• Kratom Tea Effects & How To Make This Ancient Elixir

    Kratom tea is perhaps the most widely used way to experience this unique plant’s effects, and it is certainly one of the most simple ways to ingest it. There are numberous reasons that people will take kratom, and some of the kratom tea benefits are more widely documented than others. I only heard about this stuff in recent months, and decided to do some more research, and then figured I may as well post what I found out along the way, in case someone else was curious down the road.

    This page is a resource that I’ve put together in order to compile a lot of the different information about kratom that’s out there, from research studies, articles in popular magazines, opinion pieces, and even some warnings and things you need to be careful about before you buy Kratom tea online at all. I’ve done my best to include good sources for all of the information here, but this page isn’t meant to be an endorsement or to tell you what to do one way or the other. Having said that, make sure you’re following all of your local laws, since this stuff is banned in a few countries, including Thailand, Lithuania, Romania, Vietnam, and several others. There’s also a small handful of States where Kratom isn’t allowed (Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Vermont, Arkansas and Alabama, according to the American Kratom Associated, have banned it.)

    There are some incredibly powerful testimonials out there, and then there are those who are more critical, the goal here is just to pass along the information so that you can make up your own mind, since you’re obviously curious about it, just like I was, so here’s what I’ve found out in my research…

    What is Kratom Tea?

    What is Kratom Tea?

    Here’s a definition of Kratom which was originally posted on the website of the American Kratom Association:

    “Kratom is a natural botanical native to tropical Southeast Asia that is part of the coffee family. It’s also known by its scientific name, Mitragyna speciosa. The people of Southeast Asia have used Kratom leaves as an herbal supplement and traditional remedy for hundreds of years. When taken in appropriate amounts, Kratom can provide increased energy, minor pain relief and many find relief from a variety of other mental and physical ailments. Today, people in the U.S. are consuming Kratom, as they do other herbal supplements and traditional remedies.” (source)

    They also mention some things that it is NOT, in order to clear up some misconceptions: They say it’s not a drug, it’s not habit-forming, it’s not an opiate, it’s not a synthetic substance. Rather it’s a natural, herbal supplement that falls into the same ballpark as coffee or tea.

    Kratom Tea Effects

    Kratom Tea Effects

    I mentioned earlier that people use it for a variety of different things, here’s a rundown of some of the more common effects that people seek out from this drink:

    • As a sedative in folk medicine at low doses,
    • To help with anxiety, or stress relief (source)
    • To boost energy levels, focus, and productivity,
    • Other forms of pain management,
    • Lowering blood pressure,
    • Boosting metabolism,
    • To help with opiate addiction and withdrawal symptoms (source)

    These are the most common reasons that people drink kratom, and the most commonly-claimed health benefits. It’s important to understand that there are different degrees when it comes to these types of things. For instance, tea helps many people with energy and focus because it has caffeine and l-theanine, but some of the other health benefits of tea can be more dubious like people claiming that green tea will cure your cancer and so on. Kratom is no exception, there are certain things that it helps with because you feel it right away, and there are other health claims that should be taken with more of a grain of salt. In any case, if you’re ill, this is no replacement for medical attention, a proper diet, and so on.

    How to Make Kratom Tea Recipe:

    How to make Kratom Tea

    It’s really easy to make. If you’ve made other types of tea, you more or less know what you’ve got to do here, it’s really not rocket science. You should take caution to start on the lower end of the amount you use the first few times that you make Kratom tea, because not everybody reacts the same, and it could end up hitting you harder than you expect if you over do it.

    Depending on whether your tea is powdered or in leaves, you’ll want to either let it steep in simmering water for 30 minutes for leaves, and about 10 minutes if it’s powder.

    Where to find Kratom Tea for sale

    If you’ve done your research, understand what to expect, and are curious to give this tea a try, you can buy kratom tea from a number of places. It’s the type of thing where you want to ensure you’re getting it from a reputable source if you decide to try it, since it’s not approved to be sold with the intention of it being ingested in certain countries. So, stick to popular and reputable brands. Also, make sure it’s allowed where you live, you don’t want to get in trouble.

    There are two popular products associated with this tea, it comes in powder form and also in bags. You’ll need to prepare each one slightly differently, but they’re essentially the same thing at the end of the day, so it’s a matter of preference. The powder is quicker to prepare, and you’re actually ingesting the whole thing, so it should be somewhat more potent, kind of like how matcha tea powder compares to green tea leaves.

    Kratom powder tea:

    In powder form, you need less per volume to achieve the same effects of Kratom, especially since you’re ingesting the entirety of what you put in your cup, as opposed to steeping the leaves and then removing them.

    Kratom tea bags:

    This is probabally the simplest way to use Kratom, and one of the most popular as well. Generally speaking, if you steep it for less time, it won’t be quite as potent. It’s always a good idea to start with less, to see how your body reacts, and then to go from there.

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    What’s The Deal With Tazo Tea, Teavana, and Starbucks?

    image credit: starbucks.ca

    For most people, this is probabally old news, but I hadn’t noticed this until recently. Starbucks has made some big moves into the world of tea over the years, including Tazo Tea along with Teavana. Starbucks went with Teavana for their stores over Tazo, with the Tazo Tea brand still being available in grocery stores and elsewhere, but as you may already know – things aren’t all peachy keen for Teavana anymore.

    Sometimes it’s nice to have a traditional tea ceremony, to really get into the moment, to embrace and explore the unique flavors that each leaf brings to the table… but sometimes, you just want something quick and easy. We’re not going to pretend that Teavana or Tazo Teas are the absolute best brand of tea on earth. At such a huge scale, it’s not always easy to keep the quality at its peak, especially when you start dealing with big corporations, shareholders, and so on. In any case, they definitely have some interesting flavors, and an even more interesting back story. Also, both brands have certainly helped to introduce more people to tea, and to make it more accessible.

