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The Science of Tea
The Art of Tea Tasting
What should I consider while tasting tea?
Just as wine tasting can be a fun activity, so can tea tasting. Invite six of your friends over for a tea party.
First, you'll need to decide on the types of tea you will taste. It's generally recommended that you stay within the same family of teas (for example, green herbal teas) when holding a tasting. This will allow you to compare and contrast the differences between them, leading to a more successful tasting.
When tasting tea, as when tasting wine, we suggest you consider the following:
- The types of tea leaves you have brewed: are they broken, twisted, or flat? How do the different kinds of leaves change the taste of the tea?
- Consider the color of the tea. Different growing regions promote different colors.
- Like wine, you should inhale the tea before tasting and consider the aroma, or "bouquet," of the tea.
- Now, sip a great deal of the tea, swish it around in your mouth a bit, and consider the body and the flavors.
- After you've swallowed, consider the "finish," or aftertaste, of the tea. Do the flavors stay with you or quickly dissipate?
Organic Tea: Good For You and the Environment
What are the benefits of organic tea?
Some people drink tea because they find the ritual to be a relaxing addition to their day. Others drink it solely to take advantage of its health benefits. No matter your reasons for enjoying a nice, hot (or cold) cup of tea, you may want to consider brewing organic tea. It has a better taste and the same health benefits as processed tea, but it also promotes fair trade and environmentally sustainable farming practices.
- Taste: You may think the tea you're drinking is all-natural, but some teas are grown with the assistance of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can affect the taste.
- Fair Trade: Many of the farms that cultivate organic tea are small and independent. Fair trade certification also means that the farms are investing in their communities.
- Environmental sustainability: Choosing organic tea over tea grown with harmful pesticides means that you are choosing to support environmentally sustainable farming practices and doing your share to protect the environment.
From car fumes and pesticides to air and water pollution, we're exposed to toxins every single day. Many people turn to natural cleansers to rid their bodies of these toxins and subsequently alleviate the feelings of stress and exhaustion. You can get virtually the same effect by drinking detox tea.
- Why should I drink it? It's a natural cleanser that can be consumed once a week or every day. There are no harsh chemicals and you will benefit from the reduction of harmful toxins in your body.
- When should I drink it? Detox tea is usually consumed in the morning. The body cleanses itself while you sleep, so drinking the tea during the day forces the body to continue the process.
- Are there any side effects? Because detox tea is made with all natural herbs, there are virtually no side effects unless you're allergic to one of the herbs--check the tea ingredients before consuming.
How Herbal Teas May Help Alleviate Ailments
What kinds of herbal teas should I drink if I'm ill?
Did you know that true herbal tea does not actually contain tea leaves? It's true. Herbal tea is made out of a selection of herbs that work in tandem with your body to promote health. Simply boil a cup or two of water with the following ingredients (1 tbsp each), steep for 5-10 minutes, and you could be on your way to better health in no time.
- Feeling ill? If you have a cold or sinus infection, you might want to drink ginger tea.
- Want to detoxify? If you want to rid your body of toxins, you might want to drink lemon tea or specially-formulated detox tea.
- Depressed? Use a combination of St. John's Wart and Ginkgo Biloba to help you feel like yourself again.
- Trouble sleeping? Mix equal amounts of chamomile, lavender flowers, and echinacea. This is sometimes called "sleepytime tea." It is also sold in tea bags.
- Toothache? Gargling or sipping peppermint tea may help to alleviate the pain.
Coffee or Tea
What's better for my body; coffee or tea?
A 2009 study suggests that enjoying either coffee or tea may reduce the chances of stroke. Aside from the fact that they both can contain caffeine, the similarities end there. Although caffeinated coffee and tea have the same stimulating effect on the body, they have different properties that affect the body's chemistry; in fact, choosing to drink tea may be better for your body. So, before you decide to pick up that morning cup of coffee, consider this:
- The caffeine in coffee offers a quick "pick me up," but the downside is that coffee is absorbed by the body immediately. Because of the fast absorption rate, coffee can irritate the stomach, raise blood pressure, and cause the heart to beat faster.
- The caffeine in tea also offers a jolt to the body but is absorbed over time, so the stimulating effects of tea can be felt for up to five hours. More benefits of tea include its mild effect on the digestive system and the cardiovascular system.
Drink Herbal Tea and Detox Tea to Promote Better Health
When should I drink herbal tea vs. detox tea?
