I didn’t start drinking coffee religiously until 2 years ago; up until then it was tea–while I now drink both, depending on the occasion and application, sometimes I get rather picky with my tea.
My Nana tells the story frequently of when I was younger; maybe 4–6 years old, she would get me all dressed up, white gloves, frilled socks and all–and we would visit the local teahouse with her friends. The waitstaff would get a kick out of me apparently with my fancy white gloves eating tea sandwiches, crumpets, and shortbread cookies. Not to mention, one time they even had a photographer there to take photos of the facility and apparently I was used as a model in a few of the photos (I don’t recall this, I wish I had the photo to share with you all!) The moral of the story is; tea is a social activity, quality time to share with friends and family.
DO YOU DRINK TEA?
The reason behind choosing loose leaf over processed is simply the “leaves” used in most bags are actually the dust and fannings from broken tea leaves. Finely broken tea leaves have lost most of their essential oils and aroma. When steeped, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea and less antioxidants are prominent. Now this isn’t to say that now companies make tea bags with loose leaf tea inside; they do, which makes the brewing process less time consuming and user friendly–but the process is half the fun of tea drinking!
We tend to call many things that we infuse in hot water a tea. But technically, it’s only tea if it’s made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis (originated in Southeast Asia), an evergreen plant indigenous to China and India. It wasn’t until the 17th century drinking tea became popular in Britain.
Tea is the world’s second most popular beverage, after water; and while Thomas Lipton invented the now-popular tea bag in 1952–tea in it’s traditional sense has been around dating back to the 3rd Century AD recorded for medicinal purposes.
Did you know:
- WHITE TEAS ARE THE LEAST PROCESSED. THEY RELEASE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE AS WEL
- GREEN TEA, HIGH IN VITAMIN C, CHLOROPHYLL AND MINERALS
- OOLONG TEAS ARE SEMI–OXIDIZED, WHICH PLACES THEM MID–WAY BETWEEN GREEN AND BLACK TEAS
- BLACK TEAS ARE FULLY OXIDIZED AND MOST POPULAR TYPE IN THE WESTERN WORLD
- PU’ERH TEAS ARE AGED AND FERMENTED MEDICINAL BENEFITS RANGE FROM CURING HANGOVERS TO REDUCING CHOLESTEROL
- YERBA MATÉ HIGH IN CAFFEINE VITAMIN C, POTASSIUM, AND MAGNESIUM
- HERBAL “TEAS” WIDE RANGE OF HEALTH BENEFITS DEPENDING ON THE HERB
- ROOIBOS IS A NATURALLY CAFFEINE-FREE HIGH IN IRON, ZINC, COPPER
Most of these photos in the post were actually taken at a teahouse in Portland, Oregon; in the midst of a month long road trip with a friend of mine Anna, we stopped in to enjoy the Lan Su gardens, a cup of tea, and some Bao Zi (vegetable steamed buns.) Sure you can visit a place, and maybe you will remember it; but the act of experiencing a cultural tradition while doing so–engraves that experience in my memory.
Have you ever looked at a tea bag and tried to guess what’s actually in there? Very hard to decipher and see each individual ingredient. Unless it’s a very basic tea blend, you might not know what you’re putting in your body with processed bags of tea. If you look at the featured photo at the top of the post; you see many colors of green, fuchsia, and tan. You can pick out and hold each ingredient and identify it separately in loose leaf tea.
Health Benefits of Loose Leaf Tea:
- High in Antioxidants
- Lower Chloresterol
- Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
- Possibly Helps Prevent Cancer
- Calming and Mental Clarity
I boosted my tea consumption in 2016; when I started training for my first fitness bikini competition, and was drinking a gallon of water a day. Some people claim they actually hate water, you know the stuff that 60–75% of our bodies are made up of; I however love it. But, brewing my four 32oz containers with different flavors made the consumption new and exciting every time. Not to mention the added health benefits tea offers rather than just water alone. As I sit and write this; I am sipping on a steaming cup of Teavana Maharaja Chai Oolong / Samurai Chai Mate Blend Tea on this frigid 65 degree day at the end of June!