    Much of the best quality tea out there comes from smaller to medium sizes companies, in our experience, but it’s worth noting that ‘best’ is subjective. For some, ‘best’ means you can run into the grocery store and pick up a tin of Twinings for a few bucks and be on your way. For others, it means a masterfully aged pu’er brewed at exactly the right temperature using water from an enchanted waterfall that has had a unicorn swimming in it at some point in the previous 3 days.

    Whichever camp you fall into, there’s a time and a place for everything. They say the best camera is the one you have with you when the opportunity for a photo arises, and tea is similar. The best tea is the one you’re going to drink and enjoy the most. If it’s a very fancy tea that catches your taste buds and suits you best, great. If it’s something off the shelf at the grocery store or Starbucks, that’s great too.

    Backstory of Starbucks’ Relationship with Tazo (and Teavana)

    Tazo Tea was founded in 1994 in Portland Oregon, and in 1999 the company was sold to Starbucks in 1999 for a whopping 8.1 million dollars.

    There was a Tazo branded store which opened as a trial in 2012, however it was converted shortly after to a Teavana store. Recently, it was announced that Starbucks was going to be shutting down their Teavana retail locations.

    Why did Teavana fail?

    image via sierralaneconstruction.com

    The Teavana store experience can vary from city to city, however one of the common issues that people have is the high-pressure sales atmosphere, due to the fact that employees are allegedly pushed very hard to meet quotas, and could even be punished if their average bill of sale isn’t high enough. If someone comes in and just spends a couple of bucks on a little bit of tea, it can reflect poorly on the employees for not up-selling the teas enough. Some see the up-sale mentality as being a bit predatory to people who don’t know a lot about loose leaf tea or about some of the other options out there.

    At the end of the day, tea is ‘supposed’ to be a relaxing, calming endeavor, and you don’t want to feel like you’re at a furniture store or a car lot when you’re looking for tea. It’s not the fault of the employees at Teavana, they’re just doing their jobs, and many of them have resisted as much as possible since it’s just uncomfortable. It’s corporate pressure that created an uncomfortable shopping experience for customers at Teavana and an awkward place  for people to work, and ultimately lead to the downfall, or at least, that’s how it seems. Frankly, we’re not familiar with the inner workings of Teavana’s business, we just know what it’s like to visit the place as a customer, and are going off of feedback we’ve heard from others.

    Having said that, your local Teavana could be totally different than described, and we’re definitely not trying to generalize too much. If you’ve had a great experience at a Teavana store, please feel free to write in and let us know, and the same goes to anyone who has felt uncomfortable or awkward there as well.

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    Thoughts on Tea as a Replacement for Coffee?

    Can tea replace coffee?

    If you follow Tea Perspective regularly, you’ll know that we mostly cover all things tea related, but we also veer into the world of coffee fairly often as well. This is kind of a rambling post and it’s not very meaty, just some quick thoughts (heads up.)

    While there are people who will only drink tea and never touch coffee, or the other way around,  there’s also a lot of cross-over. Some people are introduced to tea as an alternative to coffee, maybe they’re looking for something that won’t give them that coffee-crash midday or that won’t give them coffee stains on their teeth (although tea can also mark your teeth), or just for some different flavors to explore.

    I don’t like to think of it as coffee vs tea, since they are both excellent drinks (and don’t forget about the other cousin, yerba mate), but there are some valid reasons to drink tea instead of coffee if you’re trying to quit coffee.

    Caffeine in coffee and tea is generally stronger in coffee, about twice as strong, give or take. For people who want to drink a great quantity of their beverage without overdoing it on caffeine, that’s a point for tea. For people who are looking for a jolt first thing in the morning, tea is going to be more subtle so that’s a point for coffee.

    As far as acidity goes, coffee and tea are similar, depending on the type of tea and how it was processed. Here’s more information on that.

    Health benefits of ‘Coffee vs Tea’

    Coffee vs Tea
    image via fromrussia

    So here’s where things get interesting and controversial.

    There are studies about the health benefits of both drinks, but there are also all sorts of wild claims and people twisting and turning those studies to fit their own agendas. You have to be really careful, read beyond the headlines, and realize that a lot of people are actively trying to mislead you, whether it’s a certain Dr. On television, or elsewhere.

    One year coffee is in, the next year it’s out, one year green tea is literally curing every single disease known to man, and so on and so forth… so take health claims about drinks with a grain of salt, and as much as you can, if you’re going to be drinking or not drinking either one based on new studies, actually read the study. When these studies go “viral” and you start seeing them on entertainment blogs, on the evening news, and so on.. it’s a safe bet that a fair chunk of the people covering them haven’t read them, or maybe aren’t even really qualified to read a study to determine a conclusion.

    We always say that the best reason to drink tea is because you enjoy it, not because you’re looking for a cure for something (other than stress, and the like.) There are studied benefits of tea, and coffee, and there are also other studies pointing out dangers as well. At the end of the day, if you’re smoking a pack a day and eating most cheeseburgers, don’t think that “cancer-fighting green tea” is going to make it all okay. It’s about balance, and moderation, with anything… even tea and coffee.

    Versatility

    With coffee and tea, you can do so much with both. You can make lattes with tea, not just espresso. You can cook, especially desserts, with both. If bulletproof coffee is your think, you can make bulletproof tea the same way you’d mix your coconut oil in coffee – just use tea instead.

    At the end of the day, if you’re looking to cut back on your coffee for whatever reason, tea is a great alternative with an increidble amount of flavors and traits to try and enjoy.

    As far as different ways to make tea and coffee, both have some really unique and “easier” methods, along with more complex ways. A sun tea jar is a great way to make iced tea outside, and coffee fans can make cold brew.

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    This Takeya Cold Brew Maker Makes Life a Little Easier

    Takeya Cold Brew Maker

    Cold brew coffee has been getting quite a buzz around it lately, and not just because it packs a strong kick of caffeine compared to regular coffee, but also because it’s a super easy way to make coffee, it’s ready to go first thing in the morning before you’ve even opened your eyes since you can brew a large batch at once and use it all week, and it’s also going to save you money.

