dissolve in the water, but the amount of sugar and calories

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    7 Tastiest Tea Desserts That’ll Go Great With Your Favorite Cuppa

    Tea can certainly play a role in a healthy lifestyle, but I believe a big part of staying sane and mentally fit also involves treating yourself sometimes, like in the case of these delicious tea desserts.

    It’s great to be strict and to take great care of yourself, but it’s also okay to enjoy treats, and what goes better with a treat than a cup of tea? Granted, some people can’t eat sweet or certain things on this list, and others simply don’t like sweet things, but… those people probably aren’t looking for articles about tea party desserts or pastries, so let’s go a little crazy on the dessert tray today.

    Here are some suggestions of delicious desserts and treats that people enjoy all around the world.

    7. Baklava is one of the best tea desserts

    Baklava goes great with a dark, rick black tea, making it one of the signature tea desserts of the world.
    image: cakespy.com

    Baklava is an incredibly rich dessert that goes nicely with Turkish tea if you’ve got an insatiable sweet tooth. Baklava is made from layers of filo pastry, held together with honey or syrup, and with an assortment of nuts and spices, depending on which style you end up fortunate enough to enjoy. The only problem? It’s so sweet, so rich, and so delicious… so good luck only having one piece.

    6. Leibniz ButterKek Biscuits

    These tasty German cookies are excellent dipped in some hot tea. The ButterKeks are the staple, and there are a few other varieties available too, like ones with chocolate on top.

    5. Stroopwafel is one of the most perfect green tea desserts

    green tea desserts

    These are made from two very thin layers of waffle, with syrupy goodness in between them. Frankly, they’re one of the best cookies on the planet and quite underrated. They also fit perfectly on top of a cup, so there’s unlimited Instagram potential.

    In particular, we love it with a cup of green tea. No milk, no sugar, just your favorite green tea to dip it in. Amazing!

    4. Short Bread is one of the essential tea pastries

    tea pastries

    Butter… sugar… what else do you really need? Short bread is so rich that you should only really have one piece, but so tasty that it’s almost impossible to accomplish such a lofty goal.

    3. Biscoff Biscuits

    They’re known as “Europe’s favorite cookie with coffee​”, but they actually taste better with tea. Smooth, buttery biscuits, with just a light touch of cinnamon, and they’re great for dipping in tea.

    2. Dry Sugared Black Soy Beans

    image: essenceofjapan

    A lighter option than some of the other items on this list, yet delicious none the less. Keep some on hand for when you need an instant tea treat!

     

    1. Premium Dark Chocolate (Bean to Bar style)

    image: chocoblog

    Bean to bar is peak chocolate. It’s about as good as it’s going to get, and when you’re sipping your favorite tea (organic, or otherwise), why not spring for the best? Basically the name says it all. They take the beans, add some sugar, work their magic, and voila. Minimal ingredients, best taste.

    Lead image: Dessert bears!

    Any other tea desserts that we missed? Let us know, we’ll expand this list until we’ve covered all of the absolute best ones out there. Also, take a look at some of our favorite tea cocktails if you’re an adult and looking for something even more wild than dessert.

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    Tazo Tea Flavors: 5 Tantalising Tazo Teas To Taste ASAP

    The Tazo Tea company makes a wide variety of flavors and types of tea. We’ve tried a lot of what Tazo has to offer, and there are certain flavors that stand out. Either they’re just a nice take on a classic, or a unique twist with Tazo’s own stamp on it.

    Here are the best flavors of Tazo

    Some of these teas are great to have in the morning, some are best served on ice, and some are perfect before bed. We’ve broken them all down below, but the best advice is to just choose the ones that sound the tastiest – you would be hard pressed to find one that isn’t delicious.

    5. Tazo Flavor: Refresh Mint Herbal Tea

    Tazo Refresh Mint Tea

    This caffeine-free mint tea is great before bed. Made up of spearmint and peppermint, and just a touch of terragon to round things out, this is a delightful herbal blend. It’s especially nice if you’re feeling particularly stuffy.

    4. Organic Peachy Green Tazo Tea

    Organic Peachy Green

    This green Tazo tea has a medium level of caffeine, and combines a number of different types of tea and flavors for a delicious blend. Notes of peace flavor and cucumber are rounded out with a blend of green and black teas.

    3. Tazo Tea Flavor: Passion

    A box of Passion Tea by Tazo.

    This tea is great both warm and cold, but it shines when served over ice. Even without adding any sugars or sweeteners, there’s almost a natural sweetness, an icy cup of this passion tea on a hot day is incredibly refreshing, and won’t leave you crashing or feeling gross later like a soda.

    You can even add some club soda (1:1 ratio after you’ve brewed and iced the tea.)

    The unique flavor comes from lemongrass, hibiscus tea, and rose hips. You’ll also notice the orange peel and passion fruit. Simply wonderful!

    2. Zen Green Tea

    Zen green.. one of the best tazo teas ever!

    Here’s another Tazo Tea flavor which combines a nice green tea, spearmint, and lemongrass. Three great flavors, and they go together very nicely. This is another good option for making iced tea, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    1. Wild Sweet Orange Herbal Tea

    Wild Sweet Orange Tazo Tea

    We are big supporters of orange flavored tea becuase it’s just delicious. In this blended herbal tea, which has no caffeine, you’ll also find licorice root, citrus herbs, and lemongrass along with the signature flavors of orange peel. Voila!

    There’s a lot going on here, and they all meld together wonderfully. Here’s a look at the full list of ingredients: lemongrass, blackberry leaves, citric acid, rose hips, spearmint leaves, color (turmeric, riboflavin), orange peel, hibiscus flowers, natural flavor, rose petals, natural orange essence, ginger root, licorice root, licorice extract.

    That’s a mouthful, and this orangy Tazo tea flavor is a mouthful is yum.

    Which is best for making Tazo iced tea?

    If you want to make iced tea, you can really use any of these, whichever flavor appeals to you the most. Having said that, milder-flavored options like white teas aren’t always the best option, and we love to use fruitier flavor-packed teas for making Tazo iced tea.

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    Easy Guide to Buying the Best Small Kettle for Your Home

    If you only make tea for one or two people at a time, you probabally don’t need a full size kettle. A cup or two, in the best small kettle, will boil more quickly and that means you can enjoy your tea sooner. Also, of course, smaller kettles will also have a smaller footprint on your counter top or wherever you store it while not in use.

    The concept of the “best” kettle is subjective, because different folks are looking for different things, have different needs and uses, and even personality quirks that might cause somebody to love one kettle, and someone else to hate the very same one. We’re taken everything we can into account when ranking the following options, and we’re laid out the pros, cons, and everything else you need to know about them. In any case, all of these are among the very best options, and any of them would make a fine choice – so if you aren’t too pick – just find one that fits your budget.

    All of the following small kitchen kettles were chosen for their quality, durability, function, and value. It’s always important to use to choose products where you’re getting your money’s worth because it’s easy to slap a high price tag on an item, but if it doesn’t perform exceptionally better than the less expensive counterparts, it doesn’t make it on this list.

    So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best choices.

    Best Small Kettles in 2017

    Some of these are electric, some of them are stove-top. There are pros and cons to each type, so choose the one that appeals to you the most. Alright, let’s get started!

    5. Gourmia GK360W Travel Foldable Electric Kettle

    This brilliant little guy gets bonus points for pure uniqueness. One an interesting tiny, little kettle! Not only that, but it isn’t just a gimmick – it actually works great, is very affordable, and has excellent reviews.

    This might be the first collapsible kettle you’ve ever seen in your life, it certainly was for me. When collapsed, this Gourmia kettle is only 4 inches tall. When expanded and ready for action, it holds up to 0.7 liters of water, just shy of 3 cups.

    It does plug into a wall, which isn’t apparent from all of the photos, but it has a standard size cord coming out of it. It’s great for travelling, or just for the sake of having something that barely takes up any space in your kitchen at all. You’ve got standard features like auto shut-off, and it’s just generally a nice little unit, made using food-grade silicone.

     

    4. Bonavita Bona Voyage 0.5-Liter Electric Travel Kettle

    Talk about travel size, this option by Bonavita is very small. It holds 2 cups of water, (500ml), which is enough to fill two tea cups or one slightly larger-size mug. It boils the water nice and quick, and is designed for travel yet is also very suitable for home use if the size suits you (Which it should, if you’re here, looking for a kettle of this size…)

    It comes with a stainless steel exterior, or a rich red option instead. It comes equipped with an impress (especailly for  this size) 900 watt heater, and comes standard with boil-dry protection and auto shut-off, but you should always be diligent, ensure your kettle is full before turning it on, and not leave it unattended because it’s easy to get distracted and to forget about it. Of course, this tidbit of knowledge applies to all kettles – not just this one, but is especially important for ones that don’t have the safety features that you’ll find on the Bona Voyage 0.5-liter model.

     

    3. Docooler 1.1L Portable Ultra-light

    This little kettle measures 7 x 7 x 3 inches, and folds up for easy transportation or storage. It’s popular among hikers and backpackers for its small weight and small footprint while still being incredibly useful. It’s just a well-designed product, whether you’ve got it slung over a campfire, or resting on top of your stove in the comfort of your own kitchen.

    It weights just over 5 ounces, the handle folds down, and it has a special grip so prevent you from burning your hand when you pick it up. It’s made from anodized aluminum, and comes with a small mesh bag if you’re going to be taking it on the trail with you. But again, it also works great at home.

     

    2. Zell Stainless Steel Gooseneck

    Goosenecks are all the rage, and this is a nice small gooseneck kettle that won’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen. This particular gooseneck by Zell plugs into the wall, and sits on a base which it can detach from, meaning you don’t need to unplug it in order to fill it up in the sink (Because you’re disconnecting the kettle itself from the power source. Heads up: If you have an outlet near your sink and an electric kettle with a cord that reaches, it’s still not a great idea to fill it up while it’s plugged in. If the electric kettle you choose doesn’t have a base that it can disconnect from, make sure you do unplug it. Just wanted to clear that up!) 

    The advantage of a gooseneck is that you’ll have more control over your pour. The water won’t come gushing out, it just gives you a steady, smaller stream. If’s great for making pour-over coffees, or for when you want to be extra delicate and fragile with your tea leaves.  This particular model holds 800ml.

     

    1. Ecooe Glass Teapot 30 Oz Loose Leaf Tea Maker

    This is our top pick for the best overall kettle.
    This is the best small kettle we’ve come across, truly an excellent and simplistic solution with no fuss. You can also remove the steeper if you don’t want to use it.

    Here’s a stovetop kettle that doubles as a tea maker (or is it the other way around?) Either way, we apprecaite the versatility, and the clean simplicity of this option. It holds 30 ounces (3.75 cups), and has a built-in steeper so that you can dip your loose leaf tea right into it after you’ve brought it to a boil and removed it from your stove.

    It’s made from strong Borosilicate glass, with a lid made from high-quality stainless steel. The really nice thing about glass is that you can always clean it right back to like-new condition. Sometimes with different materials, you can never quite get it the same, and you wouldn’t want to use potent cleaners inside, for instance, a kettle made from plastic. There’s just something nice and pure about the glass, you know?

    Ecooe offers an 18 month hassle-free warranty, but it’s hard to imagine a situation where you’d need – this is some seriously strong glass.

    Final considerations

    Hopefully one of those units has jumped out to you after taking the time to skim each of them. You can click through to the Amazon page for each one to learn more, and to check out reviews from people who already own them. All of those links will open in a new tab, so you won’t lose your place while doing research.

    If you have any questions about any of these units, or anything else tea-related in general, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

    Good luck and happy steeping!

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    Green Tea Bath Benefits: Why On Earth Would Anyone Bathe In Tea? (Find Out!)

    For many, a shower is preferable to a bath: it’s quick and it uses less water than a bath does. However, a tea bath offers several benefits a shower can’t and the love affair with bathing goes back many centuries and there are some unique tea bath benefits that are worth exploring.

    The Japanese turned bathing into an art form with a formal ritual to purify the bather physically and spiritually.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans built beautiful and imposing bath houses. Interestingly, the Greeks just wanted to get clean but the Romans used bathing to promote overall health.

    The modern attitude to bathing combines these views. It’s about getting clean and relaxing, de-stressing, detoxifying, purifying, soothing, and healing mind and body. Many individuals develop a personal bathing ritual and work out what works well for them.

    It’s All About Taking a Tea Bath

    For centuries people have used various substances in the bathwater that produced an aroma they enjoyed or had a health-giving or healing effect. Now there is an exciting (relative) new-comer that offers so much: tea!

    tea bath

    Tea baths don’t just involve conventional types of tea; using Earl Grey or Darjeeling may not achieve anything. Tea baths involve herbal teas and / or herbs and / a combination of the two. Furthermore, some herbs are absorbed through the skin while the goodness in others is inhaled. What one uses depends on what one wants to achieve.

    The main, broad categories are teas that heal, relax or soothe. Some herb combinations straddle more than one category. The most common reasons people take tea baths are to ease or heal skin conditions, to relax the muscles and / or the mind and to ease muscular pain or bruises.

    Popular Tea Bath Benefits

    • A green tea bath can aid with relaxation and detoxification, is an antioxidant, and softens skin.
    • Chamomile relaxes the body, calms the mind, and may ease certain types of pain.
    • Lavender, like chamomile, is calming and has also been shown to rejuvenate the skin.
    • Jasmine refreshes the skin and appears to enhance or lift one’s mood.
    • Rose petals are thought to aid with relaxation and refresh and soften the skin.

    One can use more than one of these in combination to achieve the desired effect. Some people add other items such as Epsom salts, essential oils, or sea-salt to an herb or tea bath. Each individual needs to experiment in order to discover which teas and combinations work best.

    Finding the perfect detox bath recipes

    The question of how much to use depends on which tea or herb one uses and, to a degree, one’s own preference. Consensus appears to be that with loose leaves one uses a handful and with good-sized bags one should use 5 or 6.

    One can add the loose leaves or tea bags to very warm or hot bath water as it runs. Alternatively, one can steep the tea in a container first and then add it to the water. In either event the tea will be fully steeped after 15 or 20 minutes.

    14 Other herbs that can go in a green tea bath recipe:

    Green tea bath

    While some teas are less commonly used in bathing they are no less valuable. Several of these are also becoming better known and more popular in a world increasingly looking to natural ways to deal with certain conditions and to manage the stresses and strains of modern life.

    The less commonly used but nonetheless useful bath teas and herbs include:

    • Dandelion flowers enhance mood and rejuvenate the skin.
    • Linden flowers aid in relaxation and may ease the early symptoms of a head.
    • Orange blossoms promote relaxation and are said to lower blood pressure.
    • Calendula softens and soothes the skin and aids relaxation.
    • Grated ginger is said to improve circulation and blood flow.
    • Parsley is believed to promote the healing of bruises.
    • Rosemary, Thyme, and Bay Leaf all aid with relaxation.
    • Sage prevents stiff, sore muscles after a physical exertion.
    • Stinging nettle promotes circulation and eases aching joints.
    • Mint, Basil and Lemon Grass stimulate and apparently heal the skin.
    • Eucalyptus aids relaxation and can ease breathing problems and nasal congestion
    • Bee balm and Lemon balm both have relaxing and soothing properties.
    • Hops promotes relaxation and is believed to promote sleep / relieve insomnia.
    • Meadowsweet eases muscular aches and pain and lifts one’s mood.

    Many of these can be grown in window boxes or as pot plants or in gardens. Others can be purchased from retailers including supermarkets; after all many of these are used in cooking too! The more unusual ones are available at health shops.

    Making one’s own bath tea bags

    One has the option to use tea or herb bags or loose leaves. The bath tea bags that one purchases from stores can be expensive. Why not opt to make them?

    The shopping list is simple: the teas and herbs one wants to use, unbleached cotton muslin or a similar fabric that will hold the tea but allows the seeping to occur, and string or something to tie the bag closed.

    One simply sews bags—square or rectangular—and fills them with the tea or mixture before tying them closed. They certainly don’t have to look beautiful. If one is not up to challenge of sewing bags, one can purchase ready-made bags that one can just fill with the tea and herb mix of one’s choice.

    A word of caution about bathing in tea

    A brief caution about tea baths.

    The benefits and enjoyment one gains from a really hot bath enhanced by the addition of teas and herbs are undeniable.

    However, one must also acknowledge and protect oneself from potential dangers too. While bathing in water that is not especially hot doesn’t pose risks, the type of heat used to seep teas and herbs does. Consensus seems to be that one should only have this kind of bath once a week.

    Why? Firstly, very hot water can cause a degree of temporary muscle weakness which could lead to a fall. Secondly, immersion in very hot water can reduce healthy fat deposits.

    Thirdly, the heat lowers blood pressure which can lead to temporary dizziness and weakness. Finally, some people have plant allergies. Pregnant women in particular should check with their doctors before having a tea bath.

    That said, you don’t need to make the water so hot that you’re literally steeping yourself, you can let it cool down first, and if you aren’t sensitive to any of the plants and you feel good, tea bathe away!

    And in closing…

    A hot bath that has been enhanced with health-giving and well-being promoting teas and herbs is one of the greatest gifts one can give oneself. Discovering which teas and herbs—or combinations of them—works best is all part of the enjoyment.

    As with all things, when enjoyed in moderation there really is no downside to a tea bath; one simply needs to lie back and enjoy both the experience and the effects of a relaxing detox bath recipe.

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    11 Horehound Tea Benefits: Here’s Why Everyone Is Drinking It

    White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), also known as Common Horehound, is indigenous to the United Kingdom but it’s also found in Canada, throughout Europe, the US, Australia, Southern Africa, and western Asia including India and there’s a reason so many people are interested in the horehound tea benefits that it has to offer. This hardy perennial – a member of the mint family – grows both wild and in cultivation.

    The green, wrinkled leaves that are covered by white hairs are the most potent part of the plant in terms of health-giving properties. The tiny white flowers that cluster around the top of the stems in June and August also offer benefits but to a lesser degree.

    The active ingredients in the leaves are a range of vitamins and minerals (iron, potassium, volatile oil, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E) and – most importantly – Diterpene lactone marrubiin or bitter marrubiin.

    The leaves and flowers of the plant have been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries and, along with many other natural products and remedies, are now enjoying a resurgence of popularity.

    Traditional and historic uses

    The earliest records of the use of this plant come from Egypt and ancient Rome. Egyptian priests believed that the plant was capable of fending off disease-causing spells and it was also used to counteract poisoning. The plant was also used for patients with respiratory problems. The ancient Romans used it as snake bite anti-venom and as a poison antidote. There are also records that show that the most common applications were for colds and coughs and as an antiseptic.

    Native American tribes used it for centuries. In addition to chest problems, they used it to treat skin conditions, to flush out the kidneys, and to treat diarrhea and stomach aches. Pregnant women were also given the herb as a pre-delivery aid. These tribes made ointments, poultices and infusions from the herb.

    In Britain in the 1500 and the 1600’s several respected and pioneering doctors and herbalists wrote about this herb and its benefits, particularly for those with chronic or acute respiratory conditions. The first settlers in Australia used it, as did American doctors in the 1700 and 1800’s.  While the settlers in America still administered the herb for lung conditions they also began to use it for menstrual problems.

    Today, it continues to be used in cough syrups, throat lozenges, and teas.

    Benefits of Horehound Tea

    Horehound can grow interesting looking purple flowers, admittedly they aren't the prettiest... but the color is very nice.
    image: wildflowerfinder (This is the black variety of Horehound)

    The reputation of the white variety of the flowers and leaves as a health-giving herb is primarily based on historic references and on anecdotal rather than scientific or clinical evidence.  However, some research findings contradict each other with certain studies claiming that it offers no proven benefits for a certain condition and other studies with findings that are inconclusive or do in fact support health claims.

    Anecdotal and traditional benefits

    The following list outlines the health benefits that have been ascribed to this plant over the centuries:

    1. Acts as a decongestant by thinning and loosening phlegm in the lungs
    2. As a result of the above, it acts as expectorant as it becomes easier to get rid of the phlegm causing irritation and breathing difficulties
    3. Eases congestion in the nose and the sinus cavities associated with colds, flu and by thinning the mucus
    4. Has anti-inflammatory properties which sooth the throat and lungs
    5. Aids and boosts digestion and prevents indigestion and acid reflux
    6. Promotes the healthy production of bile and other fluids necessary in the digestive tract which in turn reduces abdominal bloating and gas
    7. Eases uterine and digestive system cramps
    8. Has diuretic properties so it helps to counteract water retention
    9. Aids in the removal of some intestinal wormsf
    10. Has antiseptic properties so it can be used as a disinfectant for minor wounds
    11. Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels

    According to Drugs.com:

    “Preparations of Horehound are still largely used as expectorants, throat lozenges and tonics [and] may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies”

    Preparations incorporating this herb include syrup for administration to children for colds, coughs, and upset stomachs. In larger doses it is a purgative. This source also states that Horehound tea is most effective against the common cold.

    Horehound tea benefits under investigation and / or supported by clinical evidence:

    More popular online sources such as WebMD point out that while there is some – including early – clinical evidence to support a range of health claims, it is insufficient at this stage and further and ongoing scientific studies are required. The conditions they list include Type 2 Diabetes, indigestion, constipation, fluid retention, liver problems, bloating and flatulence, coughs and colds, gallbladder problems, appetite loss, and superficial or minor wounds and skin conditions.

    The website Naturalremedies.org takes a more detailed and rigorous approach in their discussion of Horehound and its global status in terms of research and more mainstream medical acceptance. They point out that, “Despite recommendations and assertions of beneficial usage over many centuries, the use of it has surprisingly little support in clinical research and medical studies.”

    This source also notes that there are contradictions. For instance, the FDA ruled in1989 that the herb is not an effective expectorant. However, it is still used in some cough suppressants sold in the US. Findings and rulings in Germany didn’t contradict the FDA findings with regard to respiratory benefits. They did, though, indicate that it is effective in terms of indigestion, appetite loss, as a digestive juices and bile stimulant. Significantly, the German researchers also found no negative drug interactions, contraindications or side effects.

    On a more positive note, early findings in a number of studies and trials are indicating that the white variety does warrant its centuries-old reputation. The evidence is not overwhelming but it is promising. At this stage studies show that this plant does lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels and possesses both pain relieving and antibacterial properties.  Studies in Italy and Brazil show that it has both pain reducing and expectorant properties, which contradicts earlier findings, and antioxidant and antioxidant benefits.

    How to make Horehound Tea

    image: floralencounters.com

    On balance there seems little doubt that it offers a great deal in terms of health-giving or at least health-promoting properties. One of the easiest and most effective ways to benefit from this plant is by making a tea from either fresh or dried leaves or flowers.  Making the tea is simple!

    • Place 1 tablespoon of dried or fresh leaves or flowers for each cup in a pot or container (preferably not a plastic or metal one as they can taint the tea)
    • Pour boiling water over the leaves or flowers
    • Cover the container so that the essential oils released by the water don’t escape with the steam
    • Leave the tea to steep or draw for at least 5 minutes. If you want stronger tea it will have to steep for longer
    • Pour the tea through a strainer to remove any plant matter.

    As with most other teas it is a case of personal taste as to how strong the tea should be and whether a sweetener such as honey is needed. Lemon, aniseed, and peppermint can all be used to alter the taste. Milk should not be added, however.

    Possible side-effects, contraindications & interactions

    Just because this is a natural, plant-based product does not mean that it is 100% safe.  There are certain individuals and circumstances where one should be particularly cautious. Generally speaking, it should not be consumed or applied topically by:

    • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as the effect of the plant on this group is not sufficiently well known
    • Individuals who suffer from diabetes and are on medication for the condition as their blood sugar levels may drop too low
    • Patients with low or high blood pressure or any kind of heart condition including arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) as the herb may exacerbate this
    • Those who are on prescribed medications for water retention, sinus and / or lung congestion, expectorants, hormone therapy, statins or other medications to lower cholesterol, cold or flu preparations, or laxatives.

    It should be kept in mind that ingesting too much of this plant can cause vomiting and / or diarrhea.

    Conclusion

    Despite some contradictory scientific or clinical studies there seems very little doubt that it offers a range of very valuable health-promoting benefits.

    But, as with any other substance that one consumes, caution must be used. It is crucial to consult your medical practitioner before you start to explore the horehound tea benefits to ensure that there are no potential risks or contraindications in terms of medical conditions you are suffering from and medications or supplements you are already taking.

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    Hibiscus Tea Benefits (& Everything Else You Need To Know)

    Hibiscus, a popular flower, is most known as the symbol of tropical vegetation with its signature overgrown bloom in pink or magenta tint gracing many travel brochures neatly tucked behind the ear of a welcoming hostess.

    However it also makes for a remarkable cup of tea that not only soothes the mind, but also provides a uniquely sharp flavor note not far off from cranberry.

    In this article we will be taking a look at how to brew the tropics into your cup, as well as taking a quick peak at the benefits of hibiscus tea.

    Lastly we will also explain how to enhance, disguise or even transform the flavor of this tea with a few herbal or fruit elements that can be incorporated.

    How To Make Hibiscus Tea

    This warm brew also known as agua de Jamaica in some parts, is made using dried hibiscus flowers. It can be bought as a bagged tea or loose leafed for those who prefer the temper the taste using their own intuition and amount of product.

    It can also be served as a cold iced tea that has been sweetened using sugar or a simple syrup reduction for a more refreshing tart kick on a hot day in summer.

    Here's how you can make hibiscus tea at home.
    image: infobaby.org

    It is often asked if hibiscus contains caffeine, but it does not, so much like green tea it makes for a super soothing drink to end the night before bed. Note that some bagged varieties may have caffeine added and it is recommended to read the nutritional information on the box if you are sensitive to caffeine.

    What you need for a perfect cup:

    • A pot of boiling water (Need a cheap electric kettle? Try one of these.)
    • 10ml or about two teaspoons of dried hibiscus flowers, however, more or less can be used according to taste.
    • Optional flavors such as fruit or herbs
    • Sweetener of your choice such as honey, sugar or a simple syrup reduction

    To make the tea, simply add your leaves to a pot of freshly boiled water and leave it for five minutes.

    During this time, simply sit back and watch the water change color from clear to a beautiful deep magenta.

    Five minutes is the average recommended time, but since all palates are different the time can be adjusted to suit your taste. Changing the temperate and the amount of time that you leave the tea to steep for can have a great impact on the overall flavor that you’re able to achieve. Some people like to really try to dial it in, whereas others don’t pay very close attention and end up with a slightly different brew each time.

    Note: In some regions when served as agua de Jamaica it is steeped for up to ten minutes and sweetened with sugar. Some flavors, such as ginger or lime, are added but the recipe varies from region and family to family.

    Pump up the flavor with a few added herbal or fruit extracts

    Because the tea has such a tart flavor, it makes for a great base when playing around with added flavors from herbs or fruit.

    Below we will discuss some popular herbal or fruit flavors that work in complimentary harmony with this tea.

    • Orange: When it comes to tempering the tart nature of agua de Jamaica, aside from sugar, a few slices of orange or dried orange peel can create a citrus melody that is simply put, refreshing.
    • Blueberry: Most berry flavors pair well with hibiscus, since the sweetness of these fruits play up perfectly against the sour but fruity flowering background found in the tea. When it comes to adding blueberries to the tea, the result is a very deep taste that lifts the delicacy and unique flavor palate of this berry and makes it stand out.
    • Cranberry: Known as one of the most commercially available blended bagged teas, cranberry hibiscus tea is a popular choice due its sweetness and delicate flavor
    • Raspberry: While it is already a tart taste in its own, when mixed with a flower tea, raspberries turn surprisingly sweet while providing a powerhouse of tang. It is best paired with a few spoons of honey to create a mini cup of raspberry pie in your hands.
    • Ginger: This is a wild card, as not everyone is fond of ginger unless it is found in a chai mix. However, adding ginger to a tea made from hibiscus flowers results in a spicy throat soothing drink that really warms the body on a cold day. Save this combination for the heart of winter in front of the fireplace to stave off a cold. Orange can also be added to this mix for a truly decadent medley of flavors.
    • Rosehip: Perhaps one of the most popular combinations of flavors on this list, adding this little red fruit derived from the rose plant to a cup of already tart flower tea results in a deliciously sour flavor profile that when sweetened perfectly hits the sweet and sour spot.
    • Tropical Fruit: As the prototypical tropical flower, it would make sense that when paired with a variety of tropical fruit hints, this hibiscus drink hits a new flavour high. Try passion fruit for a mix of tart sweetness or play with the acidic tones by adding some pineapple. Feel free to experiment with ingredients from the tropics to create your own hot or cold soothing cuppas.
    • Cinnamon: As with ginger, cinnamon takes hibiscus tea in a warmer direction and when combined with faint sweet floral tones hidden under the tartness of hibiscus flowers, it starts to resemble a wintery desert drink.
    • Vanilla: This is yet another way to turn your brew into a desert to soothe a sweet tooth. Vanilla is the classic all-rounder for flavor additives, and when combined with this tea it is nothing less than simple and sweet like a bite of vanilla candy.
    • Green Tea: Both of these teas are recommended for relaxation, so it makes sense to double up on the zen with a blend. However when it comes to flavour, this mix is like taking a drink of a floral meadow. The grassy notes of green tea mix perfectly with the flowery notes of the hibiscus and together they bring out only the best in each other.

    The options for herbal blends paired with hibiscus are nearly endless, as the tea makes such a great base to showcase a variety of flavors. Other blends that can be tried include lemon balm, mint, spearmint and chamomile.

    Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

    This plant has a long history of medicinal use, specifically for its antioxidant properties and as part of detox cleanses.

    One of the more famous health benefits of this tart flower tea is that it is purported to reduce blood pressure.

    A study conducted in 2009 by the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts found that that the tea had a noticeable effect on systolic blood pressure levels when compared to a placebo group.

    There are also reports that that these sweet hibiscus drinks can increase metabolism rates, and assist with healthy liver functioning.

    Additionally due to its high levels of ascorbic acid, the also has marked antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to keep the immune system healthy.

    Note: It is always to consult your doctor before taking anything for medicinal purposes, including herbal teas. This is to avoid any potential side effects. Tea is definitely good for the soul, but it should not be used as medicine unless under a doctor’s advice.

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    Darjeeling Tea Benefits & More: All About This Classic Cup

    This tea gets its moniker from its place of origin in the Darjeerling district situated in West Bengal, India. When it comes to the brew itself the tea consists of the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis, a very popular Chinese plant choice when it comes to tea production. When you hear about tea, save for herbal teas, it’s referring to the leaves of the camellia sinensis 99.999% of the time.

    In its most traditional form, it is served as a classic black tea, but it is also available in oolong, white and green tea varieties. However, with these new varieties, there is a risk of buying adulterated teas; therefore when purchasing your next bag of leaves, keep an eye out for the certification mark and logo as a tea can only be called a Darjeerling if it was made in the right geographic location namely, Darjeerling India.

    This article will discuss the finer details of brewing the ideal cup as well as providing a quick glance at the varieties available. Learn about the benefits of this royal cuppa, and then go to Hollywood to find out how this drink made its way onto the silver screen.

    What makes the perfect cup of Darjeeling Tea?

    The flavour of this drink is incredibly fickle and can be influenced by the smallest change in water temperature and even by the detergents used to clean your teapot – keep things simple by wiping down your cup or pot with a clean cloth, and make sure you use pure water.

    The tea is also remarkably less tannic in flavour than other brews as a result of the partial oxidation that occurs during the unique process it goes through when prepared. The taste of this tea is often likened to a fine wine, and as such it has the nickname of “the champagne of teas”. It has sweet notes that blend perfectly with mossy and fruity flavours that are accentuated by the smallest hint of citrus.

    Intimidating though it may seem, always remember that tea is an entirely subjective drink and the amount of leaves used and time it is steeped for can be adjusted over time to suit any palate. Below we will discuss the very basics of brewing the ideal cup of this classic warm brew.

    • Water temperature should be just cooler than boiling, therefore, once boiled leave the water to settle for a moment. Also ensure that water you use is soft and not tainted by impurities.
    • There exists a debate among tea enthusiast regarding the use of infusers when preparing this delicate brew, with some insisting that the true flavour can only be extracted by loose-leaf brewing. This is entirely subjective, and when making the tea – try both methods until you find one that suits you.
    • In terms of brewing time, the flavour really comes to life around the three minute mark and after five minutes you’ll have a fully saturated pot or cup.
    • Tea purists insist that one should never add milk or sugar, and it is worth it to give the unique aroma of this tea a moment to settle on your palate before diluting the flavour.

    Darjeerling tea benefits

    image credit: seriouseats

    The tea is generally considered safe to drink, however it does contain half the caffeine of a cup of coffee, and should be drunk in limited quantities if you are sensitive. The tea, when used as a green tea, also contains high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, making a great addition to a healthy diet aimed at fighting cellular damage.

    It can also provide a healthy immune boost due the plethora of vitamins and minerals it contains. These include but are not limited to: vitamin c, calcium, vitamin k and magnesium. In its green tea form, Darjeerling can also increase metabolic functions, making it a refreshing weight loss drink.

    Always keep in mind that there is no one quick fix for medical problems and it is important to always consult a doctor when considering a change in medication or taking any supplement that may have an influence on your health.

    Let’s take a quick detour from the tea in case anyone hasn’t seen The Darjeeling Limited movie, which has the popular tea region of India as a backdrop.

    Darjeerling on the silver screen?

    It is not any tea growing region that can say it has lent its name to a big budget comedic production, but that is the case with The Darjeerling limited. This 2007 comedic gem sees three brothers trying to reconnect while on a train journey through India aboard the eponymous Darjeerling Limited. The movie, much like the tea, is a perfectly unique blend unexpected elements coming together to create an evocative moment in time that lingers in the mind.

    Led by an all-star cast consisting of Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody, the film has all the hallmarks of a classic Wes Anderson production, including a quirky soundtrack and anachronistic wardrobe choices. Each character has their own sense of dress that so neatly sums up their character in visual cues. For example, Owen Wilson’s character adorned in head bandages following a recent accident perfectly shows the broken character’s need for acceptance and healing amid the fractured family.

    The Darjeerling Limited soundtrack includes three timeless tracks by ‘70’s punk powerhouse The Kinks, once again showcasing its quirky nature as the music acts as an oxymoron to the action on screen. In contrast to most films it also makes use of the same song more than once.

    To see India, and the Darjeerling region showcased in its full beauty against the backdrop of a touching family comedy, check out the trailer below:

    Darjeeling Limited Trailer

    Detour complete, let’s get back to tea.

    Varieties available

    The most popular form of this tea is a classic cup of black tea that is enjoyed without milk or sugar for its unique flavour; however, it can also be enjoyed in three other forms depending on when the tea is harvested and how it is prepared.  

    • Oolong: With a light orange and green finish, this tea is made from semi-oxidized Darjeerling leaves harvested in the second flush. In this brew, the muscatel flavour of the tea is more pronounced. The tea gets it taste from being grown at high elevations in low temperatures, and it is made from the only the finest leaves on the plant.
    • White: As a white tea, drinkers can expect a sweeter taste compliment by pale golden colour when fully brewed. When making a white tea, more leaves are required and these leaves are sun dried after being picked. This is one of the rarest forms of the tea and can only flourish in specific climates.
    • Green: There are estates in Darjeerling that produce green teas as well. For it to qualify as a green tea, the leaves are not fermented, but instead they are steamed to prevent oxidation and this keeps the polyphenols intact, making green tea an impressive antioxidant drink.

    Where to buy Darjeeling Tea

    Ordering tea online is an easy way to go, but you can probabally find Darjeeling tea of some variety at your local grocer as well. If you choose to order some, here are a few nice options that you can toss into your Amazon cart, and maybe even a new electric kettle while  you’re at it?

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    The 3 Absolute Best Times To Drink Green Tea

    Got some green tea burning a hole in your pantry, and 3 minutes of your time to waste on a poorly executed premise of a joke that’s not even funny in the first place? Then you’re in the right place, friend.

    There are three times during every single day that are great for drinking green tea in particular. You may be wondering what makes these times so much better? We’re not really sure of the exact origins, but it’s steeped in ancient wisdom, so you know it’s legit.

    So, in the name of not keeping you from your tea a moment longer, let’s get through this quickly. Here are the 3 best times, in our estimation, you could enjoy a cup of green tea.

    3. In The Morning

    image: pinterest

    This one’s a given. A new dawn of prosperity washes over you as you start a new day, and what better way to maximize your hope and optimize than a cup of green tea? This day is your oyster, go and get it tiger!

    2. In The Afternoon

    image: reference.com

    Once that morning cup wears off, you may find yourself somewhere in that awkward place that happens in between the morning and nighttime, commonly referred to as the afternoon. Great time to enjoy some tea! If you can’t quite stomach cayenne tea at breakfast, maybe the afternoon is a good time to throw it back, if you’re into that kind of thing?

    1. Green Tea At Night

    image: pinterest.com

    Finally, green tea before bed is great, just as long as you aren’t too sensitive to caffeine. If that’s the case, I suppose you could opt for an herbal tea, but we’ll save that for another article.

    There you have it, the three best times to enjoy tea.

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    Why On Earth Would Anyone Drink Cayenne Pepper Tea For Health Benefits? (Find Out!)

    Certain drinks sound, smell, and look delicious and appealing; others don’t. Some are not all that enjoyable. However, they offer so much in terms of health benefits that a certain lack of taste is considered a very small price to pay. Cayenne Pepper Tea is one such drink!

    Cayenne is also known as Guinea spice, Capsicum, red hot chili pepper, bird pepper, cow-horn pepper, or—in its ground or powdered form—simply as red pepper.  Most people are familiar with Cayenne from spicy dishes in which it is a common and delicious, if potent and hot, ingredient. What is less well known is that one can drink Cayenne Pepper in cold water or, more popularly, as a tea.

    The ingredient that makes Cayenne effective is a chemical called capsaicin. Studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that capsaicin reduces pain when applied to the skin and may have broader health uses too.

    How to make Cayenne Pepper Tea

    image: stylecraze.com

    Making tea with this spice is not difficult, but the ‘recipe’ varies a little depending on what one wants to use it for. It’s also possible, given the great heat it can generate, that one may want or need to build up to the desired amount or dose gradually…

    Some recipes, specifically for an immune and energy boosting drink, call for 1 teaspoon of spice. The cup or mug is then topped up with boiling or near boiling water. One stirs the liquid until the Cayenne dissolves. Tiny bits of pepper will float to the surface.

    A tea that is consumed with weight loss and / or detoxification requires far less of the spice: only 1/10 teaspoon or 5ml. This is combined with 2 tablespoons of raw maple syrup and 2 of fresh lemon juice and boiling water. Some people prefer to drink their tea hot and others find it more palatable when it’s cold.

    If you aren’t huge on the bitter spicy flavor, simply mix it with something else. You could even make a latte out of it, or use it for making oil coffee for a savory drink.

    Here’s are top 3 recommended cayenne tea products for making it at home

    We’ve selected a great organic option for cayenne powder, along with an extra that you can simply drop into your tea-of-choice, or even some pre-bagged teas. Take a look below, they’re all available to order online at Amazon.

    RankProductPhotoOrder Now (Opens in new window)
    1Simply Organic Cayenne Pepper Certified Organic Check the Price
    2Cayenne Pepper Tea Bags (Morning Tea Blend With A Hint Of Orange) Check the Price
    3Organic Cayenne Extract Check the Price

    Ways to improve the taste of this tea

    Honey is a great way to sweeten a spicy tea.

    There is no denying that Cayenne Pepper is really spicy and hot; words like “delicious” don’t really spring to mind in relation to this tea. But there are a number of substances one can use to make it far more palatable, even pleasant, to drink.

    If one wants to change the taste, adding a little fresh lemon juice or even pieces of peeled, fresh ginger can make a big difference.  In order to sweeten the tea there are a number of options including honey, sugar, syrup, molasses, jam or a sugar substitute such as Xylitol or Stevia. The bottom line is that one needs to experiment in order to find things that work.

    10 Health benefits of Cayenne Pepper tea

    This article only looks at those health aspects that tea, as opposed to powder or cream, can or may help with. It’s also important to note that this spice is not promoted here as a cure. As with any other herb, one should always check with one’s doctor before consuming it if you are aiming to treat an issue or condition.

    The health issues that Cayenne Pepper tea is considered to aid with or provide relief from include:

    • Digestive problems: a whole range of gastric ailments and symptoms are thought to be eased by drinking this beverage. These include: nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, bloating or gas, heartburn, and constipation. It also improves the metabolism or absorption of food in the digestive tract. While further evidence is required, this hot spice may even prevent or ease gastric ulcers.
    • Cardiac and vascular: capsaicin is a circulatory stimulant, balances cholesterol and triglycerides, lowers blood pressure, and prevents blood clot formation which in turn reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
    • Irritation and inflammation: this type of pepper has been found to sooth irritation and help with things such as sore throats, laryngitis, and dry coughs.
    • Cold and flu symptoms: the capsaicin in this herb breaks up mucus in the nose, sinuses, and throat. This makes it easier to clear it by blowing the nose or coughing.
    • Detoxification: because cayenne speeds up circulation and digestion—and leads to perspiration!—it’s an excellent aid in terms of general detoxification.
    • Anti-carcinogenic: while more research is required, early evidence suggests that this amazing herb may aid in fending off possible cancerous cells.
    • Swallowing: in patients who struggle to swallow, like the elderly or those who have suffered a stroke or some other condition affecting the throat muscles, capsaicin before a meal may improve the ability to swallow both liquids and solids.
    • Weight loss: this herb has been found to reduce appetite and boost the metabolism both of which aid in weight loss.
    • Oral health: the herb stimulates saliva production which assists with promoting oral, specifically gum, health. It can also ease the pain of toothache.
    • Stress relief and improved energy:  the active ingredient in these peppers helps to ease stress-related depression. It also counters fatigue and improves energy levels, especially if the tea is drunk in the morning.

    However, it’s essential to consult a doctor if symptoms persist!

    Cayenne Pepper: possible dangers, side effects, and contra-indications

    Just because Cayenne Pepper is plant-based does not necessarily mean that it is 100% safe. Many health professionals recommend, for example, only drinking this tea short-term. In addition, one shouldn’t drink it too often in a day as it may result in symptoms such as gastric distress, marked perspiration, and a running nose.

