Thursday, March 27, 2014

Teaology 101: Dude, it’s medicinal!

Some people steep it for too long, others not long enough. Some people add milk and sugar, others add a squeeze of lemon or nothing at all. Regardless of how you drink it, most agree that tea is good for you.

There are endless studies that have shown tea may help prevent certain illnesses, control some health issues, reduce stress, and keep you mentally alert. Tea appears to be the elixir of life!

I mentioned a few properties of the Camellia sinensis plant in a previous post such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the caffeine, theanine. I’m going to breakdown the purported health benefits of the main types of tea as each type has its own list of goodness.

White Tea: Studies have shown that this contains the most potent traits that guard against cancer because it is the least processed. White tea may also fight obesity, and calm your mind.

Green Tea: This has a high concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant found only in green tea. The antioxidants may prevent a number of cancers such as breast, lung, and stomach. As well, green tea may prevent clogging of the arteries, reduce the risk of disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and reduce risk of stroke.

Oolong Tea: Though not as widely studied as other teas, some research indicates that oolong tea may lower bad cholesterol levels and help in weight loss.

Black (red) Tea: This tea has the highest caffeine content which is no wonder it is known to sharpen concentration. Also, studies have shown that black tea may reduce the risk of stroke, lower cholesterol, improve circulation, and prevent some illnesses of the intestines.

Pu-erh Tea: Another tea that is not researched enough is pu-erh. The few studies suggest that this wonderful tea controls your weight and reduces cholesterol.

Many other studies show that tea can prevent tooth decay and fight bad breath, keep you looking young, and hydrate the body. It all sounds wonderful, but nothing is conclusive. The studies should be taken with a grain of salt. Information changes quickly and depending on your sources, may differ from one study to another. However, there doesn’t appear to be any harm in drinking tea, any tea. So, drink to your health!

Note:  I am not a doctor nor do I play one on t.v., but I've always wanted to be one!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Celebrity Mug Shots!

I was curious to know if there were any famous people who drank tea. I managed to find plenty of pictures of celebrities with a cup in hand and even a pinky sticking out. Some are candid shots, while others were poses. A lot of the pictures were just beautiful, especially the black and whites, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites. 

The fab four being so very English!

Oh a Beatles tune!  Hey, Jude…what are you doing with your hand?

John F. Kennedy having a tea party with his little lady, daughter Caroline.

John F. Kennedy’s “other” lady, Marilyn.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus pouring tea on Jerry Seinfeld.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Einstein with yerba maté.  The key to his intelligence?  Hmmmm………

Never took Jimi Hendrix for a tea guy.  Cool!

Bob Marley looking so relaxed with his cuppa.

Even monsters drink tea.

I would love to have tea with Ozzie and Slash!  Oh, the conversations to be had!

I have plenty more celebrity mug shots. I may do another round at a later date.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Tea Story: Along came Shennong and…Eureka!

Legend claims that tea was discovered by sheer accident. Do you remember my post on Bodhidharma and the gruesome manner in which he discovered tea? How about the tales of Dragon Well? There are many stories surrounding tea, some sound plausible while others seem incredible. Either way, they make for great storytelling. Here is another one:

In China, 2737 BCE, there once lived an Emperor named Shennong. This Emperor was quite gifted especially in the areas of agriculture and herbal medicine. Apparently, Shennong was a hands-on kinda guy in his research on herbal medicine so much so that he even tested all sorts of botanicals, toxic or not, on himself in order to understand their properties and medicinal value. Purportedly, he was poisoned many times but was able to remove the toxic effects by using the appropriate herbs as a remedy. He also insisted on having his water boiled first in order to kill off any undesirables within the water before drinking it.

One day, while off visiting a remote area, Shennong and his entourage took to rest and began building a fire for a pot of water using the twigs of a nearby tree. As the water began to boil, some leaves from this tree flew into the pot causing the water to change in colour. Curious by the colour and sweet aroma, Shennong took the concoction to his lips and felt refreshed and alive! The tree was of course, Camellia sinensis, a wild tea tree.

Shennong continued his research on tea as well as many other herbs. Eventually he died from ingesting a poisonous herb he was experimenting with for which he was unable to find a cure in time. Careful what you put in your bodies kids! So long, Shennong.

It's medicinal, dude!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Cuppa: Too fruity to me!

Now that all my friends know about my passion for tea and about my blog dedicated to all things tea, they not only have questions about tea, but they also want me to test drive certain teas and what I think of them. Friends seem especially interested in herbal teas especially the tutti frutti kinds.  I do my best to educate them on the differences between teas and tisanes, red and black tea, and so-called chai tea.  They genuinely do find it all as fascinating as I do, or maybe they’re just humouring me!

The tea I’m trying out was provided to me by a classmate from a course we’re taking together. This is a tea bag, and that’s alright! As I stated in an earlier post, tea bags have their place too. Besides, who am I to turn down free tea? I am happy to oblige. This is a flavoured green tea named Tropical Marvel from a company called Greenfield, which I've never heard of. Supposedly it's readily available at a lot of Russian specialty shops.  My friend did not particularly like this tea because of her profound hatred for pineapple, which she made very clear to me! The packet states that this green tea is blended with “apple and citrus notes” as well as “pineapple and spicy ginger”. Sounds exotic! Though I’m not too big on flavour-enhanced teas, I like to keep an open-mind. Again, it’s free tea! Booyah!

My test drive!

I infused my tea for 5 – 7 minutes as suggested on the packet. The tea bag is a double chamber which allows the leaves to expand within the extra space. The aroma was strong of pineapple! I knew right away I was going to agree with my friend on this one. The leaves yield a clear yellow-green liquor. The fragrance is very fruity with not a hint of green tea. The taste was very much of pineapples. I felt like I was drinking a warm piña colada! Definitely not my cuppa, though it might make a great iced-tea to enjoy on a hot summer’s day, or perhaps as a frozen treat.

The verdict.

That’s one down. I have more samples to go through for future dates! Booyah!