    If you’re someone who drinks a lot of cold brews and iced coffees on the go, those few bucks at a time are really going to add up. Making cold brew at home is easy, it just requires a little bit of planning ahead. Not only that, but thanks to this cold brew maker by the brand Takeya, the entire process is even easier than it used to be.

    Making Cold Brew Coffee The Hard Way?

    Make cold brew coffee

    Even the ‘hard way’ to make cold brew coffee is relatively easy, it’s just a matter of mixing coffee grounds and water in a pitcher, waiting about a day, and then filtering the grounds from the water. What you’re left with is a strong coffee concentrate, that you can water-down to taste, or even just drink it as is for a very potent kick. You can use it to make lattes (if you’re into mixing green tea and coffee, you can even use it to make a coffee/matcha tea latte.)

    The part that’s kind of a pain is just filtering through the grounds. You can use a normal kitchen strainer with paper towel or cheese cloth to filter through, depending on how fine the mesh is in your strainer, or you can use coffee filter in some kind of a pour over contraption. Either way, it takes extra stuff, there’s more things to clean, and there’s an easier way that’ll pay for itself right quick, and that’s the Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker. 

    Now, they call it an iced coffee maker, but it’s worth pointing out that there’s a distinction between iced coffee and cold brew. Cold brew is what we’ve been talking about so far, where you add the coffee grounds to water that has not been boiled, and you let it sit.It can keep for days or even a week in your fridge, and won’t go stale quickly like normally brewed coffee since you’re using time isntead of heat to extract the goodness from the beans. With iced coffee, on the other hand, you’re simply brewing coffee as you normally would and then adding ice to it. It’s quite a bit different from cold brew, and I’m not really sure how this device would help with the process of making ice coffee… but it certainly helps a great deal when it comes to cold brew, that’s for sure.

    The Best Cold Brew Maker

    Cold brew maker

    This is probabally the best option out there for people who want to brew their own cold coffee at home. It’s not very expensive, it’s well-made, and it just takes away that little extra resistance in the process, making things a lot easier. Not only is it easier than the “traditional” way of making cold brewed coffee, it’s also much easier than making regular coffee each morning, since you just dump in some beans and water, pop it in the fridge, then pour some out each morning as you go.

    With this thing, making coffee for the whole week is easier than making coffee for one morning with the traditional methods.

    Once your ground coffee beans have sat in the water in this device for long enough, you can simply remove the filter in the middle, dump it out, give it a quick rinse, and you’re all done. It’s less work than making coffee one time with a coffee maker.

    After that, all you’ve got to do is add however much water you want, some ice cubes if you’d like, and whatever sort of creamer or sweeteners you may enjoy.

    Pros

    • As we mentioned already, it just takes away a couple of extra steps from making coffee any other way, and those extra few minutes come in really handy in the morning.
    • Your cold brewed coffee can easily be adjusted for strength by dilluting it with different amounts of water.
    • It’s super easy to clean, and there are no disposable filters to throw in the garbage.
    • Your coffee beans aren’t ‘cooked’ by boiling water, so they’ll stay tasting fresh longer.
    • It’s a totally different taste experience.
    • This unit is BPA free and dishwasher safe.

    Cons

    • It’s a pretty straightforward item, it does what it’s supposed to do. The only real apparent downside is that it only holds about 4 servings at a time, so you may find yourself having to brew a couple of batches each week. Still, once again, it’s easier than any other way to make coffee, and since you can make it the night before, it’s still one less task off your plate the next morning.
    • Cold coffee is great, but sometimes  you just want a warm cup. You can definitely heat up your cold brew, either on the stove, in the microwave, or simply by adding hot water to dilute it instead of cold water. None the less, if hot coffee is your plan, then this device isn’t ideal – but is that really a con? It seems unfair to knock a COLD brew coffee maker for not being perfect for making hot coffee, doesn’t it?

    Final thoughts

    In any case, if you’re looking for a cold brew maker, hopefully this Takeya review has helped to shine some light on the topic. If you have any questions that we didn’t address in this article, please do get in touch so that we can include the missing information – but really – there’s not a lot to this thing, it’s simply, and it just works like it’s supposed to. If you want to save the money, you can make this drink just as good using cheese cloth to filter the grounds through, it’s just more work and more clean up.

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    Yerba Mate Benefits 101: A Quick Crash Course

    Did you know that there is a beverage that possesses the health advantages of tea, the feeling of euphoria that comes from eating chocolate, and the strength of black coffee? The drink is known as yerba mate tea.

    The tea is made from healthy and naturally caffeinated leaves of the holly tree which are abundantly present in the rainforests of South America.

    The chemical composition of yerba mate

    This tea contains theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine, which are famous stimulants that are found in chocolate, coffee, and tea. The content of caffeine present in yerba mate varies between the content present in coffee and green tea. Yerba mate has a comparatively less amount of tannins. As a result, yerba mate tea possesses the strength of coffee without becoming bitter like an over-steeped tea. Moreover, yerba mate tea is not acid forming or oily which means that there is a less chance of it causing jitters and stomach acid.

    How is it consumed?

    Since yerba mate tea is quite versatile, it can be made in a number of ways. You can use a French press, a tea infuser, and even an espresso machine. How you want to consume the tea is absolutely up to you. You can have it cold or hot, or you can even serve it iced with mint and lemon.

    If you’re curious to give this type of tea a try, we’ve put together a list of the best yerba mate tea brands that you can check out by clicking that link. You’ll also find some more information on this drink in general, and some crucial stuff you need to know about how to drink it ‘properly’, so make sure you check that out, too.

    Benefits of Yerba Mate tea:

    benefits of yerba mate

    Yerba mate tea has a number of benefits, and a few of them are listed below.

    Yerba mate is quite known for the energy boost it provides. This energy boost is typically described as calm, gentle, and clean. When compared to the other stimulants used around the world including guarana, tea, cocoa, and coffee, yerba mate tea provides a balanced boost of energy.