    It’s also suggested that capsaicin should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It should also not be given to children, those scheduled for surgery as the herb has a blood-thinning effect, individuals on medication for high blood pressure, or taking drugs that thin the blood and prevent clotting.

    Conclusion

    Is Cayenne Pepper Tea a miracle cure-all? No! Is it a really pleasant drink? Let’s say that it’s an acquired taste. Is it worth acquiring? Absolutely! Even for those who don’t suffer from any of the health issues discussed above, the preventative properties of this spicy, unique beverage make it more than worthwhile.

    As with anything, though, one has to use caution and make sure that it’s safe for the individual. Also, one should consume it in moderation and stop immediately if any side-effects appear.

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    Canada’s Best Detox Tea Brand Is All About Keeping It Real

    Nobody likes bloat. Those who have it, know it’s true. Bloating can be a little unnerving when you step onto the scale or look at your tummy in the mirror. It adds an extra few unwanted pounds, causes us to not exactly look the way we want, and gives us that groggy “blah” feeling.

    In the online marketplace, there are a few teas out there that claim weight loss properties, or ones that will make you “skinny”. So it’s hard to differentiate what’s actually genuine. We don’t portray ourselves as either of the former things, we like honesty and being transparent with our customers.

    We can assure you one thing, and that’s that we will help you curb your bloating with our new 100% natural, organic, and gluten/GMO free Canadian tea blend.

    Our tea is designed to give you a boost in the morning and help you cleanse at night with our night time tea. We’ve run countless trials on our evening blend so it contains just the right amount of ingredients that will not leave you running to the toilet.

    In addition, our product is hand blended in Burlington Ontario by a family owned and operated tea company who holds very high standards in their cleanliness and operations. We want you to know exactly where your tea is being blended and where you are getting it from.

    Click here to visit GoSlim Tea’s online store

    Will you lose weight just by drinking our tea? No. The truth is there is no tea product out there that will lose your weight for you, despite what other companies might be trying to convince you of.

    They mostly do this by paying models to pose with their product on Instagram, whereas we will only post a photo of someone who has actually used our product. Once again, honesty.

    Weight loss requires a change in what you are currently doing. Our mission is to promote a healthy, new you. Think of it as a fresh start, or a way to kick-start a lifestyle change-up.

    By drinking our tea we want to promote change in regime, or give someone a reason to do something different. Be adventurous, try something new, and inspire others to take action by being the best version of yourself.

    Click the tea to visit GoSlim and to see some testimonials:

    Next time you’re thinking of spending a few of your hard earned dollars on a tea blend that’s supposed to make you feel better, try thinking of GoSlim Tea. Where honesty is our best policy, and we will get behind anybody who wants to be a better version of their current self!

    -The GoSlim Tea Team


    This is an approved sponsored post from GoSlim, a family-opered detox tea company in Canada who are fighting back against dishonest marketing and over-the-top claims that plague the world of tea. 

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    5 Easy and Cheap Electric Kettles Under $50

    Bella kettle review

    If you’re boiling water on the stove, there’s a quicker and more convenient way. Embrace the wonders of modern electricity, because not only are electric kettles faster and more convenient, they’re even safer for a number of reasons. We’ll assume that if you’re here already, you don’t need to be convinced as to why an electric kettle is a great choice – you’re looking for something solid without spending a fortune.

    You can get electric kettles for hundreds of dollars, in fact the best electric kettle for tea one we’ve ever tried comes in at a few hundred bucks, but if you’re

    Safety Benefits of Electric Kettles

    Before we dig into the electric kettle reviews, let’s go over some of the benefits of electric kettles, namely safety.

    • There are a few key points that make these safer than, say, boiling a pot or a kettle on the stove. First, we’re not trying to fear monger here or anything, it’s not like using a regular kettle is inherently dangerous, we’ve been using them for hundreds (History buffs help out here, maybe even thousands of years?) but it’s still worth mentioning.
    • Auto-shut off: Many electric kettles, even the cheapest ones, will turn themselves off once they’re done boiling the water. If you get distracted, or fall back asleep, or whatever – you don’t have to worry about boiling the kettle dry and ruining it or starting a fire in your home. Granted, don’t rely on these features, it’s possible for them to (rarely) not work. It’s good as a “just in case”.
    • Small kids: If you’ve got younger kids around, you have to be really careful with them around the stove. With an electric kettle, there’s no handle sticking over the edge for anyone to grab onto and burn themselves, no hot elements that are exposed, etc.

    How to Choose an Electric Kettle

    Before we dig into some reviews of the best electric kettles for coffee, tea, or any other time you’d need to warm water quickly, let’s go over some considerations.

    • Features: Beyond just “make water hot”, there are numerous features you can look for. Some may matter, some might not really matter to you. How quickly it boils water is one important feature. Also, some people prefer a glass kettle rather than a plastic one, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.
    • Price: In this article, we’re focusing primarily on the most affordable options, because there are a lot of great buys to be had without spending very much.
    • Quality: Just because it’s a good price, doesn’t mean you should accept an inferior product. You might not have all of the same features, it might not heat up as quickly, but it’s still important to get something that’ll last you, otherwise it ends up being more expensive to buy cheap kettle after cheap kettle.
    • Value: … And that’s where value comes into play. When price and quality line up, that’s value! The more quality you’re better, for the lower price, that’s a higher value. For this article, since we’re looking at kettles on the lower end of the price range, it was very important to find ones that have great value.
    • Warranty: Even a great product can have a defect every now and then, and a warranty will allow you to get a replacement or a repair from the manufacturer, or in some cases a refund.
    • Reviews: A product can look great on paper but still end up with some weird quirks that may bother some people, that’s why we read through many OTHER people’s reviews, along with our own experiences, before featuring any products here.

    We put a lot of time into researching, choosing, testing and putting these kettles through the ringer so that you can make an informed purchase.

    Please note: While the theme of this article is the best electric kettles for under $50, sometimes the prices will vary a bit due to sales or sales ending. Rest assured that we’ll connect you with the lowest prices we’re able to find, but they may occasionally be slightly higher than $50. 

    The 5 Best Electric Kettles for Under Fifty Dollars in 2017

    We update this list occasionally as new items meet our criteria, here are your best options right now. Choose the one that looks the best to you and suits your kitchen the nicest, because you can’t go wrong with any of these choices, they’re all solid. We’ve filtered out

    Aicok Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Water Kettle

    Aicok Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Water Kettle
    Take a peek inside of this kettle. It’s a nice looking unit, and has a lot of great features for the price.

    This kettle can hold 1.7 liters of water at a time, and comes with a handful of features that you might not expect to see in this price range.

    For instance, you’ve got 6 programmable preset temperature settings, so you can use it for making a delicate white tea, robust black tea, or even coffee, and it’ll remember the perfect temperature settings.

    Different types of tea need to be steeped in water of various temperatures for optimal flavor, and this kettle makes that easy.

    It’s very well reviewed and it’s hard to find anything with anything too negative to say about it, to be frank. There are a few cons, however.

    BELLA 1.2L Electric Ceramic Tea Kettle

    Bella kettle review
    Bella’s kettle wins top choice for being the nicest looking – and it works great, too.

    This BELLA kettle can hold 1.2 litres of water, and looks absolutely charming. If you don’t really care for the plastic or stainless steel look that some of the other kettles have, this one is made from ceramic with a pretty design.

    There are 7 different designs available, from a variety of patterns to cute flower outlines. The cord is attached to the base, so when you lift it up to pour, you’re unobstructed by a cord, making it handy for taking into the living room with you for refills, or just taking to the other side of the kitchen.

    The power switch lights up so you can tell whether it’s on or not from a distance. If you’re concerned with plastic pieces coming into contact with water, you can rest easy with this one because it’s just the lead-free ceramic, a little bit of metal, and a small piece of rubber that contact the water. No plastic!

    Secura 1.8 Quart Stainless Steel Electric Water Kettle

    Secura makes a great kettle for tea drinkers.

    These bold kettles are cool to the touch on the outside, even when they’re rapidly heating up to boil your water on the inside.

    With thousands of positive reviews, and an average of 4.6 stars, you know this is a solid unit that’ll take good care of you and your guests. The 1500w is above average for this category, and means it’ll heat up your water more quickly than average.

    For you coffee drinks out there, this same company offers a really stylish looking french press in stainless steel, an alternative to the typical clear glass. You can check it out here.

    Back to the subject at hand. This kettle comes with a two year warranty, so really, worst case scenario, you’ll be spending about $20 per year to use it assuming it fails the day after the warranty up and that’s really not bad at all for a worst case scenario, is it? And chances are, it’ll last you much longer than that anyways.

    Willow & Everett Gooseneck Kettle

    W&E Gooseneck

    Here’s a great choice if you enjoy coffee as well as tea. The goose neck makes it ideal to gently pour the water over top, slowly and with purpose. It retails for around $100, but you can often find it on sale for quite a bit less on Amazon, so definitely take a look to see if you get lucky and score a great price.

    It has a 1000w heater, so it’s noticeably less than the 1500w model we just looked at, for example, but this is more of a specific tool, and at this price, it’s worth the sacrifice of extra wattage.

    Hamilton Beach 40880 Review

    Here’s the most affordable option on this list. If you’re on a budget, grab this one and you’re all set. If you’ve got an extra $10-$20 to spend, you may want to go with a different option on this list, but this is a solid cheap electric kettle none the less.

    Cord free serving, heats water faster than a microwave, has a hidden element so you won’t accidentally burn yourself, and has a number of other basis features that you’d expect like an automatic shut-off.

    It holds 1.7 liters of water, has a 1500w heater, and is quite solid. Again, you shouldn’t expect as much from this as from a unit that costs twice as much, but this is definitely our top pick in terms of price.

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    Star Anise Tea: How to Brew, Where to Buy, and a WARNING!

    Star Anise is a star shaped fruit grown on the evergreen illicium verum tree.

    These plants are found near China and Vietnam, and they possess a wonderfully aromatic flavor profile comparable to licorice or fennel. Although it shares a name and flavor notes with anise, they are entirely different plants.

    Once used in traditional medicines, the spice obtained from the fruit is also a pivotal ingredient in Chinese Five Spice powder – a popular spice blend known for its warm and sweet qualities, especially when combined with poultry dishes.

    However, when it comes to this spice, not many people know that it also makes for a delicious cup of tea with a warm soothing kick.

    The spice itself is available in a variety of forms ranging from already ground spices to fruit pieces or whole fruits. In order to extract the strongest flavor from the fruit, it is recommended to grind it just before using it, much like you would with espresso beans.

    How To Make Star Anise Tea

    In order to brew the ideal cup of this tea, it is vital to have your tools ready, so grab your favorite pot, set out the fine cups and prepare your strainer if needed. Grab your favorite kettle, too.

    For this cup, leaves are not the order of the day, instead when it comes to star anise the seeds or pods are used to extract flavor. Always try and use the freshest ingredients for maximum impact.

    What you will need for one cup:

    • One tablespoon of seeds or 1 to 2 pods of Star Anise
    • One cup of boiling water at 100ºC or 212ºF
    • Optional sweeteners such as honey or sugar
    • Almond or warm milk if desired

    To brew, simply add your spice to the boiling water and allow the flavor to infuse.

    When it comes to making this tea, the strength is determined by the amount of seeds or pods used, and therefore it can be adjusted to suit any palate.

    The flavor can be a strong throaty hit or a mild fennel tingle on the tongue.

    In terms of steeping, let the drink stand for about 10 to 15 minutes in order to let the magic happen in your cup. Once it is ready, strain it, and serve with honey for rich but sweet addition.

    Almond milk or warm milk can also be added, however this tea demands to be drunk in its purest form in order to experience its warm and soothing qualities.

    Health Benefits of Star Anise Tea

    As with any tea drink, the main reason star anise tea should be enjoyed is for its unique flavor profile – after all, treating tea the same way one does medicine does not make for a soothing cuppa in the afternoon.

    That said, the tea does purport to have some health benefits that will be discussed below.

    Now that you intend on having a cup with these health benefits in mind, always consult your doctor first in order to eliminate any serious ailments rather than depending on tea as a cure. Tea is soul medicine with added body bonuses, but it does not cure all.

    • Combats Candida Albicans: Researchers in South Korea have found that star anise has antifungal properties in terms of combating Candida Albicans. Therefore the extracts from this plant can help combat this type of yeast infection commonly occurring in the throat, mouth and genitourinary tract.
    • High concentration of Shikimic Acid: When used in combination with quercetin, Italian researchers have found that Shikimic Acid can help raise immune levels and possibly assist the body with fighting viral infections. Star anise has one of the highest concentrations of Shkimic Acid, making it a primary source for this health booster.
    • Antibacterial powerhouse: Star Anise possesses antimicrobial compounds which, according to researchers in Taiwan, may combat up to 67 strains of bacteria that are traditionally drug-resistant. According to The Journal of Medicinal Food (October 2010), this discovery may allow for new antibiotic medicines to be developed in the future.
    • Antioxidant source: While not able to physically turn back time, this tea boasts antioxidants that are able to get rid of free radicals and thus undo some of the cellular damage caused by the metabolic processes of the body. Studies have shown that animals who were fed star anise showed less chances of developing cancer (Chemico-Biological Interactions, 2007). Antioxidants are also touted to have anti-ageing properties, and could help restore the elasticity in skin.

    Toxic Myth: Is Star Anise Tea Harmful?

    Chinese Star Anise in itself is not harmful or toxic, and it has a long history of safe use in medicine, tea and cooking. In rare cases infants who ingest the tea have been known to exhibit irritability, vomiting and seizures – however these symptoms are often attributed to cases where pure Chinese star anise has been confused or tainted with Japanese star anise, a toxic variety that should not be consumed. Thus, when making star anise tea, ensure that it is not Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise).

    To surmise, Chinese star anise does not pose any toxic threat unless it is confused for or mixed with its Japanese counterpart.

    Other ways to enjoy a cup of this plant tea

    While it is a standout tea flavour in its own right, Star Anise can also be added to other teas to enhance or change the flavour into something new.

    Give a cup of chai tea an added layer of depth by steeping a pod with your regular brew, or create a soothing night time cup of relaxation by combining chamomile and Star Anise. Another benefit of keeping star anise in your tea pantry is the fact that the sweet flavour tones in the spice can be used to cut through the bitterness of certain herbs, allowing you to create flavourful herbal blends with a minimised bitter aftertaste.

    Star Anise is a wonderful all round tea and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. For those venturing into the realm of herbal teas and away from the standard cuppa, it is an excellent introduction to new flavour profiles while staying true to the soothing afternoon cup so many love.

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    This Simple Little Modification Can Take Your Coffee To The Next Level

    If you buy pre-ground coffee beans, and either keep them in the cupboard or ideally the freezer, we’re not saying you can’t enjoy a decent cup of coffee, but you’re never going to have a GREAT cup of coffee.

    When it comes to coffee, afficianados have all sorts of preferences. Did you know that purists don’t really consider it ‘espresso’ unless it comes from a super high-end machine that typically costs around $1500, and with beans that were freshly ground with a high-end grinder than can easily cost over $500? On top of that, they seek out beans that were JUST roasted as freshly as possible, grown in certain parts of the world depending on the weather and temperure during the most recent harvest. It gets really extreme…

    But you don’t have to go THAT crazy to have a great cup.

    Let’s spill the beans…

    The one take away from elite espresso freaks that everyone can implement is simply to use freshly ground beans. Even if you aren’t making an espresso, and especially if you don’t have some coffee grinder that costs more than your rent, you can still punch up your coffee in a huge way.

    The difference between buying ground beans and buying whole beans and grinding them yourself is probabally the easiest, and single biggest impact you can have on the taste and quality of your morning coffee without going into the deep end.

    On top of that, you don’t need one of those super fancy $500 coffee grinders, because a regular burr grinder is plenty good for using with your coffee maker, your French press, your pour over, your Aeropress, or however you make your coffee in the morning. Do you like to add a little butter/oil to your coffee? Here’s how to do it without a blender

    You can find a basic coffee grinder for as low as $10, all the way up to thousands of dollar, but again: you don’t need the high end stuff unless you’re looking to make a top-notch espresso. The reason? Great espresso requires beans that are ground not only very finely, but also to the exact same size and consistency. If some beans are ground larger or smaller than others, the steam is able to find a path through it more easily, which isn’t what you’re after.

    Grinding your coffee beans fresh before brewing your cup improves the taste and quality because the first time the insides of those beans are being exposed to air, they’re immediately being brewed, there’s no time for them to go stale at all. There are certain gasses that are released when the coffee beans are ground, according to coffee connisseurs, and if you let the beans sit for too long, or buy pre-ground coffee, you’re missing out on those flavors.

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    We’ve Found The Best Electric Tea Kettle For Your Kitchen

    Tea is one of the most ceremonious drinks enjoyed globally.

    For some, it’s another part of the daily ritual for starting, accentuating, or ending a day. Whether a cup of chai in the afternoon, chamomile before bed, or English breakfast in the morning, tea is important.

    It’s a wonder why so many tea drinkers and “aficionados” spend extravagantly on their tea of choice yet cuts corners on how they make it.

    The Fragility Of Tea Leaves & Why The Right Tea Kettle is Important

    Many tea lovers understand the difficulty in brewing the perfect cup of tea. Just having the proper tools isn’t enough due to the fragility of tea leaves – you’ve got to use those correctly. Some are easier to master than others, and that’s essentially one of the differences in price points between electric tea kettles.

    Still, some take shortcuts by simply using their microwave to heat up water. The issue lies in the uniqueness of each type of tea. Every tea has a specific temperature that maximizes flavor. Exceeding the aforementioned temperature results in a bitter taste that equals little more than a disappointed version of what could’ve been.

    At the same time, using microwaves or non-quality kettles can result in the temperature of the water being too low. This can also limit the taste of the tea, resulting in the consumer being unable to experience the full-bodied flavor the tea leaves offer at their optimum temperature.

    The Right Kettle & The Wrong Kettle

    Finding the right tea kettle is a must for anyone that consumes tea regularly. Thankfully, there are an abundance of options to choose from with a variety of manufacturers that swear by their standards of tea making ability.

    Whilst there is a certain nostalgia that accompanies using older kettles used by family members, friends, or purchase second hand, nostalgia doesn’t equal good tea. Taking the time to invest in a new quality kettle pays dividends.

    The new generation of high-tech kettles that are available on the market have been designed to be water and energy efficient, whilst pinpointing the best temperature for brewing tea, without breaking your wallet. Not to mention, the new generation of tea kettles often feature a beautiful and simple design that can be as similar as old kettles to as unique as works of art.

    Steel Kettles & Precise Necks

    There are a few options for buying quality kettles, however, using an electric kettle is generally regarded as the best option. A majority of electric kettles are cordless and made with stainless steel, making them easily transportable or usable in a kitchen or room of any size without risk of damage. The stainless steel used in most electric kettles has the added benefit of holding in heat to ensure that water stays at the perfect temperature for long periods of time.

    The diversity in tea kettle necks can vary to the user’s choice. The difference in kettle necks is due to the variations in pouring styles and precision from user to user. The other reason for variant kettle necks is that some are made to be multi usable for both tea and coffee. A precise neck is recommended for those that want to use a kettle for tea and coffee. A precise neck also assures a more controlled pour which can prevent the damaging of fragile tea leaves, whilst avoiding spillage for those with shaky hands.

    The Range In Price

    Tea kettles range from as low as $18 to $200+. It all comes down to what features, size, company and durability a consumer wants in their kettle. For some, a specific style of electric kettle is preferred whilst for others it’s whatever is cheapest. While in many things, price doesn’t equate to quality, when it comes to tea kettles, it does. The price differences is due to the reliability of the kettle to accurately reproduce the same exactly temperature level of tea every time.

    The Best Value Kettle

    Value can mean a lot of different things to different people. For instance, if your budget is only $20, finding the best kettle for that price is value. If your budget is $300, you can still get a great value kettle.

    There are also $20 and $300 kettles that aren’t great value, maybe they’re over priced or they just underperform. In any case, here’s our top pick for if you’re on a tighter budget and not looking to spend a lot. Next up, we’ll take a peek at a higher-end model with more bells and whistles, and more precision.

    For basic steeping, you really don’t need anything too crazy, there are plenty of excellent options for kettles under $50. However, as you increase your budget, you get all sorts of great features, better quality heaters that’ll last longer, some really great stylish designs, and more. We don’t know what your budget is or what you’re looking for exactly, so we’ve included our top pickets for the Budget Category, and for the Overall Category, and also put together a list of runners-up. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily playing second fiddle, but one thing they all have in common: They’re all among the best electric tea kettles, so find one that you can afford and meets your needs and you’re all set.

    There are NO bad kettles on this list, they’re just good for different reasons.

    Best Budget Option: Hamilton Beach 40880 Stainless Steel Electric Kettle, 1.7-Liter

    This particular Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle is the standard basic kettle to use for boiling water for tea use. Used by everyone from college students to young professionals to your adorable grandmother, this price point makes it an extremely accessible whilst still offering a quality experience. The kettle is easily transportable, with a stainless steel exterior that is perfect for those that need something resilient and is difficult to scratch.

    It’s as simple as putting in water, and flipping a switch. The switch mechanism acts as a timer and temperature control that automatically shuts off and ceases heating the water when the optimum level is reached. This doubles as a safety against fire hazard meaning most of the time it’s perfectly safe to turn it on and walk away without risk.

    The cordless serving function means that there are two pieces here. There’s the base that the kettle connects to which plugs into the wall, and the kettle itself. Once your water is boiling, you can move the kettle into another room, the other side of the kitchen, or whatever, without having to unplug it and carry around the cord. If you’ve ever had an electric kettle with an annoying cord, this is a really welcome feature.

    This Hamilton Beach kettle has the added benefit of having a neck/spout that is drip-free, to prevent any chance of spillage or damage to tabletop surfaces. The handle is balanced and fitted to ensure it’s easy use and control of the kettle by users of any size or strength.

    The kettle can boil up to about 1.7 liters of water, and has 1500w of power to ensure your water gets heated quickly and effectively. It’s waster than boiling water in the microwave, and safer.

    Pros:

    • The cordless functionality makes it safe and usable with ease.
    • The electric usage is minimal.
    • It boils water quicker and more accurately than a microwave.
    • It can boil up to almost two liters of water at a time.

    Cons:

    • There is plastic on the inside that comes into contact with the water, which can bother some consumers. It’s very difficult to find an electric kettle without at least some fraction of plastic or rubber. In this case, the small amount of plastic (For the little window so you can see the water level) is completely BPA-free and safe to use with food.

    The Best Overall Electric Kettle for Tea

    We’ve already looked at our budget pick, now it’s time for  the top overall pick. It still has great value, it’s just more expensive with endlessly more useful features.

    We’ve also gone over the important of steeping  your tea at the correct temperatures for the correct amounts of time. If you’d rather have all of that taken care of automatically, this is the machine for you. It’s kind of like the Rolls-Royce of tea makers, but you get what you pay for (and then some.)

    When you think about the cost of heading to Starbucks for a tea every morning, and being able to steep it with even more precision in your home (And to use higher quality, loose leaf teas), this machine pays for itself very quickly. Basically, if you love to drink tea every day, and aren’t connected to the ritual of boiling water more slowly in a pot on the stove or in an old-fashioned style kettle, this is seriously a product that’s worth considering, even if the sticker price catches you off guard.

    It’s not for everyone, but let’s say you were to buy a nice tea at a cafe every day for a few bucks, this incredible machine is going to pay for itself in just about one month. Of course, most of us aren’t spending a few bucks a day on teas from cafes, so let’s say you drink a cup at home everyday.

    What’s that worth to you? Let’s say $1, just for the sake of this demonstration. After a year, you’ll have gotten your money’s worth, and you’ll still have an elite-level tea steeping machine to use for years and years to come.

    It does cost more initially, but you’ll be able to get the most out of your precious leaves, for the best experience possible.

    Best Overall: Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker

     

    Breville's BTM800XL is an absolute beast of a machine that gently handles your favorite teas.
    You get what you pay for with this high-end tea maker from Breville, click here to see how much it costs.

    Amongst the many choices available on the market, few reach the standard that the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker consistently hits. For many tea aficionados, the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is the best kettle available on the market. With it’s sleek design, great price point (Consider how well it’s made and how great it works), and team of engineers that designed it specifically for tea, it’s a standout kettle.

    The Breville One-Touch was designed with ease of use and quality in mind. Brewing the perfect cup of tea is as easy as the push of a button. The kettle features a one touch setting that automatically brews tea from start to finish.

    The tea function VERY gently moves around the tea leaves so that every bit is absorbed whilst filtering the remnants to ensure a smooth cup. The kettle can take input on the type of tea that is being brewed to more easily hit the right temperature point to maximize flavor.

    The kettle is essentially a tea robot more so than just a kettle, and expertly crafts each cup to the same standard reliably. It can take custom instructions by user input down to a timer so that tea can be ready at a predetermined time. You could wake up every morning to a perfectly steeped cup of tea.

    The kettle has the added bonus of possessing German Schott glass, which makes it even longer lasting than other kettles of it’s quality.

    Pros:

    • Customizable automated tea making
    • The most reliable and practical tea maker available
    • German Schott glass composition for long term usage

    Cons:

    • The only real downside here is the price. If it’s in your budget, go for it.

    Other honorable mentions…

    Here are some other kettles that weren’t necessary  the best or the cheapest, yet still offer great value if you’re looking for something somewhere in between. You may want a less basic kettle, but without the high price tag of something like Breville’s All-in-One, so here are some more great choices when you’re looking for the best electric kettle for your kitchen.

    Epica 6-Temperature Variable Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle

    The name says it all with Epica’s Electric Kettle. For what it lacks in brand name recognition, it makes up for in it’s function. As mentioned several times before, every tea has it’s own specific temperature for brewing. The Epica has six variations for brewing tea to the exact temperature requirements that many teas have.

    It has the added benefit of having additional functions other kettles of it’s type don’t possess such as the Keep Warm function. Essentially, it’s as simple as it sounds. The keep warm function keeps water at a usable level for tea making far longer for those that are making tea when they are busy or multitasking.

    The handle of the kettle is designed to stay cool to avoid the issues some kettles have of accidentally burning the user’s hand or requiring a mitten to pour. Throwing in the “party” feature, which is the kettle’s ability to brew up to seven cups of tea at a time, and it’s clear why it’s a popular kettle that deserved it’s place on the list.

    Pros:

    • Six options for specific tea brewing temperature
    • Stainless steel design
    • Ease of use due to a cooled handle
    • 2 year warranty

    Willow & Everett Electric Gooseneck Drip Kettle Tea Pot

    Willow & Everett revolutionized tea brewing. It is one of the few electric kettles that offer complete precision due to their design team’s choice of adding a gooseneck drip feature to make pouring the perfect cup of tea a breeze. It prevents spillage, tabletop damage, and makes the act of pouring a cup of tea as graceful as it is easy.

    The other benefit of a gooseneck tea kettle drip feature is its usefulness when creating teas that have fragile leaves. The control the gooseneck offers ensures a smooth and consistent pour that avoids the rush and dump more open spouts invariably cause.

    The William & Everette kettle is produced to be childproof and chemical free, making it extremely safe for those with children/or pets.

    Pros:

    • It’s spill proof
    • There are no harmful chemicals used
    • There is a 90 day window for refunds

    Tea, like many foods and drinks that are enjoyed consistently, is something that required attention. Getting consistent quality tea can be a challenge when done in the home. Investing in a quality kettle is good for both saving money on going out to get a quality cup, as well as making it easy to experience the full flavor that tea has to offer.

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    5 Downton Abbey Gifts for People Who Drink Tea

    When it comes to gifts involving Downton Abbey and tea, the obvious choice is any number of the collectible teas released by The Republic of Tea.

    Along with some of those, we’ll also be taking a look at some tea ware, and books, because there aren’t many things that go better with a nice cup of tea than a wonderful book.

    5. The Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic

    This is a lovely book that doesn’t just cover Downton Abbey itself, but the era as well. Let this book guide you through 100 Edwardian recipes for afternoon tea. Try to replicate what’s in the book, or put  your own twists on it – the choice is yours.

    Check it out here.

    4. Downton Abbey Estate Blend – Earl Grey Black Tea with Vanilla

    Downton Abbey Earl Grey with Vanilla.
    You get to re-use the tin afterwards, a few of them look very nice on a shelf together.

    Here’s just one of the options for actual Downtown Abbey branded tea by The Republic of Tea. It’s very well reviewed, this isn’t a novelty item at all. It comes with 36 bags of black tea with vanilla. It’s tasty, and it’s fun to drink Downton Abbey tea while watching the show – even if it’s a little silly!

    Of course, it also comes in a nice collectible tin that you can keep and use for other teas in the future, or to store an assortment of nik-naks.

    Check it out here.

    3. Stop Whining and Find Something to Do

    Showstopper.

    How great is this? This ceramic mug will earn a spot next to your finest of China, will it not?

    Check it out here.

    2. Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Tea

    Another tea from the same set we looked at for #4, this time it’s a tasty dessert tea. It’s a caramel/vanilla combination in a black tea, and once again, the 36 tea bags come inside of a lovely collectible tea tin.

    Check it out here!

    1. …

    And for the number one pick, we want to hear from our readers. Do you love tea and Downton? Leave a comment and let us know what your FAVORITE gift would be.

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    Mixing Coconut Oil in Coffee Without Blender (The EASY Way!)

    Want to try out that whole “Bulletproof” thing, and mix oil, butter, or some other type of fat into your coffee? If you try doing it with a regular spoon, the same way you’d mix in sugar or milk, you’re not going to get the correct experience.

    Many people use blenders, because it seems to break down the oil in a sense, and allow it to really mix properly with the water. Using just a spoon, the oil and water will stay separate from each other. The problem with a blender is that it can be REALLY MESSY, and it’s a whole other thing to clean up.

    There are two different options to mix coconut oil (MCT oil) and coffee together without using a blender, one of them is a handy little tool that starts at around $5, the other one is a little fancier. Both of these tools are versatile and can be used for a number of different things.

    WARNING About Using Blenders to Mix Oil/Butter/Coconut Oil and Coffee

    The first time I tried to do this, I ended up with coffee spilled all around the entire kitchen. I’m talking floors, walls, even some splashes on the ceiling. What happened? I brewed my coffee, I added it to the blender, I added some butter and coconut oil, put the lid on, turned it on, and it basically exploded all over the kitchen.

    The heat from the coffee needs an escape, otherwise steam quickly builds up, causing the lid to shoot off and coffee to fly everywhere. Many blenders will have a little hole you can open up on the top of the lid, that should be enough to relieve the pressure, but just make sure the hole isn’t big enough or in a place where hot coffee will go shooting out from it, either.

    Noticing a trend about using blenders for making bulletproof coffee? Yeah, hot liquids tend to shoot all over the place.

    Also, some people aren’t super keen on putting hot coffee into a plastic container.

    Well, you can easily make bulletproof coffee right in your coffee cup, without a blender!

    The trick is a little hand mixing tool, like the one used in this video:

    In the above video, grass fed butter and MCT oil (coconut oil) are mixed together with coffee, no problemo, no blender!

    If you want to smash up that oil even more, and get an ever better mix, you can also use a handheld immersion blender. The only differences between that and the handheld one is that the immersion one is much more powerful and will do a better job, but it’s an extra step having to plug it in and then wrap up the cord and put it away afterwards, also it takes a bit longer to clean/rinse.

    So, however you decide to mix coconut oil with coffee without a blender, it really just comes down to what matters more: Being a bit easier to clean, doing a slightly better job, and needing to be plugged into the wall vs cordless, quicker, easier, but not as powerful.

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    How to Make Matcha Tea Lattes the EASY Way (CHEATING!)

    Alright, first things first, I need to warn you: We’re going to be breaking 3 rules today. If you’re a sticker to doing things by the books, you might hate this. If, however, you like to live a practical life and to get things done in an efficient way, especially when it comes to not spending all day preparing a drink, you’re in the right place.

    • 1st rule: We’re not going to be using any kind of fancy frothing machine or milk warming contraption, just a stove top and hand-frother that costs around $10. Some purists could say this isn’t technically a latte because the milk wasn’t warmed to a precise temperature with the exact right amount of steam, but we’re not here to appease the purists.
    • 2nd rule: We’re preparing the matcha with that same handheld frother, rather than using a proper matcha set and a manual whisk. It’s not the ideal way to make matcha, but it’s faster and easier and we’re pretty confidant that any possible difference in taste will be covered by the milk, anyways. On that same note…
    • 3rd rule: Many people say it’s a waste of good matcha to use ceremonial grade matcha green tea in a latte, because you simply won’t be able to tell the difference. Well, that’s what I have, so that’s what I’m going to use.

    Alright, now that that’s all out of the way, and we’ve hopefully curbed most of the potential hate mail, let’s get right down to it.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    Just to cover all the bases, we’ll go over the basic setup but also provide some recommendations for those of you who want to do it “the right way”.

    Here’s the barebones of what you’ll need to make a matcha latte at home on the cheap:

    • A hand whisker
    • Your favorite matcha tea
    • Some way to heat up water and milk (A stove and a pot will do just fine)

    Now if you’re a real fancy-pants, here are some other product suggestions:

    • A fancy-schmancy 1%’er milk frother like this one (But wait until you see the price…)
    • A traditional matcha kit
    • Your favorite matcha tea

    Some way to heat up water, like an electric kettle. We’ve reviewed a number of them, and picked our top choices for each budget range.

    Making a Latte with Matcha

    Bring a cup of water to a boil, pour it into a mug, and add approximately a 4 tsp of matcha green tea powder. You can add a little more than you normally would, since the milk is going to be diluting the flavor. Some people prefer a stronger matcha taste, others don’t – so make this a couple times and really dial in your recipe.

    While the pot is still warm from boiling the water, I add milk and slightly reduce the temperature on the stove.

    Meanwhile, I use a little power-whisk like the one pictured above to quickly mix the green tea powder with the water.

    Now it’s time to froth the milk. I use about a cup. Careful not to hit the sides of your pan, especially if it has a special coating. Once it starts to steam a bit, and you’ve got a nice light froth going, carefully pour the milk into the cup with the matcha. Try to save the bubblier part of the froth on top to put on top of your drink, you can use a spoon or something to hold it in place while the more-liquid milk pours out beneath it and into your cup.

    You can sweeten it however you’d like, sometimes I’ll mix a syrup in while I’m frothing the milk. Alternatively, you can get flavored and pre-sweetened matcha powders as well.

    Matcha Green Tea Health Benefits

    A matcha green tea latte, for all intents and purposes, isn’t all that much different health-wise than a regular espresso latte made with coffee. The matcha one will likely have less caffeine, and any of the other health benefits of green tea, depending on whether you subscribe to the health claims of tea or not. As usual, we recommend  to drink tea because you enjoy it, not for any particular benefits health wise and definitely not to replace a visit to the doctor if something’s wrong.

    Lattes obviously aren’t the only thing you can make out of green tea, here’s how to make a moisturizer for your skin out of green tea.

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    How To Make Bulletproof Coffee Without a Blender

    Last updated: January 4th, 2017.

    This video shows exactly how to make bulletproof coffee. I’ve been making this stuff for years, and there are definitely some cons to using a traditional blender, so I found an easier way! My method is quicker, less cleanup, and frankly – without this little shortcut – I don’t think I would bother going through the effort in the morning to make this stuff. At least not as often.

    I also want to talk a bit about what “bulletproof” actually means, and provide some information on the de-bunkings of the bulletproof marketing hype.

    See also: How to mix coffee with coconut oil without using a blender.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • A way to brew your coffee (I used a stovetop kettle and a French press in this video.)
    • A tablespoon to measure your ingredients.
    • Coconut oil (I’m using MCT oil, a concentrated version of coconut oil.)
    • Butter (I’m using grass-fed butter, KerryGold makes a great option, available here.)
    • Coffee (You don’t need to spend $19 for the special “BULLETPROOF” coffee, more on this later in the article…)
    • A milk frother (Or a submersion blender… you don’t need a table-top blender. Keep reading to hear about my blender horror story…) Although Ikea makes a decent one for around $6, it’s worth it to go a slightly better version, considering it’ll last much longer and do a much better job in the meantime. Check out this one right here, for instance.
    Here's the finished cup of bulletproof coffee, easy as a breeze!
    Here’s the finished cup of bulletproof coffee, easy as a breeze!

    Here’s how to make bulletproof coffee the easy way:

    Brew your coffee, measure out a tablespoon of grass-fed butter, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and mix them together with your coffee. It’s really that easy.

    Thoughts on blending/mixing your coffee and butter…

    I’ve tried using a spoon to mix it, but it doesn’t mix as well and you don’t get that really nice foam at the top. I’ve tried using a blender. I purchased a glass blender (Because the hot coffee was damanging my plastic Ninja blender.) I poured in the coffee, the fats, put the lid on, turned it on… and the pressure from the heat caused the lid to shoot off, and there was fat-drenched-coffee EVERYWHERE in the kitchen. Oops. Then I started using a submersion blender, and it worked great, but it was still a bit of a chore to pull it out of the drawer, put it together, plug it in, rinse it, take it apart, put it away… So I was thinking “THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!”

    And then I came across a little coffee frothing device from Ikea for about $5 (It’s also available on Amazon). It does a decent job of mixing the oil, butter, and coffee together and it takes a split second to rinse afterwards. (Note: Since originally posted this article, I’ve since upgraded to a better milk frother, after the Ikea one broke.)

    If you haven’t heard of Bulletproof Coffee, basically the concept is to add ‘healthy fats’ into your morning coffee. They say that the fats bind to the caffeine in a special way that sort of acts as a time release, so that the effects of the caffeine are come on more slowly and this stops you from getting those coffee jitters and then crashing.

    People have reported that this extends the effectiveness of the caffeine, helps a great deal with intermittent fasting and a keto diet, helps with focus and productivity, and a myriad of other benefits. If you’re curious, the best thing to do is to try it for yourself and see how you feel.

    What’s the deal with bulletproof coffee?

    The “bulletproof” name is actually a brand name, owned by Dave Asprey, a controversial health-guru sort of marketer guy. He’s not the first guy to add butter into coffee, it’s been around forever, but he has done the best job of marketing it and getting attention. Some of the claims are a bit over the top unfortunatly, and Gizmodo actually released an article debunking a lot of the health claims.

    Dave Asprey has claimed that he has been offered large sums of money by huge coffee companies to teach them how to remove mycotoxins and mold from their coffees, and that if you want coffee that’s free from these mycotoxins you’ll need to hand over $19 a bag for “BULLETPROOF COFFEE”. So if you believe the narrative, this guy was able to develop a way to remove mold and toxins from coffee beans that none of the world’s hugest coffee companies have been able to figure out. In all honestly, it sounds shady as hell. I’ve read that an adult who drinks 4 cups of regular coffee a day will only have about 2% of the safe level of mycotoxins… In other words, the coffee companies have been aware of this for decades, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on Asprey’s “special” coffee. He’s creating fear out of something that’s a complete non-issue.

    Gizmodo tears into Bulletproof Coffee.

    None the less, it’s a really tasty drink and I have definitely felt some benefits to drinking it. It took a lot of trial and error and I’ve finally figured out how to make bulletproof coffee the easiest way, so I wanted to make a quick video showing you how. Just keep in mind that you don’t need to spend money on any special kinds of coffee or anything else that somebody is trying to sell you.

    No, it doesn’t magically melt away fat or turn your body into some incredible fat-burning machine. It doesn’t instantly turn you into Bradley Cooper from Limitless with the mental stamina and focus of a super-human. It is, however, a creamy, rich and tasty way to enjoy a cup of coffee without any added sugar, and even thought there’s two tablespoons of grease in it, it’s still got a lot less calories, and is better for you, than most drinks you’d get from Starbucks.

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    Special Delivery for the President: Company From India Sends Trump 6,000 Tea Bags To “Cleanse His Soul” And “Make Him Smarter”

    A brand of tea from India called Te-a-Me Teas have sent a truck load of tea bags to the Whitehouse as a gift for President Trump.

    The executive director of this brand said the following:

    “We firmly believe green tea can do a lot of good to people. We thought green tea will help him [Trump] cleanse his mind, body and soul,” he said.

    “Green tea is also proven to make people smarter. So our message is, please Mr Trump drink the tea. For your sake, for America’s sake, for the world’s sake.”

    Now, the health benefits of tea are up for debate, and we can’t comment on exactly how many bags it would take to cleanse one’s soul, especially since some souls are going to need a lot more cleansing than others, but this is still a cheeky way for this brand to get some international recognition and to make headlines while also doing something they believe in.

    The interesting thing is the fact that they don’t even sell tea in the United States, which also serves as a subtle message to the President not to forget about the rest of the world.

    “We don’t even sell in the US. I guess with Trump it’s just about the timing (of our gesture),” Shah said.

    They have denied that it was a publicity stunt at all, and their goal is to instill responsible leadership around the world. Drinking all of this tea at once could be dangerous, and so could burning yourself with hot water from the kettle, but other than that – unfortunately this much tea isn’t going to make anyone smarter or fix any of their warped world views.

    From a tea fanatic’s perspective, it’s also noteworthy that they sent him tea bags rather than loose leaf teas. What does this mean, for someone who isn’t super into tea? Well, tea bags are considered kind of “pedestrian”, and are generally a lower quality than loose leaf teas. Loose leaf teas often have larger, fuller leaves, whereas the bags are used for the less aesthetically pleasing and lower quality leaves. If you break open a tea bag, it’s usually a bunch of little crumbs. If this company sold both varieties, it would certainly be a subtle dig to send him the lower quality leaves.

    For a comparison, drinking bagged tea is kind of like the equivalent of eating KFC with a knife and fork. At least coming from the perspective of a tea snob. Unlike certain immigration politics, we welcome all tea drinkers, whether it’s loose leaf or bagged.

