Tea, 10 Basic And Interesting Things To Know

Tea, a beverage that is consumed in almost every culture and is enjoyed by millions. Whether you brew it naturally hot or cold, many benefits can be obtained by drinking several cups a day. Almost everyone at some point has had a cup of tea.

Below are ten interesting facts about tea providing folks a helpful insight and fun read about the beverage enjoyed by many. Make your favourite cup and enjoy.

1. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. It is only beaten by water. Out of all the sports drinks, sodas, and even coffee, tea still holds (and probably will always hold) second place.

2. All tea, white, green, oolong (aka. wu long or brown tea), and black tea come from the same plant. Camellia sinensis is the mother of tea and gives us the leaves that can become those four main types. It is the processing the leaves go through that determines their classification or "colour".

3. Tea is grown in many countries, but it is India that produces most of the world's exported tea. China produces the second, mostly green and white teas, and Sri Lanka comes in third for total world production. Japan produces a lot of green tea as well, but only around 2% is exported since Japan is a huge green tea drinking nation.

4. Even though there are only four main types of tea, literally thousands of varieties can be made from each. Many factors such as culture, climate, growing conditions, processing, and even time of day of harvesting all make that possible.

5. Tea is not graded by taste or colour, but by leaf size and texture. There are eight main grading categories, with "Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe" (FTGFOP) as one of the highest to "Pekoe" (P) which is the lowest loose leaf grading. The common term "Orange Pekoe" is believed by many folks as being a variety of tea when in fact is just a grading of tea. The "orange" in orange pekoe has nothing to do with oranges or extracts from them either.

6. In America, over 90% of folks brew their tea by tea bag. The majority of the tea is black tea; green and white teas have only started to become popular, but continue to increase in sales every year.

7. There are many health benefits that can be obtained from drinking tea daily. Common benefits are help with certain tumor and cancer prevention, lowered cholesterol, and a healthier heart. But did you know that the properties in tea can also help your skin look younger by destroying free radicals which cause dark spots and wrinkles? Tea has shown to even fight cavities!

8. Black tea is the most common, most exported, and most consumed type of tea in the world, while white tea is the least. Black tea is also the most oxidized of all types, while white tea is the least.

9. Tea contains less caffeine than coffee. A cup of black tea has half the amount of caffeine compared to a cup of coffee, and green tea has less than half the amount of caffeine compared to a cup of black tea.

10. The most important yet basic of tea facts is that brewing tea loose leaf style over tea bags is the best way to obtain true tea flavour and benefits. There are also many more varieties of loose leaf tea which can provide folks a lifetime of drinking enjoyment.

By David Carloni

Why Tea is the New Coffee

By Marine Cole - The Fiscal Times Online

With coffee prices doubling this year, Americans are increasingly turning to tea and a whole industry is flourishing as a result.  Arabica-coffee prices surged amid lower supply due to erratic rainfall, which affected output from Brazil, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. Earlier, the drought was the major disruptor affecting coffee prices.  In recent years, coffee prices have also gone up because of a fungus ravaging crops in Mexico and Central American and beetles attacking plantations around the world.

However, the rising cost of coffee isn’t the only reason tea has become so popular. Americans have been gravitating more toward healthier, which has prompted a whole range of types of tea to emerge, including green tea and white tea. More recently, kombucha, a fermented tea drank cold and usually sold in a bottle, has become a trendy healthy alternative. Kombucha and other ready-to-drink teas in bottles such as iced tea have made it easier for consumers to purchase and drink on the go. This search for healthy alternatives and for convenience has fueled the tea industry in the past 10 years. The total wholesale value of tea sold in the U.S. has grown from under $2 billion dollars 10 years ago to well over $10 billion in 2013, according to the Tea Association of the USA.