    When people drink this tea, they experience a wakefulness that is quite similar to the one caused by coffee… however the advantage of yerba tea is that it does not contain some of the other side effects of coffee. It does not interfere with your sleep routine the same way that coffee can for some people, and also does not cause jitters in most people.

    Yerba tea also has a positive effect on the mental functions of a person. Yerba mate tea contains caffeine in a moderate amount which helps to enhance focus in some people. It improves alertness, memory, and mood. Moreover, it helps you to be more productive and stay motivated by stimulating the production of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter. This tea also contains theophylline and theobromine which are alkaloids that work together to provide mild stimulant effects that are also felt after drinking green tea.

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    Jam in Tea

    Talking about jam in tea is not just a discussion about a less common sweetener for the centuries-old hot beverage; the topic is a gateway into the history of several interesting and little known aspects of tea drinking itself!

    Making life a little sweeter with jam in tea

    Using a fruit jam or preserve is of course a way of adding some sweetness to counteract the bitterness that some tea has. Fans say that the fruit enhances the flavor of the tea and is not as overwhelmingly sweet as other potential sweeteners.

    For the majority of tea drinkers white sugar is the product of choice to add to their steaming cup or mug. Granulated sugar is the most common form, but the more old fashioned sugar lumps or cubes are still available. One lump is roughly equivalent to a teaspoon of the grains.

    There are a range of other options too such as honey or syrup, for instance. In some countries such as Japan and Thailand, that sweet zing is provided by condensed milk or evaporated milk and sugar. The more health conscious among us opt for stevia or xylitol now that other more chemical-based sugar substitutes have started to fall out of favor.

    But—and this may come as a surprise—thick fruit jam as a tea sweetener is not a recent development; it has been around for centuries. It is just a new discovery for tea-lovers outside Eastern Europe, including those in the US.

    It’s worth nothing that thinner jams are usually preferential, along with those that don’t have any seeds in them. However, some people will use just regular jam or jelly off the store shelves. Some folks will use jam from their garden, processed specially for tea. There’s really no right or wrong way. Even the thinner jams are still going to have a thicker consistency than syrup, but will dissolve and mix into the tea perfectly in just a moment or two.

    Origins of this sweetener

    So where and when did this practice begin? Most people associate tea with England and Asia. Formal tea ceremonies are an important part of Japanese and Chinese life and the UK has a long-established tradition of high tea and a “cuppa” pretty much any time of the day or night. Tea isn’t a drink one necessarily associates with Russia, but it should be.

    Russian Tea Traditions (going beyond jam in tea)

    Russian jam in tea

    Russians have been brewing and drinking tea for centuries with their “tea culture” dating back to the early 1600’s when the first gifts of tea were made to the Tsar and members of the nobility by the Chinese. Tea is in fact the national (non alcoholic) drink and at time of writing Russia is the fifth largest consumer of tea globally.

    Tea is consumed black and there are several practices when it comes to sweetening the very strong brew Russians favor. Firstly, a piece of the very large sugar cubes found in Russian is held between the front teeth and the tea is drunk through it. Alternatively, pieces are dipped into the hot liquid and eaten. Finally—and very significantly—fruit jam or preserve is used in lieu of sugar. As an aside, jam is also used in a very similar way for sweetening tea in restaurants and homes in Azerbaijan.

    As with the sugar, one can hold some jam in the mouth a sip the tea through it or the jam is added to the liquid. Typically raspberry, strawberry, and cherry jams or preserves are used with cherry being the most traditional. The jam is served in a bowl along with the other tea-making equipment.

    Teaware for Russian Tea

    Russian Tea

    In Europe and elsewhere in the West very early kettles were made from ceramics and later from tin and iron. The Mesopotamians were way ahead as they had bronze kettles with spouts as early as 3500 to 2000BC. Metals were of course favored as the water heated faster over an open fire when it was in metal than in other materials. Silver and pewter were used and copper was the metal of choice in the 19th century. In China kettles were made of porcelain.

    The Russians adopted the samovar from the Mongols with who they traded for tea before routes opened to China. The Russian samovar was placed over coals and tea was both made and kept hot in these containers. The samovar, like the modern urn it probably inspired, has a faucet or tap from which the liquid is poured. This method of making and storing tea also explains why and how Russian tea is so very strong and therefore in need of unique types of sweetening!

    Many of the old Samovars were extraordinarily ornate and very beautiful and today they have a great deal of aesthetic, monetary, and historic value.  Along with these lovely objects the Russians also developed glasses for tea that were placed in metal holders with handles called podstakannik.  The wealthy used holders plated with nickel, silver, or gold.  Some holders are plain and others very ornate and incorporate delicate filigree work or engravings.

    A Russian tea set included the Samovar, a delicate porcelain tea pot covered by a cloth, glasses in their podstakannik, a bowl of large sugar lumps and the all-important bowl of jam. Sometimes a guest is given his or her own bowl of fruit preserve. Modern samovars are electric and have a place on top where the tea pot full of ready-made tea sits to stay warm. The glasses and holders are also being replaced in some homes by china cups.

    In the West tea drinkers have only used kettles. Initially they were placed on top of coals or suspended over fires. Later stove-top kettles were used. The first electric kettle arrived on the scene in the US and the UK in the 1890’s. The modern single-element variety launched as late as 1956 and it was this decade that also saw kettles manufactured from stainless steel. In recent years metal kettles have been replaced by plastic and glass ones in terms of popularity. Cordless electric kettles have the advantage that they switch off when the water boils.

    Conclusion

    We can decide whether we want loose leaves or bags, a stove-top kettle or an electric one, and a cup or a mug. There is also a dizzying range of teas—from traditional to eastern to herbal—to choose from and now we are also spoilt for choice when it comes to creamers (full cream, skimmed, semi-skimmed, soy, almond, coconut, condensed, and evaporated milks). And, yes, there are a host of sweeteners too.

    The next time you make a pot or cup of your brew of choice how about adding jam to your tea? You might really love it. Go on; give it a try and when you do think of the Russians and their contribution to tea-drinking world-wide!