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    Erection Tea: The Hard Facts About The World’s Stiffest Drink

    There comes a time in most men’s lives where things just might not work like they used to. It can be a particularly stressful time, it can be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, or just Father Time ticking away the years that take their toll. In any case, gentlemen will flock to all sorts of weird pills or products to try to turn things around, sometimes there are natural solutions and other times it’s a matter of sketchy chemical cocktails to try to get the lifeblood flowing again. We’ve heard more and more talk lately about tea to help with erections, so we decided to take a deeper look into erection tea, and to pass along a Kingpole Tea recipe that many guys swear by.

    Everything you need to know about tea for erectile dysfunction

    So, what is erection tea, anyways? It can vary, but basically it’s any blend of tea and herbs that includes ingredients that are known to help boost testosterone, to improve blood flow, and in some cases simply to help you relax – the combination of these things can be enough to get things moving again, if you catch our drift.

    As such, there are numerous different recipes out there, but we’ve got one of the most popular, and easiest to make. You don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy pills or overpriced tea blends because making your very own tea for erectile dysfunction is dead-simple and you can get everything you need from the grocery store or even from Amazon.

    Ingredients

    ginger for tea
    image: reddit

    Let’s go over some of the popular ingredients you’ll find, and why they’re recommended. Realistically speaking, you can make your own combination of these, you don’t need to follow our erection tea recipe to a “T”, it’s just a guideline. By now, you might already have some idea which of these ingredients help you and which ones don’t, or you might be curious to experiment and try some new things. Either way, don’t be shy to grab all of the ingredients we’re about to mention, even thought they aren’t all a part of the most popular recipe, because theoretically you can make your own more powerful version simply by including more effective ingredients. So without further adieu, here are some ingredients that people commonly brew into a tea for ED:

    • Ginger (GET IT HERE.): It is believed to have vasodilating properties, which thicken the blood vessels and you can do the math on that one.
    • Black tea (GET IT HERE.): It is said to be a cortisol blocker, which reduces blood pressure.
    • Honey (GET IT HERE.): Some believe that it raises your T-levels because it increases boron, however this is up for debate as some studies have shown that if it raises boron levels at all, it’s only by a very small amount.
    • Fenugreek (GET IT HERE.): There was a double-blind study with 60 men that found that the ones who were taking fenugreek reported better bedroom experiences, although the study didn’t show a raise in their testosterone. Learn more about the numerous fenugreek tea benefits here.
    • Ginseng (GET IT HERE.): The plant itself somewhat resembles a part of the human anatomy, which had certainly aided in this plant’s folksy reputation, however they may be science to back it up as well. It can help with nitric oxide, which is a neurotransmitter that gets the blood flowing during arousal. It might not be the silver bullet you’re looking for, but it’s certainly not going to hurt to add some to your blend.
    • Chamomile (GET IT HERE.): This is our own twist. We find chamomile to be one of the most relaxing ingredients you can make tea with, so why not toss a little bit in, just to take the edge off?
    • Lemon juice (GET IT HERE.): Lemons are known as something that might help de-clog your arteries, and they have a lot of vitamin c and bioflavins which some believe also help with ED.

    Anyways, now let’s move on to the classic recipe for ED tea and some ways that you can change it up to make it your very own, and some tips we’ve put together to make it even more effective than the classic recipes.

    Erection tea recipe aka Kingpole tea

    Does erection tea help?

    • Fill your kettle or stove-top pot with a liter (4 cups) of water.
    • Boil the water and steep 5 bags of black tea. It will be strong.
    • Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of powdered ginger into the mix.
    • (If you’re adding any of the other ingredients listed above, just put them into the same mix.
    • Mix the bags of tea, the ginger, and the boiling water into a teapot.
    • After 4-5 minutes, remove the tea bags and sweeten to taste. Honey is a good choice.
    • You can drink it hot, or cool it down with a few ice cubes and drink it cold.

    At the end of the day, if your ED issues are caused by things like lifestyle choices, or something that requires medical treatment, then be realistic: drinking a tea isn’t going to magically fix that. But for milder cases, the smaller boost you might get from any of the aforementioned ingredients and recipe could be all it takes.

    Or just do things the EASY WAY instead, with this:

    You don’t need to buy an overpriced blend, and you don’t need to make it yourself either – you can simply buy a high quality Ginger Black Tea like this one offered by Stash.

    Obviously, they’re not advertising it as erectile dysfunction tea, but it has the black tea and the ginger, so you’ll just need to add a little lemon juice and honey and you’ve got the classic recipe right there. You’d use these black tea bags just like you would use the ones in our recipe, except you can still add additional ingredients too – if you’d like. If you want to keep it simple, this is really all you need, the black tea and the ginger are the main ingredients. Grab a couple of boxes, they’ll go fast when you’re using 4-5 bags at a time.

  • in

    7 Beautiful Tearooms In The City of London, England

    London and tea culture & history go hand in hand. We often imagine sitting in an old, historic tearoom in London as the afternoon passes us by, but some of London’s greatest places to enjoy a cup of tea aren’t just the spots of yesteryear, but the places that are mixing tradition with a more modern type of elegance. Beautiful is in the eye of the beholder, so many of these tearooms in London made it onto this list for cmopletly different reasons.

    Some of these spots are modern, hip bakeries, others are vintage places to enjoy High Tea that look like they’re right out of Downton Abbey.

    If you’re ever in London, each and everyone one of these places are worth visiting, regardless of where they show up on the list. It was very tough to rank them, and not a single one of these incredible tearooms will disappoint.

    10. The Foyer and Reading Room

    The Foyer and Reading Room in London is an amazing place to sip tea with your favorite people.
    visitlondon.com
    The Foyer and Reading Room in London has really nice looking desserts to enjoy with friends.
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    A beautiful place for afternoon tea, certainly. From fancy desserts, finger sandwiches, elegant decor, and a variety of delicious drinks – both hot and cold – there’s something for everyone here.

    This stunning tearoom is located inside of Claridge’s, a five-star hotel in Mayfair. If it’s tradition and elegance that you’re after, this is a great place  to stop by.

    9. Lanka

    Lanka is mostly a store front, but there are a few tables so you can enjoy your drink and snacks.
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    An amazing looking cake by Lanka in London.
    Lanka

    This little French-style patisserie serves cakes and teas with a Japanese twist. If you’re looking for something a little more casual than a Royal-style tearoom, this little spot may fit the bill. They’ve only got three tables, so don’t be late. Their desserts look absolutely delicious, and taste even better.

    Fans of this place are hesitant to tell too many people about it, in fear that they favorite desserts will sell out… but when you find out about a great spot, it’s your duty to tell the world!

    Candella Tea Room

    Candella Tea Room is an incredibly cute place to enjoy a cuppa.
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    Candella is a really cute little tearoom  that you’ve just got to check out if you’re ever in the area. The style of decor is like that of an old tea room, quaint, comfortable, and not unnecessarily-fancy just for the sake of such.

    Their Russian caravan tea is a popular choice to share with your pals, and there are lots of cool little knick-knacks and decorations to enjoy. It’s not pretentious at all, it’s warm and friendly and inviting.

    The Rose Lounge

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    Located in Sofitel St James, The Rose Lounge is a delight. This British-style tearoom has a delicious assortment of teas and treats, including fresh-baked goods that will have your mouth watering the second they land on the table.

    They offer a very satisfying high afternoon tea experience, often cited as having a very warm and welcoming ambiance. Mix that in with the decadent tastes they serve, and what’s not to love?

    Orange Pekoe

    Orange Pekoe is London.
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    Their minimalist style and design is a refreshing change from some of the over-the-top elegance that you’ll encounter on your London tearoom tour travels. Their kettles are plentiful, their plates are overflowing, and the atmosphere is always friendly.

    Guests have commented that the owners show a true passion for tea and coffee, and it really shows. One guest on Yelp described it perfectly: “It truly is the kind of place where children frolic in gingham and adorable fresh scones are pulled straight out of the oven – sweet, fluffy and crumbling just at the moment one reaches for the second milky sip of assam.” – Jill R. 

    The Waiting Room

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    The Waiting Room is beautiful in it’s own unique way. A little rough around the edges, but with so much charm and personality. It’s like if you and your mates got together and decided to just have a blast while running a business. But don’t let the quirky atmosphere fool you, they take the quality of their fare very seriously.

    If you’re not lucky enough to live in the neighborhood to visit this spot on a regular basis, it’s worth making the trip to try it out.

    Teanamu Chaya Teahouse

    Teanamu Chaya Teahouse in London is one of the best places for afternoon tea.
    the girl who eats
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    This Chinese-style teahouse is said to have one of the best high teas in all of London, and that’s high praise! Their portions aren’t huge, but every bite is so packed with flavor that you’ll be completly satisfied.

    It’s very welcoming place, and if you aren’t familiar with various tea rituals and how to prepare things – don’t feel intimidated, just ask for help, they’re very friendly here.

    This list is an on-going work-in-progress, so if we left out a place that you think is beautiful and deserves to be explored by other tea lovers, just leave a comment and we’ll check it out!
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    A Skeptical (and Scientific) Look at the Alleged Health Benefits of Tea

    How many of the alleged health benefits of tea are real, and how many are just snake oil?

    I should start by saying any questions you had before reading this may not feel resolved and even might multiply by the end of this article (if you so honour me with your time and attention). My inner skeptic is still unsatisfied; really, he’s never satisfied so it’s not something I’m too alarmed at.

    “Too Long; Didn’t Read” version: the health claims about tea are a story of vagueness encapsulated by very good-looking marketing. Many of the pages have yet to be written. All told though, you are still unlikely to go wrong with a ‘cuppa’ of your favorite Camellia Sinensis leaves.

    Apart from the effects of caffeine, I could not find any information on the detriments of tea (well, that and potential skin or tongue burns).  Again, skeptic became skeptical.

    However, the main claims about tea’s health effects concentrate on anti-oxidant/cancer-fighting effects, reducing risk of heart attack/stroke, and weight loss. Other effects have been noted but I believe review of these areas will give you a good idea of what the other evidence will look like.

    Take that, cancer! – Tea for Fighting Cancer?

    Oxidation is nasty; it’s what causes rust on iron, makes apples turn brown, and it is what creates “free radicals” to float around in your body; these sometimes become mischievous and start messing with the cells they come into contact with. Anti-oxidants “deactivate” these yet not all are created equal, some can become “oxidizers” in certain conditions 5.

    Different sources have shown anti-oxidant levels in tea. To put this in perspective, blueberries have 3.67, 70% dark chocolate has 11.91, and coffee has 2.5 mmol/100g. On the same scale, tea of varying types averages to about 3.33 mmol/100g 6.

    When you hear about the anti-cancer aspects of tea, especially green tea, you are probably being referred to the polyphenol, theaflavins, and thearubigins 10, the second two found in black tea. These polyphenols have been shown to mess up cancer cells and their method of spreading 39,131415.

    All that said, you also get anti-oxidants from what you eat and your body produces them itself 10. Vitamin C and E are amongst the most well-known of these substances. So while tea will give you a good source of anti-oxidants, the larger question of whether it is any better than other sources remains to be known.

    Doing Your Heart Some Good – Tea and Heart Health?

    There are some short-term studies on tea with improved “vascular reactivity”, meaning better blood pressure, in addition to black/green tea reducing Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol4, the one that gets stuck on the sides of our arteries.

    The downside to the data on tea and heart health is the type and length of most studies. A lot of information on this is correlational data: people who drink more black/green tea have lower incidence of heart attack/stroke 12 but that doesn’t mean one causes the other. Another issue is heart disease isn’t easily studied in the short-term; there haven’t been enough long-term studies to show conclusive effects of tea on cardiovascular health 6.

    Sipping Off the Pounds – Tea for Weight Loss?

    You will hear from numerous sources that tea helps with weight loss; hence the green tea supplements you find in natural food stores and pharmacies. What’s actually behind this, though? Well it looks like there may or may not be something to it, again specifically to do with green tea.

    In one study, green tea “alleviated body weight gain and insulin resistance in diabetic and high-fat mice” 11. Yet a review of the data in 2012 7 from multiple randomized control trials (at least 12 weeks duration) with comparisons to control groups showed clinically non-significant weight loss in obese or overweight people. Another in 2014 1 found similar results.

    This is not to discourage you from drinking tea for weight loss as the results of these and more studies do not state tea will cause you to gain weight. I’m sure any nutritionist would agree switching from high-sugar beverages to tea will inevitably lower one’s weight and improve health.

    Conclusions

    As you can see, there is some evidence for health benefits with tea, at least some teas.  There are a lot of articles you can read about the subject, some of which state simply the benefits of tea without citing where that information comes from. In my research I had to look carefully for those articles which provided a balanced perspective and linked to original empirical data (which itself can have bias depending on the testing criteria).

    What I will encourage you to consider is your own experience: what does tea do for you in your day/life? Might you be getting benefits from the caffeine in tea or may you be having too much caffeine? What do you enjoy about making and drinking tea for yourself? “Health” means a lot more than the sum of my physiology and there may be many ways tea is improving your quality of life.

    Continue reading:

    References

    1. Baladia, E., Basulto, J., Manera, M., Martinez, R., & Calbet, D. (2013). Effect of green tea or green tea extract consumption on body weight and body composition; systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutricion hospitalaria, 29(3), 479-490.
    2. Carlsen, M. H., Halvorsen, B. L., Holte, K., Bøhn, S. K., Dragland, S., Sampson, L., & Barikmo, I. (2010). The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide.Nutrition journal,9(1), 1.
    3. Elmets CA, Singh D, Tubesing K, et al. (2001) Cutaneous photoprotection from ultraviolet injury by green tea polyphenols.Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology44(3):425–432. [PubMed Abstract]
    4. Fujita, H., & Yamagami, T. (2008). Antihypercholesterolemic effect of Chinese black tea extract in human subjects with borderline hypercholesterolemia. Nutrition research, 28(7), 450-456.
    5. Harvard School of Public Health.Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype.http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/
    6. Helm, Laura, Macdonald Ian A. (2015) Impact of beverage intake on metabolic and cardiovascular health. Nutrition Reviews. Vol. 73 (52). P. 120-129 (http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/nutritionreviews/73/suppl_2/120.full.pdf)
    7. Jurgens T.M., Whelan, A.M., Killian L., Ducette, S., Kirk S., & Foy E. (2012) Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Systemic Review Dec 12; 12. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008650.pub2
    8. Kristel Diepvens, Klaas R. Westerterp, Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. (2007) Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology Jan 2007, 292 (1) R77-R85; DOI:10.1152/ajpregu.00832.2005
    9. Lambert JD, Yang CS. (2003) Mechanisms of cancer prevention by tea constituents.Journal of Nutrition2003; 133(10):3262S–3267S [PubMed Abstract]
    10. National Cancer Institute. (2010) Tea and Cancer Prevention.http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/tea-fact-sheet
    11. Park, Jae-Hyung et al. (2013) Green tea extract with polyethylene glycol-3350 reduces body weight and improves glucose tolerance in db/db and high-fat diet mice. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology DOI: 10.1007/s00210-013-0869-9
    12. Peters U, Poole C, Arab L (2001) Does tea affect cardiovascular disease? A meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol.2001;154:495–503. (http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/154/6/495.full.pdf)
    13. Seeram NP, Henning SM, Niu Y, et al. (2006) Catechin and caffeine content of green tea dietary supplements and correlation with antioxidant capacity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry54(5):1599–1603.[PubMed Abstract]
    14. Steele VE, Kelloff GJ, Balentine D, et al. (2000) Comparative chemopreventive mechanisms of green tea, black tea and selected polyphenol extracts measured by in vitro bioassays.Carcinogenesis2000; 21(1):63–67. [PubMed Abstract]
    15. Zaveri NT. (2006) Green tea and its polyphenolic catechins: Medicinal uses in cancer and noncancer applications.Life Sciences78(18):2073–2080. [PubMed Abstract]
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    Tea Box Express Is A Delightful Tea Subscription Box

    Signing up for a tea subscription box is a great way to treat yourself to a fun surprise each month. Some people sign up for boxes to get a “good deal”, they want a lot more than their money’s worth. Other people just enjoy the fun of having a curated selection of new products showing up at their door each month, and would even be willing to pay a premium for such a service. Sometimes, there’s a sub box that manages to hit both notes, like Tea Box Express.

    We received the August box in the mail, and there were a few items in here that we haven’t tried before, along with some favorites (A big selection of some delicious and beautiful flowering teas.) That’s really what most people are looking for in a box. You want a few things that you’re already used to buying and that you’ll absolutely enjoy, and a few new things to try, too. We can’t speak to their past or future boxes, but August was a huge hit!

    Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of everything…

    Cardamom & Cinnamon Green Tea Mints by Sencha Naturals: These had a unique taste, it took a while to grow on me, mainly because I’m not usually a fan of stronger cinnamon tastes. After a bit of getting used to it, I warmed up to the flavors a bit more. Not my favorite, but I can appreciate it none the less. This is a good example of being able to try something new in a box that I normally wouldn’t select.

    Pink Dragon Fruit Green Tea Mints by Sencha Naturals: These were my jam! Not going to lie, they may not have lasted more than two days.

    Snickerdoodle by WOW Baking: Never tried a snickerdoodle before, but this was just delicious. This wheat and gluten free cookie tasted incredible, amazing texture. But why wouldn’t it taste great when the main ingredients are rice flour made with tapioca, sugar, and butter? I don’t try to avoid gluten, but if the label didn’t say that it was missing – you’d never know.

    Lychee Blooming Teas by Chai Diaries: They spoiled us with 6 lychee blooming teas, we will be showcasing these in an upcoming video so keep an eye out!

    Pu’er Blooming Teas: This is a very cool package with three pu’er teas inside that we can’t wait to try, by Misty Peak. These will also be featured in an upcoming video.

    This month’s box had a great selection. From sweet and tasty treats like the two packages of mints and the cookie, to a very nice curated selection of teas. The treats were fantastic, but at the end of the day it’s all about the tea.

    We’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store in upcoming Tea Box Express subscription boxes, and if you are too, you can sign up using the code TEAHAPPY to save 20% on your first order.

    If you’re wondering about value, the boxes go for $25/mo (Or less with a longer commitment), and off the top of my head I’m guessing this one contained about $30-$35 worth of products. So, this is the type of box where you get more than your money’s worth, and so far it’s been a good selection of new things to try, along with familiar favorites.

    We highly recommend trying out Tea Box Express.

    You can find their homepage here.

    Follow Tea Box Express on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook.

    Disclosure: Tea Box Express sent us this box to check it out because we had mentioned them in a previous article. We have no financial relationship with them, and all of the opinions expressed on this page are genuine. 

  • Sample Page

    This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

    Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my website. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

    …or something like this:

    The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickeys to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.

    As a new WordPress user, you should go to your dashboard to delete this page and create new pages for your content. Have fun!

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    Echinacea Tea: Everything You Need To Know

    Today we’re going to be discussing echinacea tea. Eventually, we want to cover every single type of tea that exists but it’s going to take a long time… But you’re not in a hurry, are you? Good, neither are we.

    A bumblebee stops to take a break on an echinacea plant.
    This friendly bee is enjoying the purple echinacea plant! Photocredit: wikipedia/Moxfyre

    Here are some of the types of tea that we’ve looked at previously:

    When it comes to echinacea, we’ve got a lot to cover. First, let’s go over some of the (alleged) health benefits. Talking about tea and health is always a bit of a controversial subject, but we’ll dig deeper into that in a few moments.

    Here Are Some of The Echinacea Tea Health Benefits

    As we often say, the main reason to a enjoy a tea isn’t typically for the health benefits, because these types of things can still be controversial. You should drink tea because you enjoy it, first and foremost, and any potential health benefits are just a plus. In other words, if you are having health issues or are worried about certain aspects of your health, it is a much more product idea to go and speak to your doctor and seek help, rather than relying on tea to fix your health.

    There are some undeniable health benefits to all sorts of teas, mainly things like stress reduction and the benefits that come from that. In any case, here are some of the health benefits of Echinacea tea that have been suggested by various studies. We’re not endorsing or refuting any of these studies, we’re simply passing them along so that you can read them and make up your own mind. Once again, if you’re suffering from health issues and you haven’t seen your doctor yet, that is the absolute first step. With that out of the way, here are some of the ailments that this drink has been said to help with.

    What does echinacea help with?

    The main thing that people think of when it comes to supplementing with this plant is to help with the common cold. So, does echinacea work for colds? Does it help if you’re trying to overcome the common cold? There are a lot of cold remedies out there, some are availabie in stores and others are made using common household items. Some cold remedies have been passed down for generations, whereas others are just starting to hit the market.

    Via Web MD: “Some people take echinacea at the first sign of a cold, hoping they will be able to keep the cold from developing. Other people take echinacea after cold symptoms have started, hoping they can make symptoms less severe.”

    Echinacea angustifolia for anxiety

     

    We think that tea can be very helpful for anxiety, that’s just a personal opinion – not a medical one. The relaxation and mildfulness benefits of tea can help lput your mind in a better place. That doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, and if you’re suffering from sever anxiety then we don’t want to tell you to just drink a cup of tea and get over it because that would be daft and irresponsible of us. However, if you occasionally suffer from mild anxiety, perhaps a soothing cup of tea and a few quiet moments to yourself can help to smooth things over, at least momentarily? Sometimes a relaxing and calm moment is all it takes to set the pace for the rest of the day.

    Now, that’s just talking about tea in general, any type you’d like. But what about Echinacea angustifolia in particular? It’s often recommend in naturopathic medicine, in particular by Dr. Decker Weiss, ND.

    Photo via naturalherballiving.com
    Photo via naturalherballiving.com

    How much echinacea is safe to take?

    A lot of people are taking echinacea daily as a preventative measure, but some people only take it when they either notice the first signs of a cold starting up, or during the cold. The only advice we can earnestly give you about dosages and such is to follow the directions on the bottle if you’re supplementing it with vitamins, or to talk to a professional. It’s generally regarded as safe, however some people will experience some G.I. discomfort, especially if they’re consuming it very frequently.

    We’ll leave the answer to this question up to a Doctor, though:

    Via Dr. Sears: “Studies on the safety and efficacy of echinacea in adults suggest the following dosage:

    • 300 milligrams three time a day for a total of 900 milligrams a day.
    • The dosage in children has not been studied as much, but a sensible amount would be one- half the adult dose for children ages six to thirteen, and one-quarter the adult dose for children under six.”

    Echinacea supplement side effects

    There are numerous side effects that one might experience, here is a list via the Mayo Clinic. Granted, these aren’t very common.

    It’s generally considered safe when taken orally or applied to the skin, but pregnant women or people with heart disease should exercise caution although echinacea tea during pregnancy is considered to be safe – it hasn’t been studied extensively enough and many sources are cautious to give it the full, 100% green light. Raspberry leaf tea is a popular choice during pregnancy, as an alternative, to help ease labor.

    It may also cause “anxiety and nervousness, bad taste, bronchitis, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry throat, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, heartburn, joint pain, kidney failure, mild drowsiness, mild nausea, mouth irritation, numb tongue, pemphigus vulgaris (autoimmune disease causing blistering, sore skin), sleep problems, sperm motility, stomach pain, upset stomach, and vomiting.”

    Here’s a much bigger list of cautions and potential side effects on the Mayo Clinic site, so we’ll direct you there for the complete warnings.

    Before you become terrified from that long list, just remember this is a natural supplement that comes from a flower, and those long lists of cautions are common for just about anything. It is widely considered to be very safe to take, has been taken by Native Americans for hundreds of years, and may have many benefits, too.

    How To Make Echinacea Tea

    You can get pre-made mixes at many tea stores and from an assortment of brands, or you can mix up your own. You can also use loose leaf tea, either with an infuser or by filling up an empty tea bag.

    Our Favorite Echinacea Tea Recipe

    This recipe comes via our friends over at Living The Green. They go all out, starting by growing the plants. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes from doing this all from scratch, but you don’t necessarily have to. Feel free to pick up the dried and processed ingredients if you don’t want to wait for a plant to grow, or if you don’t want to dry and process it yourself. We won’t judge!

    • 1 part echinacea parts, leaves, flowers, roots
    • 1/4 part lemon grass
    • 1/4 part spearmint leaves (or to taste)
    • Stevia leaves to taste

    Quite simple, hey? 

    Once you’ve got your mixture made, it’s just a matter of steeping it in some hot water. If you aren’t a huge fan of lemon grass, you can substitute some lemon juice (Freshly squeezed, ideally!) If you don’t want lemon at all, or you don’t want the speakmint taste, that’s fine. Just experiment! The great thing about tea is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Use recipes as guidelines, but that’s just a starting point. It doesn’t have to be the be-all-end-all.

    Where to buy echinacea tea?

    Some people make tinctures from this plant instead.
    via adelightfulhome.com

    You can find it in many places, but especially in health food stores and stores that specialize in natural products. You can find the plants at garden stores and greenhouses, and you can find the supplements in pill form at just about any pharmacy over the counter.

    Whether you choose to enjoy this as a tea, or take it as a supplement, remember that some of the biggest factors in a health life are exercise, drinking lots of water, eating great foods, and getting enough sleep.

    Supplements, teas, elixirs, tinctures… they can all improve an already-healthy lifestyle in any number of ways, but if you aren’t taking care of the basics then they really aren’t going to be some magical solution for you.

    The best advice we can give you is to have all of your bases covered before looking to further optimize things. If you eat greasy junk food all day, and you only sleep a few hours a night, and you mostly drink coffee and soda… you probabally won’t feel much of a difference by drinking healthy teas or taking echinacea. However, if you’re already doing the basics, you’re much more likely to notice positive benefits from further improvements. That’s just a matter of opinion and common sense…

    Good luck, and happy steeping!

  • in

    Tea & Mindfulness: Using Your 5 Senses To Live In The Moment

    Mindfulness is an approach to living where we become aware and accepting/acknowledging of what is directly around us and can experience life more fully. You probably think of Buddhist monks sitting on a stone floor but this attitude is weaved into traditions from many different religious and cultural backgrounds.

    To fully experience tea as a dry leaf and liquid, you will need a few full-leaf tea leaves, some tea brewed with those leaves (no milk yet) poured half-full into a cup, and some time. Set aside 15-20 minutes to do this. You can focus on either the dry or liquid script, or do both at once.

    1. Sight: Use Your Eyes

    looking-at-tea

    Seeing dry tea: Look at the tea leaf in front of you, what’s its basic shape? How many colours can you make out on it? Look as closely as you can to notice all the contours, twists, and lines on the leaf.

    Seeing liquid tea: Look at the brewed tea in front of you; what colour is the liquid? How well can you see through it? Is there any sediment at the bottom and if so what size/shape is it? How does the cup you’re using contrast with the liquid? Swirl it around gently; does it leave any residue on the side of your cup?

    2. Touch: Use Your Hands

    tea-touch

    Touching dry tea: Gently pick up a tea leaf and let it roll around in your hand. What texture can you feel? Is it soft or hard? Taking it gently between your index finger and thumb, again roll it around. Try closing your eyes for a moment and recreate the shape of the tea with only your sense of touch.

    Touching liquid tea: Feel the outside of your cup slowly, taking in the various contours and textures. Hold your cup in your hand comfortably. Try holding it another way without spilling any tea, such as with the base on the paw of your hand. How does the weight of the cup shift as you do this? What muscles in your arm do you notice more or less?

    3. Sound: Use Yours Ears

    the-sound-of-tea

    Hearing dry tea: With the tea leaf between your index finger and thumb, hold it up to your ear and again roll it around gently. What sounds do you hear? Closing your eyes again may help you notice sounds you didn’t find initially. You may want to roll it a bit harder and see what other sounds this makes.

    Hearing liquid tea: If you brewed your tea in your cup, what sound did the water make as it heated? Putting fresh water in your kettle, turn it back on and see what sounds you can hear as it heats. If you poured your tea into your cup, did you notice the sound it made while going in? Re-pour the tea if you want to experience this again.

    4. Smell: Use Your Nose

    smelling-tea-lady

    Smelling dry tea: Now hold the leaf up to your nose; if your first leaf broke while listening to it, take another full leaf. What smells do you notice? Our sense of smell is most intimately connected to our memory. Does your mind bring forward any memories or thoughts as you do this?

    Smelling liquid tea: Place your nose directly above your cup and take in the smell. What different scents can you make out? Does your mind bring forward any memories from these sensations?

    5. Taste: Use Your Mouth

    tasting-tea-guide

    Tasting dry tea: Now take a full leaf and put it on the tip of your tongue, being careful not to chew or swallow it. Initially what do you taste? Still without chewing, roll the leaf around in your mouth slowly and see what flavours come out. Let this happen for at least 15 seconds. Now lightly break the leaf in your mouth and let yourself experience any new flavours that arise. You may want to take the leaf out after this or, if very adventurous, can chew it some more and swallow.

    Tasting liquid tea: Take a quick, slurping sip, trying to get the tea to the back of your tongue. Allow the flavour to come to you, even if you can’t name it right now. What flavours can you make out? Are there other sensations your mouth is noticing? Is the liquid thin or thick?

    You can end there or finish with a basic grounding exercise of asking where you are (in a chair, in an office, in a building, etc.), when you are (time, date, year), and who you are (your name).

    Thank you for honouring me with your time and attention.

    For continued reading, you can learn about some of the alleged benefits of turmeric tea, or choosing a jar to make sun tea. Doesn’t catch your eye? No worries, about how learning a little bit about some of the best organic tea brands? Or just feel free to browse around on your own, we’re sure there’s something here that will catch your interest!

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    Let’s Talk About The Tazo Tea Brand

    Here’s a look at Tazo Tea, their various offerings, their commitment to communities and being responsible, and some links to help you learn more.

    Brand Feature – TAZO

    tazo_old
    This is Tazo Tea’s old logo, which has since been updated with something a little crisper and more modern looking.

    Tazo is the first tea brand that comes to mind for many people, whether it’s because of their prevalence in grocery stores across the world, or because of their famous parent company, Starbucks, who also owns tea company Teavana. Tazo originated in Portland, Oregon in 1994 and moved under the world-renowned coffee company’s umbrella in 1998. It shares a founder with tea company Stash, which was Steven Smith’s first endeavor into specialty teas.  Starbucks reported that tea as a whole is 10 percent of Starbucks’ U.S. retail sales and tea drinking continues to grow in popularity in the United States.

    Their Tea

    Tazo also makes tea concentrates that you can pick up at the grocery store, for when you really need to focus! Get it? (Sorry for the pun.)
    Tazo also makes tea concentrates that you can pick up at the grocery store, for when you really need to focus! Get it? (Sorry for the pun.)

    Tazo begins with quality tea selected during trips to more than 35 origin countries. Tazo only buys unblended teas, allowing their master crafters to have greater control over the final product. The taste is largely determined by a tea’s origin geographic location and climate and is also influenced by local agriculture practices.

    The tea leaves are blended with herbs, spices, and botanicals to create the desired flavor.  Blending tea with multiple ingredients is an integral part of the process, as it allows Tazo to create signature blends with unique but consistent flavors. To ensure consistency, Tazo tea is tasted up to seven times before it reaches stores.

    Tazo’s Products

    Believing that each cup tells a story, Tazo breaks their family of teas into five flavor categories: spicy, sweet, fruity, floral, and savory. These categories feature seven tea types, which include black, green, herbal, chai, white, decaf, and organic. Most come in bags or sachets, with some varieties packaged as K-Cup pods or as concentrate in cartons. However, Tazo uses unique terminology, referring to tea bags as filter bags and sachets full leaf tea. They also sell bottled varieties of some of their best-selling blends.

    The spicy blends are described as fiery, masala, and warm. They include flavors like ginger, mint, chai, and cinnamon. Featuring a few of the same flavors, the sweet blends are described as creamy, cinnamon-y, and chocolate-y. In this bunch you’ll find your vanillas, and you guessed it, cinnamons and chocolates.

    Orange, peach, and other berry and citrus varieties describe the fruity blends, which are defined as citrusy, jammy, juicy, and tangy. Rounding out the sweeter teas are those with hints of floral, best put as delicate and fragrant, and featuring chamomile, jasmine, and rose petals. The savory teas are reminiscent of many of the other refreshing, bold flavors like mint, earl grey, and cucumber. These are described as minty, malty, and vegetal.

    Orange you glad you can pick up some delicious orange chiffon by Tazo? (The puns just don't stop coming!)
    Orange you glad you can pick up some delicious orange chiffon by Tazo? (The puns just don’t stop coming!)

    When you’re ready to try any number of products from Tazo’s product line, you’re most likely to find them at your local grocery or convenience store, inside Starbucks, or at a number of online retailers.

    Want to ride the line between loose leaf tea and bagged tea? Empty tea bags might be the perfect solution!

    Their most popular blends include Awake English Breakfast, Refresh Mint, Chai Tea Latte, Zen, Earl Grey, and Passion. Awake English Breakfast is a mix of black teas that is malty and bold. The Chai Tea Latte features black tea with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and vanilla, making it both sweet and spicy. Zen is a green tea with notes of spearmint, lemongrass, and lemon verbena leaves. Passion’s flavor profile is built with hibiscus flower, orange, rose hips, and licorice root, making it sweet and nutty.

    Their Responsibility

    Tazo works to leave a lasting impact on the communities they visit around the world. In conjunction with Mery Corps, a nonprofit organization, Tazo has impacted over 200 tea and cardamom producing communities in Assam and Darjeeling, Indiana and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Their efforts are focused mainly on healthier communities, youth empowerment, and economic opportunities. Statistics have shown that Tazo and Mercy Corps’ efforts have improved hygiene practices and reduced disease.

    Take time to learn a little more about Tazo teas before your next trip to Starbucks. Your barista will thank you.

    Connect with Tazo Tea

    You can find Tazo online at tazo.com or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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    Tea Connoisseurship: Why Tea Deserves The Same Respect That Wine Gets

    When you think of connoisseurship, what comes to mind? Wine, almost certainly, leaps to the front of consciousness. Perhaps this is for good reason, as the sommelier has been associated with fine wine since shortly after the French Revolution, when fine restaurants began to emerge.

    What else, did fine cheese come to mind? Or, more relevant to modern world culture trends, beer and coffee? And yet, where is tea in the discussion? The west loves its wine, cheese, coffee and beer, but the appreciation of fine tea has largely stopped at Twinings and Teavana.

    image via dailybillboardblog.com
    image via dailybillboardblog.com

    A connoisseur, or more precisely, a gastronomic connoisseur, is someone with great knowledge about a food item. Connoisseurs have passion to pursue understanding of their item of choice. He or she continually tastes with mental effort, in hopes to pull flavor notes, aroma and mouthfeel out of the item. Is tea not worthy of such connoisseurship? Is tea too one dimensional that such analysis would produce nothing intriguing or worthy of discussion?

    I propose and have experienced that such claims are patently false. The world of tea is vast, with flavors ranging from oak and fallen autumn leaves, to aromatic lilac and apricot. Tea has processing methods ranging from simple picking and drying, to fermentation and aging for over 30 years. Tea has growing areas from 2400 M on the top of Da Yu Ling mountain in Taiwan to cliffsides in the Wuyi mountain area of Fujian, China. Each of these factors produces a profound difference in the cup of tea and creates an endless world for the connoisseur to explore.

    via buzzfeed.com
    via buzzfeed.com

    There are five main types of tea (with a quasi-6th in the form of yellow tea), and yet, most of the western world is only aware of black and green teas. Each type of tea has great complexity, offering interesting flavor notes found simply in the unadulterated leaf. Most people have never learned to experience the subtlety, the sweetness, and the flowery character of white tea; the great diversity of oolong tea; or even the deep earthiness of post-fermented tea. Certainly, one will taste blueberry in a tea with dried blueberries in it, but isn’t it more interesting to find blueberry notes unexpectedly in the extract of tea leaves? Each of these types of tea has enough interesting diversity to be worthy of effortful pursuit across a lifetime.

    monk-drinking-tea
    via kaimatcha.com


    Take pu’er tea. Pu’er comes solely from Yunnan province in China and uses a single cultivar (Da Ye); thus, it represents just a sliver of global tea diversity. All pu’er is processed into maocha, which is similar to green tea. After this, it is either inoculated with local microbes, steamed, pressed and slowly aged (becoming sheng pu’er), or it is fermented in piles within factories (becoming shou pu’er). Not only does each mountain and growing region provide interesting terroir (the flavor of the region) to taste in the tea, but the introduction of local microbes unique to the area adds to the great complexity of pu’er tea. Certainly, Ai Lao mountain pu’er will taste different from Yiwu mountain pu’er, both because of the unique soil and because of the microbes found in the region. Additionally, Ai Lao sheng pu’er from 2004 will taste quite different from Ai Lao sheng pu’er from 2012 due to the effects of aging. Couple this with the changes in weather and processing from year to year and you can easily be overwhelmed by the diversity of just pu’er tea. Realize that there is more to post-fermented tea than pu’er, then, extrapolate this diversity found in post-fermented tea to the other 4 types of tea, and your head will spin trying to comprehend the world of tea.

    As a result of its great diversity, tea demands connoisseurship. I invite you to join me in the pursuit and appreciation of great tea. Go beyond the supermarket shelves to find the best that China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and countless other countries have to offer. Find out why tea from Ali Shan mountain tastes different when compared to tea from Li Shan mountain. Look into the four renowned types of tea from Wuyi mountain. Taste the flavor of a single tree with Dan Cong tea. Be a tea connoisseur.

    Further reading: 

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    Best Tea Subscription Box: Comparing 10 Tea of the Month Clubs

    Simple Loose Leaf Tea Box

    Treat yourself, or give the gift of a cuppa. When you’re looking for a tea subscription box or a tea of the month club to join, it’s a lot easier when you can compare a handful of them at once – so we’ve done the research to make that easy and to help you choose the best.

    Would YOU like to be featured on this page? Get in touch!

    (Also, we do our best to keep this list up to date, but offerings are bound to change – so please reach out with any corrections as well.)

    Most tea subscriptions are shipped monthly, but some are bi-monthly or quarterly. For tea subscriptions in this list, U.S. shipping is included in the price.

    International shipping may cost extra, but it will vary by provider, so if you’re living outside of the United States of America, just keep that in mind when making your choice – it can make a big difference.

    Verdant Tea Of The Month Club

    The Verdant Tea Subscription Box is made with a love and passion for tea and it shows.
    image credit: heavytable.com

    Each box is curated by one of six partner family farms in China. What is most unique about this tea club, is that each month is entirely different from the last.

    Because each farmer gets to assemble the box, there will be anywhere from 3-15 different samples in each box. Some farmers decide to offer a wide variety of samples, while others want to give you a good taste of what they do. Each box contains a total of at least 75g or more of tea.

    In the package:

    • 3-15 tea samples
    • 75g of tea total

    Cost of this tea box:

    • $30 for 1 month
    • $90 for 3 months
    • $165 for 6 months
    • $330 for 12 months

    Visit Verdant Tea for more information.

    Art of Tea Subscription Box

    The Art of Tea Subscription
    image credit: artoftea.com.au

    Art of Tea is a tea importer and wholesaler based out of Los Angeles, California. With a focus on Fair Trade, sustainability and fresh teas picked by hand, Art of Tea monthly subscription options include: Loose Leaf, Iced Teas, Sachet Teabags, Wellness, Signature Teas and Caffeine Free Options.

    Cost of this box:

    • $18 for 1 month
    • $97 for 6 months
    • $180 for 12 months

    Visit Art of Tea to learn more.

    Simple Loose Leaf Tea Box

    Simple Loose Leaf Tea Box
    image credit: cratejoy.com

    Simple Loose Leaf’s Tea Box Club sends 4-6 different loose leaf teas each month. A unique component of Simple Loose Leaf’s club, is that when you find something you really like, you receive 50% off the purchase from their store while you are a member of the club. 

    In the package:

    • 4 loose leaf teas (black, green, herbal, surprise)
    • Tea pouches

    Cost:

    • $13.99 for 1 month (first month $3.99)
    • $38.97 for 3 months
    • $71.94 for 6 months

    Capital Teas Club

    Capital Teas is one of the older subscription boxes, before it became the "latest trend".
    image: capitalteas

    Capital Teas, founded in 2007 offers over 200 different specialty tea options. Capital Teas has a few different options for subscription services, that can be purchased in 3, 6, and 12 month memberships.

    Subscribers can choose four tea options: green, black, herbal, and a variety pack. They also offer free shipping which is nice, mind you whether the shipping price is included or broken-up separately, it’s the total cost you should look at as a customer.

    In the package:

    • 2 oz. packages
    • 3 different teas

    Cost:

    • $79 for 3 months
    • $149 for 6 months
    • $269 for 12 months

    Visit Capital Teas to learn more.

    Adagio Tea of the Month

    Adagio Teas has several options for loose leaf tea subscriptions. Packages can be bought in 6 and 12 month units, with price breaks for purchasing in bulk.

    Subscribers can choose between flavored, herbal, white, black, decaf, and green tea subscription options. Shipments are sent out with two months in one box.

    This tea club is unique in that it lists out the tea selections for the entire month, removing the mystery from the service.

    In the package:

    • In each bi-monthly shipment, there are two different tea selections, and enough tea for 75 cups.

    Cost:

    • $59-$69 for 6 months
    • $99-&119 for 12 months

    Check out Adagio Teas’ Club.

    Teavana Tea Subscription

    image credit: bestproducts.com

    Teavana has two options for tea subscriptions, in the form of a month-to-month, and a 3 month subscription. Teavana has a unique component where each shipment features a core tea, and two different complementary teas that pair with the core tea.

    Boxes are mailed on the first Tuesday of every month. There are many delicious Teavana tea flavors to try out, and this box makes that easy for you.

    In the package:

    • 4 oz of the core tea
    • 2 x 2oz of complementary teas

    Cost:

    • $40 for 1 month
    • $100 for 3 months

    Visit Teavana to learn more.

    The Whistling Kettle

    image credit: hellosubscription.com

    The Whistling Kettle has eight different options for tea subscriptions: green, caffeine free, black, wellness, tea tasting, discovery, pure, and flavored teas. All subscriptions are available in 3, 6, or 12 month units. They’ve got a great collection of tea, certainly worth turning on the kettle for.

    In the package:

    • 1-2 loose leaf teas
    • 2-4 oz of teach tea
    • Tea Information
    • Product Catalog

    Cost of this subscription box for teas:

    • $38-62 for 3 months
    • $72-106 for 6 months
    • $208-222 for 12 months

    Visit them on CrateJoy.