While tea has been widely available at coffee shops and grocery stores (mostly in packaged dry tea bags), specialized tea parlors are sprouting everywhere in the country, and the one company that revolutionized the way we drink coffee is now trying to do the same with our tea. Starbucks, which owns Tazo tea brand, purchased Teavana in December 2012, and has already opened 366 stores in 2013, including its first “tea bar” in New York City. Meanwhile Argo tea chain has  been growing steadily for the past decade. It’s also been hard to avoid the thousands of independent teahouses popping up around the country, especially in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Even supermarkets are expanding their tea offering. Last week, Supermarket News reported that some Haggen Food & Pharmacy and Whole Foods stores have added kombucha stations where customers can fill out growlers with their favorite flavored fermented tea.

“While kombucha is still somewhat of a niche trend, its popularity has been growing,” the article said. “SN sister publication New Hope, which focuses on the natural foods industry, calls functional beverages like kombucha one of the next decade’s top food and beverage trends.”

With so much happening in the tea category, the industry is likely to experience another decade of growth.

How A Cup Of Tea Makes You Happier, Healthier, And More Productive

We've steeped ourselves in the research, and the tea leaves read quite auspiciously: tea makes you more alert, more relaxed, and less likely to die tomorrow. These are all good things.

By Drake Baer

Humans have been steeping leaves in hot water for 500,000 years.  Americans drank 79 billion servings of tea last year, amounting to 3.6 billions gallons in total. So clearly, we're quite invested in the hot stuff--as is the freshly tea-pushing Starbucks--but what does it invest in us? New research into the relationship between nutrition and the brain is helping us to understand why tea time is such an essential part of the day--for the components of tea help us be more alert, more relaxed, and healthier over the long term

The right amount of stimulation

As you may have experienced first-hand, caffeine has strong effects on people, most famously acting as a stimulant and reducing drowsiness.

As University of Chicago behavioral pharmacologist Emma Childs explains to us, caffeine increases alertness because it it prevents the sedative adenosine from working as a receptor.

"Adenosine has sedative effects," she says, "so by blocking those effects of adenosine, you're actually increasing central stimulation. You're actually increasing the activity of the central nervous system."

In this way, caffeinated beverages like tea give us more energy, since we're blocking the signal to our brains that we're tired. But don't mistake caffeine for rest: caffeine makes you less tired like an afternoon nap or an extra hour of sleep might, but it won't give you the depth of restoration or consolidation of memory that sleep provides.

The right amount of relaxation

Beyond the caffeine, tea has another killer app, and this one is unique to the leaf: Theanine, which is an amino acid present in black and green tea, especially the matcha, gyokuro, and anji bai cha varieties. A review of the research suggests that theanine reduces anxiety and calms us because it increases the number of inhibitory neurotransmitters (which balance our moods out) and modulates serotonin and dopamine (which makes make us feel good).

Huffington Post writer and naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner captures the causation:

Theanine works by increasing the production of GABA in the brain. Similar to the effects of meditation, it also stimulates alpha brainwaves naturally associated with deep states of relaxation and enhanced mental clarity. l-theanine may increase learning, attention and sensations of pleasure as well. These effects are likely due to the natural dopamine boost brought on by l-theanine. If you are wondering how something with caffeine can actually relax you, the L-theanine balances the stimulatory effects of caffeine so you stay alert without feeling jittery.

And don't forget the oxidation

Tea is full of antioxidants like thearubigins, epicatechins, and catechins, which beyond being really fun to say have mightily excellent outcomes: they protect our cells from free radicals, therefore protecting against blood clots, cancer, or the hardening of the arteries. Additionally, the research suggests that regular tea drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, plus lower cholesterol.

In other words, you don't need to be a tasseographist to know that drinking tea predicts a healthy, productive future.

Genetic Engineering Produces Decaffeinated Tea Plants

One thing that is always said about tea is that true tea, made from Camellia sinensis, has caffeine. But what if this wasn’t the case? What if there could be a truly uncaffeinated tea or at least a low-caffeine version? University of New Hampshire neuroscience major Laura Van Beaver is continuing a project to try to make this a reality.

Van Beaver, UNH class of 2016, began work on “Production of Decaffeinated Tea through Genetic Engineering” this summer, through support from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.

Her research home was the lab of plant biology and genetics professor Subhash Minocha. Van Beaver has been studying the genes in the tea plant, in particular, the gene that directs the production of caffeine. She believes that it may be possible to turn that gene off, blocking that particular biosynthetic pathway. A visiting professor from India initiated the project and two other undergraduate students picked up the efforts.