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    Joe Rogan Tears Into “Bulletproof Coffee” For Making False Claims

    So this whole “bulletproof” thing has been around for a few years now, and for much, much longer than that if you look at the idea of putting fats and oil into coffee, and not just the current name for this trend.

    Adding ghee, butter, or coconut oil (or a combination of them) has been something that different cultures have been doing for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

    The Bulletproof Deception

    Bulletproof is the brand name for a company that sells a variety of health products that span the gamut from effective and proven supplements, all the way to “wait, somebody actually paid money for this?”

    For example a “Whole Body Vibration Plate” that shakes while you stand on top of it, in order to “detoxify your body” for about a grand and a half.

    Aside from their controversial products like the vibration thing, they also sell coffee. What could possibly be controversial about coffee, right? But Bulletproof caused a stir by claiming that many other brands of coffee are selling beans that are contaminated with special toxins, and many of the world’s top coffee producers don’t possess the technology to properly remove these toxins, or don’t bother. It’s that fear-marketing that gets you to spend 5x as much on “bulletproof coffee” than the regular stuff, because once you’re convinced that regular coffee is filled with poison, that $20 bag isn’t looking so bad anymore.

    But have no fear! Allegedly, Bulletproof is the one brand that’s been able to test for these toxins, and remove them from their beans… so you’d have to be A FOOL to buy regular coffee, right?

    Well, maybe not…

    The counter argument is that these specific toxins are more or less eliminated during the roasting process, and really not something you need to worry about anyways. Here’s a bit more information, and some more here.

    Gizmodo has been very critical of these mycotoxin claims, along with many of the other claims made by Dave Asprey, the CEO of the company that markets Bulletproof Coffee. Here is an excerpt from their most recent piece on the topic:

    “Those proprietary beans, as we’ve summarized in the past, have supposedly been stripped of “mycotoxins,” chemicals produced by fungus that the coffee industry already knows about. The Bulletproof website cites studies that say there’s mold on coffee, then extrapolates that to say there’s mycotoxins, then extrapolates that to say that one specific mycotoxin is bad because “it hits your kidneys, causes cancer, and messes up your immune system. Trust me, I know.” If someone trying to sell you a product ever says “Trust me, I know,” do not trust them.”

    The Gizmodo article goes on to dismiss any worries one might have about these strange molds in their coffee, essentially coming to the conclusions that the whole premise of needing these special “Bulletproof coffee beans” is just scare tactics in order to sell overpriced coffee beans:

    “Mycotoxins will not be the death of you. One 1980 paper simply stopped studying mycotoxins since coffee is already roasted (killing mostly anything microbial) and any remaining toxins are at levels far below what’s worth worrying about. Another study of Spanish individuals found mycotoxin consumption far below the tolerable daily intake. In sum, no, you do not need to worry about mold shitting in your coffee. Let’s move on.”

    Joe Rogan’s supplement company, Onnit, used to sell Bulletproof Coffee products until they did a little more digging and didn’t like what they found, allegedly. There was a whole controversy where Bulletproof made claims, and those claims allegedly didn’t hold water, and finally Joe Rogan and Onnit broke off their partnership with Bulletproof. Rather than try to paraphrase it, here is Joe’s side:

    Still want to know how to make bulletproof coffee? There’s nothing wrong with the drink, once you strip away the  hype and allegedly false claims. At  the end of the day, it’s coffee and it’s butter, both of those are great things, and they’re great when you put them together too, but just don’t expect some magical weight-loss cancer-killing potion. It’s a coffee, with butter it in.

    There are definitely positives to drinking it, especially if it helps you feel full longer in the morning, gives you a nice energy boost, and helps prevent snacking throughout the day, just make sure you have realistic expectations. As part of a good diet and daily exercise, bulletproof coffee can absolutely help you lose weight if it gives you a boost of energy to workout or keeps you fuller longer, but these traits aren’t necessarily unique from just regular coffee or a fatty snack like an avocado.

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    Why Would Anybody Drink Agrimony Tea?

    Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) is a hardy, perennial flowering plant or shrub that is part of the rose family. There are over a dozen different species of Agrimony which are found throughout Asia, Europe, the UK, and North America and in parts of Africa. These plants are found growing in the wild and are also cultivated in gardens. The clusters of small yellow flowers bloom from June to September.

    The aromatic leaves and flowers have been used for centuries to treat or ease a number of medical conditions. Modern, traditional medicine does not accept all of the claims made on behalf of Agrimony. However, anecdotal evidence of the herbs efficacy is very strong.

    Traditional and historic uses of Agrimonia eupatoria

    There are records of the use of Agrimony by the Chinese, Greeks, Ancient Romans, Native Americans, and the Anglo-Saxons.  Various European physicians and healers used the herb too until the late 19th century when modern medicine became skeptical about its value.

    The traditional applications of this plant included treating eye conditions, easing menstrual problems, aiding sleep, treating colic, and soothing coughs and sore throats.  It was also used to stop diarrhea, ease gout, and to treat skin conditions including removing warts. The Europeans and British in particular valued Agrimony for its ability to speed up blood clotting, heal wounds (including ones suffered in battle), and to treat snake bites.

    Benefits of Agrimonia (Agrimony Tea Benefits)

    Agrimony tea benefits

    As with many plant-based and natural substances, modern medicine is skeptical of the value of Agrimony without clear, unambiguous scientific and clinical evidence. While many individuals who use herbal remedies are entirely convinced by the overwhelming anecdotal evidence, one does need to point out the fact that several sources indicate that there is insufficient evidence to be able to categorically claim clinical benefits.

    WebMD, for example, indicates that further clinical evidence is required before the effectiveness of this herb can be established and, if it is effective, to what degree. The specific conditions this site mentions are diarrhea, stomach upsets, irritable bowel syndrome, and sore throats.

    However, this source does tentatively concede that early findings indicate that Agrimony may reduce the formation of skin sores in patients suffering from the skin condition Cutaneous Porphyria.