    The Tea Spot Club

    image credit: the tea spot

    The Tea Spot send 4 shipments every 3 months for a year, with seasonality kept in mind. Spring teas are light, Summer teas are iced, Fall has a theme of warm teas, and Winer features teas deemed as “cozy”.

    In the package:

    • 16 oz. Steeping mug (initial shipment only)
    • Tea Information
    • 8-12 oz.
    • 3+ teas

    Visit their website here.

    Cost of this club:

    $42.95 – 54.95 for 4 shipments every 3 months

    The Republic of Tea (of the Month)

    The Republic of Tea
    image credit: republicoftea.com

    The Republic of Tea has 5 options for tea subscriptions: Citizens’ Favorites Tea of the Month, Green Tea of the Month, Caffeine- Free Decaf Tea of the Month, Wellness Tea of the Month, and Full-Leaf Experience Tea of the Month.

    In the package:

    • 10 oz Dream by the Fire Red Dancing Leaves Mug with lid and stainless steel infuser (initial shipment)
    • 1 tin of The Republic of Tea (36-50 tea bags, or approx. 3.5 oz)

    Cost:

    • $90-$120 for 6 months
    • $160-$170 for 12 months

    Learn more at The Republic of Tea.

    Tea Box Express

    The Tea Box Express subscription box features more than just loose leaf tea, you never know exactly what you’ll uncover in your box. They have cookies, jams, tea accessories, mints, tea infusers, and lots more.

    In the package: 

    Varies month to month. Past boxes have typically included some tea, some sort of infuser or accessory, and several sweet treats.

    Cost:

    • 1 month – $25.50
    • 6 months – $139

    Tea Box Express Is A Delightful Tea Subscription Box

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    Yerba Mate Tea: All About This Bitter Brew

    Known to have the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate”, yerba mate tea makes an exceptional beverage. Yerba mate is the plant that is widely recognized as the making the beverage mate.

    Popular in South America cultures, it is consumed at a ratio of 6:1 over coffee. Yerba mate makes the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It is also consumed heavily in Bolivia, southern Chile, and parts of Brazil.

    Yerba Mate Is Pope-Approved

    pope-drinking-yerba-mate

    In Argentina, most people (over 90%) drink it from a gourd and with a bombilla, oftentimes in social settings. Even Pope Francis, the first Catholic pope from Argentina has been seen sipping mate with his followers. Prior to European colonization, yerba mate was first cultivated and prepared in southern Brazil by the Guaraní people and in some Tupí communities.

    Similar to meeting for tea or coffee around the world, friends and associates will meet and gather to share mate. An almost ritualistic event, with its own customaries and rules based on the region, sharing yerba mate has a purpose engrained in South American cultures.

    Drinking Yerba Mate

    Referred to as simply mate in Spanish-speaking countries or chimarrão in Brazil, it is made by traditionally by combining dry leaves (and twigs) of the mate plant, and hot (not boiling) water (70–80 °C /158–176 °F). Depending on preferences sugar may or may not be added, and the mate may be prepared and served with cold water.

    The flavor yerba mate when brewed is vaguely reminiscent of green tea, but with a much earthier flavor. It has undertones of vegetables, herbs, and grass. Some deem the beverage as an acquired taste, and it is generally perceived as bitter. Many say that the flavor is too bitter if steeped in boiling water.

    There are flavored mate options available, infused with options such as peppermint or citrus flavors, available in loose leaf, or bagged forms.

    In Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, toasted and sweeter versions are commonly paired with breakfast, known as mate cocido (Paraguay) and chá mate (Brazil). These are infused with fruit flavors like lime. Milk is also common. In southern Brazil, this is paired with pastries for afternoon tea. Iced, sweetened versions are also sold bottled in iced drinks without fruit flavoring alongside soft drinks. Overall, there are hundreds of variations of the drink.

    Cultivation of Yerba Mate Tea

    This image, via the wikipedia commons, depicts the cultivation of yerba.
    This image, via the wikipedia commons, depicts the cultivation of yerba.

    The yerba mate plant is indigenous and to South America, and is grown most frequently in northern Argentia, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil.

    See also: Rich, decadent Thai-style iced tea

    Those who cultivate the plant are known as yerbateros to Spanish speakers, and ervatiros to Brazilian Portuguese. Cultivating the yerba mate plant is a uniquely difficult and labor intensive task, from harvesting the seeds to keeping pests away in a plantation setting.

    The harvesting process is particularly distinctive. When yerba mate is harvested, branches are often dried by a wood fire, which give the drink its smoky flavor. Female plants are more scarce, and also tend to have a milder flavor and be lower in caffeine.

    Health Benefits and Risks of Drinking Yerba

    Yerba Mate brings a high dose of nutrition and energy through its antioxidants, monoamine oxidase inhibition activity, and E-NTPDase activity.

    It also has a high mineral content, with elements such as potassium and magnesium. It also contains three xanthines: caffeine, theobromine and theophylline.

    via buckliving.com
    via buckliving.com

    Proponents of yerba mate say that it can relieve fatigue through its high doses of caffeine and antioxidants. There are many types of tea that are made with various spices, herbs, and other types of plants. Turmeric tea is another popular blend with many touted health benefits, but it’s also controversial as to how accurate many of the health claims really are.

    Yerba Mate Tea can also promote weight loss and healthy digestion by inhibiting enzymes and acting as an appetite suppressant. It can ease depression, and help treat headaches and various other conditions.

    You can learn about Matula Tea in this article.

    Limited research shows that it may improve allergy symptoms, reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood sugar in mice.

    Overall it is important to note that there is no definitive evidence of these health benefits, and most claims are anecdotal. It’s also important to note that the consumption of hot mate tea is associated with certain cancers (oral, esophageal, larynx, and squamous).

    Studies indicate a correlation between the tea’s temperature and increased risk of cancer, making it unclear of the role of mate plays as a carcinogen.

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    8 Tea Cocktails To Help You Get Silly

    With so many flavors, tea offers up a world of possibilities as a great ingredient for cocktails. Sweet, sour, savory, hot or cold, there are so many combinations available. Here are a few suggestions that you may want to try while awaiting warmer days ahead.

    Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktail: The southern states love their sweet tea and you can easily imagine that there is more than one recipe out there to make your own…but here’s a zippy version with a great punch to it: bourbon. With warmer and longer days around the corner, this confection will be great for evenings spent on your balcony or porch congratulating yourself for surviving another winter.

    Rooibos Tea Cocktail: Fans of rooibos tea rejoice, this one is for you! Offering an earthy-fruity combination this great mix is sure to hit the spot thanks to the mix of shochu, vermouth and blackberries.

    Royal Tea: The British love their tea and their gin too. Mix both of them up and voilà, Royal Tea is served! This cocktail offers a combination of Beefeater Gin and Earl Grey tea with a few splashes of lemon and sugar for an unbelievable taste suitable for King, Queen and all.

    Rock & Rye & Rum Punch: Warm days ahead but you still have the sniffles? Here’s the sure to your sore throat! This punch recipe is a take on the old cure sure to help you get back on your feet quickly, unless you have one too many.

    Sparkling Green Tea Cocktail: Who doesn’t like a bit of bubbles, especially Champagne bubbles? Here,s a great cocktail that combines chilled green tea, gin and yes, Champagne. The end result is tasty, fresh with a hint of ginger flavor.

    Gin & Peppermint: The name says it all, the result is an easy to make cocktail with a great taste.

    Tipsy Lemonade Iced Tea: Notes of citrus fun mixed in with some black tea and lemon vodka – yeah, it’s as good as that may sound. This twisted version of an Arnold Palmer will surely be a hit for relaxing after a hot day this summer.

    Green Tea Gimlet: Here’s another for the green tea lovers. This mix isn’t so much on the sweet side but rather offering an interesting savory option that is sure to bring smiles all around.

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    Why Flower Tea is Fantastic – and Why You Should Try It

    What, exactly, is flower tea? When you first hear the name, it evokes images of flowers unfolding in a steaming hot mug of water – and that’s just what flower tea does. If you have yet to see a beautiful bloom grow into a gorgeous floral masterpiece of tea, flower tea is a variety you’ll want to watch before you taste.

    Also known as blooming tea, flower tea is an entirely different tea drinking experience. If it’s a type of tea you’ve never tried, here are all of the exciting reasons to add a little blossom to your next cup.

    The Differences between Blooming Flower Tea and Traditional Tea

    Before you dive into your first cup of flower tea, it’s important to know that it holds both similarities and differences from your normal cup of tea. First, tea leaves (also called “true tea” by experts) all originate from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Any tea that falls into the categories of white, black, green, or oolong features leaves of this plant. Other types of teas, typically referred to as herbal teas or tisanes, are blends that create tea from flowers, herbs, or the parts of other plants.

    via instagram user shrriyahhh
    via instagram user shrriyahhh

    Blooming tea, or flower tea, is composed of some new ingredients and some of the familiar teas you already know and love. It’s a combination of both plant leaves and flowers. The petals of flowers like jasmine, lily, marigold, and amaranth are tied into round bundles with tea leaves in their midst. Created in China, the birthplace of traditional tea, this relatively new type of tea has quickly gained popularity thanks to an entirely different taste from all other teas – and, of course, its artistic bloom when steeped.

    What Makes Flower Tea Bloom?

    Perhaps the most obvious difference between your average cup of tea – brewed from a loose leaf blend or a pre-made tea bag – and a cup of flower tea is the beautiful bloom that takes place inside the hot water. When you steep your typical bag or infuser of tea, you can clearly see the clear water change color into green, amber, gold, black, or even light silver depending on your chosen type of tea. However, when you steep any variety of flower tea, the process changes: as the bundle of flowers and tea leaves slowly uncurls and fills the cup, it forms floral shapes that resemble the blossom of a live flower.

    Once the flowers of this tea unfurl inside your mug, you’ll find a lightly colored liquid left behind. Most flower teas turn steaming hot water a pale shade of green or yellow, bringing a sweet scent and taste as well. Many blends of blooming tea are combined with green tea leaves, as the light and slightly sweet taste of this tea pairs well with floral and herbal additions. Every cup of flower tea blossoms into a different flavor, a different colorful array, and a different mix of natural, herbal ingredients.

    How to Properly Brew Flower Tea

    Like every type of tea, blooming tea has its own specific brewing method and steeping times. Remember, the way in which you craft your cup of tea determines its final flavor and fragrance. According to Teasenz, there are a few steps to take care with when brewing your first pots or mugs of flower tea. Before you even begin, however, you might want to purchase a glass teapot or a set of heat-safe glass cups. As delicious as flower tea tastes, the true magic and excitement lie in watching the flowers blossom as the tea bundle steeps. With a glass teapot or tea set, you can watch the entire process unfold before your eyes.

    Follow these steps for your first steep:

    • Fill your teapot with cold tap water, and heat it on the stove. Make sure the water doesn’t begin to boil – if it’s too hot, your tea won’t bloom in an attractive fashion. Take the teapot off the stove right before it reaches its boiling point.
    • Add your flower tea bundle into the teapot.
    • Watch for about one to two minutes as the tea transforms from bundle to bloom.
    • When finally unfurled, your tea is ready to pour.

    True tea lovers know that you can get an extra cup or two out of a single tea infusion – and this same philosophy applies to flower tea, too. When you sip your first cup of blooming tea, it tastes strong and sweet, with the fragrance of the flowers present in that bundle of leaves and floral ingredients. However, when you steep that same flower tea a second or third time, you can discover a different taste. In general, varieties of blooming tea or flower tea can withstand as many as three brews. Simply pour out your first cups of tea, refill the teapot with water, and turn the heat back on. Remember to keep the liquid from boiling and dissolving or disturbing the pretty floral display within.

    Whether you’re new to the wide world of flower tea, or an experienced blooming tea connoisseur, there are so many different types to try. Every single brew and steep creates a new display of floral art – and who wouldn’t want to add a little flair to your morning or evening tea? Flower tea could become your new favorite, and a fun tea to show off when drinking with fellow tea fans.

    Lead image via Remaliya Cafè & Restaurant’s Instagram. 

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    Does Raspberry Leaf Tea Actually Help Ease Labor?

    As spring approaches, the world begins to change. The old melts away and the new quickly blossoms. Nature is cyclical. We try our best to be prepared for the new. When planning for a new family member, we strive for a nutritious diet and often seek the best way to make this taxing process a little easier. Good news for us, a popular spring-time plant has been known to actually ease labor for pregnant women. What’s this miracle plant, you ask? None other than the Raspberry plant.

    Raspberry Leaf Tea Benefits

    While raspberries themselves are delicious and loved by many, the raspberry leaf is the true star here. Loaded with electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, raspberry leaves not only benefit your overall health, they taste great in tea, too! Overall health benefits are great and all, but what specifically is it about Raspberry Leaf Tea that promotes a healthy pregnancy? Two of our favorite electrolytes and minerals: Magnesium and Calcium.

    Magnesium

    Magnesium is known for building and repairing body tissue. Building and repairing tissue promotes strong uterine walls that help support an unborn child and contract while giving birth. Not only is there a concern for the strength of the mother’s uterine walls, but an even greater concern regarding fetal growth as well. The big takeaway here? A strong uterus is the single most important factor when growing a strong, healthy child and easing the difficulty of labor and delivery. Thanks, magnesium!

    Calcium

    Now that we’ve covered magnesium, what about calcium? Magnesium and calcium work together in this instance. Magnesium is responsible for relaxing muscles while calcium stimulates them, which leads to steady contractions. If there’s an imbalance (more magnesium than calcium and vice versa), contractions run the risk of being premature or delayed. In very rare cases, a severe deficiency in both magnesium and calcium during pregnancy may lead to preeclampsia.

    Scientific Research

    Aside from the afore-mentioned benefits of electrolytes and minerals that directly contribute to uterine and fetal health, have there been any studies on Raspberry Leaf Tea to back these claims? Absolutely! A prominent study conducted by Australian midwives in 1999 included two groups of women: a group of mothers who consumed raspberry leaf product during their pregnancy and a group of mothers who did not. The sample consisted of 108 mothers. 57 (52.8%) consumed raspberry leaf products while 51 (47.2%) were in the control group.

    The Outcome

    So, what was the outcome of this study? The Australian midwives were able to determine that Raspberry Leaf can be consumed by women during their pregnancy to shorten labor with no identified side effects for the women or their babies. The findings also suggested that consuming raspberry leaf products might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation.

    How much Raspberry Leaf Tea is recommended?

    There are a few factors to consider when determining how much Raspberry Leaf Tea one should consume in order to reap the benefits listed above:

    • Tea leaf to water ratio – a typical cup of tea contains 8 ounces of water and roughly 3 grams of tea leaf.
    • How often you enjoy your tea – one cup per day is recommended for the first trimester, gradually increasing tea intake up to 3 cups per day by the third trimester.
    • Be sure to not consume too much tea – side effects of nausea and loose stools have been reported by many in open discussion forums.

    So, you tried Raspberry Leaf Tea and you’re not a fan? Raspberry Leaf tablets are a great alternative. Since Raspberry Leaf tablets contain higher concentrations of Raspberry Leaf compared to the traditional brew method, be sure to consult an herbalist at a natural health foods store for the recommended dosage.

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    White Tea 101: All About The Least Processed Tea on Earth

    As you peruse through the tea aisle at your local grocery store or even a specialty tea shop, ever notice the abundance of Green, Black, and Oolong teas but hardly ever find any White teas? High-quality White Tea is, without a doubt, one of the more difficult teas to come by – and for good reason. Due to White Tea being harvested at a very particular time every year and being the least processed tea on Earth, White Tea is the black sheep of the tea family – but loved nevertheless.

    What is White Tea, anyway?

    White Tea in its natural state is the young bud of a tea plant that’s still covered by super-fine, white hairs. These white hairs are what give white tea it’s name. These buds (and even some of the youngest leaves on the plant) are handpicked in the early Spring and carefully steamed. After the steaming process, the buds and young leaves are dried to prevent the tea from oxidizing. With a gentle hand and low oxidation, you end up with the freshest and most delicate tea known to man. If you look very closely at the surface of your white tea as you enjoy it, you’ll notice tiny, fiber-like hairs floating on the surface. That’s a solid indication of this painstaking process that results in a high-quality White Tea.

    Where does White Tea come from?

    White Tea has a long Chinese history dating back to China’s Song Dynasty. A very popular method to prepare White Tea during that time period was to grind the White Tea to a fine powder and whisk with hot water till frothy. This method is very similar to that of Matcha Green Tea due to the use of the same type of bamboo whisk and careful attention to detail during the process.

    Is White Tea good for you?

    White Tea, similar to Green Tea in a lot of ways, contains a wide variety of health benefits. Ranging in everything from heart health to fighting off cancer-causing free radicals with powerful antioxidants- even strengthening bones! What’s there not to love about this rare gem? Absolutely nothing aside from the fact that is contains slightly less caffeine than other types of tea- about 5 milligrams less, to be exact. If you’re a caffeine junkie, this might be a little disappointing. But, if you’re trying to cut back on your caffeine intake, White Tea is definitely a better alternative.

    What’s the best way to enjoy White Tea?

    To reap the health benefits of White Tea, it’s recommended to consume roughly one 1-3 8 ounce cups per day. Unless you’re heading to the store every other day to have enough tea on hand for this demanding tea schedule, you’re probably wondering the best way to store a good amount of tea. Tea doesn’t necessarily go bad, but it can certainly get stale. I recommend the following storage methods to keep tea fresh:

    • An air-tight, opaque container – this will prevent any unwanted moisture and sunlight from diminishing the quality of the tea.
    • A moderately cool, dark storage space – a pantry or cupboard will work just fine. Whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT store your dry tea in the fridge. Not only will you risk introducing unwanted moisture to your tea, but the tea will pick up any smells that live in there as well.
    • Brew and store – this is the only acceptable reason to use your fridge for tea storage. Make sure your brewed tea is stored in a glass container. Plastic and ceramic (only if the ceramic has tiny cracks) tend to harbor bacteria.

    To brew a perfect cup, kettle, or pitcher of White Tea, refer to this helpful article.

    Where can I find White Tea?

    If you can’t find White Tea at your local grocery store or a local tea shop, Amazon.com is a fantastic place to find exactly what you’re looking for. The only downside is that there are so many to choose from. Here are a few things to look for when selecting your White Tea online:

    • Narrow your search results to show just loose leaf teas – though bagged White Teas are tempting due to their ease of use and convenience, they endure additional processing that takes away from the White Tea experience.
    • Always opt for quality over quantity – quality tends to be a little more expensive, but totally worth it. If you’re concerned about the quality not matching the price tag, check consumer reviews for that seller. The consumers have tried it, so they know for sure if it’s worth purchasing or not.
    • Try different types of White Tea to find out what you like best – you’ll see everything from Peony White Tea to Silver Needle White Tea. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. It’s all about what appeals to your palate.

     

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    Get to Know the Different Types of Tea

    There are two drinks that are consumed more than any others in the world: water and tea. While we drink water to hydrate our bodies, tea is an entirely different beverage, one that’s earned itself the name of the most widely consumed drink (after water, of course) thanks to the millions of people who enjoy it. As a beverage that’s been around for centuries, growing its popularity in ancient eras and empires, tea is a favorite for so many different reasons – and there are countless different types of tea to enjoy and taste. Chances are, you have a favorite type of tea, and that’s the one variety you stick with. With so many flavors, herbal combinations, and growing gourmet options, why not get to know the types of tea and try them all? This is your guide to exploring the wide world of tea, and all of the possibilities you can taste.

    The Basics of Every Type of Tea

    Tea pickers hard at work in Vietnam.
    Tea pickers hard at work in Vietnam.

    Not all tea is the same – but almost every variety of tea does originate from the same source. Every tea is the product of one single plant, the Camellia sinensis. Of course, there are exceptions in the world of tea. There is a difference between “true” or “real” teas and herbal teas. Any tea that is labeled “true” or “real” is the product of the Camellia sinensis plant, while herbal teas are created from the leaves, roots, fruits, or flowers of other plants.

    Of course, choosing and understanding what one tea offers versus another can be confusing, even if they all do come from a single plant or a different herb. Every tea carries its own taste, its own aroma, and its own delicious drinking benefits. To better understand the different types of tea, tea experts divide the products of the Camellia sinensis plant into four categories:

    • White
    • Green
    • Oolong
    • Black

    These categories indicate how much or how little oxidization a tea has undergone. When tea leaves become oxidized, typically through nature’s own processes and not human intervention, their coloring and taste change. Oxidation occurs whenever the surface of a tea leaf is cracked and its insides are exposed to air. The oxygen in our air creates a chemical reaction with enzymes inside each leaf. It’s a process similar to what happens when apple slices or cut avocados turn brown.

    The more a type of tea is oxidized, the deeper and darker its leaves and its taste will turn. Black tea varieties undergo the greatest amount of oxidization, resulting in a richer tea. White and green teas feature the least (if any) oxidization, which steeps into a lightly flavorful and subtly aromatic tea. Every type of tea that lines your local tea shop or supermarket has been carefully oxidized in different amounts and for different lengths of time in order to create a special and specific taste.

    White Tea: The Tea of Spring and Lightness

    A plain white porcelain tea pot.
    via myteabreakblog.wordpress.com.

    When you sip a cup of white tea, the leaves in your mug are the youngest of all other varieties. White tea leaves are picked fresh from the budding Camellia sinensis plant in the early days of spring. They are infant leaves, tea leaves tinged with a silvery sheen that have spent very little time cracking or growing in sunlight and oxygen. Because of this, white tea is the rarest type of tea – and it undergoes very little processing once the leaves are selected. You can spot white tea leaves thanks to this feature, as they retain their natural “white” coloring and appear to carry little color.

    Similar to the color of its natural leaves, white tea produces a brew that’s almost golden in color, a very soft and lightly colored end product. This type of tea carries a soft and sweet scent, and can feature notes of honey, flowers, and even wood in its flavor. Those who wish to drink a tea that’s subtler in its flavors will love white tea – it’s often called less bitter and more delicate than other varieties. And, if its caffeine-free tea that you most enjoy, white tea is the type for you. It contains the least amount of caffeine of all four “true” tea varieties.

    Tea Type: Green

    loose leaf Green tea

    Green tea has long been a favorite in China, but has only recently taken off as a popular choice for tea lovers in western nations. As one of the fastest-growing teas in the U.S. tea market, green tea is gaining more attention – and it’s a very unique type of tea. The flavor of green tea can vary greatly from brand to brand and even tea bag to tea bag, but it’s all processed in the same minimal fashion by tea makers and companies. Green tea leaves are true to their name and hold their natural green color even once harvested and dried.

    Much like varieties of wine, the many types of green tea can be drastically different from one another. Because it is processed so minimally, green tea keeps its natural qualities even when it is steeped and brewed. The taste of every cup and every tea bag is dependent on when it was harvested, the type of soil it grew in, the way in which it was nurtured while growing, and even any slight differences in its original plant. Whether your cup of green tea is grassy and soft or sweet and almost herbal in its flavor, each type of this tea can provide a new taste and a new twist.

    Tea Type: Black

    tea-grades

    If there’s one tea that draws more attention than any other, particularly in countries like the U.S. and England, it’s black tea. The most popular type of tea, black tea features the greatest oxidization, the strongest flavor, and the most varieties. When these tea leaves are harvested, they undergo a careful oxidization process intended to create the perfect black tea. The leaves are rolled individually, cracking their skin and exposing their internal components to the air. Once the leaves turn brown and lose all color, they are then dried into usable tea leaves. It’s this careful process that separates black tea from all other varieties.

    Have you ever ordered a cup of English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea? These two common and beloved types of black tea are widely available and consumed, but they are only a small selection of the varieties that can be found and sipped. Much like green tea types, the flavors within black tea leaves change depending on its harvest, its soil, and even its climate. A cup of black tea could feature great body and bold flavors, or a strong taste reminiscent of berries and chocolate.

    Tea Type: Oolong

    Bathing-Girl-Tea-Cup---Esther-Horchner

    When it comes to this last variety of tea, oolong, you may have never tried a cup. Crafted only in the locales of southeastern China and Taiwan, oolong tea is a special and rare blend that can be tricky to find outside of these regions. Often called the “in-between” tea, it’s something of a hybrid that combines characteristics from both green and black teas. With leaves that are tinged with brown, oolong undergoes a shorter oxidization process. Once harvested, the leaves are tossed around to create bruising and browning, which helps increase the leaves’ exposure to oxygen. Inside, however, the leaves remain fresh and green.

    Oolong, when brewed, tastes like a cross between the black and green types of tea too. More aromatic than black, and deeper in its flavor notes than green, oolong carries a complex taste. If its leaves receive more oxidization than normal, this type of tea can produce an amber-colored brew with a chocolate-like taste; if its leaves experience less processing, its flavors will be lighter and gentler, while its liquid appears golden. A wonderfully unique tea, you never quite know what your cup of this tea will hold.

    Your Favorite Cup of Tea

    We all have our favorite type of tea – what is it that makes your type more delicious and satisfying than others? Whether you’re a true fan of these “real” or “true” teas, or you prefer a sweet cup of herbal tea, there are so many new varieties and new types to try, taste, and fall in love with. Now that you know how your favorite type is created, brew yourself a steamy mug and enjoy it, with newfound knowledge.

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    Best Organic Tea Brands: Keep Your Tea Natural

    Do you know what’s hiding inside your tea bags?

    Tea is meant to be good for your body and your health, an herbal product created from nature’s leaves and blooms, meant to be enjoyed organically.

    Despite its natural creation, not all tea is organic and pure though – in fact, you might be surprised to discover the many ingredients in tea that make it far from the simplicity of dried leaves. Even some of the so-called organic tea brands advertise and label their products as all natural, but their tea leaves are far from meeting those qualities.

    If it’s true organic tea that you’re looking for, make sure you stick with the best organic tea brands – the tea producers who are true to their claims, and keep your cup free of any dangerous additives.

    Before we dive into a deeper examination and and an in-depth look at some great brands, here’s a quick rundown of some other great choices to consider:

    3 Perfect Loose Leaf Organic Teas to Try in 2017

    NameCommentsPictureLearn more
    1. Tea Forte's Lotus Sampler5 tasty organic tea blends to taste. Get it on Amazon
    2. Positively Tea's English BreakfastIncredible bulk pricing for this 1 lb. bag of delightful tea.Get it on Amazon
    3. CHAGANJU Green TeaNatural, flavorful Japanese tea for any occasion.Get it on Amazon

    The Harmful Effects of Non-Organic Tea

    There are so many reasons to choose organic when shopping. From the food you eat to the beverages you drink, organic products help to ensure that you know exactly what has gone into each and every item.

    Organic tea brands line the shelves of tea shops, coffee stores, and even your local grocery store, so it’s become increasingly easy to purchase organic tea anywhere you shop. Unfortunately, according to Food Babe, those organic tea brands aren’t always being honest when they wear the “organic” and “natural” labels.

    As Food Babe details, many of the tea brands that claim to be the best for your healthy lifestyle aren’t true to their word. Many popular brands, most predominantly the popular Celestial Seasonings available everywhere, are in fact not washed before the leaves are bagged. This means that, should any chemicals or pesticide products have come into contact with the tea, they will appear in every sip of your “organic” tea. According to Food Babe, research shows that 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea contains pesticide residues that exceed the amounts allowed by the U.S. government.

    Note to readers: Food Babe is a somewhat controversial figure when it comes to some of the claims she has made, there are a lot of people on online who follow her and agree with her but there have been numerous instances where her claims have been wholly or at least partially debunked, so make sure you’re doing your own due diligence and not taking any single source’s claims as gospel. We’re just mentioning this in the name of being balanced.

    Another reason to be picky about your organic tea brands is the pesticide problem extends far beyond Celestial Seasonings. In fact, even loose leaf and “gourmet” tea brands aren’t always faithful to the word “organic.” Teavana, one of the biggest brands of loose leaf tea, was found to feature pesticides in every one of its teas by independent researchers. There are brands of tea like Tazo that have organic offerings, along with non-organic, depending on what your preference is.

    In the same vein, the brands Tetley, Bigelow, and Mighty Leaf may contain some pesticides – and they rely on artificial flavoring to infuse taste into their teas.

    How Can You Tell Which Teas Are Organic and Safe?

    So, if you’re seeking the best organic tea brands available to ensure every cup of tea is healthy and good for you, how can you possibly weed out which brands are true to their labels? Here are a few tips to keep in mind while choosing your next brand of organic tea:

    • Check if the tea brand holds two certifications: organic and non-GMO. These certifications mean the tea has been verified to contain only organic and non-GMO ingredients.
    • Look at the ingredient list, and be wary of “added” or “natural” flavors, as well as any odd items such as corn starch.
    • Try to choose loose leaf over ground, pre-made tea bags. Loose leaf teas have undergone less processing, and are often more natural in their creation.

    The Best Organic Tea Brands

    If you want to be certain the tea you sip is truly organic, it’s a good idea to find a brand – or a few – that are known for their all natural teas. Fortunately, a great organic tea is easy to find as long as you know a little bit about the company, their tea-making process, and their products’ contents. Check out the following brands, all of which are known to be fantastic organic tea brands that create delicious, good-for-you teas.

    Numi Tea

    numi

    The creators of Numi Tea strive to bring the best possible tea to tea enthusiasts everywhere – and they prize themselves on fostering health along with great-tasting tea.

    As their company website states, Numi works to bring “well-being of mind, body, and spirit through the simple art of tea.”

    But, of course, the highlight of Numi Tea is that it is high in quality, and both organic and Fair Trade certified to ensure you’re drinking only 100 percent pure tea.

    Numi Tea has a wonderful variety pack available here.

    Traditional Medicinals

    via detoxinista
    via detoxinista

    At its heart, Traditional Medicinals tea is all about quality. Every blend this brand creates is held to a high standard of quality, the herbs carefully chosen by trained herbalists to ensure the tea is pure, organic, and sustainable.

    The creators at Traditional Medicinals develop their teas with the principles of organic plant-based wellness, hoping to inspire well-being in those who turn to their teas.

    They have many varieties available on Amazon.

    Rishi Tea

    rishi-tea

    Founded on the passions of international cultures, worldwide culinary traditions, and herbology, Rishi Tea grew into the organic tea brand it is today based on its creator’s desire to produce quality tea – true tea. Even the name of this brand holds signs of its pure and organic nature, as rishi means “seeker of truth.” All Rishi Tea products come from nature, not labs or processing plants, and the goal is to produce natural and healthy teas.

    Rishi has a vast selection of wonderful loose leaf teas and accessories available on Amazon.

    We have reviewed a couple of Rishi’s teas in the past, take a look:

    No matter which of these organic tea brands becomes your favorite, you’ll be able to enjoy every cup of tea with the knowledge that what’s in your cup is truly the best nature has to offer. Free of any additives, unnatural flavoring, or otherwise dangerous products, organic tea should be as pure and natural as its environment to help you achieve wellness.

    At the end of the day, if you’re drinking a quality tea, you’ll just enjoy it that much better. Whether you’re looking for the best tea for headaches, or a tea to help avoid cramps, or any other number of things that tea is used to help with – keep it organic as much as you can.

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    The Long and Storied History of Tea

    Do you know where your tea comes from? You might know about the origins of the tea bags or loose leaf blends sitting in your kitchen, whether you purchased them at a specialty tea shop or your local grocery story.

    However, few of us tea drinkers know very much about the history of tea – how it began, how it made its way across countries and continents, and how it became the world’s most popular drink (after water, of course).

    This art depicts scholars meeting at a tea ceremony in the Ming Dynasty.
    This art depicts scholars meeting at an ancient tea ceremony in the Ming Dynasty.

    Tea took quite a journey over centuries, and as more and more people tasted it, it became an increasingly popular drink. While we have so many different tea options and varieties available today, this wasn’t always the case throughout tea’s history. If you’ve ever wondered how you – and so many others – came to enjoy and love tea, this is its impressive story.

    It All Began in China

    When we think of tea, many of us imagine the traditional teas served in England and the U.K. – but, as grand as the tea tradition is in this region, it isn’t the birthplace of the drink. Rather, the history of tea began quite far from Europe, more than 350 years in the past. The first days of tea are a legend in China, the first place in which tea was discovered and sipped. The Chinese believe that emperor Shen Nung first created tea in 2737 B.C., as he sat beneath a tree with a cup of boiled water. Legend has it that a gust of wind blew the tree’s leaves into Emperor Nung’s cup, and he continued drinking this new loose leaf infusion.

    The history of tea is build on the backs of the workers who made it all possible.
    The history of tea is build on the backs of the workers who made it all possible.

    Fortunately for the emperor and tea lovers in the centuries that followed, the tree leaves that found their way into that first cup were off of the Camellia sinensis tree – the plant from which all varieties of tea originate.

    Although we can’t be certain how much of this legend is fact, it is true that China is the birthplace of tea. For centuries after Emperor Nung’s reign, the Chinese people drank tea, long before the drink ever reached Europe or other Western nations.

    It was China’s Tang dynasty in the years of 618 to 906 A.D. that cemented tea’s place in the history of China and the rest of the world. During this time, tea spread to the entire population of China, from the highest classes to the lowest. Everyone was drinking – and enjoying – tea.

    Trade Brings Tea to Europe

    Though China’s delicious leaf and herbal infusions quickly grew popular throughout the country, the rest of the world had no idea that tea even existed. It wasn’t until the 1600s that Europe caught onto China’s tea habit.

    Thirteen Factories, the Canton (Guangzhou) area where the first foreign trade was allowed in the 18th century.
    Thirteen Factories, the Canton (Guangzhou) area where the first foreign trade was allowed in the 18th century.

    When Portuguese traders began trading goods with China, they discovered tea – and brought back some to their home country. From there, the Dutch discovered China’s favorite beverage, as they too began trading with the Asian nation.

    When tea arrived in the Netherlands, it quickly took off among the wealthy. As the Dutch people began making tea drinking a fashionable and high class activity, increasing numbers of European people wanted to try tea, too. Later, the health benefits of teas like Turmeric became another catalyst for tea’s growing popularity.

    The British Tea Tradition Begins

    Thanks in part to the newfound love of China’s tea in the Netherlands, and to the British Empire’s trading practices in the 1600s, it didn’t take much time for tea to make its way to the cities and upper classes of England.

    The history of tea in England has left a clear legacy on the nation that’s still visible today – and it all began with the British East India Company, England’s trading organization. Sailors who traveled the world on behalf of the British East India company’s trading arrived back in Britain after conducting business with China and other nations would often bring back gifts, and tea was one such gift.

    via citiesandspatialcultures.wordpress.com
    via citiesandspatialcultures.wordpress.com

    However, only a few British citizens had access to tea in such a way. It was Mercurius Politicus, a London newspaper, that really propelled tea history forward and introduced it to England’s masses. In September of 1658, the newspaper ran an ad for something called “China Drink.”

    The ad announced that “China Drink,” which it also called “Tay alias Tee,” would be available for purchase at a local coffee house. Readers of the time had no idea what, exactly, this drink entailed; though the coffee houses had taken off and made coffee popular a few years prior, this drink from China was a foreign curiosity.

    Tea took another step forward in British history when King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess who adored tea. Tea history was forever altered when Catherine introduced tea at court, making it a favorite among the British monarchy and the wealthy of the nation. The monarchy set the trends, and soon all of England clamored for the Queen’s favorite drink – and the British East India Company began importing Chinese tea into England by 1664.

    Tea Today

    We now know that tea truly took off in England and throughout Europe, eventually making its way to the shores of America as colonization moved across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Within a few centuries, the popularity of tea pushed forward another momentous moment in tea’s history: the invention of the tea bag. Invented in America and made popular by British tea drinkers, the ease of tea bags allowed tea drinkers to enjoy their beverage in an entirely new and simple manner. Who knows what lies ahead for the future of tea? New tea trends are always emerging, from organic brands, to new infusions and styles of drinks. With such a storied history spanning centuries and so many different nations, perhaps new advancements in tea will create an entirely new path.

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    Compost Tea Is Like a Cuppa For Your Garden

    In recent years, composting has become commonplace in homes around the world. With increasing numbers of individuals wanting to positively impact and help the environment, composting is a fantastic way to reduce landfill waste and give nutrients back to the land around you. Composting is all about benefitting the Earth in a natural way – kind of like sipping a cup of all natural, organic tea. While drinking your favorite tea may not be an active way to give back to your natural environment, you can make tea quite beneficial if you combine it with composting to create a unique blend: compost tea. That’s right, you can turn your leftovers and biodegradable waste into an all natural tea – just not one that you’d want to drink.

    Don’t Drink Compost Tea

    Although compost tea might sound like a perfectly healthy brew of tea, it isn’t one that you’ll want to pour a cup of. In fact, as Oregon State points out, compost tea is better suited for gardens and not humans. Oregon State defines compost tea as liquid extracted from compost – or, the “juice” pulled out of all those compost-suitable leftovers. Compost tea features microorganisms and plant-based compounds that can help your garden grow and your soil become healthier. Instead of drinking compost tea, or pouring it over your plants, it’s incorporated into the soil of gardens and farms to increase the number of beneficial microorganisms and foster new growth.

    Compost tea in action!
    This image shows Mark from WormsAtWork.com standing next to his compost tea rig.

    Compost tea can be used in gardens of any kind – from agriculture businesses and nurseries to viticulture and horticulture efforts – and it’s typically made according to one straightforward process. Once a sufficient amount of compost is collected, that material is stepped in water, just like your typical cup of tea. This steeping process draws out those all-important microorganisms, leaving them behind in the hot water. Some companies or individuals will add extra nutrients to their compost tea to make it even more effective, and to boost the microorganisms. It takes about 24 hours to complete one brewed batch of compost tea, as the compost requires a far longer steeping period than typical tea.

    Compost Tea Comes with Benefits

    Interested in brewing your own compost tea to give your garden an all-natural, organic drink for its health? Using compost tea offers many environmental benefits, for both plants and the entire ecosystem working on your land and in your soil. As Oregon State describes, this unique tea can make a world of difference. Compost tea can offer your garden:

    • Increased plant health
    • Improved resistance to garden pests and diseases
    • Increased soil nutrients
    • Larger microbial populations in the soil
    • Helps plants break down toxins faster
    • Better-tasting vegetables

    While traditional compost comes with great garden benefits as well, applying compost tea can bring even greater help as you use your green thumb. Along with the positive effects compost can have when worked into your garden’s soil, adding compost tea directly affects the plants that have already begun to sprout.

    Put Your Homemade “Tea” to Use

    Once your compost tea is brewed and ready to use, there are a few steps to follow when you want to add it to your garden and soil. After steeping for about 24 hours, you can choose to apply your tea in two ways: by spraying it onto plants, or by pouring it directly into the soil. If you choose to pour your tea, aim to get the liquid close to the roots so any plants can soak up the tea as much as possible. When spraying your tea, you can use a diluted version of the tea – use a measurement of two cups of tea for every one cup of water on lawns, and a measurement of one cup to one cup of each for indoor plants and small gardens.

    image via elizabethskindcafe.com
    image via elizabethskindcafe.com

    No matter which method you choose, try to apply when the sun and its rays are minimal. Right around sunrise, or just at dusk, are great times – sunlight is present, but won’t be directly aimed on your plants as they absorb your tea. It’s also recommended that you get your compost tea into your garden within four to six hours of removing your liquid from its brewing location. Because compost tea includes living microorganisms, using it sooner rather than later ensures those vital plant helpers can get to work while they’re still alive.

    Although you can’t – and shouldn’t – drink a warm cup of compost tea, not even from your nicest porcelain teacups, it can be a great benefit to your plants, your garden, and your environment. From getting your plants growing to putting your compost to even greater use, compost tea is the perfect way to make a difference with the environment, and create an entirely new kind of tea.

    Featured image via TinyFarmBlog.com

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    The Origins of Porcelain Tea Sets

    The porcelain tea set is an item everyone is familiar with – they conjure up images of afternoon teas at hotels and high society homes, lead us to imagine tea dates both present and centuries past, and children even play pretend with their own versions (in plastic, of course).

    How is it that porcelain tea sets became so synonymous with drinking tea, no matter the occasion or type of tea? This famous type of tea set has a long and storied history throughout the world and its many eras. From the tables and teatimes of European nobility to the average American living room, here is how porcelain tea sets became a staple in the world of tea.

    Porcelain’s Humble Origins

    The prominence of porcelain tea sets shares a background with tea itself: both got their start in the nation of China, as Emerson Creek Pottery explains. When tea was first discovered during China’s Han Dynasty of 206 to 220 B.C., it needed vessels from which to be poured and sipped. The first “tea sets” were born – and they were crafted from porcelain.

    A plain white porcelain tea pot.
    Here’s a plain white porcelain tea pot on a nice background, via myteabreakblog.wordpress.com.

    Residents of northern China prepared and drank their tea from white porcelain, while those in the southern regions used porcelain in shades of light blue. Of course, these first porcelain tea sets weren’t anything like the flower-decorated and delicate cups and pots familiar to tea drinkers today. There were no creamer or sugar bowls, nor traditional tea pots to be found; instead, Chinese tea drinkers drank only the leaves, herbs, and flowers steeped in water, with no additives included.

    The teapot did make its first appearance in early variations of porcelain tea sets, though. Centuries later, during China’s Song Dynasty of 960 to 1279 A.D., the most famous of all teapots came into existence.

    The Yixing teapot was created in the Jiangsu Provence, thanks to iron ore and its unique coloring once oxidized. Residents of this region in China began crafting ceramic teapots and matching bowls in brown, black, and even blue shades, giving tea sets exciting and beautiful customized colors and patterns. As tea grew increasingly popular throughout China, ultimately taking reign as the drink of the nation, so too did the tea set.

    The Tea Set Arrives in Europe

    Though it took a few centuries, tea did make its way to Europe – and it was thanks to Father Jasper de Cruz, a missionary from Portugal who first drank tea with Chinese citizens. Thanks to new trading routes, and a growing trade agreement with China, Europe finally had access to tea in the 1500s.