One of the common complaints about decaffeinated tea is that the flavor suffers due to the process. In addition, concerns are sometimes raised about the impact on antioxidants. Van Beaver believes that the genetically modified tea would not have degraded taste and drinkers would still benefit from the full load of antioxidants.

Tea would not be the first plant to undergo this process. In Japan researchers produced coffee with 70% less caffeine than traditional coffee. Van Beaver is taking a page from that playbook and seeing if it could work for tea. She is currently working on producing the DNA molecule, or plasmid, which contains the “turned off” gene. She is also beginning to grow tea plants from seed that will be used in tissue culture. Then the work starts to see if these cells can be used to produce a plant with the qualities desired. Van Buren will spend the next year continuing her work. Time will tell if she will then need to hand the project off for future students to continue.

Van Beaver is slated to graduate in 2016. She is part of the UNH Honors Program.

SOURCE: New Hampshire Public Radio and UNH

What is Chai?

From the website : What is Chai?

Chai (pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with 'pie') is the word for tea in many parts of the world. It is a centuries-old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures.

Chai from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world. It is generally made up of:

• rich black tea • heavy milk • a combination of various spices • a sweetener

The spices used vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Indian chai produces a warming, soothing effect, acts as a natural digestive aid and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. It's difficult to resist a second cup.

Drinking chai is part of life in India and most Indian's are amazed at all the current fuss in the West. Many who have traveled in India come away with fond chai drinking experiences. In the past three years we've seen a phenomenal growth in the popularity and interest in chai. Chai has become very common at over-the-counter specialty beverage shops and there is a growing line of prepackaged consumer products. Many industry analysts are predicting that chai will eventually become as popular and common as coffee lattes and cappuccinos.

Great chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but making your own chai provides immense satisfaction (and makes the house smell yummy!). Recipes and tastes for chai vary widely and a multitude of chai recipes are used around the world.

Indian grocers carry various chai masala mixes which you can use to make your own chai. Commercially produced concentrates can be found at many health food grocers and coffee shops. Ingredients for making your own chai are available just about everywhere.

Of course the modern world has elevated chai to new planes of experience--chai ices, milkshakes, chocolate chai, non-fat, low-cal sweeteners, decaf, and so on.

We prefer traditional freshly made chai: hot, creamy, fragrant with black tea, fresh cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns and enough sugar to bring out the spice flavor. While we personally drink regular tea without sugar, chai must have sweetness or the spices seem to lose their full robustness.

 

Are Tea Bags Turning Us Into Plastic?

By Taylor Orci - The Atlantic

Some of the fancy new tea bags are made of fancy plastic. A fair price to pay for drinkable luxury?

Here's what happened: I was making tea one day, waiting for my water to get hot, and I started reading the box. It touted the fact that the company didn't use "silky" plastic tea bags, which prompted my the question, "Wait... silky tea bags are plastic tea bags?" I'd used "silky" or "mesh" tea bags before, and as someone who is turned off by the idea of eating heated plastic, I never made the connection that "silky" didn't actually mean silk, and "mesh" isn't really a specific thing at all. More put off by the fact I'd been had than anything else, I wanted to find out if my alarm about using plastic tea bags had any real basis to it.

At first blush, "silky tea bags" sound like drinkable luxury. Often pyramidal in shape, this type of tea bag is supposed to have higher quality -- sometimes even whole leaf -- tea inside, a departure from the "dust" in most tea bags. If the quality isn't higher, the tea is definitely more colorful.  The see-through mesh allows you to view what looks like edible potpourri.

Tea companies are very forthcoming in the pains they've gone through to adopt such an innovative design. Boasts one    website, "In 2000, Revolution started a full-scale uprising, overthrowing the paper tea bag i favor of the first flow-through Infuser bag." Another site, Tea Forte, explains adopting the silky tea bag because "[They] wanted to create a total sensory and emotional experience that was relevant to life today." What many of these sites don't mention is that these silky tea bags, (or "sachets," or "infusers," or "sculptural works of art," etc.) are plastic.