    On the other hand, Organicfacts.net, Botanical.com, and Herbal Resource focus on the health benefits that are borne out primarily by historical records and other anecdotal evidence. These sites claim the diverse health benefits of Agrimony as follows:

    • Coagulant: This herbs ability to stop or slow bleeding makes it useful in relation to two medical issues: heavy menstrual bleeding can be reduced which in turn reduces inflammation and pain and, secondly, a topical application stops or reduces blood flow from wounds
    • Blood purifier: Agrimony has the ability to purify the blood and this provides a number of benefits particularly for the liver and gallbladder. A healthy liver is far better able to rid the body of toxins
    • Digestive aid: Constituents in this herb have anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe the lining or membrane of the digestive tract. This can be particularly helpful for treating mild diarrhea. It may even be of benefit for irritable bowel syndrome by easing cramps and regulating mucus production.
    • Kidney and bladder benefits: The astringent properties in Agrimony help with bladder control and the diuretic qualities help to flush the kidneys and rid the body of excess water and fluid. Flushing out the kidneys also helps prevent or eliminate kidney stones
    • Respiratory issues: These health problems can also be eased – not cured – by the consumption of this plant as it decreases inflammation which reduces coughing, soothes a sore throat, and reduces sinus congestion. This makes it a most useful herb for those suffering from a range of respiratory conditions ranging from colds to bronchitis and asthma
    • Moderation of insulin and glucose uptake: While studies still have a lot of ground to cover there are indications that an element in Agrimonia tea has the potential to aid diabetics with controlling blood sugar levels
    • Dermatology: Whether it is ingested or applied topically, the herb reduces common skin complaints such as acne, pimples, certain rashes, and bruising. It can also be used for minor cuts and abrasions
    • Hair and nail strength: An ingredient in Agrimony improves the health and strength of both nails and hair which reduces the risk of breakage and gives hair a shine.

    Although there is not as much clinical and scientific evidence in support of the health claims made on behalf of the herbal tea as proponents would like, there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence.

    But, as with any other substance – natural or not – that one consumes, caution must be used. It is crucial to consult your pharmacist or doctor before you start to take the Agrimony herb for anything health realated 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.

    Active ingredients found in the Agrimony herb

    So, what does Agrimony contain that provides this host of benefits? The short answer is a large number of valuable compounds!

    The tannin (a complex polyphenol) is what makes the preparation an effective astringent to use on wounds and cuts. Palmitic acid, which is a common saturated fat, has benefits for the skin. Catechin is a water soluble polyphenol which acts as an effective antioxidant.

    Thiamine is a water soluble form of Vitamin B which helps the body to metabolize proteins and fat. The compound Quercitrin is believed to be both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Silicic acid is the ingredient that boots hair and nail health. Finally, Ursolic acid is a diuretic and has anti-inflammatory properties.

    How to make Agrimony Tea

    Agrimony Tea
    image credit: anemoneprojectors/flickr

    Agrimony Tea is made using the leaves, flowers, and the thin stems in either fresh or dried form. The strength of the tea will depend on what one wants to drink it for. A strong tea should be brewed for use as a gargle for a cough or sore throat whereas a far weaker tea should be made if one is drinking it for other uses.

    • Place the dried Agrimony in a pot or container (preferably not a plastic or metal one as they can taint the tea). The ratio is 1 to 2 teaspoons per 1 liter of boiling water
    • Pour the boiling water over the Agrimony
    • Cover the container
    • Leave the tea to steep or draw for 5 to 15 minutes depending on the desired strength.
    • Pour the tea through a strainer to remove any plant matter.

    The tea can be drunk hot or cold or strong tea can be used to soak a compress that will be applied topically for skin conditions. When used as a gargle the tea must be allowed to cool completely first to avoid burns or further inflammation of the throat and mouth (There’s at least one person out there who is going to save themselves a  burnt throat after reading that last line!)

    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. Milk should not be added to this aromatic, almost spice-like tea, however.

    How much tea one consumes will depend on a range of factors unique to each individual. It’s therefore very important to be guided by the instructions on the packaging or by your herbalist, pharmacist, or medical practitioner.

    Possible side-effects, contraindications & interactions

    Just because Agrimony Tea is natural and plant-based does not mean that it is 100% safe or safe for everyone. Certain individuals should be especially cautious:

    • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as the effect of the plant on this group is not sufficiently well known
    • Women who are trying to conceive should also not use this herb as it can affect the menstrual cycle
    • Diabetics who are on medication to lower their blood sugar levels. Given this herb lowers these blood levels the two in combination could result in blood sugar levels that are too low
    • Patients with bleeding disorders or prone to excessive bleeding are also advised to avoid Agrimony
    • Individuals with skin that is very sensitive to sunlight may become more prone to sunburn and sun damage as a result of regular consumption of this tea
    • Those who are allergic, sensitive to, or intolerant of any of the active ingredients should avoid this herb.

    Consuming too much tea of agrimonia could cause one to develop gastro-intestinal problems including constipation or vomiting.

    The point is, if you’re drinking it for some alleged health benefits of agrimony tea, just don’t let that replace other ways of treating whatever it is that you’re drinking this tea to help treat. If you’re drinking it just as a tea that you enjoy to drink, all the more power to you. At the end of the day, everyone has their own reasons for enjoying various types of tea, and as long as it’s not hurting you – steep on, our friends!

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    5 Matcha Food Recipes That Absolutely Don’t Need To Exist (And How to Make Them)

    The other day, I was walking down the aisles at the grocery store and I saw a quinoa chocolate bar. Quinoa is great, but let’s be serious – once we start mixing quinoa with chocolate, things have gone too far. It got me thinking of how many different foods and products there are that involve matcha… and how many of them have jumped the shark (tea infuser).

    Matcha is an incredible drink, but it’s also become a HUGE fad in recent years. Just when you think it’s starting to die down, you take a look at Pinterest and see walls and walls of matcha being added to just about everything. I get it, it turns stuff green, that’s cool, but at the end of the day, as much as we do love matcha, there’s a certain point where enough is enough, isn’t there? Maybe not. You can be the judge.