    It was those trade routes that brought the tea set to Portugal, and eventually all of Europe. From Portugal, the trend of drinking tea and using porcelain tea sets spread to the Netherlands.

    Here's an antique Chinese porcelain tea pot, source unknown.
    Here’s an antique Chinese porcelain tea pot, source unknown.

    When tea first sparked interest in Europe, it was a pricey treat. Purchasing a pound of tea cost about $100, meaning only the wealthy were able to afford the privilege of sipping tea. Tea sets followed suit: instead of being crafted by hand in the kilns of China, they became small and delicate items. Europeans drank their tea from tiny cups, sitting in fancy tea rooms designed solely for tea drinking.

    As the tea craze made its way into every European nation, the tea sets with which this new and exciting drink was served began to change. During the 1700s, the English monarchy made perhaps the most significant alterations to the traditional porcelain sets originated by the Chinese people. Queen Anne introduced silver teapots and silver sugar bowls, and Queen Victoria brought today’s six-piece tea set into existence. And, of course, as tea became the drink of the wealthy throughout Europe, the practice of drinking tea itself became a fancy affair.

    The Porcelain Tea Set of Today is Everywhere

    Porcelain tea sets have lasted throughout every era of history, and they’re still present in our dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens today. Whether as a centerpiece during an afternoon tea event, or resting in the background of your kitchen, a porcelain tea set hearkens back to those earliest days of drinking tea – the ceremony, and the care with which tea has been served throughout the years. Although pouring a cup of tea doesn’t often come with much care or even time nowadays, there’s still something wonderful about carrying out a tray filled with beautifully decorated porcelain cups and a teapot, no matter how you enjoy your tea.

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    (I Think) I Figured Out Why British People Are So Obsessed With Tea

    In the world of clichés, imagining a Briton with his or her cup of tea is pretty much at the top of the list. But what may seem like an easy portrait of loyal British tea drinkers is actually true – the love story between the British and tea goes back a few centuries and it’s still going strong today.

    The Brits drink on average 3 ½ cups of tea per day, that’s 130,000 tonnes in a year. As a whole, that’s 165 million cups of tea a day or in a larger sense, 62 billion cups per year. That’s quite a bit of tea.

    Trendy Tea

    Before hitting it off in Britain, tea took a while to catch on in Europe. There are a few historical mentions of Portuguese traders and missionaries who enjoyed drinking tea, but these were mostly samples and souvenirs brought back from their expeditions. It’s actually the Dutch who jumped on to the bandwagon first by establishing trading routes to the East in the last years of the sixteenth century in order to import tea from China to Holland. The warm drink soon became trendy for upper class Dutch as its price was still relatively high and of course, just like today’s trends, it spread out quickly to other countries in Western Europe afterward.

    Tea was first publicized in a British newspaper in 1658 as ‘China Drink, called by the Chinese, Tcha, by other Nations Tay alias Tee’, it was made available in a coffee house and was sold more like a curiosity rather than a warm comforting everyday drink. It isn’t before the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza (a Portuguese princess with a profound love for tea), that tea caught on as a fashionable and trendy drink among the wealthy and courtesans. Seizing the opportunity and seeing how fast tea was becoming popular, the East India Company placed its first important order in 1664 for 100lbs of China tea, and began importing tea into Britain. A love story bloomed.

    Smugglers’ Cup

    Due to high taxation, tea remained a favourite for British middle and upper classes. The taxes on tea were actually so high that in 1689 it virtually almost made sales stop, but thankfully the tax was slightly reduced a few years later, although still remaining too high for the average Briton.

    Not wanting to be left out, folks turned to tea smugglers to get their hands on the drink and so, a million dollar business came to day. It is estimated that in the late eighteenth century the surprisingly well organized crime network was importing as much as 7 million lbs of tea annually.

    But smuggled tea wasn’t exactly the best quality…or even tea. Leaves from other plants or even recycled tea leaves were dried and added back into batches to be resold. But the result often had a shady and unconvincing colour and so, smugglers turned to a poisonous copper carbonate and even sheep’s dung to obtain a colour that looked more like tea.

    Concerned by the problems caused by smuggled tea, the government of the day in  1784 slashed the taxes on tea making it suddenly affordable for all and making tea smugglers jobless almost instantaneously.

    During the nineteenth century tea solidified its presence in British culture and had become a staple in everyday life for all, regardless of class or stature. Charles Dickens for example, made it very clear in his literature that tea-drinking was omnipresent in the lives of his working class characters. It’s also during this century that Afternoon Tea and High Tea first started being practised in tea rooms, living rooms and dining room across Great Britain.

    Keep Calm and Drink Tea

    With the twentieth century comes two major World Wars during which the brave Britons stood by their favourite drink. Although not rationed during the First World War, the government stepped in to control importation and the price of tea, which had been steadily rising due to transport ships being sunk by German submarines. During the Second World War, the government introduced a 2oz tea ration for all in order to properly supply men on the front and reward those who stayed back to occupy vital  jobs such as firemen. Although the war ended in 1945, it wasn’t until 1954 that the tea ration was lifted.

    In the 1950s an American inventor revolutionized the tea scene: he invented the tea bag and the tea-drinking habits of all were changed!

    As it stands today, the love affair between Britons and their cups of tea isn’t about to change. It’s now deeply anchored in British culture as a social drink, a comforting drink and even a healthy drink. It seems like nothing will come in between the British and tea.

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    How to Brew Tea Perfectly, Hot or Iced

    How you brew your tea leaves determines its taste, its strength, and its quality. From the water you use to the type of tea to the steeping time, there are a number of factors that can alter your tea and improve its delicious taste. Here’s your guide on how to brew tea, both hot and cold, to ensure a perfect cup every time.

    brew-perfect-tea

    Get Your Teapot Ready

    There are a few simple steps to follow each time you brew tea. If a steamy mug of fragrant and tasty tea is your favorite beverage, chances are you’re already familiar with these steps – or, perhaps you’ve been brewing according to your own method. Follow this easy process, and you’ll create a perfect mug every time you brew a cup of hot tea. These are the basics of how to brew tea.

    1. Begin by filling your teapot or kettle with fresh water – and, contrary to what you might think, that water should be cold. Water that’s been sitting around in your teapot will change the taste of the tea, and so too can very hot water straight from the sink.
    2. Place your teapot on the stove, turn up the heat, and allow the water to come to a gentle boil. If your teapot whistles, wait for it to send out some steam and announce that the water is ready to go.
    3. Remove the teapot or kettle from the stove and pour a small amount of the hot water into your mug. This ensures that your cup will be warm as well as the water, creating a more consistent water temperature when you’re ready to drink your steeped tea.
    4. Add your pre-made teabags, or your loose leaf-filled infuser, into the teapot itself. Make sure the tea is covered by the water. Whatever tea you have is the best one to use. Some people prefer using strictly organic teas, other people prefer whatever’s on sale, just do your thing, do you!
    5. Leave the teabags or leaves to steep for the appropriate length of time (this depends on the type of tea and your desired flavor).
    6. Remove the teabags or infuser from the teapot.

    Once your tea is finished steeping and you’ve removed the leaves, it’s perfectly prepared to drink and enjoy. Just make sure you give it a chance to cool down a bit; otherwise, you might be enjoying your newly brewed tea with a burned tongue!

    Want to Brew Iced Tea? Here’s How

    If you prefer your tea served over ice rather than steaming hot, it’s important to know how to brew a cup of iced tea. The traditional brewing method should be changed slightly when you’re creating a cool beverage, as the flavor and strength of tea changes when ice is introduced into the mix. There are two ways to brew yourself a refreshing iced tea: hot brewing or cold brewing. While both methods are simple, the brewing style you choose will depend on which creates the best tea for your liking.

    To create iced tea with the hot brewing method:

    1. Follow the above steps for brewing hot tea on the stove.
    2. Before you add your tea, pour the hot water into your pitcher or cup to fill it about halfway.
    3. Next, add your tea leaves or bags and allow them to steep for about three to five minutes.
    4. Before removing your tea, fill the pitcher or glass up with cold water. Remove the leaves or bags, and pour your brewed tea over ice to enjoy.

    If you want to brew iced tea without any heat, follow these steps for the cold brew method:

    1. Place your tea of choice into a pitcher or glass.
    2. Using cold water, fill up your drinking vessel of choice. Make sure to cover your tea leaves or bags. If you’re making an herbal tea or using anything else, substitute accordingly. Turmeric tea is a very popular choice lately.
    3. Leaving the tea leaves or bags inside your pitcher or cup, place the entire mixture into the fridge. Allow it to steep for three to eight hours, cooling perfectly. When you’re ready to drink, simply remove the tea itself and add ice.

    No matter which brewing method you prefer, there are a couple extra tips to keep in mind when brewing iced tea. First, remember that cold or cooled tea doesn’t hold its flavor as well as hot tea; in order to achieve the same taste, you will need to double the amount of tea used. Iced tea typically carries a bolder flavor to balance its chilly refreshment, so it’s best to use twice as much tea (whether loose leaf or bags) when brewing hot or cold.

    Another tip to alter the flavor of your iced tea is to add your sweeteners differently depending on the brewing process. If you’re brewing with the hot method and pouring over ice, amp up the sweetness by adding your sugar while your drink is still piping hot – this will ensure it dissolves completely and creates a smooth sip. However, if you’re using the cold brew method, it’s best to change the type of sweetener you add in. Because granular sugar and sweeteners can’t dissolve completely in cold tea, try adding agave. This light liquid will smoothly disappear while offering the sweetness you seek.

    How To Steep Carefully to Create the Perfect Tea Taste

    So, you’ve mastered the basics of how to brew tea to the perfect temperature – but how long should you leave your tea leaves or tea bags to steep? Every tea is different, and brewing for different lengths of time will create different results. Some of us want to know how to brew strong tea, or perhaps a softer and lighter tea, while others are all about perfecting one type of tea brew. No matter your tea taste, there are a few basic steeping rules to keep in mind as you brew any tea.

    The length of time a tea should steep for depends on its variety. Typically, the more delicate a tea is, the less steeping time it requires. Deeper, denser, and earthier teas will require longer steeps to fully draw out its flavor. However, it’s best to follow recommendations specific to your tea of choice. Below are guidelines for common teas.

    • 1-2 minutes for: white
    • 1-3 minutes for: green, oolong, and yellow
    • 2-4 minutes for: pu-erh
    • 3-5 minutes for: black and herbal

    Of course, these lengths of time can be adjusted based on personal preferences and tastes. Not every tea is the same, though, so you may want to intensify the flavor by increasing the number of tea leaves or bags you use – just make sure you don’t leave your tea in to steep longer, as this can increase bitterness and not flavor.

    Perfect Your Brewing Process

    From hot water to the steeping time to the decision to use loose leaf versus tea bags, there’s so much that goes into your brew of tea. Now that you know the basics of how to brew tea, and how to develop a perfectly flavored cup, there are so many different ways to alter or personalize your tea. Sometimes, no matter how carefully you brew tea, the taste can be a bit off – go ahead and tweak your process, changing aspects like the steeping length, water temperature, or even amount of tea to get the tea of your liking. There are a few additional brewing tips to keep in mind if your tea isn’t turning out perfectly. Try some of the following tricks and tips if you want to make a change to brew your tea.

    When starting the tea brewing process with cold water, ensure that your teapot or kettle is filled with perfectly cold liquid by allowing your tap to run for a few seconds. This will get rid of any hot or warm water that may come out as soon as your faucet is turned on. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that your tea water isn’t far too hot when it’s time to add your tea. Water that’s been vigorously boiling loses its oxygen, which can create a flat and undeveloped taste in your final cup of tea.

    Before you toss your tea bag or loose leaves into the trash, think twice – some types of tea are perfect for multiple rounds of steeping. In fact, if you’re a fan of oolong, green, or white teas, try giving them another steep. Doing so can create an entirely different taste, allowing you to discover the subtle undertones and notes in these teas. With so many different ways to brew tea, every cup could be a new flavor – and you can use these basics of how to brew tea to develop your ideal method.

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    An In-Depth Look At Tea Tree Shaping Cream by Paul Mitchell

    There are a lot of ways to incorporate tea beyond a teapot or a mug. Tea can soothe the pain from a sunburn; it can restore skin, acting as an aid in facials; it can even help you achieve healthy hair. If you’ve never considered taking your tea out of the kitchen and adding it into your morning routine, you might want to think twice about keeping your tea around only for drinking. Using tea-infused or tea-based products in your beauty or “getting ready” routine can bring fantastic benefits – and that’s the case with tea tree shaping cream, a product that uses tea to improve the state and style of your hair. With tea tree shaping cream, you can bring your ‘do to new heights, all thanks to tea.

    pmitch

    What, Exactly, is Tea Tree Shaping Cream?

    If you haven’t heard of tea tree shaping cream, it’s an interesting product – and no, it doesn’t involve any actual tea (in bag, loose leaf, or even drink form). A relatively new product created for hair styling and care by Paul Mitchell, tea tree shaping cream helps you add texture, definition, and strong hold to any hairstyle. Simply work a small amount of the cream into and through your hair while it’s still damp, and style your hair however you wish. The tea tree cream is meant to thicken and strengthen your strands, allowing your hair to stay wherever you direct it. A common product choice among men, it’s perfect for short hair that needs a little attention.

    In addition to its styling properties, tea tree shaping cream is an all-natural hair styling product. Free of both parabens and gluten, this styling cream is safe for regular use on colored or dyed hair. It’s also vegan-friendly, and includes no animal products in its mixture. Tea tree shaping cream is created from only natural and organic ingredients, ensuring that it can be used by anyone and everyone – and that no harm will be done to the environment or your health. With no chemicals and no dangerous additives, your scalp is safe from damage or harm, as well as disgusting residue once you wash the cream away.

    Wondering how tea makes a difference in this hair cream? Well, it’s made with tea tree leaf oil, an essential oil that comes from Melaleuca alternifolia, or the tea tree. Tea tree oil has long been used as a natural aid in the prevention and treatment of bodily infections; however, in this hair styling product, the tea tree oil provides entirely different benefits and strengths. Rather than keeping illness at bay, the tea tree leaf oil works to strengthen the efficiency and hold of the cream.

    The Benefits of Adding Tea to your Hair Care

    Using tea in new ways sounds exciting, but there’s much more to tea tree shaping cream than tea itself. Hairstyling experts and customers who have tried this shaping product have found that it offers quite a few benefits, and that it’s especially great at keeping its styling promises. Tea tree shaping cream is:

    • Excellent at adding texture. When run through your hair and shaped into place, tea tree shaping cream conditions each strand of hair, giving it greater body and stability. Its ingredients increase the nutrients your hair and scalp receive, which in turn can lead to new growth and a softer, healthier scalp.
    • Thick and undiluted. Sometimes, hair products are weak because they’re diluted and watered down to the point of goopy, gloppy ineffective messes. Tea tree shaping cream, however, is well concentrated. It is a thick, smooth cream that does nothing to dilute its ingredients, meaning it can give you the best hold and strength possible.
    • Soft when dry. A major problem with shaping creams is their stiff, crackly, and dry texture hours after application. Instead of leaving your strands feeling like they’ll break, tea tree shaping cream holds hair in place without leaving an unnatural stiffness behind. Your hair will keep its shape and position, but still feel soft to the touch.
    • Smooth without waxiness. Many creams and styling products leave behind a waxy, slick residue that coats the hair; tea tree shaping cream doesn’t. Instead, this product can make your hair look slick without adding in an odd layer of greasiness. It keeps your hairstyle light and free of added weight.

    Of course, every hair and hairstyle requires different products – but who wouldn’t love to add a touch of tea into their daily hairdo?  While tea tree shaping cream certainly can’t replace your favorite cup of tea, it can add the natural, environmentally friendly qualities of your top tea into your style. Make sure to purchase only well-known brands of tea tree shaping cream to ensure the product is safe for use, and free of any non-vegan friendly product, gluten, and potentially harmful parabens.

    See also: 

    Ever Thought About Mixing Tea and Coffee Together?

    5 Facts You Never Knew About Green Tea Leaves

    All About Turmeric Tea’s Health Benefits

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    Green Tea Coffee: Why Are People Drinking This Strange Combination?

    When it comes to coffee and tea, the two share few similarities: both may be beverages created from plants and their products, but they taste completely different and are sipped for opposite reasons.

    While coffee offers caffeine and a boost of energy to the sleepy, tea is meant to be a warm and relaxing drink, with limited amounts of caffeine in every cup. Even fans of these two drinks tend to choose sides – coffee lovers versus tea drinkers.

    Mixing Tea with Coffee? What?

    Tea vs coffee - which side are you on? Why not both?
    image credit: speedbump.com

    However, although we tend to pit coffee and tea against one another, combing the two can lead to interesting and delicious results. Tea drinkers can come to love coffee, and vice versa; try blending the two together into one drink, and you may discover that you’re a coffee and tea person.

    If you’re interested in trying out the new trend of mixing hot coffee and tea together into one single beverage, consider adding some coffee to your next cup of green tea. According to those who’ve tried this unique blend, such as Teagora, it can offer the best of both worlds.

    Blend Bitter with Bitter for Surprising Results

    Mixing tea and coffee together isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. In fact, a drink nicknamed the Dirty Chai combines a creamy chai latte with a shot of brisk espresso. Beyond this unusual combination, though, there haven’t been many who have experimented with tea and coffee combinations. That’s where green tea coffee comes in.

    Not everyone is a fan of green tea; in fact, it’s only grown in popularity in relatively recent years. Many cite its light bitterness as the reason for their dislike; however, this is one reason why it’s an excellent choice to pair with coffee.

    While green tea offers a hint of bitterness blended into sweet flavor notes, coffee is quite the bitter beverage. When you combine the two together, you can create an entirely new flavor profile that’s the best of both the coffee and tea worlds.

    Plus, if your green tea is that bitter, you’re probabally steeping it for too long.

    The one instance where Bitter Tea is okay.

    Many tea lovers are fans of green tea lattes – a blend of green tea, sugar, and milk frothed to create the bubbly layer resting atop all traditional lattes. Add coffee or espresso, and you have a wonderful combination similar to that of a Dirty Chai.

    Instead of sipping on the light, slightly bitter taste of green tea, or the strongly bitter taste of plain black coffee, a green tea coffee beverage provides the smoothness you love and know from a cup of green tea with a hint of caffeinated coffee. It’s easy to make your own at home, whether you prefer iced or hot.

    Making an at-home green tea coffee blend can bring benefits to your wallet as well.

    Choose your favorite green tea powder (ground leaves are best for blending seamlessly into the coffee and milk), your favorite coffee or espresso, milk, and some sugar if you want to increase the sweetness – and all of this together can be more cost effective than ordering a coffee-and-green tea latte at your local coffee haven. Pour over ice, and you can enjoy a chilled version in the hot summer months.

    Mix Coffee and Tea Carefully

    Green tea coffee is as easy to make as you would imagine, and it's worth a try!
    image credit: shape.com

    A green tea latte with coffee isn’t your only option when considering adding coffee to your tea. As easy as it is to combine coffee and green tea to your liking (or to your tastebuds’ surprise), there is a bit of science to blending a delicate cup of tea with a strong brew of coffee.

    As Teagora recommends, it’s important to know what qualities – and flavors – you want to shine in your green tea coffee creations. Follow these steps to determine what you want to blend together.

    • First, try out a variety of different green tea types and brands to discover what you love. Do you prize the sweet and subtle varieties, or do you prefer a little bite in each sip?
    • Next, it’s time to taste some coffee. Perform a similar tasting process to determine what type of coffee you want to highlight in your green tea concoction. You want to make sure the coffee won’t entirely overpower the tea, and vice versa.
    • Blend your two favorite flavor profiles together, along with the milk of your choice. Allow it to cool in your fridge, or heat the liquids together on the stove or in the microwave.

    If you want to sip on tea and coffee together, but don’t want to mix up or brew your own at home, coffee-and-tea drinks are available in coffee shops and even chain stores. Starbucks makes its very own green tea latte, and you can ask your barista to brew one for you at your favorite independent coffee spot.

    Don’t forget to ask for a shot of espresso or your favorite roast to be included – otherwise, they might hand you a tea-only latte similar to that of the chai latte.

    The Benefits of Green Tea Coffee

    In addition to an entirely new and delicious taste, combining green tea and coffee together can give you the energy boost you need to get through an afternoon slump, or to power through your morning routine.

    Green tea itself contains some caffeine, and coffee is a caffeinated powerhouse – together, these two offer a great combination of extra energy, one that can be beneficial if you feel yourself slogging through the day.

    However, too much caffeine can bring harmful side effects, so it’s important to remember that green tea coffee drinks will come with an increase in the milligrams of caffeine.

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    5 Facts You Never Knew About Green Tea Leaves

    If you’re a true tea lover, green tea has certainly made its way into your tea rotation – it might even be one of your favorites, thanks to its sweet and soft taste and wonderful benefits. Lower in caffeine content, uniquely colored, and gentler on the tongue than black tea, green tea is a fantastic in-between for those who aren’t quite white or oolong fans, or who prefer something other than black or herbal. Although you may be familiar with many different varieties of green tea and its leaves, it’s a type of tea that carries an interesting history, and some surprising facts. Here are a few facts about green tea leaves that might teach you a little more about this tea.

    1. Green Tea Leaves Got Their Start as a Tonic, Not a Tea.

    Although you’re familiar with boiling water and steeping green tea leaves to create a relaxing, tasty, and comforting cup of tea, tea wasn’t exactly what this beverage was when it was first invented. Legend has it that tea was invented accidentally, when a gust of wind blew tree leaves into Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s pot of boiling water – and once Nung drank that surprising mixture, the beverage took off. However, those who drank it in China for the first centuries of its existence sipped only for their health. Tea was known not by its current name, but as tonic. The Chinese people drank it as a medicinal beverage, hoping to cure ailments and promote health.

    1. You Can Use Green Tea Leaves to Repel Pests.

    If you’re worried about suffering countless itchy red bumps from mosquito bites during the summer months, grab some green tea leaves or premade bags. You don’t need to boil or heat any water, or even create tea; simply place the tea leaves into an empty tea bag and get them a tiny bit wet. Mosquitos hate the smell green tea leaves emit, and once the tea is wet, the pests will want to stay away. Surround yourself with these leaves, and you’ll be safe all night long.

    1. All Types of Tea Share the Same Origin.

    Green tea leaves may be your favorite of all tea types, but there’s a common thread among every tea: all varieties come from the same single plant, the Camellia sinensis. This plant is a variety of the flowering Camellia plant that can be found in gardens around the world, but grows larger and more tree like in its shape. Black, white, oolong, and green tea leaves are all plucked from a Camellia sinensis plant – it’s their processing that creates differences in taste and coloring. Green tea leaves, along with white, are picked while still young and processed only minimally.

    1. Green Tea Leaves Are Processed – Just Not as Much as Others.

    Yes, it’s true that green tea leaves are processed. However, that doesn’t mean they undergo the same mechanical or handmade processes as other teas. Green tea leaves are kept very close to their natural state, which leaves them with a higher number of antioxidants as well. Once picked, green tea leaves are cracked and rolled only slightly to limit the amount of oxygen that enters the leaves’ inner areas, helping to maintain their natural state and green coloring.

    1. The British Used to Smuggle Green Tea.

    Green tea wasn’t always as popular as it is today, but it certainly was valuable. In the late 1700s, not too many years after England first joined the budding tea craze, all tea leaves had to be smuggled into the country illegally. Due to trading restrictions and the high price of tea throughout the United Kingdom, tea smuggling became lucrative business – and, in an effort to make even more money off of unsuspecting tea lovers, some smugglers would stretch out their green tea leaves by adding different, non-tea leaves and even potentially poisonous plants. It wasn’t until 1785 that the British government caught on and stopped green tea smuggling by lowering taxes.

    The next time you brew yourself a kettle or cup of green tea leaves, dried to perfection and flavored just the way you love most, sometimes even made in the sun, you’ll know there’s a little more history and a little more intrigue behind those green leaves. It’s more than tasty, and more than a healthy drink; green tea leaves bring a natural, varied, and unique story to every cup thanks to their special attributes.

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    The Pros and Cons of Drinking Tea Before Bed

    Last updated: January 4th, 2017. It’s been a hard, long day and you’re looking forward to two things: your bed and a warm cup of tea.

    The question is: should you really be drinking that cup of tea before heading off to the magical land of Sleep? Are there any negative side-effects to drinking tea at night? The answer is “yes and no”, it really depends on a few variables…

    Black, green or white tea leaves contain traces of caffeine – a stimulant you probably want to avoid before bedtime. But drinking tea before bed can also be a great way to sooth your soul, relax your mind, and help you drift off to sleep – it’s just a matter of drinking the right kind.

    Between all of the main types of tea (green, oolong, black, white, puerh, yellow), they can all contain different amounts of caffeine, but it can vary. Some green teas may have more caffeine than some black teas, and so on. As a general rule of thumb, matcha will have the most caffeine because it’s more concentrated and you’re actually consuming all of the plant matter.

    Herbal teas generally don’t have any caffeine, or may have just very tiny trace amounts if any at all, making them a great choice.

    The different, of course, is that they aren’t steeped using actual tea leaves, but rather (often) a blend of various herbs, spices, and plants. You can make tea out of just about anything.

    Which teas are best to drink before bedtime?

    You may want to try herbal teas, such as chamomile or peppermint varieties which are more likely caffeine-free, and can also help with headaches. If they have regular tea leaves in the blend, there will still be trace amounts of caffiene, however it wont be as strong as pure leaf tea, for obvious reasons.

    source: pinterest.com
    source: pinterest.com

    But if you absolutely want to stick to your caffeinated tea blend at night, there might just be a light at the end of the tunnel for you: dunk your teabag quickly in a cup of hot water, then dump that cup out and make another hot cup of water and use the same teabag once again.

    A good portion of the caffeine is released early in the steeping process – so the quick dunk will help eliminate a portion of the stimulant leaving you with a slightly less caffeinated cup of tea.

    Of course, this method isn’t perfect or ideal, and if you’re sensitive enough to caffeine that tea keeps you up at night, you’ll want to steep something that has been specifically created for nighttime.

    Here are some highly-recommended teas for enjoying right before your bedtime, which have little to no caffeine, so they won’t keep you up. In fact, most of them have natural ingredients that can help relax, de-stress, and lull you into a peaceful slumber.

    BE SLEEPY (with Kava Kava, Valerian Root) – This tea has No Caffeine, and is blended to help you get a restful sleep.

     

    Yogi Bedtime Tea – Yogi is an organic tea brand, and this particular blend comes in packages of 16 bags. The ingredients include: organic licorice root, organic spearmint leaf, organic chamomile flower, organic skullcap leaf, organic cardamom seed, organic cinnamon bark, organic St. John’s Wort leaf & flower, organic rose hips, natural orange flavor, valerian root extract, organic raspberry leaf, organic English lavender flower, stevia leaf, and passion flower extract. The flavor is nice, mild, and deep.

     

    If you want something a bit different, check out their Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea!

    Green tea before bed to the Rescue

    If an herbal tea isn’t to your liking, green tea might just be the solution after all. Although, as noted above, there are traces of caffeine in green tea, it is substantially less then coffee, of course.

    Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which plays an important role in relaxation and sleep. Another fact about green tea before bedtime is the potential weight lost effects, however it’s important to be realistic in your expectations when it comes to tea and weight loss, or any other health benefits.

    Fresh Breath and Happy Tummy

    Peppermint tea is a great option as a warm pre-bedtime drink. It is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea that has great stomach settling benefits – which can always be practical after a heavy dinner or for an upset stomach. Nobody likes to go to bed with a rumbling tummy.

    Tea and Pyjamas

    A study carried out in 2012 by British bedlinen company Bedeck revealed that those who have the best night sleep finished dinner an hour and a half before going to bed, having their last cup of tea around 9:10 p.m.

    The study looked at the habits of 2,000 people during the crucial, sometimes hectic time slot in between arriving at home and going to bed. Does tea really play an important part in the whole relaxing process? For these Brits, it sure seems so.

    There isn’t a one size fits all recipe when it comes to tea or no tea before bed. We’re all made differently: our metabolisms, sleep habits and so much more goes into account when considering dropping or adopting the habit of a warm cup of tea before snoozing off.

    We suggest you give it a try or maybe if you’re having trouble, think about switching types of tea – and enjoy a good, long night of sleep.

    Our RECOMMENDATION:

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    Rookie Steeper’s Guide to Tea Lingo and Sounding like You Know What You’re Talking About

    Maybe not as well-known as the lingo used in coffee culture, tea enthusiasts have a language of their own that is rich and steeped in the history of the warm leaf drink.

    Here are a few examples of commonly used words you might hear in your favorite local tea spot.

    Afternoon Tea: A somewhat ritualistic mixture of tea and small finger sandwiches finished off by tiny sweets, usually little cakes and scones. Afternoon tea is usually consumed between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Many grand hotels with British roots across the globe still offer Afternoon tea to their clients and tourists. Afternoon tea shouldn’t be confused with High Tea which is an early evening dinner combined with tea.

    Black Tea: Composed of completely oxidized tea leaves, black tea has a stronger taste than its less oxidized cousins green, white and oolong teas. Black tea can retain its flavor for several years which explains why it was commonly used as a trade commodity. Many popular western blends of tea sue black tea as part of their composition: Earl Grey, English breakfast and Afternoon tea, Irish Breakfast and Masala Chai.

    Camellia Sinensis: It’s the tea plant. Seriously. If the tea you’re drinking did not originate from Camellia sinensis, then it simply isn’t tea. The various types of tea are differed by their geographical origins and the way the leaves were processed.

    Chanoyu: Japanese tea ceremony during which matcha is prepared. It is also referred to as “the way of tea”. The ceremony is based on Taoism and inspired by Zen Buddhism.

    Cuppa: This is the contraction of “cup of” mainly used by British when referring to a cup of tea: “I could really go for a cuppa right now”.

    Dustings: Occurs when using lower grade tea bags. The dust is a result the tea leaves once they’ve been picked and set aside.

    Gong Fu Cha: Also known as the “kung fu tea ceremony”, Gong Fu Cha is a traditional Chinese tea ritual which includes the preparation and presentation of tea. The term translates to “making tea with skill”. True tea connoisseurs have taken to using Gong Fu Cha as a method of fully experiencing their tea selections.

    Green Tea: Total opposite to black tea, green tea is composed of tea leaves that are minimally oxidized. There are several types of green teas – which distinct themselves by the regions and conditions where the leaves are harvested. Numerous health favorable health claims have been made about green tea over the years although following clinical research, no valuable conclusions have been reached.

    Matcha: In Japanese “ma” means powder while “cha” means tea and so, matcha literally translates to powdered green tea. Because the entire leaf is ingested in powder form, matcha tea is considered the most potent green tea in the world.

    Oolong Tea: Semi-oxidized tea also called ‘black dragon’ tea. Once the tea leaves are picked, they are rolled and allowed to oxidize which produces the floral notes oolongs are known for. Following the initial oxidization, oolongs are heated – even roasted sometimes – and carefully shaped one last time. The roasting of oolongs gives it a more coarse aroma and flavor similar to ripe fruits, nuts, caramel, and coffee or chocolate.

    Pu’erh Tea: A rather rare tea that has a full, rich flavor. It is oxidized like black tea but in addition, pu’erh also goes through a timely fermentation process (similar to wine) allowing its distinct flavor to develop.

    Rooibos: The rooibos plant originates from South Africa; it’s a shrub of the pea family and also referred to as the “red bush”. The leaves of the bush are used to make rooibos tea

    Tisane: French term that refers to herbal teas. Tisanes are usually composed of dried flowers, fruits and herbs which are then steeped in hot water. There are no actually tea leaves involved in tisanes.

    White tea: There’s very little processing when it comes to white tea. This particular type isn’t oxidized which means it retains many of the natural antioxidants but on the other side, it lacks a bit in terms of flavor, color or caffeine.

    Yunomi: In Japanese this translates to “cups for hot water”. It is used for everyday tea drinking, like your favorite cup. Its shape is usually cylindrical, made from ceramic, being taller than wide.

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    This Teapot Made of Chocolate Is Useless But So Necessary

    Well, maybe not entirely useless, but as the saying goes: “it’s as useful as a chocolate teapot.” The people who invented this choco teapot probabally heard that expression and wanting to prove conventional wisdom wrong.

    Apparently, you can actually fill this teapot with hot water and steep your tea. Add a little milk afterwards, and you’ve got a tasty combination of tea and hot chocolate. You probably can’t use it more than once or maybe twice, but they also mention using it as a fondue afterwards. That’s two uses, so far!

    Not in the mood to steep a cuppa? Just break off a piece and eat it. We’re already at 3 uses  for a chocolate tea pot, and haven’t even broken a sweat yet!

    How does it even work? When you imagine it in your head, don’t think of a thin chocolate easter egg or bunny, the chocolate in this teapot is a lot thicker, so the inside layer is going to melt from the hot water but the pot will remain intact. This would make a really unique gift for somebody that loves tea.

    Here’s the thing about buying gifts for people that have hobbies and passions: If you have a friend that’s passionate about something, you should usually avoid getting them anything to do with their passion because you aren’t going to know what’s good and what isn’t, what they have, or what they need. For example, you wouldn’t buy a paintbrush for an artist unless you knew exactly which one they needed – because chances are they’ve already got a great brush or need something very specific. Tea is kind of the same way, at least when it comes to tea accessories. If you know somebody who is a huge tea lover/snob, it’s very thoughtful to grab them some leaves from the grocery store or a new kettle, but chances are their tastes are kind of beyond that point and they already have everything they need. That’s not to say that we don’t love getting new teas to try or aren’t extremely grateful for any gifts received, but this is a helpful rule of thumb to keep in mind.

    Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is… a chocolate teapot is a really cool gift because:

    1. They’re not already going to own one.
    2. It’s not trying to replace their existing tea rituals.
    3. CHOCOLATE!!!
    4. It’s just fun and unique.

    But I’m not trying to sell you on it. £24.99 is a lot to pay for a pound and a half of chocolate. But… so tempting.

    Here’s a funny description from Firebox, where you can buy this chocolate tea pot if you’re so inclined to: 

    “Hahahahahah, as much use as a Chocolate Teapot. Hahahhaahah. Great gag. 

    Well get ready to have your tiny little mind blown as we’ve turned the world on it’s head and made the useless – useful! 

    And tasty. 

    Handmade in Britain, from quality dark chocolate (58% cocoa solids) this 600g teapot turns old wisdom on it’s stupid old head. 

    Simply fill the Chocolate Teapot with hot water, stir in cocoa powder and you’ve got a lovely hot chocolate drink to pour. 

    Add more water to create a retro chocolate fondue inside. Dip any of your favourite grub; banana, strawberries, sausages or marshmallows etc into the creamy chocolate fondue and enjoy the chocolate covered scrumptiousness. 

    When finished, simply break up the teapot and eat it. Who’s useless now eh?! 

    Eh????”

    A huge thanks to Angela from Tea With Friends for bringing this chocolate tea cup to our attention, and just for having a great blog in general!

    Tea Perspective is a collective of tea bloggers, and we’re always looking for new contributors! Whether you want to write one piece for us, or join the team on an on-going basis, get in touch – we’re always happy to hear from you! 

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    The Ultimate Guide to Sweetening Your Tea

    Although sugar and tea have long been companions, the rise in health issues like obesity and diabetes has caused many to give up this classic sweetener.

    A skull made from white sugar highlights the potential dangers of this sweet, sweet powder.
    A skull made from white sugar highlights the potential dangers of this sweet, sweet powder.

    However, with the increasing variety of potential sweeteners, it can be difficult to discern the right amount or even the best option. Here’s a cheat-sheet to help you navigate the murky waters of artificial (and natural) sweeteners for your tea. First up, let’s start out with a quick look at artificial sweeteners, then we’ll move on to natural sweeteners (and zero-calorie natural sweeteners!)

    Artificial Sweeteners

    Most artificial products are a great deal sweeter than sugar but are safe for diabetics as they have been altered to be processed differently from sugars. However, these zero calorie sweeteners come with a bitter aftertaste. The main artificial non-caloric sweeteners include aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, or Equal, Sweet’n’Low, and Splenda as they are better known. One packet generally translates into 2 teaspoons of sugar, and all pair best with teas that have a similarly strong taste profile

    Natural Sweeteners

    White sugar is the most common natural sweetener, but it requires a long extraction process from sugarcane or sugar beet that includes chemical refining and bleaching. Other sweeteners have been gaining traction among tea drinkers, even including less refined but richer raw sugar.

    • Honey effectively removes bitterness and brings out floral notes; however, it should be not be boiled to remain effective and should be added in moderation as it is usually very sweet.
    • Agave syrup has half as much sugar as honey or table sugar for a similar kick of sweetness. It can be used in small amounts and is especially well-suited to subtler white and oolong teas.
    • Maple syrup has fewer calories than honey but similar sweetness; both it and more mildly sweet brown rice syrup best complement nutty and fruity teas.
    • Coconut oil adds a lightly sweet, earthy flavor but should be added in small amounts.
    • Coconut sugar offers a similar sweetness as table sugar but with a lower glycemic rating.
    • Blackstrap molasses adds a toasty, bitter flavor so should be used with bold, powerful teas.
    • Sugar syrup provides a liquefied variation on white sugar for use in cold drinks, in particular.

    All have lower glycemic indices than table sugar, though coconut sugar and molasses have added benefits in terms of high vitamin and mineral contents. Unlike artificial sweeteners, each tea drinker will have to test how much to add to their tea in order to craft the perfect cup of tea.

    Natural non-caloric sweeteners

    The smallest sub-group of sweeteners includes low-calorie, natural sweeteners created from sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, and erythritol that result from corn or sugarcane fermentation. With an average of 2 calories per gram, these are about half as sweet as sugar, do not produce spikes in blood glucose, and they support dental health.

    A leaf from the stevia plant sitting next to a pile of the natural sweetener.
    A leaf from the stevia plant sitting next to a pile of the natural sweetener.

    While each packet equals roughly 2 teaspoons of table sugar, sugar alcohols do have the potential to create a mild laxative effect. In contrast, extracts of plants like stevia and monkfruit, which are much sweeter than table sugar, provide more refined sweeteners. In tablet, powder, or syrup, stevia in particular creates a smooth but slightly bitter, liquorice flavor profile that pairs well with bold-tasting teas. As with natural sweeteners, start small to see what suits your tea.

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    How to Adjust Your Brewing Methods for Different Types of Tea

    Although tea comes in many varieties, from herbal to green, black, and white, all the pure teas come from the bud and leaves of one plant, Camellia Sinensis. Different picking times and aging conditions produce unique flavors and aromas but only when properly brewed. Knowing how to best brew each type will ensure that you have a satisfying cup – no matter what variety of tea you choose.

    Tea Types

    • As the lightest of the pure teas, white tea originates with the youngest leaves, which are quickly dried to ensure a sweet flavor.
    • Green tea, in turn, comes from slightly older leaves that are heated before being rolled to allow for some oxidation, lower caffeine, and a lightly toasted flavor.
    • Matcha tea comes from ground-up green tea leaves whisked with a small amount of water; this grassy tea is especially popular in Japanese tea ceremonies.
    • Oolong tea is made from bruised and torn leaves that experience partial oxidation for a fuller flavor.
    • Black tea leaves are rolled and given a much longer time to oxidize, resulting in its bold, rich, and complex flavor profile.
    • Herbal teas are not made from tea leaves and instead involve dried herbs, fruits, and flowers, including the yerba plant of South American Mate and the South African Red Bush of Rooibos teas.

    Boiling and Brewing     

    how-to-brew                                                                  

    Capturing the spirit of a tea can be a complicated process, so you must use leaves, vessels, water, temperature, and time carefully. To start, bring water to a gentle boil; purified or spring water is best for maintaining minerals that enhance flavor. From there, each variety of tea will differ in brewing methods.

    • Delicate white tea should be brewed for 3 minutes at 176 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Green teas should be steeped 1 to 2 minutes at 158 to 176 degrees for steamed Japanese varieties and 2 to 3 minutes at 176 to 185 degrees for Chinese pan-fried leaves.
    • Light and heavy oolong teas require 3 minutes at 185 to 203 degrees and 203 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
    • Black teas should be brewed at 203 degrees, though broken leafs require only 2 to 3 minutes versus full leaf’s 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Pu-erh fermented teas should be brewed at 212 degrees for 3 minutes.
    • Herbal blends generally require only 3 minutes at 212 degrees in a glass or porcelain pot.

    Green tea should thus be brewed briefly at lower temperatures, though black tea requires longer heat to release its sweet flavor. Similarly, while iron and heavier tea pots work best for black and other high temperature teas, green and white leaves should be used with cooler materials like porcelain or glass.

    Brewing each type of tea according to these guidelines will ensure that you experience the full flavor possible for white, black, green, and other tea types. Remember that some brewing methods differ by culture, such as chai, which is usually made by boiling milk and spices with black tea, and matcha, which is often made using a specially designed whisk. Since stronger teas can actually flavor pots over time, consider using a separate one for each type so that you’re always able to savor their individual flavors.

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    5 Ways To Jazz Up Your Healthy Turmeric Tea

    All hail the latest and greatest golden spice that health nuts have been raving about: Turmeric. Turmeric, often associated with Indian cuisine, has been on high demand and folks have been struggling to find new and innovative ways to incorporate this exotic spice that boasts a wide array of health benefits into our daily lives. So, if you’re not eating curry on regular basis, what’s the best way to consume turmeric? Turmeric Tea, of course!

    If you Google “Turmeric Tea Recipe”, chances are you’ll find several variations and wonder, which is best? After some research (and development) here’s a solid go-to recipe:

    Turmeric Tea aka Golden Milk Tea

    This recipe makes roughly two 8 ounce servings:

    • 8 oz. Hot Water
    • 8 oz. Full-Fat Milk (I like coconut milk best, though, any type of milk will do.)
    • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric (Slices/Grated Turmeric Root is great, too!)
    • ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon (A Cinnamon Stick offers a much more mild cinnamon flavor)
    • ½ tsp Ground Ginger (Sliced/Grated Ginger Root, like Turmeric Root, is a great substitute.)
    • ½ tsp Black Peppercorn Berries (In a pinch, try a small amount of Cayenne Pepper)
    • Honey for desired sweetness* – about 1 tsp

    *If you use a sweetened full-fat milk, you won’t need the additional sweetener.

