Note: This is part of a series of posts on the science of tea. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)
Green Tea Makes You Happier?
Over 158 million Americans will drink tea on any given day, and it’s obviously the go-to-beverage when plain water won’t do. Among those 158 billion tea consumers are green tea aficionados. While only 15% are green tea drinkers, its growth is outpacing all other tea forms, with a 60% increase in consumption since 2004. Why the crazy growth? Well, green tea has a lot to make you happy about.
A Diverse History
Green tea was discovered in its greenest form over five thousand years ago. While stories vary, some versions of leaf’s history have a flower magically falling into a teacup. In contrast, another has an Emperor chewing a leaf, imaging how delicious it would be steeped in water. The most important book to set the record straight was Cha Jing, or Tea classic, written around 600 AD. The book detailed exactly how a cup of green tea should be made and how it should be served. Today, green tea is prepared in the same way (or should be), and drinking it has multiple health benefits. Green tea is the result of semi-oxidized leaves from camellia Sinensis. Flavors and aromas vary greatly depending on the season of harvest, country of origin, and method used to process. According to the Local Tea Company, flavored green teas are especially popular, where the best-sellers are Goji Green, Organic Strawberry Smile, and Acerola Green Tea. They offer 13 other green teas.
Feel the Power
Green tea is more than just a hydrating beverage that tastes great. The green tea plant contains a bevy of powerful compounds that make it into every cup. Rich in polyphenols (compounds great at reducing inflammation in the body), green tea is a cancer-fighting champion. Green tea also contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other cellular protections. Together, these substances help reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a large role in aging and many types of diseases. The benefits of green tea are numerous, so it’s worth adding to your diet.
Perhaps the best news (and one that may make you happiest) is that green tea accelerates fat burning and boosts metabolic rate. Look at any weight loss supplement, and you will see green tea on the label; that’s because green tea is a dynamo for assisting weight loss programs.
But let’s not leave out our most important organ, the brain. With an increase in brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the brain needs protection, too. The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of dementia, a common neurodegenerative disorder in older adults. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in animal studies, possibly lowering the risk of dementia and memory loss.
Green tea consumption worldwide is growing, not only for its wonderful taste but for its endless health benefits. And as science backs up these benefits, it will only grow in popularity. Try to choose a higher caliber green tea brand, as some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride.
What’s the best green tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. Try their diverse blends of green tea and so many others.
Note: This is the first in a series of blogs on the science of tea, and here is a post about how green tea can make you happier. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)
Love Rooibos Tea
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
For anyone concerned with a healthy lifestyle, rooibos is loaded with powerful stuff. Aspalathin and nothofagin are two vital antioxidants designed to boost your immune system and protect your body against all types of diseases (especially diabetes). Rooibos contains polyphenols, flavonols, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones. These protective compounds have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimutagenic qualities. Polyphenols are organic chemicals known for their antioxidant capabilities. Flavonoids can help lower the risk of coronary heart diseases. This study suggests that regularly drinking organic red rooibos tea provides anti-inflammatory support, and the Sloan Kettering Institute suggests rooibos slows tumor growth.
2. Improves Heart Health
Since rooibos tea is anti-inflammatory in nature, the tea is a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. This helps regulate blood pressure and boost heart health. Many studies confirm the protective cardiovascular effects of red rooibos tea. Quercetin, another powerful antioxidant found in rooibos tea, helps prevent many heart conditions. It also promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and inhibits LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from binding to arteries and blood vessels’ walls.
3. Managing Diabetes
Aspalathin, one of the antioxidants found in rooibos tea, has several unique traits. The Rooibos Council found that aspalathin in rooibos tea can help balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and glucose absorption by muscles, and boosts insulin secretion from the pancreas. Above all, rooibos has a dramatic protective effect on diabetes.
4. Skin Care
Because of the richness in antioxidants, vitamin D, and the array of minerals (zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and more) present in the tea, roobios is a dynamic force on the skin. Its anti-inflammatory components help with acne, eczema, and rashes, as it helps neutralize free radicals. And it makes you look beautiful!
5. Caffeine Free
What tea has the most caffeine? Or, which tea has the most caffeine? Rooibos tea is completely caffeine-free and is the perfect choice for patients who have insomnia and for those who need to keep caffeine low in their diet. Similarly, a cup of rooibos tea just before bedtime can help you sleep better (and maybe enhance your dreams). You will love Rooibos tea.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a truly healthy lifestyle tea, this strong and delicious tea has many benefits. Where to buy rooibos tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. They also offer 9 diverse blends of rooibos and so many others.
Ice Tea or Iced Tea?
“Iced tea may not have as much wisdom as hot tea,
but in summer better a cool and refreshed dullard
than a steamy sweat drenched sage –leave sagacity to the autumn”
One of our Serving Partners was revising their menu and asked me, “is it Iced or Ice Tea?”
Good question! So I thought I would look into the matter. This leads me to the quote above from Linda Solegato, which, in turn, lead me on a slight detour.
First, the quote. Hot tea does evoke a sense of contemplation. We are often gifted a few moments as the kettle boils water or the tea is steeping. How many great ideas or other inspirations have come from these ‘Tea Times.’ Or what do you call these between times?
I know the time between the honk from the cab’s horn behind you and the light turning green is a New York minute. Maybe I’ll get to that term in a future post, and until then, I’m going with Tea Time.