    If one of your recipes shows up here, it’s nothing personal, I’m sure it’s delicious and it’s definitely eye-catching!

    5. Matcha Gnocchi

    image via princesstofu.com

    This recipe comes from Princess Tofu, and if you want to make it yourself you can find out how right here. It does look tasty, and this inclusion is by no means a critique on the execution of this dish, nor are any of these. At the end of the day, eat things that you enjoy, right? And if you’d rather eat matcha than drink it, to each their own!

    4. Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding

    image via thefullhelping.com

    Chia pudding is one of the biggest lies of our generation. It’s not pudding! It’s slimy little seed that you need to soak before eating, otherwise they’ll expand in your throat and kill you before you even finish your serving. At least chia seeds are merciful enough to put you out of your misery. Here’s how to make it, though.

    3. Matcha Soft Pretzel

    image via sandraseasycooking.com

    Everybody loves a nice soft pretzel, everybody loves matcha… and that seems to be the inspiration behind a lot of these recipes. If you want to get some weird looks, bring one of these matcha pretzels to the ballpark.

    2. Matcha Popcorn

    Here’s another one that will get you some interesting looks at the ball park. Popcorn is versatile, it can be sweet or savoury, and it can be a holder for any number of different toppings, but it’s hard to beat caramel corn or just a simple butter and salt combo. If you want to get really fancy, though, here’s the recipe.

    1. Matcha Pasta Noodles

    image: invitadoinviernoeng/blogspot

    There are a lot of interesting alternative types of pasta noodles out there, like black bean noodles and spaghetti squash. This one uses a normal pasta recipe (flour and egg), but also incorporates… you guessed it… matcha. Why? Because people love pasta, and people love matcha. Here’s how to make it.

    Whether you like to make matcha into dinner or desert, or simply mix it with a whisk or an electric frother into some hot water or another drink, do you. If you love to cook with matcha, you should! Just make sure you’re using food grade instead of the really good stuff, save that for us!

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    This Country’s Tea Harvest Is In Serious Danger Due To Contaminated Water

    In the Himalayan foothills, there was a ton of rain mid to late august, which has lead to dolomite contamination of water, which flows towards the foothills from mines that are being run illegally in Bhutan, as per the India Times. Dolomite is a mineral that can form into sedimentary rocks. In and of itself, this isn’t a  huge thing, but it starts to be a serious problem when that dolomite gets into the water supply thanks to excessive rainfall and illegal mining operations, which is exactly what’s been happening.

    “The ground water contamination keeps on damaging soil hampering production. But this time, large scale inundation of garden has caused heavy damage of bushes too,” according to planters from the region.

    There are dozens of streams from Bhutan that have contaminated roughly 20% of India’s tea production.

    “Rejuvenation cost of dolomite affected bushes will significantly increase the loss,” revealed S. Guhathakurata, Secretary of Dooars Branch of Indian Tea Association.

    The problem with illegal mines is that they aren’t going to follow the same environmental standards, and when they’re allowed to continue to operate, it can cause some real issues – especially when they’re messing up the water supply, which combined with heavy rains, has lead to the dolomite-rich waters flooding many tea fields.

    We’re sending our best wishes to everyone involved, in hopes that things are sorted out in the region, and that the tea fields are freed from having to deal with the repercussions of illegal mining, not to mention the countless other negative impacts from these types of mines, many of which are likely worse than a ruined tea harvest in the grant scheme of things, however a bad harvest can still be devastating to the farmers and workers and everyone involved along the supply chain that needs to make an honest living.

    Maybe you’re looking for something a little more uplifting to read next, so maybe it’s a good time for some tea puns, or maybe a cup of green tea before bed will cheer you up.

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    8 Reasons Why We Don’t Write Tea Reviews

    Our long, long, long time readers will remember in the early days of Tea Perspective, all the way back in 2013, we started things off with a handful of tea reviews. Since then, not so much.

    We almost never do reviews of teas. Sure, occasionally, someone on the team will mention enjoying a tea, maybe some notes on the flavor, but beyond a quick mention – you really won’t find any pages here dedicated to in-depth tea reviews, and there are a few reasons for that…

    The reasons that we don’t review teas here are because the following 8 websites are already doing an amazing job at it. Simply put, we don’t do it because there are other people who do it much better, and it’s really a labor of love.

    There are some tea bloggers who put so much thought and care into their reviews of different teas, some of them even taste new teas almost every single day, and we admire their work and dedication, but we decided early on that we would leave that to the experts who have such deep and strong passions for sharing their reviews of teas.

    Instead of trying to keep up with them, we would rather promote them and act as a signal boost to share their hard work with our readers.

    Having said that, we will still gladly publish articles from any tea lovers out there who would like to share their thoughts, just get in touch with us if you would like to contribute.

    So, without further adieu, here’s why we don’t review tea (In no particular order, yet still numbered because people like numbers…):

    1. Tea For Me Please

     “Nicole Martin, Tea Nerd and Writer”

    Tea For Me Please is an excellent resource and you can tell that a ton of passion goes into it. Nicole accepts teas for review and offers non-biased and thoughtful musings, along with an in-depth guide to tea that cleverly organizes many different topics and questions. We share Nicole’s philosophy that the main reason anyone should drink tea is becasue they enjoy it, with any potential ‘health’ benefits being a distant second and really shouldn’t carry that much weight in choosing with teas to sip.

    This website’s earlier posts started all the way back in October of 2008, and has been going strong ever since.

    Select reviews:

    2. MattCha

    Mattcha Blog

    “Liver Of Life, Drinker Of Tea”

    While many people might start with a sample when they’re looking at a new puerh to try, Matt’s the type of guy who just cops the whole cake instead. This world needs more Matts. The MattCha blog has recently made a comeback, after sitting on the sidelines for a few years, and we’re happy to see it getting a lot of new content lately.

    This website is a shrine of knowledge on Korean teas, while recently taking more of a focus on puerh.

    Select reviews:

    3. Oolong Owl

    “My aim with the Oolong Owl is to show you tea owls some interesting and unusual teas.”