    1. Bring water to boil and steep turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black peppercorn berries the same way you’d steep loose-leaf tea with a tea strainer. While the spices steep for about 5 minutes, heat the milk.
    2. Milk should be heated gently and slowly. Excessive heat can result in a scorched flavor and/or a film of protein on the top of the milk. You can avoid these problems by placing milk into a microwave-safe container, microwaving on medium-high (about 70% power), and stirring every 15 seconds until steam begins to rise from the milk.
    3. Once your spices are done steeping and your milk has been heated, combine the two and add honey if desired.

    Now that we have a solid Turmeric Tea recipe, let’s explore a few tasty twists on this classic blend!

    jazz-up-turmeric

    5. Citrus Tummy-Tamer Tea

    Citrus fruits are known for their detoxifying and digestive aid properties and marry beautifully with Turmeric Tea.

    Follow the base recipe above and add a Lemon Ginger tea bag to the spice steeping process. If you don’t have Lemon Ginger tea bags, lemon zest works too! I’ll usually add about a teaspoon of lemon zest – or any zest, for that matter. Have an orange or a grapefruit lying around? Zest it up, add it to your steeping process, and you won’t be disappointed.

    4. Chai-Me-Up Milk Tea

    Many chai ingredients happen to be present in the base Turmeric Tea recipe listed above. So, why not intensity the already spicy flavor with a few extra ingredients like whole cloves, allspice berries and ground cardamom? Or, if you don’t have those extra ingredients at your disposal, grab a chai tea bag and add it to the spice steeping process.

    Beware: this intense flavor combination isn’t for the faint of heart!

    3. Perfect Pistachio Turmeric Tea

    I’ll never forget the first time I tried pistachio ice cream. The sweet/savory combination set the bar incredibly high for other ice creams out there. I’ll never be the same. I’ve searched high and low for a quick and easy way to replicate the flavor at home- and I think I found it.

    During the milk-heating process, add a handful of pistachios to the milk. The oils from the nuts will release an intoxicating flavor and aroma. You could either strain the pistachios from the milk before adding to the steeped spices or you could blend the pistachio milk with an immersion blender before straining the pistachios from the milk in order to achieve a full-flavored pistachio milk.

    2. Golden Tropical Tea

    This tea is reminiscent of a tropical vacation and definitely won’t disappoint! Follow the same milk-steeping process for the Perfect Pistachio Turmeric Tea, but instead of pistachios, use pieces of fresh or frozen peaches and mangos. Now, all you need is a salty breeze and some sand between your toes to get the full effect of a Polynesian Paradise.

    1. Bulletproof Turmeric Tea

    There’s a very good chance you’ve heard of Bulletproof Coffee. What about Bulletproof Tea? Bulletproof Tea follows the same premise, but instead of ground coffee, you’ll use the spices noted in the base recipe above. Follow this recipe and replace the ground coffee with the Turmeric Tea spice blend.

    Voila! Spicy goodness with all of the Bulletproof Coffee and Turmeric Tea benefits!

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    6 Cozy Teas To Get You Through A Long, Cold Winter

    Spring may be just around the corner, but it seems like winter wants to hang around just a little bit longer.

    Don’t let the sunnier days fool you, it’s still pretty cold out there. There is, of course, a remedy to keep your spirit up during those frosty evenings or chilly weekends: a warm cup of tea.

    6 Best Winter Teas in 2017

    Here are five different types of tea to help keep you warm during the winter (Or you know, just for whenever…)

    6. French Breakfast Tea

    Traditionally produced with leaves that originate from the high mountain region of Ceylon, this blend will produce a smooth amber cup with gentle notes of peaches and honey in the finish, perfect to start off slowly a Saturday morning. Black tea lovers will love it.

    5. Darjeeling Tea

    What isn’t there to love about a cup of Darjeeling tea? More layered and complex than green teas, the Darjeeling is actually classified as a black tea although it is much lighter and less astringent than other black teas.

    Often referred to as the “Champagne of teas”, its flavor is reminiscent of French grapes – almost like a muscat wine. Perfect to wind down after a day at the office.

    4. Earl Grey

    Just like the Darjeeling, Earl Grey is a great classic you just can’t go wrong with. There are many benefits to this classic such as stress relief and heart disease prevention, and even the ability to improve your energy.

    But Earl Grey can also give you that extra kick to start off a cold day or help you improve your immune system to fight off that nasty cold that’s been running around the office.

    3. Cinnamon Spice

    There are a few Cinnamon spice teas available on the market that may just be what you need if you like something sweet with a kick. Sit back with your favorite book, sip away at your warm cup of cinnamon goodness (and possibly experience a flashback to the Holidays).

    2. Chai Spice Black

    If cinnamon just doesn’t cut it for you give a Chai spice black tea a try. Flavors include ginger, cinnamon, clove and cardamom.

    Its strong aroma tells of a penetrating taste that’s just a little bit sweet. It’s the blend to go to when you want to feel a little exotic in your pyjamas, lounging around the living room.

    1. Lemon and Honey

    Alright, technically speaking this isn’t really a tea because there’s no actual tea involved. It’s essentially lemon juice, honey and hot water.

    This classic combination is perfect when you feel the sniffles coming on. If you must have tea, pair the dynamic duo of lemon juice and honey with some Earl Grey tea.

    Did you enjoy this seasonal tea selection? We can do more lists like these for different seasons, occasions, holidays, moods… just let us know in the comments what you’d like to read next! 

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    Green Tea: Popular Types and How To Enjoy Them

    Records of green tea drinking go back to China in 2700 BC, but it was its popularity with sailors as protection from scurvy that helped green tea spread around the world. Today, this beverage is renowned for its ability to boost metabolism and strengthen the body against cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Yet, many underestimate the variety of green teas and related brewing methods.

    Popular Types of Green Tea

    green-tea-white-cup

    China and Japan are the main sources for green tea, with Japanese blends tending toward lighter, herbal notes and Chinese options taking on more robust, toasty flavor. Here are some stand-out varieties:

    • Gunpowder tea is a popular Chinese variety grown mainly in Zhejian province that is processed as pellets to preserve its sweet, earthy taste against odors and damage.
    • Dragonwell or Long Jing is high quality tea named after a mountain village where these flat, jade leaves were first grown to create a smooth, sweet, and delicate taste.
    • Gyokuro is the best of Japanese green teas with flat, pointed leaves that are covered 20 days before picking to produce a smooth, light fragrance and a rich flavor.
    • Sencha tea is the most common Japanese tea, produced later in the cycle with leaves that are steamed, rolled, dried, and baked to create a grassy, mellow flavor like seaweed.
    • Genmaicha is a Sencha tea that is pan fired and blended half-and-half with roasted and popped rice to create a kid-friendly, low caffeine brew.
    • Matcha is a stoneground Japanese tea powder produced in the Uji region from mainly shade-grown leaves. It is used in tea ceremonies and froths when mixed with hot water.

    There are also teas for the first picking of the season in both countries, including the low caffeine, refreshing Shincha tea of Japan that is made from lush spring shoots and leaves.

    Brew It Yourself

    Green teas have relatively delicate leaves, which can make brewing a bit tricky. Since their primary flavor compounds are soluble at lower temperatures, green teas should be steeped for longer periods, typically several minutes, at lower temperatures of 140 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

    As a general rule, high-grade leaves should be brewed at lower temperatures within that range, while those with unique aromas will require greater heat. This will ensure a full infusion of each variety’s unique flavor set, though further instruction can be found through tea enthusiast and manufacturer websites. One major exception is matcha, which is made by stirring the powder with a specially-designed, bamboo whisk.

    Making the Perfect Cup

    Much of the brewing process will depend on the particular variety of green tea. High-grade Sencha and premium Gyokuro specifically fare better with a small teapot, while Genmaicha is generally brewed in a larger one.

    Sweetening your Green Teas

    In terms of sweeteners, honey best complements green teas with assertive floral and citrus flavors that blend well. Other options include neutral agave syrup and potent artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, stevia, and aspartame. However, sweeteners will likely shift green tea’s zero-calorie status, as in the case of matcha with sugar, which contains 30 calories per serving.

    However you customize your tea, remember to enjoy the experience of tea; consider using tea cups that are white on the inside to help appreciate the color of your brew or small cups to ensure that you enjoy every sip of a premium tea.

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    5 Tips for Buying Tea Ethically

    When choosing your tea, it’s important to consider the ethical implications of your purchase. While most tea is grown in developing countries with poor wages and working conditions, but certified teas provide a means to improve working conditions and cut related pollution. With a little bit of education, you can ensure that your tea choices help support tea producing communities the world over!

    1. Understand the Problem

    Only four organizations dominate the international market, and they have ensured little change in tea prices in the last several decades. As a result, the industry is marked by poor wages and working conditions, with little of the profits reaching tea-producing countries, much less farmers and workers. A

    t the same time, farms rely on monocultures and pesticides that harm local environments. Even some certification programs have failed, as in the recent auditing of Rainforest Alliance farms in Assam where workers were found living and working in dangerous and degrading conditions, including child labor.

    2. Know Your Certifications

    With a strong understanding of the problem, the next step is to educate yourself on the most common ethical standards and certifications, including the following.

    • Fair Trade certification requires fair prices, labor, and environmental sustainability.
    • Rainforest Alliance is a business-friendly set of standards for better farm management.
    • Ethical Tea Partnership is an alliance of packaging companies that monitors production.
    • UTZ is a farming sustainability certification that encourages better management for estates.
    • Organic certification regulates the impacts of farming on wildlife and local ecosystems.
    • Soil Association certifies organic production and supports direct, fair trade.
    • Equal Exchange certifies fair trade and organic tea on a small farming model.

    Some have flaws, like Rainforest Alliance, which only requires a third of tea to meet vague standards, and Ethical Tea Partnership, which gives certification to companies for working towards their standards.

    3. Go Organic

    Nobody wants to think that our tea habits could actually be harming the environment or other people around the world.
    Nobody wants to think that our tea habits could actually be harming the environment or other people around the world.

    Buying organic means that your tea is produced using environmentally friendly farming practices with minimal pesticides and other pollution. Organizations like Soil Association provide not only higher quality tea containing fewer pesticides, but also greater support for the farmers producing them. Others like Equal Exchange combine organic and fair trade practices through long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships in support of better working conditions and tea products.

    4. Ensure Fair Trade

    Fair trade certification ensures direct trade with farming communities while encouraging community development and environmental sustainability. So, buying fair trade tea will pay workers a living wage and train them to better compete in the global marketplace. You’ll also be investing in farming community healthcare, education, and the preservation of their environments. Fundamentally, your money will help cultivate strong relationship between buyers, suppliers, and their communities.

    5. Support Local Communities

    Tea pickers hard at work in Vietnam.
    Tea pickers hard at work in Vietnam.

    While buying organic, fair trade, and other certified teas can help raise industry standards, purchasing from organizations that provide more direct support to growers and farmers will help their individual communities. For instance, organizations like Tea People donate portions of profits to educational and otherwise develop tea growing regions. Unlike fair trade standards, which have only limited ability to raise wages, monitoring and developing local economies can have more direct, positive impacts.

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    Jasmine Tea: Everything You Need To Know About This Floral Blend

    Though the origin of Jasmine Tea has been up for debate over many years, we are certain of one thing: it’s a crowd pleaser due to its intoxicating floral fragrance, mild flavor, and laundry list of potential health benefits. Most Jasmine teas found in your local grocery store fall into the green tea category, though, there are white, oolong, and black tea varieties out there for those not too keen on green. Aside from having a versatile base, what is it about Jasmine tea that makes us love it so much.
    Jasmine is one of the more popular floral types of tea.
    Jasmine for Aromatherapy

    jasmine-oil

    Jasmine is an intensely sweet-smelling vining flower or flowering shrub (depending on the species) and its scent has often been associated with femininity, romance, and stress relief. All of these qualities attribute to many religious and cultural ceremonies that celebrate this delicately delicious flower. Whether the flowers themselves have been dried and incorporated with green tea leaves or the essence of the flower has been extracted and added to green tea leaves, the aromatic effects are similar. So, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or just want to feel good, brew some Jasmine Tea and take in a deep breath before sipping. You’ll thank me later.

    Antibacterial Agents

    Since most Jasmine Teas have a green tea base, we can’t dismiss the health benefits that green tea lends; one being the polyphenols found in green tea. Polyphenols aren’t just antioxidants that aid in heart health, they also help fight off harmful bacteria that contributes to upset stomach and indigestion. Chances are if you introduce Jasmine Green Tea (or any green tea for that matter) to your daily diet, you’ll have a happy gut- and a happy heart, too!

    Balanced Blood Sugar

    We’re going to circle back to polyphenols for a minute cause they really are one of the biggest contributors when it comes to how awesome this Jasmine Tea is. One of the polyphenol types found in Jasmine Tea are called Flavonoids. Flavonoids enhance insulin secretion, regulate glucose metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase glucose uptake by cells. Most individuals in the western world struggle with balancing their blood sugar and I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to stay balanced.

    Weight Loss

    The afore-mentioned cause of polyphenols in Jasmine Tea lead us to the inevitable effect of weight loss for Jasmine Tea drinkers. When blood sugar is balanced and good bacteria is thriving in the gut, one is bound to shed a few unwanted inches from the waistline. But we mustn’t forget that weight loss isn’t all about diet- exercise is important, too! One of the biggest reasons why people choose not to exercise on a regular basis is due to lack of energy. Problem solved! Jasmine Green Tea contains 25 mg of caffeine per 8 ounce cup. That’s roughly a third of what an 8 ounce cup of coffee has to offer. A small amount of caffeine works wonders to get you up and moving around and it won’t dehydrate you the way coffee does. It is incredibly important to stay hydrated, especially when exercising.

    Best Jasmine Tea Brew Methods

    jasmine-flower

    Now that we understand why we love Jasmine Tea so much, let’s get into the best way to brew it. Whether you’re brewing loose leaf or bagged tea, water temperature, tea leaf to water ratio, and steep times are the same. To get started on the perfect cup of Jasmine Tea, I recommend the following:

    Electric Gooseneck Kettle

    A gooseneck spout promotes a steady pour without any spillage. Gooseneck kettles can be found online and are fairly inexpensive if you opt for the non-electric ones. Though, many prefer electric in order to set the perfect temperature of 180F and for the water to heat up in seconds. Why 180F? Why not the boiling point of 212F? Jasmine Tea is very delicate and can be easily over-extracted, resulting in a bitter tasting tea.

    Food Scale

    Now, you might think a scale is a little overboard- but trust me on this. Tea leaf to water ratio can make or break your tea. For the perfect cup of Jasmine Tea, there’s typically 3 grams (about one teaspoon) of tea leaf to 8 ounces of water. You could always eyeball it, which is totally acceptable. Keep in mind that results may vary depending the type of tea you choose.

    Timer

    If you opt for an electric kettle and/or an electric scale, it will likely have a built in timer. For optimal Jasmine Tea extraction, steep no longer than 5 minutes. A common misconception is that a longer steep time will result in a stronger flavor. Tea steeped longer than 5 minutes will result in a bitter tasting tea.
    Now, go forth and enjoy your jasmine tea!
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    The Pros and Cons of Bagged Tea vs Loose Leaf Tea

    While bagged tea remains popular for convenient brewing, many tea enthusiasts prefer loose leaf for its generally better flavor and aroma. Yet, when it was originally invented in the early 1900s, bagged tea was a luxury; in fact, a New York tea merchant first put loose leaf tea into silk bags for easy shipping. Once drinkers discovered the ease of bag-brewing, the practice took off, with gauze, cotton, and finally heat-sealable paper bags. Yet, it is the production of these tea varieties that creates their differences.

    Is Bagged a Better Option?

    TEA-BAGS

    Bagged tea may be convenient, but its high-volume production relies on the crush-tear-curl (CTC) method of cutting up leafs into a low-grade mix of dust and fannings. While originally intended to increase tea surface area, infusion speed, and overall flavor, the result is often a one-dimensional, even bitter profile, especially as producers tend to use lower quality leaves to start. At the same time, bagged teas are also limited to one steeping as essential oils quickly evaporate. The bags themselves pose certain problems, as well, as their shape and material often impede water flow and tea expansion. Bleached paper bags sealed with glue, in particular, tend to release unwanted chemicals, even as they collapse onto and compress leaves. Yet, bagged teas are generally cheaper and easier to use.

    Are Loose Leaves Lovelier?

    loose-eaf-tea

    On the other hand, loose leaf teas are only produced seasonally because they are hand-picked and hand-sorted in small quantities. They are then micro-blended and sealed in airtight containers, such as tins or re-sealable pouches, to ensure superior quality and flavor. When brewed, the whole leaves also ensure that hot water fully infuses the full flavor and aroma, alongside vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Due to their lesser surface area and retaining of essential oils, loose leaf teas can actually be steeped multiple times for multiple cups. However, they tend to use higher quality leaves to start, so brewing with loose leaf tea is already more likely to produce subtle aromas and dynamic flavor. However, as an artisanal product, higher quality loose leaf blends will generally have a higher price tag.

    For both bagged and loose leaf, it’s important to choose your tea carefully. Although bagged teas have historically tended to be lower quality, recent changes are making it possible to have high-quality bagged tea. In particular, many bag loose leaf blends rather than dust and fannings. Many more use bags that are made from unbleached, compostable, or other higher quality materials, and several producers are shifting to different shapes like pyramids that increase water flow for better brewing. In short, the quality of your tea comes down to the quality of materials used, loose or otherwise.

    Lets sum it all up with bullet lists because everyone loves bullet lists.

    PROS OF LOOSE LEAF TEA:

    • Generally a better flavor.
    • Generally a better aroma.

    PROS OF BAGGED TEA:

    • It used to be considered a luxury item and that’s kind of cool.
    • It’s more convenient.
    • It’s generally cheaper (And of lower quality…)

    CONS OF LOOSE LEAF TEA:

    • Delicious and amazing. Wait, that’s not a con…

    CONS OF BAGGED TEA:

    • Crush-Tear-Curl.
    • It’s bagged tea.
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    Watch People Reacting To Different Types of Tea From Around the World

    Look at all of the different types of tea they got to sample one after another, who else is a bit jealous? In this video, you’ll see people trying various types of tea from all over the world and reacting to them. It’s a fun, quick video… and if you’re looking for some interesting new drinks to try next time you’re feeling worldly, here’s a great place to start.

    Not too long ago, teas from different parts of the planet were a delicacy reserved for the wealthier members of society. Remember, it used to take a lot more than a trip to the shopping mall or an online order to get tea from other countries – sailors would risk their lives to transport tea across deadly oceans, along with herbs, spices, and other staples that we take for granted.

     

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    Sweet Tea: Literally Everything You Need To Know In One Place

    Hey sweeties, ready to talk about sweet tea? 

    This one’s going to be a doozy because there’s a lot to go over. Let’s get all the basic stuff out of the way quickly so that we can dive into the deep end of sweet tea where we’ll be talking about different ways to sweeten your tea, some unique twists on the popular Southern beverage, and even sharing some famous recipes.

    Here’s how to make a tasty variation on Southern sweet tea:

    Two big, frosty cups of sweet tea, waiting for you to enjoy them.

    So, what exactly is “sweet tea”, anyways?

    The name itself really gives it away, doesn’t it? It’s tea… that is sweet. But there’s a little more to it than that. Not just any tea with sweetener gets to wear the official sweet tea crown, and the criteria will vary depending on who you’re asking, but generally speaking:

    • It’s made with water.
    • It’s made with black tea bags.
    • It’s made with sugar.
    • And more sugar. (It’s not uncommon for people to drink it with upwards of twice the sugar of a Coca-Cola can, so be careful when you’re ordering this at restaurants and trying to cut back on your sugar intake.) 
    • And ice.

    The recipe is basically to add as much as you want of each ingredient, to suit your own personal taste. Want a stronger tea taste? Use more tea bags. Want a tea that’s not as sweet? Use less sugar. (Don’t worry, we’ll give you a much more specific recipe, along with all sorts of modifications you can make to make it your own.)

    Some recipes will call for simple syrup, which basically just means you’re mixing the sugar with some of the water beforehand. The ingredients are the same, the process is a bit different. Speaking of which, let’s quickly go over some of the various sweetening options.

    There are a lot of different ways to sweeten tea, and you’ll need to adjust your recipe accordingly if you’re using an alternative sweetener to sugar. Most sweeteners will give you an idea how much of them it takes to equal 1tbsp of sugar, so use those same guidelines to adjust whichever recipe you use to make your sweetened iced tea. Here are some popular choices:

    • Xylitol
    • Stevia
    • Maple syrup/maple sugar
    • Coconut sugar

    We’re going a lot more in-depth on the topic of sweetening your tea with an upcoming article, once it’s posted I’ll add a link to it right here.

    The origins of this sweet, satisfying drink

    Sweet tea wasn’t always made with black tea in America. It used to be made with green tea, mainly from Japan, but around World War II the supplies were cut off so the green tea was replaced with black tea from India.

    The first cookbook known to reference a recipe for this drink is called Housekeeping in Old Virginia and was written/compiled at Marion Cabell Tyree. This was a community cookbook, but we have a feeling that people were making some variation of sweet tea long before that.

    In the early ‘1900s, sweet tea was considered as a luxury item but not because of fancy sugars or rare tea leaves… it was the difficulty of transporting ice, and the lack of refrigeration, that made a cup of tea filled to the brim with ice an item of extreme luxury. Thankfully, nowadays, it’s a lot more readily available and won’t cost you an arm and a leg (Unless, of course, you use way too much sugar and lose your limbs to diabetes, so be carful!)

    Interesting sweet teas from around the world

    In Japan, they have a drink called Amacha. It is made from fermented Hydrangea leaves, contains no caffeine, and is sweetened with Phyllodulcina sweetener that is 800 times as potent as normal sugar.

    How to sweeten your tea, pirate style.

    Pirates — the kind that used to sail around in boats — also used to drink something called Tortuga, a non-alcoholic cocktail used when they were celebrating their pirating-ways. It was made with iced tea, brown sugar, and garnished with cinnamon and a lime wedge.

    Alright, you’ve made it this far…

    Still looking for a solid recipe for sweet tea? 

    I won’t tease you any longer. Here’s an excellent recipe for the drink-of-the-hour. This is our take on the classic, common recipe, that makes just the right amount for a sunny weekend.

    • 1-2 pinches of baking soda
    • 4 cups of boiling water
    • 16 tea bags
    • 1.5 cups of sugar (or alternative sweeter, as the case may be. Remember to adjust this measurement based on how strong your sweetener of choice is.)
    • 12 cups of cool water.
    • Ice.

    Sounds easy enough, right? It is! Here’s how to put it all together: 

    1. All you need to do is add the tea bags and the baking soda into a large enough container (Or feel free to cut the recipe in half, if you don’t want as much or don’t have a big enough container.)
    2. Then pour the boiling water into your container (We strongly recommend going with glass, because plastic doesn’t always handle the hear very well.)
    3. Let the tea bags steep in the hot water for 5-6 minutes. Some recipes recommend steeping the tea bags for upwards of 15 minutes, but I prefer to use more tea bags and to not steep for quite as long to avoid bitterness.
    4. After removing the tea bags, stir in the sugar and mix until it’s dissolved.
    5. Add the rest of the cold water, and place your container in the fridge until it’s cold and ready to be enjoyed. Or just add ice.
    6. That’s it! But you can definitely jazz it up, if you want to…

    Other versions of sweet tea to try

    Here are some awesome variations that you can make to the classic drink. We don’t need to include recipes for every single one of these because frankly, it’s pretty straight forward.

    Add citrus. This one’s easy enough. Whether it’s a squeeze of orange, lemon, lime, or using them as garnish… a little zest never hurt anybody, did it?

    Add mint. Mint juleps, anybody? The perfect combination of two classic Southern drinks.

    Add lava. Don’t actually do this, I’m just checking who is still paying attention ;).

    Add ginger and honey. Another great twist on a classic.

    Add peach slices. This is how they do it “Governor’s Mansion” style, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    Do be a dear and leave a comment with some of your own ideas and suggestions for making a perfect summer iced tea.

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    Fighting The Munchies With Tea

    As cannabis use becomes more mainstream, and less taboo to talk about, and legal in more and more places around the world, we’re able to explore all sorts of interesting subjects that relate to marijuana.

    It’s worth saying that everybody reacts different to different substances and we don’t condone or promote doing anything that might be legal in your area, but if you are somebody that has chosen to partake in the other kind of leaf, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the munchies.

    tea-mandula

    Even if you aren’t a toker, you’ll find this article interesting because the basic topic is appetite suppression through tea, but there’s more to it than that. We’ll talk about the weight loss benefits of tea, which are primairly the mental assistance that tea can give you.

    The Mental Munches

    When you smoke up, you aren’t somehow drastically increasing your metabolism to the point where you need to make up the lost calories with a large pizza, a bag of chips, and a box of Oreos. A big part of the munchies is just a mental response, a habit – if you will.

    For generations, the munchies have been carved into pop culture as an absolute truth so everybody who smokes then proceeds to expect them.

    You could choose to ignore the munchies, but it’s not to easy. Another key factor in why the munchies are so pervasive, and powerful, is because food simply tastes really, really good while you’re under certain influences.

    This is where tea steps in…

    Going into the kitchen to brew a tasty cup of tea as a powerful weapon against over-eating due to the munchies, for several reasons.

    Firstly, when you go to brew your tea, you’re going through the same motions of going to the kitchen and getting a snack. You’re just choosing a much healthier snack than reaching for junk food or empty calories, especially when you’ve already eaten.

    Secondly, it gives you something to put in your mouth. The first reason was going through the movements of getting up and fetching something from the kitchen, and this second reason that tea can help with the munchies is that you are able to consume it. There are very minimal calories in plain tea, and only a few more once you add a small amount of a sweetener or a dash of milk, if you’re feeling decadent.

    Lastly… it tastes absolutely delicious. Tea is always tasty, but you may pick up on a much deeper appreciation for the flavors as they dance around in your mouth.

    Munchies? Try reaching for the kettle next time, your senses will thank you.

    Want to check out something really cool? Take a look at some of the funniest, most unique, and downright interesting tea cups. 

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    Teas That Can Help You Lose That Extra Holiday Weight

    Another member of the Tea Perspective team has written an article on their musings in regards to tea and weight loss, you can find it here, and it’s recommended reading for anyone who is thinking that tea can help them easily shed pounds.

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year — but it’s also the time of year that cause most of us to bemoan our weight once the season ends. With so many parties, so many dinners, and so many treats, the holiday season is known for widening waistlines and adding pounds. If you’re worried that this time of the year will leave you fighting your clothing come January, try drinking a few cups of tea. Tea is more than a healthy beverage; it’s known to improve your health, no matter what type you choose. Certain tea varieties in particular can help you lose the weight of the holidays, and all you have to do is take a minute to make and drink a cup.

    These are the varieties that will help you shed that unwanted excess weight post-holidays:

    Yerba Mate

    An increasingly popular tea, yerba mate is a tea that features countless benefits. It includes 90 percent more antioxidants than any variety of green tea, and is one of the most nutrient-heavy varieties in existence. Made from the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant, this tea is the most popular choice throughout South America. Who wouldn’t want to drink yerba mate? Its composition includes herbs that relax the muscles and invigorate the nervous system, and even includes caffeine to give an energy boost. However, yerba mate is particularly helpful for those wishing to lose weight. Research studies have found in recent years that yerba mate can help fight both obesity and diabetes; it reduces cholesterol, harmful lipids, and glucose concentrations. Choose a cup of yerba mate, and you’ll help your body prevent those extra pounds from forming.

    White Tea

    The product of the Camellia sinensis plant, white tea is the least processed variety of tea. It’s a gentle, subtle tea, with a light taste and very minimal amounts of caffeine in every cup. Although its leaves originate from the same plant as black and green teas, white tea features different healthy inclusions: it features catechins, which lower cholesterol levels, help the blood vessels work, and reduces blood pressure. White tea also offers one particularly helpful trait for weight loss, as it has been found to stop fat cells from forming within the body. That’s right — drinking white tea and its herbal extracts help the body break down lipids, preventing the body from storing them as fat.

    Hibiscus Tea

    Easily recognized by its brilliant magenta coloring, hibiscus tea is the product of the similarly colored West African Hibiscus sabdariffa plant. The flavor of this type of tea is as unique and bright as its color — and it’s also rich in flavonoids that work to reduce blood pressure. Hibiscus tea is recommended for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes and hypertension because of this. Additionally, hibiscus tea is worth sipping because, like white tea, it also blocks the creation of fat cells within the body. Scientific researchers have found that hibiscus extracts, or the leaves used to make tea, weaken our ability to turn lipids into fats, lowering the chances of adding pounds. Turmeric tea is another excellent herbal tea, you can learn more about it along with it’s health benefits inside of this article.

    Editor’s note: As we’ve discussed in the past, the research when it comes to many of tea’s various health benefits can vary, there are a lot of health claims made about tea that aren’t necessarily going to really move the dial, or that are only backed up by relatively weak studies. That doesn’t mean that tea doesn’t have health benefits, but when it comes to weight loss – nothing is going to do better to help you lose weight than eating well and being more active. Tea can play a role in that, but don’t expect to magically shed pounds because you’re drinking more tea – that’s not really how it works. 

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    The Tea Buyer’s Holiday Gift Guide for Christmas 2016

    There’s nothing I love more than finding perfect gifts for the important people in my life. Of course, that includes tea drinkers and fans like myself, all of whom seek different and innovative ways to incorporate tea into their lives. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the tea lovers (aside from yourself), in your life, try the following.

    Gifts For New Tea Drinkers

    tea-forte-herbal-assortment

    Tea Chest Herbal Assortment, Tea Forte

    When you began your tea journey, you most likely wanted to sip endless suggestions to try every flavor and variety. Give that gift to the tea-loving newbie in your life. Offer them the opportunity to try herbal teas.

    Mighty Leaf Loose Tea Chest

    This combination of loose-leaf tea varieties introduces new and beginning tea lovers to different brews and blends in their most natural state. A sample such as this one from Mighty Tea allows new drinkers to test and try flavors.

    Gifts For Traditional Tea Lovers

    tea-forte-experience

    The Ultimate Tea Forte Experience, Tea Forte

    Okay, so your recipient is a tea expert of sorts — don’t let that restrict your gift-giving. With this super-sized tea gift, you’ll give two teacups, serving trays, sugar and creamer sets, Tupelo honey, and a tea chest. What else could a true tea lover want than an expansive selection?

    Tea by Mood Gift Set, Numi Tea

    If you’re surrounded by tea-loving experts, there’s no better gift than one that fulfills their every tea whim. With this gift set, your fellow tea drinkers will be able to select brews based on their mood — the perfect solution for every picky and indecisive tea drinker.

    Gifts For Tea-Drinking Experts

    Rare Imperial Tea Set, Tea Forte

    This is quite the gift for tea lovers and those well-versed in tea practices. The Rare Imperial Tea Set offers two teacups, a teapot, and six different specialty teas from Asian nations. Allow your recipient to slip into unfamiliar tea flavors and scents of new lands with this combination gift.

    Tea Beyond Glass Teapot and Flowering White Tea

    Whats’s better than natural, delicious tea? Watching that tea, in its most natural form, come to life in a flowering tea ball. This gift, which includes a clear glass teapot and a flowering tea ball made of white tea, allows your recipient to watch their tea come to life, creating beautiful presentation.

    Gifts For Your Favorite Tea Buddy

    Warming Joy Tea Chest, Tea Forte

    Give your favorite tea-drinking partner the gift of variety this holiday season. This sampler feature a selection of 20 different Tea Forte blends, allowing them to warm their bodies and hearts with teas they’ve never tried before.

    Modern Matcha Gift Set, Teavana

    Everyone sips green tea, whether they love the flavor or the healthy antioxidants included in each cup. So, give your favorite friends the gift of good health with this matcha green tea gift set that not only creates green tea, but also frothed it to perfection.

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    Didn’t Your Grandma Ever Teach You To Mind Your Tea Manners?

    Manners: they’re crucial at fancy restaurants, business dinners, social events, and anywhere you hope to impress. Grabbing a cup of tea at home or with friends isn’t exactly a manners-focused affair; pour, sip, and chat is the basis of typical American tea time. Yet our approach to tea in the U.S. is quite different from that of others around the world. From England to Russia to China, the practices and manners involved at tea time vary — and if you’re sitting down to tea internationally, there are practices to follow. All around the world, there are unique tea manners to keep in mind, and some universal truths that should be heeded, as well.

    Luckily, the online culinary magazine The Daily Meal is here to help. The website recently shared the Fairmont Hotel’s “Dos and Don’ts” infographic of tea customs and traditions around the world, helping those of casual tea drinkers act appropriately at any tea time. Before you potentially embarrass yourself (or even your guests), follow these tips to adopt the customs of tea drinkers internationally.

    English Tea Manners

    English tea is a familiar concept — but did you know that every Afternoon Tea is a fancy affair? Also called Low Tea, the British sip their tea and snack on savory and sweet treats. It’s an indulgent event, one that isn’t to be partaken in daily. While sipping from the traditional decorative china at an English tea, make sure to keep your eyes downward, focused in your cup. It’s considered impolite to look over the brim of your cup and lock eyes with your fellow guests. It’s also important to consider the placement of your spoon, as it’s rude to keep the teaspoon resting inside your teacup. Instead, place it on your plate.

    When You’re Drinking Tea in China…

    Having tea in China, or with Chinese friends? Their traditions are quite different from those in Europe. Called Yum Cha, tea time typically occurs on weekends — and it’s served with dim sum. Maintain politeness by remembering to thank your host and server; it’s proper to do by tapping two fingers on the table’s surface. Additionally, don’t grab the teapot and pour your own cup. Instead, show respect by offering to pour for others first.

    Japanese Tea Manners

    Similarly, Japanese tea gatherings are formal and respectful ceremonies. Tea time, or Chanoyu, comes with a strict set of rules: respect the hostess by bowing to her, and make sure to show thanks and appreciation for receiving an invitation.

    Russian Tea Etiquette

    Finally, if you find yourself attending a Russian tea, go ahead and relax! Like American tea time, Russian teas are not formal affairs, but casual in nature. However, it’s important to always accept an invitation to tea in Russia, as refusing is considered an insult. Drinking tea together is a sign of being welcomed into someone’s home, and the beverage is served with a wealth of food that includes sandwiches, cakes, and even sausages. If you’re heading to Russian tea in another’s home, keep in mind that it’s considered rude to shake hands with someone over a doorway — stick to greetings only once you’re inside the door.

    These are just a few of the international tea time traditions that exist in cultures around the world. What have you encountered in your tea experiences? Where have you sipped around the world? Make sure to keep your manners in mind no matter where you find yourself.

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    5 Best Green Tea Bags For When You’re In a Hurry

    We all love creating the perfect cup of green tea, letting the leaves steep and steam into our cup and blend into a soft, delicious drink. Yet there isn’t always time to brew a careful cup of tea, and the process becomes more about speed. Don’t be afraid to turn to teabags — although they may seem like a shortcut that hinders the taste of your tea, there are fantastic options available. We’ve rounded up the best bags you can buy when you need to brew a quicker cup.

    1. Harney and Sons Tropical Green Tea Bags

    Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.42.07 AM
    Tropical green tea bags by Harney & Sons.

    Green tea is a flavor often sipped in its traditional form, free of any tweaks or twists to its flavor. Yet these teabags are a five-star variety, according to tea lovers. Each teabag carries a hand-blended mix of green tea and sweet, subtle pineapple. A unique and delightful twist on green tea, these are a fantastic option for tea drinkers in a hurry or on the go. Its sweet flavoring is mild in nature, and the bags can be used to brew hot or cold tea.

    Available at Amazon.

    2. Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea Bags

    Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.45.06 AM
    Green tea bags by Celestial Seasonings.

    Varieties of Celestial Seasonings tea can be found in grocery stores everywhere, making it easy to find green tea wherever you go. Their Green Tea Antioxidant variety is a hit with tea drinkers, too, thanks to its ben of all-natural herbs and flavors, free of any artificial additives. With light undertones of peach, tea drinkers rave about the flavor hidden in each of these teabags. Relaxing, calming, and caffeine-free, this is a stellar option for those who need a quick yet delicious green tea.

    Available at Amazon.

    3. Numi Organic Tea Green Rooibos Herbal Teabags

    Numi Organic Green Rooibos Tea

    Certified organic and 100 percent natural, the Numi Organic Green Tea Rooibos teabags are a healthy herbal option — and customers rave about their quality. Affordably priced, these green teabags offer a light, woody taste that features wild honeybush to increase the antioxidants in each cup. Steep a bag, and you’ll find the smooth, silky green tea taste you love in your usual brew. Some even state that it’s equal to, and perhaps even better than, pricier loose-leaf green tea blends.

    Available at Amazon.

    4. Mighty Leaf Tea Marrakesh Mint Green Tea

    Mighty Leaf Tea company's marrakesh mint.

    With this variety of teabags, you don’t have to sacrifice your love of loose-leaf tea — Mighty Leaf teabags are whole leaf pouches, not ground and powdered like so many other varieties. Each silken pouch is filled with China Gunpowder green tea, blended with slightly zingy and refreshing mint. Tea drinkers love its flavorful combination, and note that even over-steeping these teabags doesn’t ruin your beverage. Made from high-quality ingredients and wrapped in above-average bags, this a tea that brings you happiness wherever you sip it.

    Available at Amazon.

    5. Totally Light Tea 2 Go Green Tea

    A box of green tea bags by 4C.

    If you’re looking for a green tea that’s easy to brew while you’re busy, this is the variety you need. Wonderfully flavored with a light, gentle taste, Totally Light’s green tea requires nothing more than water and one single-serve tea packet. Drop the powdered tea blend into your water, mix, and you can sip it anywhere. It’s a quality tea that’s easier than any other to brew.

    Available at Amazon.

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    Vanilla Chai Tea Latte: How To Make It or Where To Buy It

    I don’t know about you, but my absolute favorite winter tea is a steaming hot chai latte, flavored with the spice and smoothness of the cold season. All winter long, I choose chai over coffee, the perfect warming method with its light sweetness. Of course, spending nearly $5 per chai latte gets expensive, so making an at-home variety is more cost effective. With a few ingredients, you, too, can craft a chai latte on your stove top — and you can even incorporate vanilla into it. Here’s how to brew a fantastic vanilla chai tea at home.

    (Note: Our friends over in India are going to cringe at the phrase “chai tea”, but we want to distinguish between a typical coffee latte and this one. In India, they use “chai” to refer to tea, so it can sound like we’re saying a vanilla tea tea latte.) 

    Ingredients for a vanilla chai tea latte

    In order to make the perfect at-home vanilla chai, you’ll need to gather a few ingredients. Pick up the following:

    • Whole peppercorns (8)
    • Allspice (1.5 teaspoon)
    • Cardamom pods (2)
    • Cinnamon stick (1)
    • Cloves (4)
    • Chai teabags (8)
    • Honey (1 tablespoon)
    • 2 percent milk (2 cups)
    • Vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
    • Heavy whipping cream (0.5 cups)
    • Confectioners’ sugar (1.5 teaspoons)

    Now, it’s your choice as to which version of the vanilla chai tea latte you choose to make. Taste of Home, Southern Plate, and All Recipes each offer step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious drink.

    How to Brew It

    A core component of the vanilla chai latte, of course, is its tea-based origin. Without a tea variety, you can’t turn herbs into a milky, delicious beverage. So, hot water and a few tea bags are necessary. Boil and steep your chai tea bags as you normally would — slip the bags into perfectly tempered water, and allow them to sit for about two minutes. Afterwards, it’s time to add vanilla and heated milk, if you want a hot drink. Follow your recipe of choice, and combine the tea with the milk and other spices. Once it’s all blended together, you can choose to top your warm and wonderful tea latte with whipped cream, or sip it without any addition decoration.

    Where to Buy It

    If you don’t want to spend significant amounts of time brewing up a homemade batch of vanilla chai, you don’t have to — in fact, as a popular wintertime tea beverage, there are many alternatives to the homemade version.

    Want to achieve the same taste in a simply brewed cup of tea? Choose the Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea variety, a selection of vanilla chai teabags that offer the same delicious taste as the home-brewed version. Available at both Target and Amazon, you can refill your vanilla chai supply any time. You don’t have to make a handmade latte to achieve the same taste; additionally, you can turn to Adagio and find a Rooibos vanilla chai that’ll fulfill your sweet tea cravings.

    Of course, if you’d like a hot or cold milk blend, you can purchase that without expending any effort — Bolthouse makes a smoothie drink in Vanilla Chai Tea that mimics the flavor and texture of the homemade variety.

  • Tea Brands

    Welcome to our directory for all of the different brands of tea we’ve featured on Tea Perspective. This page is always-expanding, as we aim to include all of the best tea brands from all around the world.

    Our primary listings include companies that sell tea, and most of them have a website where you can order from. You can click any of the logos on this page to get a more in-depth look into that particular brand including a link to their homepage, some unique and interesting information about the brand, and information on where you can order their teas from to try for yourself.

    Without further adieu, here’s the list of all the brands which we’ve featured to date…

    Tazo Tea

    Tazo Tea was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1994 and their current HQ is in Kent, Washington. In early 1999, it was announced that Tazo was being acquired by Starbucks.

    In 2012, Starbucks opened a Tazo branded retail store, but it was rebranded under the Teavana brand shortly after, which remains Starbucks’ flagship brand when it comes to retail teas.

    None the less, Tazo continues to produce a variety of excellent teas.

  • Techniques

    This page is still a work in progress, but soon it will provide an index of all of our articles that talk about the various techniques and methods that are used for brewing the perfect cup of tea.

    Storing Tea

    If you want to keep your tea fresh for as long as possible, you’ll need to store it properly. We will be covering tea storage in great details, so please check back soon. From jars, boxes, display cases, and more… if it has to do with where your tea stays when you aren’t drinking it, you’ll find it here.