"If the question is, 'As the polymer goes through that transition state, is it easier for something to leach out?', the answer is yes."

The idea of a plastic tea bag might be unpalatable for folks for a number of reasons, the most clear-cut being the contribution to landfill waste, but additionally because heating plastic can rouse alarm in consumers. That's probably why tea companies like to describe their silken sachets as a quality compromise for loose leaf lovers who "are switching to [mesh tea bags] as their lives get more hectic," instead of emphasizing "get the plastic hot and then drink the thing it was in." For these reasons, some tea companies like Numi even use their lack of plastic tea bags as a selling point.

Could plastic tea bags also be bad for our health? They are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which are two of the safest plastics on the scale of harmful leaching potential. Both have very high melting points, which offer some assurance to consumers, as one would think the melting point of plastic is the temperature at which one would need to worry about accidentally eating it.

There is another temperature point for plastics, though, that we may need to worry about, called the "glass transition" temperature (Tg) . That is the temperature at which the molecule in certain materials such as polymers begin to break down. As a rule, the Tg of a material is always lower than the melting point. In the case of PET and food grade nylon (either nylon 6 or nylon6-6), all have a Tg lower than the temperature of boiling water. For example, while the melting point of PET is 482 degrees Fahrenheit, the Tg is about 169 degrees. Both nylons have a lower glass transition temperature than PET. (Remember that water boils at 212 degrees.) This means the molecules that make up these plastic tea bags begin to break down in hot water.

"If the question is, 'As the polymer goes through that transition state, is it easier for something to leach out?', the answer is yes," said Dr. Ray    Fernando, professor and director of polymers and coatings at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. "However, just because it makes it easier for something to leach out, it doesn't mean it will." There seems to be something in the plastic collective consciousness that says there are inherently toxins in all plastics, and when they begin to break down, they will naturally gravitate toward food. "This would only happen if there are potential materials trapped in the substance. What we don't know is what FDA requirements manufacturers have to meet before they go to market," said Dr. Fernando.

There is also a matter of whether or not the leachate is hydrophobic or hydrophilic. If hydrophobic pollutants were potentially in the plastic tea bag materials, their nature would be to stay in the bag and not go frolicking into the water and into your mouth.

So polymers will only leach out harmful chemicals, like cancer causing phthalates, at their glass transition temperature if there are said phthalates to begin with. It almost seems silly to think that either of these materials would have toxins to begin with, considering we eat off of them and in them. That's what food standards are for, right? The Lipton website reassures us their Pyramid Tea Bags made of PET are "the same food grade material clear water and juice bottles are made of and ... are microwave safe." That sounds, well ... safe.

But then there are studies like this: In 2009, a study found that single-use PET plastic water bottles were found to have estrogen-mimicking pollutants in them. Such toxins have been linked to cancer. If PET is found in these water bottles, the same material Lipton claims to use in their plastic tea bags, it's fair to say there is a chance these tea bags are leaching toxins into the tea they're brewing. Further, this study did not look at the glass transition temperature and how that could increase the leaching of said toxins. And while this study is only about PET plastic, it is logical to question if nylon has the same potential.

"The consumer doesn't have a way to know how to choose a safe plastic," said Stephen Lester, science director for the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. He made mention of a study decades ago where researchers found putting hot liquids in styrofoam cups could be harmful. If I was at a party that was serving hot cocoa in styrofoam cups, I probably wouldn't decline it -- the same with plastic tea bags. It's not like I'm unaware they may pose a health risk, but I unconsciously file them under the heading of, "probably not so bad." But this may be at my own peril. There's just no comprehensive way of knowing.

In our discussion, Dr. Fernando departed from talking about the sexy topic of polymer toxicity potential for a moment and mentioned that paper manufacturing is also highly polluting, "[Regarding the paper tea bag] paper is a very chemically intensive process. But the thing is we've been using the [paper] bag for a long time, so we know it's okay." One would love to soothe the nerves agitated by this topic with a scintillating cup of White Tea with Island Mango and Peach, if only one knew for sure it was okay.