    Oolong Owl is home to some of the best tea photos we’ve come across, because a friendly owl in the background will always bring a smile. There’s a fun whimsy to this blog that helps make tea feel more accessible and less intimidating to those who have yet to fully take the plunge (Or the steep, if you will.) Char, the author, has a unique taste in teas and you’ll always find something interesting here.

    Something else unique about Oolong Owl is that it’s still a great place to get recommendations even if you don’t share the same taste palette as the author, things are often described in a way that shows a true appreciation for teas beyond personal preferences.

    Select reviews:

    4. SororiTea Sisters

    SororiTea Sisters

    “A Sorority of Sisters Who Love Tea”

    This is a collective of tea aficionados who have been blogging about tea since 2010 and have amassed over 5000 posts. They also have a page highlighting tea companies that support various charities (And didn’t miss the opportunity to use a tea pun either, so fair play to that!)

    Their catalog of teas is extensive, they get them from companies sending samples, from buying teas for their own collections, and trading with other tea lovers. Definitely worth the read, this is such a prolific blog that you’ll find all sorts of stuff here that you probabally haven’t seen elsewhere.

    Select reviews:

    5. The Tea Squirrel

    The Tea Squirrel

     “The Tea Squirrel is a creative space where I play and experiment with tea, food and photography.”

    The Tea Squirrel by Anna aims to inspire her readers to try new things, and is a really nice resource for all-things-tea, not just reviews. The photography is incredible, the recipes look delicious, and the tasting notes are insightful. Also, the tea art style logo is very cool, to boot.

    Tea Squirrel started in the summer of 2016, so it’s a relatively newer site compared to some that we’re featuring, and we’re glad to have hopped on board early – and recommend that you do the same!

    Select reviews:

    6. MarshalN

    “Blogging seriously about tea”

    MarshalN is a prolific writer on the topic of tea with posts that date back all the way to 2006, and has an incredible collection of teaware to boot, to a point where there’s an online ‘garage sale‘ of sorts where you can pick up some very nice teaware from the collection.

    This is also the birthplace of the term ‘grandpa style’, fun fact: “It always takes some practice to get it right, but it actually can give you nuances in a tea that you don’t notice if you gongfu brew them.  In that sense, it’s not inferior at all as a method of tea drinking – just different.”

    This site is packed with musings on the topic of tea and related topics, it’s not really rapid fire reviews like you’ll find elsewhere, and is often longer-form. None the less, it’s basically required reading for anyone who wants to gain new insights and knowledge in the world of tea.

    Select reviews:

    7. The Oolong Drunk

    The Oolong Drunk

     

    “Oolong is my passion while puer is my obsession.”

    Cody is The Oolong Drunk, and he’s all about sharing earnest and honest reviews of all sorts of different teas from all sorts of different vendors. It’s not just about Oolong, though, as you’ll find a lot of reviews and information here about different types of tea, including lots of Puer (and a sidenote: Here’s his list of best places to buy it.) Along with thoughtful reviews, you’ll find some nice photos and insights here.

    Select reviews:

    8. Taste The Tea

    Chelsea’s blog has recently made it onto our radar thanks to Twitter, it looks like she’s been at it since early 2016 and going strong. The clean, easy-to-read layout and minimalist photo style make it a calming experience.

    Select reviews:

    So, there you have it, a collection of wonderful tea bloggers who write insightful, interesting, and entertaining reviews and between all of them, you’re more than covered, whatever you’re looking for, so make sure you pay them a visit and subscribe / follow / bookmark / all that good stuff.

    There are so many other people out there we’ve missed on this list, it’s nothing personal! If we missed you, just leave a comment and we’ll make sure you get some shine as well.

    Honorable mention to everyone out there drinking and loving tea, whether you’re a trained professional with all sorts of fancy gear, or someone with a cheap electric kettle and a dream who just likes to share your notes and thoughts – the online tea community is an incredible and welcoming place, and we tip our collective hats to everyone who is involved.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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    3 Simple Ways To Make Echinacea Tea Taste Better

    There are three different types of the echinacea plant that people drink specially for the alleged medicinal benefits, and those are Echinacea Angustifolia, Echinacea Purpurea, and Echinacea Pallida and all of the different types are collective referred to as the coneflower, but we’re not going to be focusing on any magical cures for rare diseases, or even treatments for the common cold today, we’re going to be specifically going over how you can make your echinacea tea taste better. First and foremost, if you’re to drink tea made from these flowers, make sure that you’re doing it because you enjoy. Not everyone loves the taste of it, but here are a few easy ways that you can make it taste a little better.

    3. Up The Sweetness Factor in your Echinacea Tea

    Electric milk frother

    Whatever your preferred sweetener is, from raw cane sugar to xylitol and everything in between, some sweetness is a surefire way to improve the taste of echinacea tea. It doesn’t take much. Also, a little bit of honey on the end of your spoon, and then mixed in, is always going to up the sweetness. Furthermore, even adding some milk is going to make the drink taste sweeter, and milk has quite a bit of sugar in it.

    2. Get a Little Frozen

    If your drink is as cold as Mr. Freeze, you’ve gone too far.

    There’s a saying among beer lovers that a good beer should still taste good, even if it’s not ice cold – and the origin of that comes from the fact that having your drink ice cold can actually help to cover up a less-than-stellar flavor – so why not apply that same thought process to your tea? If you don’t love the taste of echinacea, try it served ice cold, especially on a warmer day.

    1. Mix it

    Heavenly Tea

    Is there a different tea that you prefer? Why not trying mixing it (or simply steeping both types together and cutting the work in half)? Combine your echinacea tea with absolutely any other type of tea that you enjoy more, and you’ll have a way to drink it that tastes a lot more enjoyable. Some blends might end up kind of weird or not compliment each other very well, so it might take some experimentation to really nail it. If you come up with any great blends that include echinacea, make sure you leave a comment to let us know. You could also try making Bulletproof coffee/tea with echinacea added, using an electric milk frother.

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