Brewing a great cup of tea doesn't take much . . . just good quality tea and filtered water, brewed at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Really, it's simple! And amazing, once you've brewed it the right way; you'll never go back to the bitter, badly flavored tea of your past. So here you go . . . everything you need to know about brewing tea for its optimal flavor and health benefits!
Loose Leaf Tea
Just like coffee purists proclaim freshly ground coffee to be the best, loose leaf teas really do make a good difference in the quality of your brew. That being said, you don't have to ditch your convenient bags. When on the go, they serve us well. However, loose leaf allows for all the room it needs to open up and unleash its deliciousÂ magic. The stuff you find in most bags is known as dust. It's basically the leftovers. There are three main types of teas; and there are myriad varieties of tisanes (the herbal loves). Black, green, oolong, and white teas are made from the actual leaf. Their differences are in the oxidation process after harvestingmuch like how coffees vary by roast.
Tisanes are equally wonderful. They are made up of an infusion (as of dried spices and herbs) and brewed into a medicinal beverage.
Some of the top picks around here are: blood orange, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, fennel, mint, and yerba mate. There are beaucoup possibilities for balancing the bodily system by ingesting tisanes. Like the food we eat, tea does run the risk of having not-so-good additives like pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. Stick to organic leaves, which thankfully are plentiful and can be inexpensive. We love chai, but another one of our favorites at the AHC office is green. We add a little ginger and lemon to make it even better. Ginger is an ancient medicine, for sure; and the sour citrus from a lemon boosts the antioxidant properties of green tea. One of my topÂ personal favorite beverages is matcha. Matcha preparation involves covering the plants with shade cloths before they're harvested. This triggers the growth of leaves with better flavor and texture, which are hand selected, steamed briefly to stop fermentation, then dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavor. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine, luscious powder. It's absolutely wonderful.
Check out the green benefits:
- It has potent antioxidants.
- It can cut your cancer risk.
Several polyphenols, the potent antioxidants green tea's famous for, seem to help keep cancer cells from gaining a stronghold in the body by discouraging their growth.
Got a cut, scrape, or bite, and a little leftover green tea? Soak a cotton pad in it.
Green tea applied directly to the skin (or consumed) helps block sun-triggered skin cancer, which is why you're seeing green tea in more and more sunscreens and moisturizers.
- It steadies your blood pressure.
People who sip just half a cup a day are almost 50 percent less likely to wind up with hypertension than nondrinkers. Credit goes to the polyphenols again (especially one known as ECGC). They help keep blood vessels from contracting and raising blood pressure.
Aging adults who drink at least two cups a day are half as likely to develop cognitive problems as those who drink less. Why? It appears that the tea's big dose of antioxidants fights the free-radical damage to brain nerves seen in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Drinking about 10 ounces a day, deters your body from absorbing artery-clogging fat and cholesterol.
I think I'll go brew a cup now. :-) Cheers to your health and longevity!
- It helps with weight loss by speeding up your body's calorie-burning process.
American Heart Association: "Green Tea, Coffee, May Help Lower Stroke Risk."
Bhardwaj, P. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines,July 2013.
Borgwardt, S. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2012.
Consumer Lab: "Green Teas Vary in Strength and Amount of Lead Contamination."
Hyung, S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, published online Feb. 20, 2013.
Lardner, A. Nutrition Neuroscience, July 23, 2013.
Mukhtar, H. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,June 2000.
National Cancer Institute: "Tea and Cancer Prevention: Strengths and Limitations of the Evidence."
Christopher N. Ochner, PhD, nutrition scientist; director of research training and development, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; co-author, The Alzheimer's Diet.
Beth Reardon, RD, LDN, integrative nutritionist in private practice, Boston; former head of nutrition, Duke Integrative Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC.
The Tea Association of The USA: "Tea Fact Sheet."
University of Michigan Health System Blog: "Green Tea and Its Effects on Alzheimer's."
Zheng, X. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2013.
National Cancer Institute: "Tea and Cancer Prevention: Strengths and Limits of the Evidence."