From black tea and oolong tea to green tea and herbal tea, there are so many different types of tea to drink. It can be hard to choose, so here's a hint: if you're searching for a healthy way to ward off or treat illness or cleanse the body, you might want to drink herbal tea. There are two main types of herbal teas: true herbal tea and detox tea.
True herbal tea is created out of natural herbs, powders, flowers, and even tree bark, either for the taste or for the ability to ward off or treat specific ailments. Some people believe that drinking herbal tea will prevent or treat colds, sore throats, and indigestion; however, many of the studies that aim to prove the healing properties of tea are inconclusive.
Detox tea is created out of a specific blend of herbs that help to reduce the amount of toxins in the body. Its overall aim is to cleanse the bladder, kidneys, and liver so the body can better filter external pollutants.
Whether you choose herbal teas or detox teas for your health, you can buy ready-made teas from a premium outlet like MightyLeaf.com, or you can brew your own. Either way, herbal tea is a tasty, healthy, and easy-to-brew addition to your diet.
The Modern-Day Use of Herbs
How do people use herbs to ease their ailments?
For centuries, herbs have been used for the treatment of cuts, bruises, and disease. So, even with the advent of modern medicine, it only makes sense that people still rely on herbs to help ease their ailments. Here are some ways that people employ herbs in their modern-day healing rituals:
- Turmeric - Applying this to cuts may hurry the healing process.
- Chamomile - Chamomile tea is said to help insomnia, headaches and menstrual cramps.
- Mint - For years mint tea has been consumed to help ease digestive problems.
- Cloves - Clove tea has properties of an antihistamine, which may help reduce allergy symptoms.
- Lime - Fresh lime juice can be imbibed to counteract diarrhea. Lime leaves can be infused as an herbal tea to ease the symptoms of headaches.
- St. John's Wart - Many take St. John's Wart as a dietary supplement or brew the flowers in a tea to ease symptoms of nervousness or depression.
How to Make Herbal Tea
how do I make herbal tea?
Everyone has heard about the health properties of tea, especially herbal tea. You can purchase herbal tea ready-made in a tea bag, or you can go one step further and brew your own. Here's how:
Pour boiling water over herbs placed in a lidded ceramic container and let it steep. Steeping time depends on the herbs you're infusing, as certain herbs will taste bitter if steeped for too long and others need to steep longer so you can take advantage of their medicinal qualities. When the tea is finished steeping, use a strainer to catch the herbs as you pour it into a mug. To add flavor to the tea, add some lemon, mint, or a teaspoon of honey.
For a stronger tea, put herbs and water in a sauce pan, boil, then let cool. Store the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
Herbal Tea Recipes
What kinds of herbal tea should I make for different illnesses?
If you're feeling ill, you might decide to drink herbal tea to help manage the symptoms. Here are some recipes from About.com that utilize the properties of tea to help alleviate the symptoms of certain ailments.
2 ounces of malva flowers
1.5 ounces of mullein flowers
Boil with 1 cup of water, steep for ten minutes, and then strain.
6 oz peppermint leaves
6 oz lemon balm leaves
6 oz fennel seeds
Boil with 1 cup of water, steep for 10 minutes, and then strain.
2 teaspoons of angelica root
2 teaspoons of lemon balm leaves
½ teaspoon of fennel seed
Simmer the angelica root in 4 cups of water. Remove the pot from heat, add lemon balm leaves. Steep for 10 minutes and then strain.
½ teaspoon of dried ginger root
½ teaspoon of clove blossoms
1 teaspoon of chamomile flowers
Place herbs in a ceramic mug, pour boiling water over herbs, let steep for 10 minutes, cool, and enjoy.
Start a Tea Tasting Club
How do I start a tea tasting club?
If you and your friends like to enjoy nice, hot cups of tea, why not create a tea tasting club so you can explore all of the different kinds of tea that are available? It's easy to set up. Here are some ideas:
Shop a premium tea outlet like MightyLeaf.com to find quality teas that you'll want to share with your friends. Choose teas within the same family and pick four-to-six different brands to taste. For example, start with an array of black organic teas for the first club meeting. When it's time for the next meeting, your group can test another family of teas.
Boil plenty of hot water and make one tea at a time. When tasting tea, make sure your club discusses each tea's strengths and weaknesses and writes each down. Chances are, the members of your club will enjoy different brands of tea, so be sure to have boxes of tea samples available so the members can take them home.
A successful tea tasting will result in the discovery of new teas, an abundance of conversation, and a lot of laughter.