     

    Brewing Tea

    It’s so important to brew your tea properly, most importantly to have the correct steeping time and water temperature. But a lot of people don’t really put a lot of thought into this. Have you ever known somebody that didn’t like tea because the said it tasted too bitter, but it turns out they were just steeping it for much too long? Here is a collection of our best articles on the topic of brewing the perfect cup of tea, along with variations like iced tea and sun tea.

     

    Buying Tea

    There’s more to buying tea than just walking into a store at the mall and picking up whatever’s on sale. Crafting the perfect tea collection is part science and part art, and you’ll find all of our various buyer’s guide and tips right here in one convenient place so that the next time you’re starting to run low, you can restock like a champ. Who are we kidding… you’ll never start to run, because buying and trying new teas quickly becomes an addiction. Refer to our tea storage section for tips on how to keep that tea fresh as long as possible.

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    6 Nice Tea Mugs For Travelling

    When travelling it’s very important to have the right mug to suit all your tea needs. Whether it be driving to work or going on a long trip, you want to ensure minimal spillage. Here’s a list of 6 reliable mugs you might want to check out the next time you’re on the road.

    1. Keep Cup $9-30

    Known as the “World’s first Barista standard reusable cup”  the keep cup originated from Melbourne, Australia. Wanting to reduce their use of waste and plastic cups, Abigail Forsyth and her brother came up with this environment friendly 100% recyclable cup. The cup itself as well as it’s lid and plug are made out of polypropylene which makes them super light and unbreakable. You can also choose a cup made from fully tempered soda lime glass, with a cork band which adds insulation and a nice grip.

    2. Aladdin Tea Infuser Mug $20

    aladdin-tea-mug

    This mug is perfect for the loose-leaf tea drinkers. Made from BPA-free plastic construction and dishwasher safe the Aladdin perfect tea cup has a built in infuser that makes travelling with loose-leaf tea incredibly easy. Simply flip the switch down to release the infuser into the water, then flip it back up when your tea is steeped to your liking.

    3. Timolino TeaGo Mug $30

    The Jack-of-all-trades mug has everything you could ever need when travelling. Perfect for a camping trip or long hike, this mug has it all. Made from stainless steel this mug includes a removable tea infuser for loose-leaf or bagged tea, and a quick open twist lid that has a hidden chamber to store extra tea or sugar packets. With it’s vacuum sealed double walls this Timolino TeaGo Mug is sure to keep your tea hot or cold for hours.

    4. The Iced Tea Mug With Straw $15

    davids-iced-tea-mug-with-straw

    This travelling mug is catered more towards the iced tea drinkers. Made of BPA-free Tritan, this double walled mug has a retractable straw which makes drinking 100% easier while travelling. It also has a carabiner attachment so you can attach it to your bag or tote while browsing the streets on your back packing trip to Europe (Ya I wish!). But seriously this travel mug is also perfect just for water on a busy day as it will keep your drink cold and has a big enough opening to put a bunch of ice which is always a bonus.

    5. Zojirushi Stainless Mug $30

    This nice looking mug will keep your tea hot and it won’t leak thanks to the quality-designed lid up top.

    6. Inbue’s Magnetic Tea Infuser

    travel-tea

    You can read more about this magnetic tea infuser here, it’s really cool!

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    Is Instant Tea Even Worth Your Time?

    There are some people who roast their own coffee beans every week and won’t drink anything besides a freshly ground cup of pour-over, and then there are other people who drink a heaping scoop of instant coffee every morning and couldn’t tell the difference.

    The same goes for tea. Some people are very picky about how their tea is brewed, stored, processed, where in the world in comes from, the exact temperature of the water and steeping times which they have refined over the course of years of trial and error, and some people are perfectly happy tossing a bag of tea in a cup of hot water for a few minutes and calling it a day.

    Is it really worth it?

    If boiling some water and adding a tea bag to steep is still too time-consuming or simply takes too much effort, instant tea isn’t really going to change your life…

    But if you’re looking to make a quick batch of sweetened iced tea using an instant tea mix, it’s easier than steeping a fresh batch from scratch. There are also unsweetened tea mixes available.

    The key difference between using a mix to make tea instantly and actually steeping your leaves is the fact that the instant mix is going to dissolve in your water, whereas the loose leaves or the bag is removed once steeping is done.

    This isn’t ideal for hot tea, because when the leaves sit in the water for too long, they can develop a bitter taste that overrides any deliciousness the cup may have contained. We’ve all accidentally let our leaves steep for a bit too long and ended up with a gross surprise, but not many of us have done it on purpose.

    Having said that, one could argue that green tea matcha is in fact a form of instant tea mix, and it definitely caters to the more discerning tea drinkers, rather than the casual crowd you might picture when we’re talking about “instant” options.

    Here are some brands that make instant tea: 

    • Lipton
    • Tazo
    • Ricola
    • Tetley
    • PG Tips
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    This Sharky Tea Infuser Looks Like a Horror Movie In a Cup

    Here’s the thing about tea drinkers. We’re very particular about how we brew our drink. We have our routines, our traditions, and we know exactly how we like things. Let’s face it – not many the enthusiasts are going to be using a novelty steeper every single day – but that doesn’t mean we don’t get a kick out of having a few of them, especially when we can use them for serving a guest who is bound to get a kick out of it, too.

    If you’re looking for a more serious or sophisticated steep, take a look here for information on how to choose a loose leaf tea infuser. Don’t proceed without a sense of humor, because we’re about to introduce you to Sharky.

    tea-infuser-shark

    It’s a shark fin that floats above the water, with a loose leaf tea infused underneath the surface, and when you put your tea inside and pop ol Sharky into the water (In particular with an ice red Rooibos, for example), the color will leak out from the steeper and it will kind of look like blood left over from a shark attack. There’s nothing fun about shark attacks… except this sharky tea infuser.

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    Choosing The Perfect Glass Sun Tea Jar

    So, you wanna make yourself some sun tea, huh? Well, let’s assume that you’ve already chosen which sun tea recipe you’re going to use, you’ve got your teas all picked out, now all that’s missing is a jar that you can fill up for some slowly-brewed deliciousness.

    Some people use plastics jugs and jars for this, but seeing as it’s going to be sitting outside in the sunlight, we prefer to stick with glass. Who knows what kind of chemicals might seep out of the plastic, and into your sun tea? Maybe it’s perfectly safe, but we would rather not take our chances when it’s so easy to just go with glass instead.

    What’s the first consideration, and perhaps the most important, when it comes to choosing your jar? Make sure it’s the correct size for the amount of sun tea that you want to make at a time. If you end up with a jar that only holds a couple of cups, you may find yourself wishing you were able to make more at a time. If you go with a bigger jar, you don’t need to fill it all the way up every time either, so for the sake of practicality: get a big jar!

    Protip: Do you like pickled eggs, AND want a huge jar for making sun tea? Check out your local Costco or whatever your local “store that sells huge quantities of things” and pick up a large jar of pickled eggs.

    Next up, what kind of seal does it have? You might not want a big open jar sitting outside all day because the sky is full of birds and they poop and you don’t want to drink that. In other words, get a lid for your jar.

    Let’s cut to the chase. 

    You need a big glass jar with a lid.

    😉

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    Controversial CEO Martin Shkreli Paid $120 For A Cup Of Tea But He’s “Not A Big Tea Drinker”

    There’s an article in the Washington Post by Jacklyn Collier that talks about what it was like when she matched up with the controversial Pharma CEO shortly after he inspired the ire of a nation by raising the price of a drug called Daraprim (which is an anti-infective agent that is most commonly used by patients fighting HIV). The price of the drug skyrocketed after Shkreli’s company acquired the patent to it. What a co-incidence, hey? 

    He’s also engaged in a public spat with a member of the Wu-Tang Clan named Ghostface Killa. If you follow music, you may recall last year when the classic hip-hoppers released a new album but only printed one copy of it onto vinyl. They auctioned off the one-of-a-kind album for $2,000,000 to… you guessed it… none other than America’s sweetheart Martin Shkreli, and Ghostface isn’t very happy about that. Anyways, here’s what that has to do with tea…

    In the Washington Post article, Martin’s date talks about how nervous he was when they first met up, how he had been her most considerate Tinder date up to that point, and how he laid it on thick in regards to his philanthropy. It’s a very humanizing look at Martin, but what really stuck out the most is his willingness to waste a perfectly good cup of tea on himself, when he doesn’t even really like tea. That’s going too far.

    At the start of the date, the waitress mentioned that they had numerous teas priced between $8-$13 per cup, but that they also had a “Gold Medal Sencha” for $120 per cup. The pair laughed about it once the waitress left, and how ridiculous that was. Jacklyn wanted to make a joke about price gouging, but restrained herself.

    None the less, at the end of the meal, Martin ordered that $120 “Gold Medal Sencha” and finished every last drop. When asked how it was, he responded:

    “I’m not really a big tea drinker.” 

    When you have a hundred million dollars, spending $120 on a drink is kind of like if you or I were to put a quarter into a gumball machine. Martin was attracted to this tea strictly because of how expensive it was, unfortunately for the HIV parents forced to spend 5000% more on Daraprim, they don’t have that same luxury.

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    Drinking Tea To Lose Weight Works, But Not How You’d Expect

    When it comes to weight loss, it seems like everyone is trying to sell you something. Whether it’s magic pills, ridiculous workout machines, or even the idea of drinking tea to lose weight, promoted by companies selling special “weight loss teas” that are designed to send your metabolism through the roof so that the pounds simply melt away. Yeah, not quite. I’m not a dietician but there’s really only one way to effectively and consistently lose weight and that’s to consume less calories than your body is burning.

    Some miracle flush that helps you lose 10 pounds in 7 days is mostly just ridding your body of fluids, and not burning any additional fat. Then there’s those magic green tea weight loss pills… Eh, is it too late to get your money back? There’s a whole lot of snake oil and questionable science when it comes to health, and that’s largely because there are big gaps in what we actually know – so the door is wide open for sheisty people to try to fill those gaps (or just blatantly lie) and try to take advance.

    Having said that, tea CAN be a part of an effective weight-loss strategy…

    How am I going to rant about all the scammy diet fads and then go on to say that tea actually can help you lose weight? Easy, here’s the deal:

    Weight loss happens in the kitchen, not the gym. It takes seconds to eat or drink a few hundred calories, and it takes an hour+ to burn them off in the gym. If you want to lose weight, you need to control what’s going into your body. Granted, workout out obviously helps with weight loss as well, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be keeping track of how many calories are entering your body.

    That’s where tea can help. 

    The tea itself, let’s face it, it might have some tiny benefit in terms of giving your metabolism a mini little boost, but it’s going to be negligible compared to avoiding a midnight snack of a few cookies and a grilled cheese sandwich. If you find yourself eating when you’re bored, just brew a cup of tea instead. It’s not that the tea itself is going to melt away your extra fat, but the tea is going to take the place of unhealthy snacks or over-eating in general.

    Fruit-infused tea can be great for a sweet tooth, or chocolate tea for when you need that cocoa taste inside your mouth ASAP. A few cups of tea are going to help a lot more when it comes to achieving your fitness goals than if you were to eat candies and chocolates instead. Also, just like drinking water can help fill you up and get rid of food cravings, tea can do that too!

    You can make all sorts of types of tea for their various health benefits, which have varying quality of studies backing them up. Turmeric tea, for example, is becoming popular among the natural health crowd, for it’s numerous potential benefits. You can read more about that on this page.

    The fact that tea is a diuretic also probably contributes to the misconception that adding some kind of green tea into your diet to help you lose weight is going to make a significant difference, because somebody might start out on a snake-oil tea diet and notice that they’re dropping weight really quickly. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s all water-weight :(.

    The point I’m really trying to emphasize here is that drinking tea certainly can help with your weight loss, but only as a tool. Tea helps with weight loss in the sense that it acts as a replacement for other more caloric-dense foods and drinks that you could be putting into your body instead.

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    5 Unique Types of Tea From Around The World

    Most of these variations on the classic cup of tea have found their way all around the world, but some of them aren’t nearly as popular as they are in their countries of origin. Let’s take a quick trip around the world in the form of a few cups of tea, shall we?

    types-of-tea-worldwide

    1. Cha Yen (Thai iced tea) from Thailand

    thailand-flag

    Iced tea from Thailand is a lot different than what you may be used to. It’s a lot richer. The tea is brewed a lot more strongly, and it’s served with a hearty serving of sugar, syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. This sweet treat is a drink you’ll want to avoid if you’re trying to cut down on your sugar intake – but when it’s time for a tea treat, it doesn’t get much more decadent and delicious than Thai iced tea.

    2. Russian Tea from Russia

    russian-federation-flag

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Russian Tea originates from Russia. It also shouldn’t be surprised that it’s a boozy version of tea, typically tea served with rum and lemon juice. Obviously, not all tea in Russia is served with booze, and they have a rich tea history just like many other nations around the world.

    3. Chai from India

    india-flag

    Indians will make fun of you for saying “chai tea” because in India, chai is the word for tea so it’s like you’re saying “tea tea”. Tea is an incredibly popular drink in India, good luck talking 5 steps without passing by 10 tea stands. Traditionally, chai is made with a variety of spices including star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon.

    4. Maple Tea from Canada

    canada-flag

    The province of Quebec in Canada is the world leader when it comes to maple syrup, producing incredible volumes of some of the best syrups on earth. The forests are filled with maple trees, which produce the sweet and distinctly flavoured syrup in abundance, so it’s no wonder that it often ends up in a cup of tea. Maple syrup is a great way to sweeten tea, just ask any Canadian.

    5. Matcha green tea from Japan

    japan-flag

    You’ve probably heard of matcha tea already. Matcha is made from finely ground green tea leaves, and this fragrant powder is mixed with hot water. It’s different from bagged or loose leaf tea in the sense that you don’t remove the tea from the water after it has steeped, you mix the powder right into the water and drink it as such.

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    Amazing Thai Iced Tea Recipe Just Like in Thailand

    Admittedly, I’ve never been to Thailand but it sure feels like I have when I take some time out of a busy day to brew this thai iced tea recipe that is based off of several that I’ve found online, and slightly tweaked with the blessing of a friend that has spent a lot of time in Thailand.

    Apparently, Muay Thai fighters will sometimes drink Cha Yen (ชาเย็น, or Thai iced tea as we call it) after a long day of training to help with recovery. I’m not sure it really helps with much besides hydration, but I won’t argue that it’s certain relaxing after a long day, mind you my ‘long days’ typically don’t consist of hand-to-hand combat.

    thai-iced-tea

    How is Thai iced tea different from “normal” iced tea?

    The typical type of iced tea that we’re all used to – available both sweetened or unsweetened – has a relatively mild flavor. It’s made by steeping tea in water (Or mixing drink crystals, but that doesn’t even really count…), with a variety of methods and recipes, but at the end of the day it’s never going to have a rich, full-bodies flavor. You can make traditional iced tea more concentrated, but it’s still always going to be tea.

    Now, Thai iced tea, on the other hand (and this recipe in particular) have a much deeper, richer flavor. It’s more of a treat than typical iced tea, in my humble opinion. It’s creamy, sweet, rich, and absolutely delicious.

    Creamy, sweet Thai iced tea recipe

    It’s really not that hard to make a perfect sweetened Iced tea – thai style! Here’s a combination of a couple different recipes, I have made this plenty of times and I think this is the perfect blend. Disagree? First, visit your taste-bud doctor because you need a check up 😉 Still think you’ve found a better way to make this drink? Then leave a comment and share your variation with us!

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 5 cups of water
    • Condensed milk
    • 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea, or roughly 8 tea bags. (Black tea or red Thai tea are both great options.)
    • 2 star anise
    • 2 whole cloves
    • 2 tablespoons of sugar
    • Ice cubes

    … and here’s how to put it all together: 

    1. Boil the water in a saucepan.
    2. Remove saucepan from stovetop, add tea, star anise, and cloves.
    3. Steep for 5 minutes and then remove spices and tea leaves from water.
    4. Add your sugar to the tea.
    5. Allow the tea to cool to room temperate.
    6. Fill up a tall glass with a few ice cubes, fill about 75% of the glass with your tea mixture, and then fill the rest of the glass with the condensed milk.

    Vegan Thai Iced Tea Recipe

    Here’s a modification for all the vegans out there who were like “Aw, I won’t be able to enjoy Thai-style iced tea :(” Nope, think again, because we’ve got you covered, thanks to Dana from MinimalistBaker. Here’s Dana’s recipe for vegan Thai iced tea, and make sure you check out the link to her blog to see her incredible photos of the entire process .

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 4 cups (960 ml) filtered water
    • 2 Tbsps of loose leaf black tea (Or whichever tea you prefer)
    • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup or agave nectar (Or sweetener of choice)
    • 1/4 cup (55 g) packed light muscovado sugar, organic brown sugar, or coconut sugar
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1 14-ounce (414 ml) can light coconut milk (or substitute for vanilla almond milk, rice milk, or any kind of milk you’d like!)
    … and here’s how to put it all together: 
    1. Bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat.
    2. Add tea, stir, steep for 3-5 minutes.
    3. Remove tea from water, add sweetening syrup, sugar, and vanilla.
    4. Whisk.
    5. Chill.
    6. Fill serving glasses with ice, then fill 3/4 of the way with your chilled tea mixture.
    7. Add coconut or whichever milk you’d like to fill the rest of the cup.
    8. Enjoy!
    As you can see, the first version and the vegan version of this recipe differ. You could make either of them with animal milk or with milk-alternatives, it’s just a matter of preference so experiment and see what you come up with!
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    How You Can Strengthen Your Teeth with Every Sip of Tea

    What can’t tea do for your health, your body, and your mood? There are countless ways in which tea helps keep us healthy and happy, from antioxidants and digestive soothing to increasing our vitamin intake and strengthening our immune systems. Every type of tea offers its own unique benefits, its own special blend of herbs — and, of course, there are so many different teas to try. No matter what your favorite tea might be, the simple fact that you’re a tea lover and drinker is helping your health. That’s right — according to recent research conducted by Dr. Carrie Ruxton and T.J. Bond, both health nutritionists in the United Kingdom, drinking tea on a daily basis is not only a delicious habit, but a smart choice for your health. More specifically, drinking a cup of tea each day benefits your dental health, and your pearly whites.

    Ruxton and Bond began their study in the hopes of learning how much fluoride existed in tea. Was it more than the amount recommended by UK government officials and dental experts — or was it okay to keep sipping tea often? The duo gathered 49 different types of teabags, a selection that included both boxed grocery store varieties, speciality teas, and caffeine-free types. They then took measurements of each blend to determine how much fluoride existed within both the dry leaves and the brewed cup.

    The researchers found that each cup of tea included approximately 0.72 to 1.68 milligrams of fluoride, averaging about 1.18 mg. The teas that tended to have less fluoride were specialty teas; the more budget-friendly options found in the grocery store featured higher levels, and somewhat surprisingly, decaffeinated teas had the highest fluoride amount. So, what do these numbers and levels mean? Well, the fluoride content of any cup of tea depends on where it’s grown — what type of soil it grows in, as well as the climate and location. Some types of soil have different levels fluoride, which gets transferred into the tea leaves.

    Don’t let these fluoride numbers frighten you, though; fluoride is a helpful addition to tea, as it strengthens our teeth and their protective enamel. Additionally, the results of Ruxton and Bond’s research show that we can drink as many as four cups of tea each day before achieving the daily recommended dose of fluoride. Do be aware, though, that if you choose a caffeine-free or grocery store blend, that you may want to sip one less cup due to the increased amount of fluoride. But, there’s really nothing to worry about — your tea-drinking habits are keeping your pearly whites healthy, fighting off bad breath, tooth decay, and other mouth problems.

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    Heal Your Winter Ailments with Holistic Tea Therapy

    Your know your favorite herbals teas are a healthy choice — they offer your body antioxidants, stronger bones and teeth, relief from the aches and pains of colds, stomach-soothing warmth, and so many other body-helping traits. Tea has been used as a natural healing remedy for centuries, the medicine of choice for people and cultures around the world. As the cold temperatures of the winter season set in this year, and colds and viruses begin to attack, make sure you have a well-stocked tea supply. No matter which types of tea you love to drink, every leaf variety offers its own cold-fighting ingredients.

    Tea is the natural remedy to turn to when you aren’t feeling your best this winter. Here are 8 herbal teas to keep on hand, for whenever sickness arises:

    1. Blackberry Leaf

    Blackberry leaf tea may not be your usual tea of choice, but give it a try when you’re suffering from whole body aches and pains. It’s an herb filled with vitamins — vitamin C, tannins, and antioxidants — known to soothe physical pain and help when your digestive system isn’t running as smoothly as usual.

    1. Chamomile

    Chamomile is known as a soothing, sleep-inducing tea, but it’s also an excellent choice for stubborn coughs. Available as both a perennial and an annual leaf variety, chamomile can help calm symptoms enough for you to finally catch up on sleep.

    1. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon tea is a spiced and slightly sweet blend with delicious flavor — and it features antioxidants, as well as antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal herbs. So, this tea will not only give your body the boost it needs to fight off whatever’s ailing you, but it will also soothe your sore throat and keep your stomach happy in the meantime.

    1. Clove

    Cloves are a spice used in many medicinal mixes, such as warmed drinks mixed with honey and heating pads or sachets. Yet cloves also form a unique blend of tea with a distinctive flavor. You can find cloves in just about any market or grocery store, and they’re the perfect tea to turn to when you’re suffering from a sore throat, tonsillitis, and a stuffy nose.

    1. Ginger

    Ginger teas, often including ginger root, are a wonderful tea for those with digestive problems. Ginger gets your stomach settled quickly, whether the cause is the flu or a bought of carsickness. Yet ginger can also soothe coughs, and help reduce inflammation in your throat.

    1. Lemongrass

    Who doesn’t love a little lemon in their tea? When you choose to sip a lemongrass tea, you’re drinking a blend that can treat infections, reduce inflammation, and even kill off parasites and fungus. Sip on it year-round, and you’ll find that it can also lower blood pressure levels and improve your body’s circulation.

    1. Mint

    Mint tea is among perhaps the most common choices of tea when you’re looking to soothe your throat and voice. However, it’s also an excellent option when your sinuses are stuffed, your stomach is uneasy, a fever is running high, or cramps are occurring.

    1. Rosehips

    Full of vitamin C and other health-improving compounds, rosehips tea blends taste and smell beautifully while also helping to heal your body. It’s a brew full of beneficial minerals, and it can also improve your energy by giving you a bit of a boost.

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    Former Barista Revels 5 Tricks To Save Money At The Coffee Counter

    When most people are trying to save money, they immediately look to their morning coffee routine as the biggest area of opportunity. And, there’s no blaming them. A flavored latte at Starbucks can cost around $5. If you grabbed one of those every morning during the week, you’re looking at $25 a week – which is $100 a month! When you look at it that way, of course you want to save money at the coffee counter!

    Thankfully, there are ways to cut costs at the coffee shop without completely giving up your addiction.

    • Bring Your Own Cup: Starbucks, like many other coffee shops, offers a small discount to customers that bring her/his own cup. It doesn’t have to be a huge up-front investment either. Everyone has a few coffee tumblers hanging around in the kitchen cabinets. Those plastic tumblers can be picked up for a few bucks online. While it seems like a small discount, it can really add up over time.
    • Bring It Back to the Basics: If you are a latte drinker, have you considered making the switch over to coffee? You can still enjoy the milk and flavorings, but at half the cost. Try a misto – it’s half coffee, half steamed milk. It’s incredibly similar to a latte. Are you a chai tea latte fan? Then, make the switch to the chai tea bags and get a tea misto. You are essentially cutting the cost in half of your favorite beverage! And, in most cases, the calories too!
    • Skip the Snacks: Let’s face it – the food is overpriced. Why are you spending $2 to $3 on a scone when you could buy an entire breakfast for the week for the same price? Skip the food at your coffee place and you’ll be able to save a lot more dough.
    • Loyalty Cards: Loyalty cards serve a purpose – to reward frequent customers and make sure you keep coming back for more. Starbucks offers free drink incentives to customers that use their “Gold Card.” And, many other coffee shops do the same. Sure, you have to spend the money to save the money, but if you’re already going to be hitting up your barista for your next fix, why not join the club to save some money eventually?
    • Brew Your Own: Crazy, I know. But, you can save a ton of money by making your own coffee or tea. For my coffee drinkers, invest in a coffee maker or a French Press. And, if you like it iced, check out how to do a cold-brew. Tea drinkers – you have it even easier. You can make a gallon of tea and just leave it in the fridge for the week. And, if you’re weak in the knees for those chai tea lattes, there are tons of ways to make it at home. You can become your own barista and feel your wallet getting heavier.

    Drinking coffee can be an expensive habit, but don’t think you have to quit just to catch a break financially. Hopefully these tips can help you save money at the coffee counter without ruining your daily caffeine intake.

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    Meet The $1300 Robot That Wants To Make Tea For You

    The act of making tea can be a ritual. Do you boil water in a stovetop kettle, waiting for its whistle to signify the start of tea time? Or do you use a quick and easy instant coffee and tea maker to pump out single cups every few hours? Whatever your method or machine of choice, there are always new technologies and tricks to try — and now, an incredibly pricey tea maker has come onto the market.

    As the San Francisco Gate reports, a new $1,300 tea maker is making waves among tea lovers. Forget simple tea making, with water and tea bags; this machine is meant to create the absolute best cup of tea its users have ever tasted. But, is it worth its hefty price tag? Writers at the San Francisco Gate tried out this incredibly expensive machine.

    Named Teforia, the machine boasts new technology and a special infusion system. Created by Allen Han, who argues that Teforia makes the best cup of tea possible, it uses a SIP, or Selective Infusion Process, to extract as much flavor as possible from every tea brew. It works in a manner similar to the Nespresso and Keurig machines coffee drinkers know and love, blending tea herbs and leaves with hot water. The SF Gate staff ran a taste test that compared an average cup of tea with a Teforia one. To run the machine, they selected a pod of tea — but that’s not where the process ended.

    Teforia syncs with a smartphone app designed to help its users build their best cup. The app offers suggestions, such as caffeine levels and antioxidant inclusions, and stores your preferences so you never forget how to brew your favorites. From there, the machine takes over. It’s created to automatically know the ideal brewing temperature, infusion time, and amount of water for every single variety of tea. The leaves of your chosen brew are poured into a glass compartment, and water is sent in to begin the infusion process. After about three to four minutes, the tea is ready.

    During the taste test, the standard tea brew also took the same amount of time. So, what was the verdict? The SF Gate writers were won over by the Teforia machine, claiming it made their tea taste darker, stronger, and smoother. Though they enjoyed the brew greatly, they acknowledged that the Teforia isn’t for everyone. Would you spend $1,300 to get a better cup of tea in the morning? Or, is the stove good enough for you?

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    Tea on Wheels is the Newest Tea Trend

    Chances are, you’ve eaten at a food truck or two during their rise to popularity over the past few years — but have you ever grabbed a specialty tea from a tea truck? A new trend in roaming food on wheels is the tea truck, a food truck that serves nothing but your favorite herbal beverages. Forget stopping by a coffee shop; soon, you might be able to grab your tea right off the street.

    As Trend Hunter reports, tea trucks have begun to pop up in areas both cold and warm in temperature. One of the first, named the Cozy Cabin Tea Truck, was created by Canadian shop David’s Tea. As winter begins to arrive and the days grow colder and snowy, the Cozy Cabin Tea Truck will roam around Toronto, hitting a total of nine different stops and offering tea lovers drinks like Pumpkin Chai, Peanut Butter Cup, or even their simple favorites. David’s Tea originally kicked off the Cozy Cabin truck in order to promote their permanent shop locations, to reach out to local community members.

    If you’re residing stateside, the city of Los Angeles is responsible for kicking off the food truck trend — and it’s also home to many different tea trucks. You might see the Mighty Boba Tea Truck throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, as it travels to different cities and locations to offer both homemade Boba teas and Taiwanese snacks. Or, if you’re looking for a little caffeine with your tea, track down Fred and Grind. Also based in the city of LA, this mobile beverage shop offers its customers both lattes, cappuccinos, and tea lattes like chai and matcha.

    You may even spot a chance to grab some tea on wheels while in Europe — in Turkey, tea trucks are called cay kamyon, or “tea truck” in the Turkish language. These versions don’t simply hand out tea to passers-by, though. Customers are able to climb inside the tea truck itself and sit down for a few minutes while sipping their tea.

    What local tea trucks hang out near your favorite spots? If you haven’t spotted one in your neighborhood or city just yet, one may be coming soon — with the popularity of food trucks, tea on the move could be the next big trend.

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    Your New Brew: Nitrogen Infused Tea

    There’s the simple and familiar way to brew your daily cup of tea, dipping an infuser or tea bag into hot water. Pure is best, right? But there are also creative, fancier,  and even more scientific ways to sip your favorite herbal brews — and one of the newest, craziest methods involves nitrogen.

    Adding nitrogen to a cup of tea might seem like an odd science experiment, but at Contra Coffee in Santa Ana, California, it’s become a staple on both the menu and among customers. The shop’s owner, Paul Del Mundo, first turned to nitrogen-brewed tea when he began to notice his body’s distaste for dairy products. A lifelong fan of adding condensed milk into his Thai tea, Del Mundo discovered that he needed an alternative tea recipe to soothe his stomach. So, with his fellow food scientists and girlfriend Julie Nguyen, he decided to begin brewing his tea with nitrogen after finding inspiration in nitrogen-brewed beer.

    What makes the nitrogen method so unique? Well, it adds gas — nitrogen gas, which is dense and non-soluble. This means that when nitrogen is added into a water-based beverage, it reacts by thickening the liquid to create a creamy, opaque blend. A nitrogen-infused brewing method is more than scientific; it produces a creamier, tastier tea for those who enjoy adding milk and sugar. And, it offers an important health benefit: the nitrogen keeps the tea creamy without adding dairy or increased calories.

    Of course, not everyone can perfect their own nitrogen-infused tea brew — it’s a process best left to the professionals. As nitrogen-infused products like beer, coffee, and (of course) tea grow increasingly popular, look for your local tea shops to begin trying this new blend. Who knows, it may even convince you to give up on milk and creamer!

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    Better Your Bone Health with Black Tea

    When you’re searching for a healthy beverage, tea is the perfect choice — it’s herbal, all natural, and soothing no matter its flavor. However, most of us who are tea drinkers have one specific tea type in mind when we’re hoping to reap even greater tea health benefits: green tea. Renowned internationally for its healthy reputation, green tea may do a body good, but it’s not the only healthy powerhouse around. Consider opting for black tea, another uniquely healthy tea.

    According to World Tea News, researchers in Australia recently pitted different varieties against each other to determine what, exactly, they can offer drinkers’ bodies. After analyzing the tea-drinking habits of over 1,000 women for an entire decade, the researchers found that women who consumed three or more cups of black tea daily had better bone health. That’s right — multiple cups of black tea provided stronger bones.

    Women who were consistent (and frequent) black tea drinkers were two-thirds less likely to develop bone fractures due to osteoporosis, and were 40 percent less likely to break or fracture a hip. Oh, and if you’re wondering how they took their tea, researchers discovered that the inclusion of milk didn’t matter. Both those who added milk to their cups of tea and those who did not saw the same benefits, meaning the bone-strengthening comes from the tea alone.

    It’s the flavonoids in black tea that make it so beneficial for bone health. Researchers note that drinking three or more cups of tea per day meant drinkers’ bodies received 75 percent of their flavonoid intake from the beverage. So, while green tea may offer health benefits regardless of how many cups you sip, this study is good news for fans of black tea — grab a few cups each day, and you can work your way to stronger, sturdier bones.

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    7 Places To Get Free Tea Samples Online

    You have your favorite, go-to tea blend — maybe it’s a spicy black, or a tropical green. Whatever it is, you stick with it, turning to this beloved tea often. Sometimes, though, we all need a little variety in our tea drinking lives. How do you go about finding new blends, flavors, and varieties that are worth sipping? Chances are, you’ve found yourself purchasing entire bags or boxes of tea just to try a taste.

    Instead of spending money on boxes of unfamiliar blends and hoping for the best, try testing out new teas with free samples. You don’t have to look far to find different companies who give customers the chance to try out their unique tea offerings. Here are a few different options to try the next time you’re looking for a brand-new tea.

    1. Twinnings USA

    Receive three free samples of tea from Twinnings. Simply visit their site, choose which flavors and blends you’d like to try, and Twinnings will send them your way. No purchase or payment of any kind is needed — they’re 100 percent free.

    1. Mighty Leaf

    If you’re already a fan of Mighty Leaf tea varieties, but are considering branching out and trying new types, consider taking advantage of their free sample offering. When you make a purchase on the Mighty Leaf website, you receive two free samples of your choice.

    1. David’s Tea

    Are you a frequent buyer of David’s Tea? Make your next tea purchase on their website, and you’ll receive three free samples of their teas. Although shoppers don’t get to choose which teas David’s includes with their order, the company tries to select varieties that complement those purchased.

    1. Design a Tea

    Online tea retailer Design a Tea offers shoppers the chance to try out five different samples of their tea for $5. When you purchase your samples, $2 of your money spent goes towards your next purchase on the site. So, if you’re a fan of what Design a Tea offers after receiving your samples, you’ll begin your purchase with a small discount.

    1. Yezi Tea

    Make a purchase at Yezi Tea, and you’ll have the opportunity to choose three free samples from their wide selection of tea types. Whether you want to find new blends similar to your favorite flavors, or are hoping to try something completely unfamiliar, Yezi allows you to add any samples you’d like to your order.

    1. Nature’s Inventory

    If you haven’t tried the tea varieties offered by Nature’s Inventory, you can receive free samples of their selections for just $2.04. Select two samples and pay for shipping, and Nature’s Inventory will send them your way. If you choose to make a purchase on the website, your samples will be sent to you free of charge.

    1. Birchall Tea

    With the completion of one easy form, you can select a single free tea sample from Birchall Tea. No purchase, payment for shipping, or any additional requirements — just answer a few questions and the company will send over a sample of one of their many teas.

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    Empty Tea Bags Make Loose Leaf Tea Much More Convenient

    Who doesn’t love loose leaf tea? It’s so fragrant, so beautiful to watch while it soaks and spreads in steaming hot water, filling your cup with its color and scent. It can offer a better, deeper taste than store-bought, pre-prepared tea bags of finely ground tea leaves — and, of course, it’s as natural as you can get when sipping herbs. However, loose leaf tea isn’t always the easiest, simplest option when you’d like to make a cup of tea. It requires an infuser, a special mug, or perhaps even brewing and steeping in a teapot featuring an infuser basket. When you’re in a hurry, or want to take your tea on the go, loose leaf tea isn’t the most convenient. Make life a little easier by using empty tea bags whenever you’d like a simpler cup of loose leaf tea.

    Empty tea bags aren’t the soggy leftovers from your last cup of tea; instead, they’re tea bags that can be purchased free of tea, the small sachets and bags which you fill yourself with whatever tea you choose. While the typical pre-filled tea bag available in just about any store features the “dust” of broken tea leaves, along with crushed and mashed-up leaves, creating your own bag of loose leaf tea keeps your favorite beverage full of taste, deliciously aromatic, and perfectly easy to make.

    Choosing to use empty tea bags, or unfilled tea bags, makes it easy to not only keep the delicious taste of your loose leaf tea, but also allows you to travel with your tea (and without a fancy, pricey infuser mug). DIY tea bags can be used with any blend of loose leaf tea, and they don’t come at a high cost. Simply purchase a box or selection of sealable tea bags, empty and free of any pre-filled tea, and you can add whatever tea you’d like into each individual tea bag. You can even fill your empty tea bags ahead of time, creating a stash of handmade and packaged loose leaf tea bags to grab whenever you’re heading out the door.

    As you begin to fill your very own tea bags, keep in mind that it’s important to give your tea a bit of room. It’s tempting to stuff each empty tea bag with as much loose leaf tea as possible, but fight the urge — you want each leaf to unfurl when it hits hot water, in order to get as much flavor as you can, so give your leaves room to breathe by filling them only two-thirds of the way to full.

    Wondering where you can purchase DIY tea bags? There’s a wealth of options online, and you can order boxes of unfilled tea bags at affordable prices. Amazon customers, and tea lovers, recommend the following two types:

    Tea Filter Bags with Drawstring, by Musings

    These fillable empty tea bags make it incredibly easy to stuff any variety of loose leaf tea inside. Spoon in the tea of your choice, and use the unique drawstrings on each bag to secure it shut. They make it simple to drop your homemade tea bag into any cup of steaming hot water, and they’re also great for the environment — each of these tea bags is biodegradable, and free of any added chemicals.

    Tea Filter Bags, by Magic Teafit

    Ready to fill your own empty tea bags by the dozen — or the hundred? This bulk supply of DIY tea filter bags are also simple to use, as you can drop your favorite loose leaf blend into the empty bag, close it shut, and take it wherever you’d like to make a quick cup of tea. Also biodegradable and compostable, these tea filter bags require no infuser, no special mug, and no hassle.

    No matter how you prefer to brew your loose leaf tea, an empty tea bag can turn your tea-making process into a simple, minutes-long routine. There’s no need to rely on infusers, tricky travel mugs, or even pricey accessories; you just need an empty bag and a mug of hot water, and you can brew loose leaf tea in any setting.

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    Soothe Your Stomach with Matula Tea

    Tea is a wonderful herbal treat: it’s delicious, it’s natural, and it’s good for the body. But so many tea drinkers stick with their favorites, created from the basic bases of black, green, and white teas. As great as these common teas are, there’s a whole host of teas blended from different leaves and herbs — and they offer the body entirely different benefits. Matula tea is most likely a tea you have yet to try, but it’s one that does wonders for those who seek a new taste, along with some important potential health benefits.

    What is Matula Tea made from?

    Here's a box of Matula Tea.
    Here’s a box of Matula Tea.

    Matula is, like other tea blends, a mix of many different herbals and natural ingredients. According to Matula Naturals, it’s a tea that grows wild — unlike many others grown and harvested in controlled environments.

    The herbs that make Matula tea are found only in the mountains of Southern Africa, in very small and remote locations.

    Each herb is hand-picked from its natural environment. Then they’re dried under the rays of the sun. Finally, they’re blended and packaged into individual bags. This means the ingredients within Matula are untouched by pesticides, additives, and other potentially harmful inclusions.

    In each tea bag or box of Matula tea are the following herbs:

    • Oleaceae, which is related to olive trees;
    • Asteraceae, also known as aster;
    • Alliaceae, an herb closely connected to onions and chives;
    • Fabaceae, which is a member of the bean family;
    • Myrtaceae, an herb related to clove, allspice, and other spices.

    Its blend also includes some unnamed finely ground flowers, stems, and leaves of the plants from which these herbs grow.

    Make sure to choose a Matula tea blend that is 100 percent natural, according to its packaging or its supplier, to be certain you’re sipping an unaltered tea.

    Why choose Matula?

    You know tea is packed with antioxidants and other health-helping compounds, but every variety benefits different ailments. Matula tea offers a different body benefit — it can treat stomach ulcers (which are caused by h. pylori). It’s also used for other problems caused by increased digestive acids.

    Matula tea is such an effective healing remedy that many doctors recommend it to patients who suffer from bacterial and acid-related digestive ailments.

    The natural herbs in Matula tea have antibacterial properties, which helps to kill harmful bacteria like h. pylori which cause ulcers to form in the stomach.

    This tea also facilitates healing within the stomach’s lining, helping to soothe and repair the damage done by gastric acids in the digestive system.

    Drinking Matula tea regularly can also help you repair lost mucus in your stomach, making the digestive process easier and less painful.

    Some, who drink Matula daily, even report that you can feel relief from the symptoms of acid reflux and yeast infections within just a few weeks of incorporating Matula into your daily routine.

    So, Matula tea can help you heal many internal woes. Of course, you should always consult your doctor if you’re suffering from stomach problems and seeking relief. Let’s repeat that once more, in huge red letters, to emphasize how important it is.

    Always consult your doctor if you’re suffering from stomach problems.

    However, Matula is safe to drink on a regular basis; free from artificial ingredients as well as wheat, caffeine, dairy, corn, sugar, and gluten. It’s a tea that nearly everyone can enjoy. With no known side effects, Matula tea is the blend to sip when your stomach just isn’t feeling its best.

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    The Benefits of Tea Infuser Travel Mugs

    There are so many different ways to take your tea on the go: a traditional mug with a fancy, snap-on lid; a thermos, designed to keep your steaming beverage warm; or even a simple travel mug, the kind originally meant to keep coffee drinkable during your commute. Yet tea is a unique drink, one that requires more than pouring and ingesting. The best cups of tea are carefully steeped, the leaves soaked just the right length of time in hot water and ready to enjoy while still hot. So, how can you recreate the same taste of tea that you love when you need to drink it as you run throughout your day? That’s the beauty of a tea infuser travel mug — the perfect way to enjoy your tea without a teapot, a stove, or even a traditional mug.

    A tea infuser travel mug is somewhat self explanatory; it’s a travel mug that features an attachment, accessory, or component that can brew tea. That’s right, there’s no need to wait for your tea to steep before rushing out the door each morning — you can drop your favorite loose leaf blend, or even ready-made teabag of choice, into the infuser basket, fill the mug with water, and get on your way. Every tea infuser mug is different, but each features the same components: an insulated mug, a mesh infuser basket, and a lid meant to seal in the heat. With nothing more than these three pieces, you can brew your tea anywhere, and get sipping as soon as it’s done steeping right in your mug. Toss out your old tea leaves or tea bag, and you can make another cup in seconds.

    From beautifully designed to extremely simple and straightforward, there are countless varieties of on-the-go tea infusers. Travel tea infuser mugs aren’t an expensive option, either, as they can be purchased for prices between $10 to $30. Do consider the size of the mug when choosing your portable tea infuser; every model and variety holds a different amount of water. If you’d prefer a larger infuser mug, remember that you’ll need to add more tea with each use to make the perfect brew.