I expect many will respond with the same moments of reflection as we refresh ourselves with a tall glass of cold tea. Yes, I am waiting to introduce the title term of this post for a bit of drama and SEO benefits. So, is there wisdom in a cold cuppa? I’ll leave that for yet another possible post.
The tangent I mentioned earlier came after a quick search about the author, Linda Solegato. Who is Linda Solegato, and what other gems has she to share? Linda is also credited with a few other non-tea blurbs,
“Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul.”
“When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside, too.”
“It’s so hot even my fake plants are wilting.”
But, who is this sage? My search leads me to the QuoteGarden website and Terri Guillemets. For some reason, unknown to my sleuthing, Linda Solegato is a pseudonym for Terri Guillemets. She is a lifelong collector of quotes, and her site is fabulous. I plan to return often for more tea quotes for future Sip Locally posts.
Ice Tea or Iced Tea?
But what about refreshing, cold tea. Is it Ice Tea or Iced Tea? That is the question.
I thought a simple search would determine the correct use. And here is a fine time to admit my guilt in using both versions at Local Tea Company along the way. However, I never thought to get to the bottom of this mild mystery. Until now!
Grammarist and Merriam Webster both offer detailed and similar explanations. Elocution. Both cite ice cream, previously known as iced cream but adjusted for ease of pronunciation. Merriam Webster goes a bit further (or farther) with nods to Waxed Paper, Skimmed Milk, and Boxed Sets. The tea world has not committed just yet. So, both Ice Tea and Iced Tea are both acceptable and interchangeable.
History of Cold Tea
The world of iced tea is not that old. The widely accepted story is of Richard Blechyden at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis.
The tale goes, the tea merchant Blechyden had planned on promoting
his fine Indian loose leaf tea. The day was scorching hot, and nobody was
interested in his hot tea. He took some ice from the iced cream
vendor next door and added it to all the drinks. This idea proved to be a massive hit, and ice(d) tea was born.
French’s Mustard was also introduced at the same 1904 event, handy trivia knowledge put to good use a few weeks ago. French’s Mustard was founded in my home town of Rochester, NY. Throw in Long Island Iced Tea, which sounds better, and elocution rules again.
Statistics show 85% of Americans drink iced tea. And in 2010, ice tea actually overtook the Brits in the tea-drinking stakes by consuming so much of the iced beverage!
Health Benefits of Ice(d) Tea
There is plenty of evidence about the great benefits of drinking tea. Tea contains high
levels of antioxidants called polyphenols, which attack the free radicals in our
bodies and stop them from harming our healthy cells.
Do we get more of those antioxidants from hot tea or iced tea? The overwhelming
evidence indicates that higher quality loose leaf tea provides the
most antioxidants (and much better flavor) whichever way you serve them. If you
are among the 65% that use tea bags, you might want to introduce loose tea
into your life and “think out of the bag.”
We think it is worth the small amount of time and effort to brew your iced tea with loose leaf at Local Tea Company.
Many of our Serving Partner clients use large tea sacs to make a gallon of ice(d) tea. We call them bullets and use the large T-sac to contain the tea and one ounce of black or green tea to make a gallon. A little more is required for fruit and herbal tisanes.
Cold Brew(ed) Ice(d) Tea
We have always liked the cold brew method. That is, add cold water to loose leaf tea and leaving in the fridge overnight. Try this method with some of the old tea bags you have in a drawer. You will be amazed at the flavor, and a better idea than tossing them the next time you clean out your cupboard.
Ice Tea or Iced Tea? It doesn’t matter according to the grammar gods. It all comes back to our very own adage that I’ll turn into a quote here…
Find the tea you like and drink it.
And drink it often.
Tea is an incredibly healthy beverage and if you like the taste,
you will drink more of it.
Sign up for our Newsletter here, and please share this post on social media. In our Newsletter #4 ‘Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better,’ we share a story from a customer who steeps her tea three times, two times using this Cold Brew method, and then she uses hot water for the last steep.
Hot Tea Month
Happy New Year and Happy Hot Tea Month!
January is National Hot Tea Month and also the height of the “cold and flu season.” So what can you do to help prevent coming down with the cold and flu?
Drinking hot tea is sure to help you stay healthy.
There is plenty of research that indicates that theanine, an ingredient found naturally in tea, supports the immune system. A cup of tea contains an average of 20- 25 mg of theanine, and drinking at least five cups per day will boost your natural resistance to infections.
Tea also contains flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds known for their antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe damage elements in the body and contribute to many chronic diseases.
There is also a herbal tea with great properties in the war against cold and flu: Zingibar officinale, the tart, knotty spice we know as ginger. The oils in ginger will create warmth in your body, help fight infection, and ease nasal and chest congestion. Ginger root makes a tea with nice clean notes and, of course, the familiar hot finish! Anti-inflammatory properties also make ginger a good sore throat remedy. A touch of honey or lemon makes an even more soothing tea when you are feeling unwell.
Why not go for a double dose of prevention and combine ginger with your favorite black tea or green tea such as Nilgiri or Pinhead Gunpowder. This is an invigorating infusion. I like to infuse the ginger root first (it needs at least 10 minutes of steeping) and then add to the prepared tea. If you live in a warmer climate like Florida (where we hardly notice it is winter!) and really do not want to drink hot tea, try serving this combo iced. It really is delicious.
Hot Tea Month
While drinking tea may not keep you from getting sick this season, it can certainly help your odds of staying healthy. So do something good for your body and enjoy a hot cuppa every day! Have a Happy Hot Tea month and stay well.