    If you’re looking for the perfect travel tea infuser mug for yourself, or for a fellow tea lover, consider one of these options:

    Aladdin Perfect Cup Tea Infuser

    This is my travel tea mug of choice whenever I brew at work or on the go. There’s no effort required at all to make and take a cup of tea with this mug; simply add hot water, stick your tea into the mesh basket, and use the lever to drop the herbs into the water for steeping. When you’re finished steeping, don’t unscrew the lid and release the heat — just flip the lever up, and the mug will pull the infuser basket out of the water so you can get drinking.

    Sili Bake Tea Infuser Mug with Lid

    Made of insulating double-walled glass, which keeps your tea as warm as possible, and silicone, making it easy to grip, this tea infuser mug comes apart for both easy use and easy cleaning. Place the infuser basket into a mug full of water, screw on the top, and you can start drinking your tea. Safe to use in both the microwave and dishwasher, this is a simple and straightforward infuser mug with sturdy construction.

    Tea Forte KATI Insulated Ceramic Cup with Tea Infuser and Lid

    This tea infuser mug allows you to easily remove your tea bag or loose leaf blend whenever steeping is complete. The infuser basket hooks over the edge of the cup, firmly held in place alone or with the aid of the included lid, drops your chosen tea into the hot water below. Whenever you’re ready to drink your tea, remove the infuser basket and reattach the lid — your tea will stay warm, thanks to its double walled construction and insulated ceramic.

    Thanks to travel tea infuser mugs, it’s easier than ever to take your morning cup of tea on the road with you — and to refill it throughout the day, wherever you go. There are so many different designs, styles, and options; no matter which infuser mug you choose, you can keep your tea warm and your healthy herbal beverages handy when away from home.

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    What to Look For in a Loose Leaf Tea Infuser

    How do you brew your loose leaf teas? Do you have a teapot that allows you to add your favorites leaves right into an infuser beneath its lid? Or do you place your loose leaf blends into your mug, making individual cups? Chances are, if you are brewing a single cup of loose leaf tea, you need an infuser to complete the task. How else can you create the perfect brew of tea and ensure you won’t sip on a few leaves as well? A loose leaf tea infuser contains your favorite tea leaves, allowing you to steep without loosing leaves in the process. Though every infuser does the same work, every one is different, with different benefits. The type of loose leaf tea infuser every tea lover chooses to use depends on their style, their tea taste, and their brewing needs.

    The Tea Infuser Ball

    One of the most common types of loose leaf tea infusers is the tea ball, a wire mesh sphere attached to a chain. A tea ball infuser opens so that loose leaf tea can be placed in both halves of the sphere, and is then placed inside a mug with the chain draped over the side. As hot water slip into the tea infuser ball through the mesh, the loose leaf tea is able to release its aroma and flavor — and none of the leaves are able to sneak into the cup of water itself. One variety of the traditional tea infuser ball is the Norpro Stainless Steel infuser. The only complaints of those who use this variety of loose leaf tea infuser are that the chain often falls into the cup, leaving you to fish it out with your fingers, and that the hinges of each ball can malfunction after much use.

    The OXO Good Grips Twisting Tea Ball is an infuser than can solve the problem of slippery chains on most similar loose leaf tea infuser varieties. It features a handle that can rest against your mug, keeping your hands dry and tea chain-free.

    Tea Tongs

    If the tea ball infuser isn’t for you, consider using tea tongs. Rather than dangling from the length of a chain, the mesh or stainless steel infuser rests at the end of two handles. Models like the Danesco Tea Infuser Tongs feature the same ball shape as the tea ball infuser, but require you to squeeze both handles in order to open the ball and add or remove loose leaf tea leaves. This loose leaf tea infuser style suffers from the same problems as the tea ball: the hinge can grow unreliable, and it can be hard to fit a lot of tea into the available area.

    Others, like the Norpro Round Stainless Steel Teabag Squeezer, are less similar to the tea ball infuser. Instead, they require you to place your loose leaf tea in an empty or homemade tea bag, and are simply two handles that allow you to grip your tea bag and submerge it. This is a tricky loose leaf infuser to use, as you have to keep your hold on it until steeping is complete.

    The Tea Basket (or Strainer)

    Another very popular variety of loose leaf tea infuser is the tea basket, or tea strainer. Shaped like a basket, with a wide opening at their top and a smaller, closed bottom, these infusers fit in nearly any mug, any cup. Thanks to their mesh material, they hold loose leaf tea underwater while prevent any small bits from sneaking through the holes in the basket. Tea basket infusers can also hold more tea, allowing for stronger cups or perhaps even an entire pot.

    Tea baskets, or strainers, like the leafTEA Loose Leaf Strainer and the Schefs Premium Tea Infuser, are easy to use and clean. They can be placed over a mug, the basket resting in the water below, and allow varieties of loose leaf tea to expand and fill your mug.

    The Fun, Different, and Unique

    If your style is a bit wilder and more fun, you don’t have to choose a boring loose leaf infuser. Instead, select a more unique and adorable option that will make every cup of tea a little more lively. You can find loose leaf tea infusers in the shape of a sloth, a strawberry, or even a manatee — and there are endless more options to explore at your favorite tea shop or online. These work just like any other in-cup tea infuser, featuring hinges or a removable half that allows you to insert your tea. Each also comes with its own unique way of removing the infuser from the cup, such as the stem of the strawberry, or the fins of the manatee.

    No matter which loose leaf tea infuser you choose, each variety and shape offers a different way to create your cups of tea. From the exciting and unexpected to the more traditional, every loose leaf infuser helps you brew without loosing leaves, flavor, or aroma.

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    Consider Choosing Hawaiian Tea for Your Next Brew

    Have you tried Hawaiian tea? I’m admittedly a newbie when it comes to brews and blends from this gorgeous island state — the first time I encountered Hawaiian tea was when I spotted a co-worker drinking a brilliantly bright pink beverage, which turned out to be tea. The teas of Hawaii, however, do not all feature the sweet, tropical, and fruity flavors that typically come to mind when many of us think of Hawaii. Instead, the island state is quickly becoming a popular grower of oolong, black, white, and green tea varieties — and Hawaiian teas are starting to catch the attention of tea lovers everywhere.

    Recently, Hawaiian tea made headlines when it took the top prizes and titles at the inaugural Tea of the United States Awards, or TOTUS, conference and competition. Tea growers from eight states, 30 different tea gardens, with 79 tea varieties all presented their leaves and blends to a panel of judges — and it was the Hawaii tea growers who dominated the contest. Onomea Tea was the top tea garden, securing wins in six out of 12 categories.

    Tasty teas from such a tropical and fauna-filled locale shouldn’t be such a surprise; after all, according to University of Hawaii, Manoa professor of nutrition and food Ching-Yuan Hu, Hawaii offers one of the most hospitable environments in which to grow tea. Temperature in its climate, and a rainy state in which plants thrive, it offers the same ecological benefits as famed tea locations like China and India. In an interview with World Tea News, Hawaiian tea grower and previous Hawaii Tea Society president Eva Lee stated, “We hope that the competition will encourage those who have pioneered U.S. tea farming to gain national recognition for their uniquely crafted teas and further educate consumers supporting domestic tea agriculture.”

    How did the esteemed judges determine that Hawaii’s teas were best? The panel, comprised of individuals from different fields within the world of tea, examined and evaluated the dry leaves, then tested their taste with a brewed cup of tea. Each beverage was ranked on aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. The judges also considered if teas followed the traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Indians flavors, or if they were purely original.

    Although American teas, and Hawaiian teas in particular, are a considerably younger phenomenon, don’t count them out. With such a fantastic showing, Hawaiian teas may become your new favorite in the near future. You can sip the flavors you know and love, with a slight twist.

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    Can Chamomile Tea Help Lower Your Blood Sugar?

    Sipping your favorite brew of tea offers so many benefits to both body, mind, and even attitude. Who doesn’t instantly feel better, feel happier, when pouring a perfectly steaming cup of tea? It’s delicious and a product of nature — so it’s not surprising that every variety of tea offers its own health-helping qualities. Green tea, of course, is a health and healing powerhouse that helps keep weight down, infuses antioxidants, and even lowers the risk of some types of cancers. Black tea offers energy-stimulating caffeine, can reduce chances of stroke and heart disease, and eliminates potentially dangerous bacteria in the mouth. While these two teas are quite popular with tea lovers, they aren’t the only health powerhouses.

    The most recent news about the bountiful benefits of tea involves a variety already known for its calming and soothing effects: chamomile. As World Tea News reports, a recent research study conducted at the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in the country of Iran discovered that chamomile tea can help those who drink it to lower their blood sugar. Over the course of eight weeks, the researchers examined what happened when more than 60 individuals with diabetes changed their daily drinking habits.

    Half of the participants in the study were given water to drink after each meal; the other half were given cups of chamomile tea. Throughout the duration of the study, researchers took and recorded body measurements and blood samples. When the study ended, the researchers found that those who spent the weeks consuming chamomile instead of water had lower blood sugar — and an increase in the amount of antioxidants in their blood stream. Even more benefits existed as well, as the insulin levels and glycosylated hemoglobin (glucose-bound hemoglobin in someone’s blood) were lowered.

    What, exactly, is it that makes chamomile tea the healthiest choice for those with diabetes and other blood sugar problems? The study’s researchers think that it’s quercetin, an antioxidant particular to chamomile leaves that works with the enzymes involved in a diabetic body’s response to food. Researchers, however, aren’t yet sure how long the benefits of chamomile last — because the study lasted just eight weeks, they plan to extend its length in order to determine just how often drinking chamomile tea is best.

    So, if you struggle with your blood sugar levels, or are perhaps suffering from an ailment like type 2 diabetes, consider choosing chamomile. It can help your body work its way towards better health.

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    5 Reasons Why Tea Makes an Incredible Pre-Workout

    If you’ve ever looked at your grandma and thought, “Damn Granny, how’d you get so yolked?!” the secret’s finally out of the bag. It’s not the decades she spent carrying around children and grandchildren, and she didn’t develop those sick gainz from stirring her secret tomato sauce recipe… it’s all that tea she drinks. Wait, what? Yeahhhhh buddy, tea.

    There are a lot of reasons that people like to drink tea, and there are a few reasons why tea is becoming more and more popular in the hardcore bodybuilding community. Here’s 5…

    5. That Pre-workout Jolt 

    via thedesigninspiration.com
    via thedesigninspiration.com

    Tea usually doesn’t have quite as much caffeine as a coffee, but it also won’t leave you feeling jittery or make you crash after a couple of hours. A couple cups of tea can give you just the boost you need.

    4. If You Can Look Tough Holding a Cup of Tea…

    … Then you’re officially tough. A lot of people act tough, but deep down they’re actually just using it as a facade because they’re insecure. If you can’t sit there with your big meat-paws holding a fine China tea cup and feeling like a boss, it’s time to check yourself.

    3. Tea’s Have a Plethora of Potential Health Benefits

    lift

    Why do you hit the gym everyday? Sure, it’s to get huge and look awesome, but for a lot of people that train, it’s to be healthy and to feel great.

    Living a long, healthy life is a lot better than living a short, uncomfortable life where you feel bad all the time. Different types of tea, including herbal teas, have been associated with all sorts of different health benefits.

    2. Arnold Attributes His Mr. Olympia Victories To Tea

    "Come with me if you want to sip."
    “Come with me if you want to sip.”

    Okay, this one isn’t true at all, but I’m running out of ideas and there were still two more spots on this list. If you can’t tell by now, this list obviously isn’t 100% serious and chances are that your grandma isn’t even yolked. Bro, does your granny even lift? But some people are going to just skim this list quickly, and they’ll live the rest of their lives thinking that tea is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secret weapon.

    They’ll probabally spread it like broscience at their local gyms, and there will be thousands of people out there drinking tea to be like Arnold. Aren’t you glad you took two minutes to actually read the article? Let’s see what else we can get them to believe…

    1. Tea Is Literally Testosterone, That’s Why It’s Called “T” 

    A lot of people don’t realize that the reason tea is called that is because of the “T” from testosterone. Tea is basically liquid test. You don’t have to spend thousands of bucks a year on crazy muscle growth supplements, just steep a cup of tea and make sure you read #2 on this list.

    Now, some teas do have health benefits that have been studied, and some serious health fanatics swear by their daily cup of tea, but ultimately the biggest benefit you’re going to get is pure and simple relaxation. Your most important set of the day is your rest and recovery time.

    Want something that really works? Hit up the links below and Amazon Prime will take care of you.

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    Turmeric Health Benefits: A Tea Steeped for Healing

    Last updated: January 4th, 2017.

    Few things in this world are as soothing as a good cup of tea to relax with after a difficult day, but the health benefits of tea are worth exploring as well.

    You’ve got your choices; a tea can be found to appease nearly any palate. You can make tea out of just about anything, and turmeric is no exception.

    turmeric-roots
    The root of the turmeric plant is ground up into a spice.

    Turmeric is a cross cultural spice that has been used in medicinal teas for years – and with good reason. Turmeric health benefits include its anti-inflammatory properties, qualities that aid in digestion, and more.

    Turmeric has been around for thousands and thousands of years but it seems only recently has there been a major spotlight on the herb known as the “king of spice”.

    product_turmeric

    Used commonly in Asian cuisine and for it’s golden yellow colouring for curries, this spice is now being sought after for many of its health benefits as well. There’s lots to love about turmeric and using it to make tea, too.

    Basic Facts

    Turmeric is a rhizomatous perennial herb plant that grows wild in South and Southeast Asia. It can grow up to 1 metre high and when harvested the root stocks are boiled and dried then ground up into a powder which is used as a spice and can also be used as a dye because of it’s deep color.

    Medicinal properties of Turmeric

    The most well-known compound of turmeric is its active ingredient curcumin, which is believed to be one of the main causes of turmeric’s health benefits. Indian traditional medicine has been using turmeric for thousands of years for many different ailments and here’s why:

    • Turmeric contains Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-6
    • Vitamin C,E, and K
    • Significant amounts of Iron, Manganese, Fiber, Copper, and Potassium
    • Also includes levels of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Calcium, and Zinc
    • Research also shows compounds other than curcumin have antifungal and antibacterial properties

    Beneficial effects of consuming turmeric spice

    image via dmelibrary.com
    image via dmelibrary.com

    Curcumin is believed to have biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-tumour activities which can help greatly with a variety of ailments including the skin, pulmonary and gastrointestinal systems. Turmeric may help in the following:

    • Support of the immune system
    • Healthy blood and liver function
    • Improve with digestion
    • Certain skin conditions including eczema, shingles, and allergies
    • Aches and pain related to arthritis
    • Inflammation of joints and muscles

    So now that you know all of it’s amazing benefits how are you going to incorporate it into your daily life? Let us tell you!

    How to make tea with turmeric

    You can put turmeric spice on basically anything including rice and meat dishes, roasted vegetables, eggs, even salad dressings. But we’re tea people so we would like to know how to make some tea with this amazing spice right? We found the easiest way to do this is by making your own tea bags. You can pick up tea bags at any David’s tea location or wherever you buy your loose leaf tea. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started that will make 4 tea bags but you can put as little or as much of these ingredients as you’d like:

    • In a small bowl, mix 2.5 tablespoons ground turmeric, 1.5 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 4 tablespoons loose lemongrass tea, and 20 peppercorns. You can also add a pinch of clove and nutmeg for enhanced flavor. Stir to combine.
    • Place 1 tablespoon of mixture into a tea bag.
    • Add fresh ginger root to the tea bag right before brewing.
    • Brew as you would normal tea.
    • Add a slice of orange and honey for sweetness while tea is steeping. Enjoy!

    If you have any other suggestions for ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet let us know with a comment down below!

    There is an extraordinary extract that comes from the Turmeric root called Curcumin, this extremely effective antioxidant does wonders for our health. By adding turmeric to your diet through cooking or through this increasingly popular tea, you can help fortify your immune system and strengthen your body against disease, infection and even inflammation.

    Turmeric Tea’s Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

    One of the main health benefits of turmeric is its effect on inflammation in the body. It has long been used to help with rheumatoid arthritis – an inflammation of the joints and cartilage. Additionally, turmeric promotes healing with cuts and open sores, and reduces the risk of infection. This is because turmeric contains enzyme inhibitors for COX-2, a naturally produced enzyme that promotes swelling and pain in the event of some sort of stimuli (cuts, infections, etc). This anti-inflammatory property is also what makes turmeric a great cancer fighting agent – it slows down the production of the cancerous cells. Cancer development is directly affected by inflammation, in fact chronic inflammation is leading cause of cancerous development and growth.

    Digestive & Liver Health Benefits

    Anti-inflammatory use is not the only health benefit. Digestion is a big deal when it comes to feeling good – some people won’t get out of bed if their tummy hurts. Our bodies immune function relies heavily on our digestive system working properly. Turmeric is known to stimulate the gallbladder, aiding in easing indigestion and heartburn. In traditional medicine, it was also used to treat ulcers and gallstones. Turmeric also acts as a liver flush – it removes toxins and bile from the liver’s system, making it function better and more efficiently. Remember that if you have any kind of problem with your stomach, gallbladder or liver, you want to visit with your doctor before you start adding this drink to your diet.

    Brain Health Benefits of This Drink

    brain health

    One more health benefit that was not mentioned before is the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is the result of the buildup of plaque, called amyloids on the brain. Turmeric has several enzymatic blockers that prevent beta-amyloid (the substance responsible for the plaque build up) from being formed, therefore slowing down the symptoms and allowing the brain to maintain its function. This means that while Alzheimer’s is neither curable or reversible, it can be slowed down and manageable with a  little dietary help. Studies show that along with Alzheimer’s, turmeric could potentially help those that suffer from other disorders like multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

    The In’s and Out’s of Tea Made with Turmeric

    So, in addition to being a tasty tea, turmeric health benefits are numerous and varied. Preventing Alzheimer’s and relieving arthritis are both big tasks that many people need help with – and perhaps the rest of us could just do to relax, relieve indigestion and cleanse our bodies.

    If you are concerned about your health or you simply like to keep your body in tip top shape, cleanse yourself of harmful toxins and significantly improve your overall health. All through a delicious tea you would likely be enjoying for the aromatic, luxurious qualities it possesses aside from the health benefits.

    Adding the health benefits of turmeric to your tea can be as simple as adding a teaspoon of ground turmeric and ginger to an already made cup of black or green tea, but you can also buy powdered instant teas in your health food grocery store. If you haven’t given it a try yet, now is the time!

    Other teas you may enjoy: 

    We understand that people drink tea for a variety of different reasons. Some drink tea for some sort of benefits to their health, some drink tea simply because they like the taste. Some people drink tea because it helped them quit coffee. Whatever your reason is, welcome to the club!

    There’s no right or wrong reason to enjoy a cup of tea. Every reason that one might sip a tea is the perfect reason. We all love tea, and have our own favorite varieties. Here are some other types of tea that we’ve covered in the past, hopefully you’ll find some new favorites to try.

    There you have it. Please leave a comment and let us know if you’ve tried turmeric tea in the past, and let us know your favorite recipes. Do you have any other types of tea that you’d like us to cover? Maybe you’re curious about it, or maybe you’re already a huge fan… in either case, let us know your favorite because we’re always curious to try new teas or to rediscover an old favorite.

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    Chocolate Tea Is A Tasty Treat Without The Sugar or Calories of Chocolate

    Chocolate may not have a reputation as the healthiest of snacks, but it does make for a tasty cup of tea. That’s right — chocolate tea exists, and it carries that same familiar, sugary, and smooth taste as your favorite candy. A decadently flavored type of tea, chocolate isn’t among the most common choices for tea lovers, but it’s one that blends the deliciousness of dessert with the natural, healthy benefits of every other tea.Though you may typically avoid taking a bite out of a chocolate bar, you don’t have to avoid tea; fulfill your sweet tooth’s cravings by sipping chocolate tea.

    Chocolate tea is a surprisingly healthy and delicious variety of tea. Typically, tea leaves are a blend of different aromatic natural herb; chocolate tea is the same, but features cacao in some form. The different types of chocolate — candy bars, filled candies, hot cocoas, and others — all get their irresistible flavor from cacao, a tree that produces seeds which are dried and turned into the chocolate we all know and love. Chocolate teas come in many different varieties, all of which feature cacao in some way. Many loose leaf blends feature cacao nibs, tiny cacao seeds that are roasted, peeled, and crushed into pieces. Cacao nibs exude a flavor similar to that of dark chocolate, making their taste in a chocolate tea variety more subtle. Other varieties use other parts of the cacao seed, such as the shells or pods in which the seeds grow.

    Loose leaf chocolate teas are typically a mix of unbroken and uncrushed black tea leaves, as well as those roasted cacao seed nibs. There are some types of chocolate tea, though, that don’t include cacao pieces. Some ground tea varieties, available at Trader Joe’s and similar grocery stores, crush and blend the cacao with black tea leaves, which gives a more chocolatey flavor to the tea. If you love the taste of plain chocolate, these teas can become your favorite dessert drink. Of course, there’s more to chocolate tea than just cacao and its familiar flavoring; The Republic of Tea offers a wide variety of chocolate tea, including options like strawberry chocolate, dark chocolate, and even red velvet chocolate. David’s Tea also features a host of chocolate dessert teas, making it easy to find your very own favorite.

    So, what does chocolate tea taste like? Although the word “chocolate” may make you imagine strongly sweet teas, chocolate tea is actually nothing like its close relative hot cocoa, or hot chocolate. Instead, because actual cacao nibs, shells, and even pods are used in these loose leaf teas, they take on less obvious chocolate taste than you might anticipate. As you sip on these dessert teas, you’ll inhale the wonderful aroma of chocolate, which enhances its chocolatey taste, all while avoiding the unhelpful calories that come with every chocolate bar.

    Of course, what makes chocolate tea such a great option for tea drinkers and chocolate lovers alike is its health-friendly nature. While a piece of chocolate is loaded with sugar, calories, and fat, chocolate teas feature only good-for-you ingredients. Low in calories, mildly sweet without added, unnatural sugars, and delicious without any added cream or dairy, chocolate tea is a dessert drink you can enjoy without feeling guilty about your diet. If you’re a chocolate lover, this type of tea brings the scent, the taste, and the happiness of your favorite treat in a natural, herbal beverage.

  • in

    Best Gifts for Tea Drinkers

    With the holidays approaching, it’s becoming crunch time to find the perfect gift for everyone in your life. We’ve complied some of the best gifts for tea drinkers in your family.

    • Chef’s Secret Tea Kettle – This tea kettle has a copper bottom which helps with an even distribution of the heat. Additionally, it comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. Finding the perfect tea kettle is difficult so save your special tea drinker the time and give them the best tea kettle out on the market right now. tea kettle - best gifts for tea drinkerThe handle is made with silicon which helps prevent it from getting too warm to grab after heating up the water. For being one of the best kettles out on the market, the affordable price really makes it one of the best gifts for tea drinkers.
    • FORLIFE Stump Teapot with Infuser: This is a great product for loose tea enthusiasts. The infuser goes right into the teapot with ease and, unlike so many other mesh infusers, the tea drinker is not left with loose leaves floating around in the cup. It’s a perfect teapot for one to two drinkers. teapot with infuser - best gifts for tea drinkersEven better, this teapot comes in many different colors to fit right into any tea drinker’s kitchen!
    • Digital Measuring Spoon: This is a product that many tea drinkers had no idea they needed until they got one. This digital measuring spoon is a great way to measure loose tea to ensure the best ratios. Never again will a tea be too weak or too strong with this measuring spoon. digital measuring spoon - best gifts for tea drinkersThe other great thing about this gift is how handy it will become around the kitchen – not just for measuring tea! That makes it one of the most versatile best gifts for tea drinkers.
    • Mr Tea Infuser: This makes a great stocking stuffer! Any tea drinker will love enjoying their cup of tea with this relaxing guy. mr tea infuser - best gifts for tea drinkers They have different options as well – including a Manatea and Teatanic. You’re sure to find the perfect infuser to please your favorite tea drinker.
    •  Tea Storage Box: All tea enthusiasts have more tea bags than they know what to do with. Help them get organized with a beautiful wooden box specifically built for holding tea bags. The acrylic glass lid is perfect for keeping an eye on what teas they have and what they’ll need to pick up later. tea storage box - best gifts for tea drinkersThe best part is that this box could fit in a kitchen drawer or would make a great addition to any counter.
    • Death Star Infuser: For the nerdy tea drinker, this is the perfect gift – especially with the imminent release of the newest movie in the Star Wars franchise. death star infuser - best gifts for tea drinkersAnd, if your nerd is not into Star Wars, have no fear – you can pick up a Dr. Who Tardis tea infuser instead. This is the nerd’s best gift for tea drinkers.
    • Mug with a Cubby Hole: We’ve all been there – trying to balance carrying a snack and our tea back to the couch to continue bingeing on Netflix. With this mug, the balancing act is over. snack mugs - best gifts for tea drinkersDishwasher and microwave safe! Make life a little bit easier with this awesome gift.

    Whether your favorite tea drinker is nerdy or a more of a purist when it comes to their tea, these gifts are sure to please them. The best thing about loving tea is that these gifts are great all year long. Don’t forget about the best gifts for tea drinkers even after the holidays!

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    How To Brew Loose Leaf Tea When You’re Stranded On a Deserted Island

    So, you’re stranded on a deserted island, left with nothing — no tools, no appliances, no comforts of home, and, perhaps worst of all, no way to brew tea. How can you possibly create a cup of tea without a stove, a teapot, or tea bags? Luckily, loose leaf tea is easy to find in natural settings, and brewing tea doesn’t have to be complicated.

    island

    Although the chances that you’ll end up on a deserted island are slim, sometimes simplicity is best when brewing tea. Loose leaf tea is tea in its purest form, so why not brew it in a manner that celebrates its natural wonder? Here’s everything you need to know about brewing a cup of loose leaf tea, whether you’re stuck on an island or standing by the stovetop.

    tom-hanks-in-cast-away

    First, grab your loose leaf tea. Loose leaf varieties release fewer tannins than tea bags, which makes for a softer, less bitter taste, and they expand when brewed and steeped. So, while brewing, the goal is to allow the leaves to release their flavors and aromas as much as possible. Measure out approximately one teaspoon of loose leaf tea — for a typical eight-ounce cup, this is a good amount to keep in mind. If you choose to use a fluffier leaf, like that of white or chamomile teas, you may need to increase this a bit; if you prefer a dense tea blend like Gunpowder, you may want to use a tiny bit less than one teaspoon.

    leaves

    Once your tea leaves are measured, drop them into a teabag or infuser. Place this inside the mug you’ll be sipping from. Based on the tea blend you’ve chosen, it’s now time to determine just how hot your water needs to be and get boiling. Here’s a handy temperature guide:

    • Black: 212 degrees
    • Oolong: 195 degrees
    • Green or White: 180 degrees
    • Herbal: 212 degrees

    Once your water is boiled and perfectly heated, pour it over your tea leaves resting in your mug. Make sure to cover the infuser or bag entirely with water — then, let those leaves steep. If you’re unsure of how long to steep your leaves, check the box! But if you found those leaves while stranded on an island, you won’t have a box for them… and you’ll have to dry them in the sun… so just wing it. Experiment, you’ll have plenty time on your hands!

    That’s it — once your tea leaves are steeped, remove them and get drinking. Of course, if you’re stuck on a deserted island, the process will take a bit more time and effort — building a fire, finding a vessel to drink from, and sourcing tea would all have to be done by hand. But, you can incorporate the simplicity of that setting into your daily brew, and take the time to create a cup of excellent tea at home with this process.

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    Tea Advent Calendars Will Keep You Warm This Winter

    Before discovering tea advent calendars, December 1st used to mean I was in for 24 days of waxy, cheap tasting chocolates that would rarely last longer than the first week or two. Now as an adult, I’ve found a much tastier (and healthier) way to count down during the holidays.

    tea-advent-calendar

    Did you know? The advent calendar was first used by Germans in the 19th century.

    advent
    Remember these things? (“Diciembre” by Lumentzaspi – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diciembre.jpg#/media/File:Diciembre.jpg)

    Adult advent calendars are a big trend lately, often being filled with booze or food. My favorite, by a country mile, is the tea advent calendar. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with some booze or treat foods, but those aren’t necessarily things that I want to enjoy on a daily basis for nearly a month. Tea, on the otherhand? Bring it on! 

    tea-advent-2

    The folks over at Teanzo 1856 sent us their Loose Leaf Tea Advent Calendar (which you can find here), and not unlike those waxy chocolate advent calendars of yesteryear – I still find myself skipping ahead a few days, because these blends are so tasty.

    This loose leaf tea advent calendar comes with 24 unique blends that give you the opportunity to experience many of the different teas that the company has to offer. For each day, there is a small pouch of tea with a number that corresponds to the legend on the back of the box.

    December has already started, but it’s not too late to pick up your advent calendar from Teanzo, click here to visit their website.

    Here’s a look at the exact teas you’ll receive:

    1. Winter Earl Grey (Whole leaf black tea, cornflowers, vanilla, and natural flavor.)
    2. Jasmine (Green tea and jasmine scent.)
    3. Apple Cinnamon (Organic black tea, cinnamon chips and apple pieces, and natural flavor.)
    4. Irish Breakfast (Blend of black teas from India and Sri Lanka.)
    5. Peppermint Rose (Peppermint, rosehips, and rose petals.)
    6. Acai Berry Green (Sencha green tea, safflowers, and natural flavor.)
    7. Dream Spa Blend (Cardamom, saffron, licorice root, fennel, ginger root, cinnamon, rosebuds, lemongrass, and rose scene.)
    8. Black Cherry Tea (Black tea, safflowers, and natural flavors.)
    9. Ti Kwan Yin (Oolong tea.)
    10. Chocolate Mint Tea (Organic black tea, mint leaves, and chocolate pieces with chocolate flavor.)
    11. Bergamot Earl Grey (Organic black tea and natural flavor.)
    12. Detox Mint (Tulsi, spearmint, rosehips, lemon myrtle, and natural flavors.)
    13. Cranberry Tea (Organic black tea with cranberry pieces, natural flavor, and safflower.)
    14. Breakfast Tea (Golden tips whole leaf black tea from Assam.)
    15. Tranquil Spa Blend (Green rooibos, ginger root, orange peel, mint leaves, eucalyptus, and natural flavor.)
    16. Tropical Iced Tea (Organic black tea with safflowers, marigold, cornflower, and blue mallow flowers and natural flavors.)
    17. Moroccan Mint (Gunpowder green tea and peppermint.)
    18. Vanilla Rooibos (Organic red tea from Africa and natural vanilla.)
    19. Darjeeling (Black tea from Darjeeling.)
    20. Orange Creme Dessert Tea (Black tea, orange peel, vanilla pieces, and natural flavors.)
    21. Fennel Chai (Black tea, ginger root, cinnamon, and fennel seeds with natural flavor.)
    22. Earl Grey Green (Gunpowder green tea and natural flavor.)
    23. Chocolate Coconut Tea (Black tea, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and natural flavors.)
    24. Christmas Chai (Organic black tea, rooibos, ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, vanilla and with natural flavors.)

    Is your mouth watering yet? Can’t wait for Xmas morning to steep a cup of that Christmas Chai!

    Happy holidays and thanks to the folks at TEANZO 1856 for sending us this early Xmas present, remember you can pick up your own advent calendar, one of their other samples, or a big pile of any of their tasty teas at Teanzo.com.

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    The Best Black Friday Sales for Tea Drinkers in 2016

    The sale is over. Check back next year!

    Everyday is a special day when you’ve got a cup of tea in front of you, but once a year there comes a day that’s a bit extra special. That day, of course, is Black Friday… a day where you can get a head-start on your Holiday shopping, and grab a few things for yourself that you’ve been putting off all-year, waiting to find a great sale.

    We’ve scoured the Internet of Tea, and come up with some of the best products that appeal to tea lovers. From tea leaves, to accessories like kettles and infusers, to beautiful cups, and anything in between that might pique your interest… you’ll find it here!

    Each year, we’ll update this page so you can come back – like a special tradition – and we’ll always have something for you. What about the rest of the year, when it’s not black friday? We’ll still keep this page updated periodically with the best tea deals we come across, however our main focus is just for finding the best prices on tea during Black Friday, and we have other pages that will collect the best deals throughout the year as well. In any case – we’re all about giving you that extra little excuse you need to treat yourself, and sometimes a great discount is just what the Doctor ordered!

    This year, Black Friday is taking place on November 25, 2016. 

    We’re also putting together a collection of deals for Cyber Monday which will be live soon.

    Please note: The results on this page are very limited for now, because we’re still waiting for all of the deals to be announced. Please check back often for updates, we will be updating this page daily until black friday is over!

    Black Friday Loose Leaf Tea Deals

    Many of your favorite online and local retailers will have some great sales on their loose leaf teas, here are some of the offerings from our favorite brands in 2016.

    Tea Accessory Sales

    Need a new teapot? A new kettle? Time to trade-in your old copper kettle for something electric? Or maybe you need an excuse to own a couple more infusers? Whatever the case may be, here are some irresistible offers from quality tea merchants who will ship it right to your door.

    Other Related Items

    This is where we’ll include other items that may appeal to a tea-lover, but that will not necessarily be directly related to tea. Things like furniture, books, music, diffusers, candles, and anything else that helps set the ambiance of a relaxed, happy life.

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    Ever Wondered How Tea Is Made? This Interesting 5 Minute Video Explains Tea Production

    This is a clip from the Discovery Channel’s show ‘How It’s Made’, and this episode is obviously all about tea!

    This isn’t representative of MASSIVE scale tea production, where you’ll likely find a lot less of these tasks done by hand, but this also isn’t a tiny operation either. It gives some good insights.

    I think that seeing “how the sausage is made”, or in this case the tea obviously, can really help us to appreciate not only our cup of tea, but the people all around the world that dedicate their lives to working hard and creating that tea in the first place. If it wasn’t for the tireless work and dedication, we might not be able to sit back on the weekend with a big cup of sweet tea, or treat our friends to a decadent cup of Thai style tea, or experience any of the other types of tea from around the world.

    It’s easy to be disconnected from the entire process when you can drive to your grocery store and choose from a wall of various teas, but remember that for most of those leaves it’s not just about sunlight, oxidization, and packaging – there’s a lot of TLC in there too!

    If you know any other resources that will help enlighten our readers about tea production, please leave a comment so that we can include a link to them in this article. Videos are nice, but it’s impossible to touch upon all of the countless techniques and nuances out there, so for anyone who wants to dig a bit deeper – we’ll be adding some helpful links very soon.

    As always, happy steeping.

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    These Melted Tea Cups Are A Perfect Metaphor For Life Or Maybe They’re Just Cool

    The nice thing about art is that you can take whatever you want from it. You can enjoy it at face value and enjoy it as such, or you can ponder it deeply while relating it to your own life and experiences.

    Tea is much the same way. For some, it’s a moment out of the day to reflect and a gain insights into the meanings of life, for others it is simply a warm drink with a bit of caffeine.

    With tea, as with art, there are no right or wrong answers.

    Enjoy these interesting pieces by London-based artist Livia Marin, however you’d like. 

    ChaQ8Jg ChUPp0X

    Notice how each piece brilliantly retains their original patterns. 

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    “Livia Marin is a London-based Chilean artist whose work has been characterized throughout by large-scale installations and the appropriation of mass-produced and mass-consumed objects. Her work was initially informed by the immediate social and political context of Chile in the 1990s that amounted to a transition from a profoundly overt disciplinary regime (given by seventeen years of dictatorship) to an economically disciplinary regime with a strongly developed neo-liberal economic agenda. She employs everyday objects to enquire into the nature of how we relate to material objects in an era dominated by standardization and global circulation. In this, the work seeks to offer a reflection on the relationship we develop with those often unseen objects that meet our daily needs. Central to the work is a trope of estrangement that works to reverse an excess of familiarity that commands the life of the everyday and the dictates of the marketplace. Marin has exhibited widely both in her native Chile and internationally.” via LiviaMarin.com
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    The 5 Rarest And Most Expensive Teas on Earth

    If you are anything like me, you take hobbies seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. Anytime I take on a new interest, I delve deeply into it, discovering and learning as much as possible. I want to be saturated with information. Usually, the climax of my research ends with whatever the apex of the particular interest is.

    The highest form of anything has always been a point of fascination to me. When it came to tea, I was no different. I wanted to know what teas were the world’s finest, or at least which had the biggest price tag. To my infinite delight, I discovered that some astronomically expensive teas exist, and I have chronicled their excellence for you here.

    Tieguanyin Tea

    TieguanyinTea

    $3,000 for 1,000g

    Like many of the world’s most expensive teas, Tieguanyin is an Oolong tea. Named for a Buddhist deity, Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) is a mixture of partially fermented green and black teas. Its distinctive trademark is a unique chestnut flavor, setting it apart from other Oolong leaves. The preparation is a long careful process involving sun drying, oxidation, rolling, roasting and scenting, resulting in leaves which can brew tea up to seven times!

    Narcissus Wuyi Oolong Tea Box

    narcissus

    $6,500 for 1kg (2.2 lbs) 

    This Wuyi province in China lays claim to many expensive teas, including this Oolong which has an interesting history. The tea itself is enormously expensive and rare, coming from the same region as the priciest tea on this list. What makes this particular box special is its Mona Lisa-like journey, from sale in Wuyi to Singapore and from then being passed around until it was bought by a rare tea collector and returned to Hong Kong.

    Panda Dung Tea

    pandatea

    $70,000 for 1kg (2.2 lbs)

    You may have guessed this one is a little different. Allegedly, pandas eat a diet made up entirely of bamboo while only absorbing roughly 30% of the nutrients. This means panda dung is highly nutritious and fortified, which subsequently makes it an excellent fertilizer for hungry tea trees. It should be easy to forget this minor detail, as the tea is renowned for its flavor. While you’re at it, also try to forget the price, which clocks in at $200 a cup.

    Diamond Tea Bag

    diamond-bag-tea

    $15,000 per bag

    This tea is as much about the bag as the tea inside it. To celebrate their 75th anniversary, PG Tips, the British tea company, commissioned the design of a tea bag encrusted and filled with 280 top quality diamonds. The actual tea inside the glittering bag is Silver Tips Imperial, the most expensive Darjeeling tea in the world. Luckily, it’s not all for vanity. These tea bags were hand crafted and sold for a charity in England.

    Da-Hong Pao

    DaHongPao

    $1.2 Million for 1kg (2.2 lbs)

    Well, here it is. Da-Hong Pao is a Chinese Oolong tea that is literally worth more than an equivalent amount of gold. Legend claims this tea cured the illness of a famous emperor’s mother. The emperor then sent men to find the source of the tea, which resulted in the discover of four trees on Mount Wuyi, three of which are still alive today. Da-Hong Pao remains a well kept secret, and can hardly be found. This tea is considered a national treasure in China, and is often gifted to visiting dignitaries.

    If, like me, you aspire to practice tea at the highest levels, you may one day wish to sample these teas. While they are incredibly expensive and most are difficult to find, the bragging rights you earn for having tried them might be worth it!

  • in

    10 Things Your Starbucks Barista Wishes You Knew About Ordering Tea

    As a former barista, I know how much your barista hates you sometimes. They might think the average person is a bit slow when it comes to ordering tea, but that’s okay because I’m here to help you out so that you don’t seem foolish the next time you’re trying to get your fix.

    Starbucks iced tea is concentrated.

    When you order iced tea at Starbucks, it is concentrated. What does this mean for you? You have the power to decide how strong you want your tea! Need more? Just ask for more tea than water. They aren’t brewing their iced tea as you order it, so you can have it as strong or as weak as you’d like.

    Hot water is hot – 200 degrees hot.

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    When you ask for hot tea, it will be hot. The water that comes out of the machine is at least 200 degrees. So, don’t complain. That’s also why it comes double-cupped. We don’t want to burn you, but we certainly don’t want to burn ourselves.

    Pro-Tip: Ask for some ice in the bottom. That way – we don’t have to worry about splashing ourselves if you want it at the top.

    Custom iced tea is possible, but it takes time for tea to steep.

    We are able to make any bag of tea into iced tea for you. It just comes at a cost – your time. Our teas need to steep between 3 to 5 minutes.

    Pro-Tip: Don’t ask for a custom iced tea when it’s busy.

    Iced tea automatically comes sweetened.

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    When I was working the register, I always asked before assuming, but not all baristas take the time. When ordering at a new store, be sure to let them know whether or not you want your Starbucks Iced Tea sweetened. If they give you any snark, ignore it because at least now you know your drink will be made the way you want.

    Shaking the iced tea helps it cool down.

    A lot of customers would be upset when I would shake the “Shaken Iced Tea.” Calm down, folks! The reason we do this is the tea sits on the counter and is room temperature. What is the point of having iced tea if it isn’t cool? Don’t want it shaken? Just ask!

    If you want raw sugar (or honey) in your iced tea, ask for it to be melted.

    Nothing worse than when you get a delicious iced tea and then pour raw sugar or honey in there only to have it float around. The best way to incorporate either of those is to ask the barista to melt it.

    Pro-Tip: Before they do anything, the barista should put the raw sugar or honey in the bottom of the tea shaker, then put a little bit of hot water. After swishing it around for a little, finish making the tea as normal. It’ll taste amazing!

    Tea is a huge chunk of our business.

    12-06-11-orange-blossom-full-leaf-tazo-tea-starbucks-640x628

    As a tea drinker, you must think everyone at Starbucks is ordering frappuccinos or café lattes. But, tea is a huge part of business. So don’t be upset if we run out at any moment.

    We don’t know all the fancy names for every drink combination.

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    I probably don’t know it’s called an “Arnold Palmer.” Truthfully, it took me a long time to figure out all the different terms for the different drinks. And, your young barista now probably has no idea who Arnold Palmer even is. Don’t assume we know what you’re talking about. If you have a specific drink, be sure to order it by its ingredients.

    You can get creative.

    Don’t feel self-conscious about trying something new. If you’re unsure, ask if someone has ever done it. A shot of espresso in iced tea? A pump of pumpkin spice in your black tea? Don’t be scared to try new things.

    I can’t blend it.

    This was always the worst in the summer months, but I’m not allowed to blend the tea. And, don’t ask for it because it isn’t going to be good.

    Just remember that your barista is there to help you and make sure you enjoy your beverage. If you want something, be sure to ask politely and they will be more than happen to make your delicious tea beverage!

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