My polymers expert made mention-- and I agree, that to test the level of phthalates in tea made from plastic tea bags would be an easy one to conduct. So I contacted the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice to see if they had any such study in their databases. As helpful as they were digging up many peer reviews about plastic, tea, and toxicity, a study about the toxicity of plastic tea bags couldn't be found. I also contacted the Center for Disease Control -- the disease here being cancer which has been linked to phthalates, and asked the same thing, but as of this writing I've yet to hear back.

*This post was updated on June 4, 2013, to remove a reference to Mighty Leaf Tea. Mighty Leaf uses bags made of corn plastic, which do not contain phthalates and do not leach even at boiling temperatures.

The Health Benefits of Ginger

from the website Nutrition Facts

Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is a traditional ingredient in prescriptions to ensure absorption through the stomach to all parts of the body.  As a diffusive stimulant it starts at the capillaries and works its way back to the heart.  Thus, its application for poor circulation in peripheral areas - cold hands and feet have
found a warm friend in Ginger.  Ginger is thought to have blood-thinning properties and the ability to lower
blood cholesterol levels.  Therefore, it may help in preventing heart attacks.  It is a blood stimulant and cleansing herb.  It is also used for respiratory problems such as colds, sore throats, bronchitis, congestion, headaches and pain.
Ginger is also known to help with nausea, kidney problems, heart problems, fever, vomiting, cramps and in herbal combinations to aid in the effectiveness of other herbs. It is used for numerous ailments, including menstrual problems, inflammation, arthritis, high cholesterol, liver problems, gastrointestinal problems and motion sickness.  Recent research has shown there are two natural antibiotics in Ginger and that it has been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Another recent study involved patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had tried numerous conventional drugs which provided only temporary or partial relief.  All of the patients reported significant improvement, pain relief, reduction in swelling and improved mobility from Ginger therapy.
Ginger is probably best known for its positive effect on the gastrointestinal system.  It has the ability to relieve dizziness and motion sickness without causing drowsiness.  It also eases morning sickness.

Ginger for cancer A study in mice found that the mice given gingerol, the antioxidant found in ginger which gives it its distinctive flavor, had less tumors and their size was significantly smaller than those of mice who didn’t get gingerol. In another study, mice that had been injected with cancer cells and given ginger had protection against the forming of colon cancer.

Ginger for morning sickness Research has revealed that 125mg of ginger extract taken 4 times daily for 4 days reduced morning sickness significantly in women who were less than 20 weeks pregnant.In other research, 53% of women who were less than 16 weeks pregnant who consumed a 1.05 gram ginger capsule reported a reduction in both vomiting and nausea associated with pregnancy.

Ginger for motion sickness Studies have shown that ginger has a substantial effect on both the prevention and treatment of motion sickness.

Ginger for osteoarthritis A study has found that individuals having osteoarthritis who had ingested ginger extract had a greater reduction in knee pain compared to those who did not ingest ginger.

History of Ginger Ginger originated in China, Southeastern Asia and India, where it has been used as a culinary spice no less than 4,400 years ago. Ginger was brought from China by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. The Spanish introduced ginger to Mexico and South America.

China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Thailand are presently the main producers of ginger.

You can find it in our Cleansing, Stress Release, Vitality and Women's Blend Teas.  It is also available as a single herb.

The Health Benefits of Tea

From the website Nutrition Facts

Tea is one of the more commonly consumed beverages worldwide, and it’s also one of the more extensively researched due to the potential health benefits of tea.

Tea leaves consist of thousands of bioactive compounds which have been identified and researched. Although many of the compounds serve as antioxidant flavonoids, not all of the benefits are believed to be entirely from antioxidant activity.

Tea for Heart Health Many studies indicate that tea supports heart health as well as healthy blood pressure, and seems to be linked to a reduced cardiovascular disease risk, including heart attack and stroke.

Tea for Weight Loss Studies on tea catechins show that they could be beneficial to maintain body weight or promote weight loss. Researchers have discovered that 24-hour energy expenditure as well as fat oxidation increased when individuals drank green tea and caffeine. Study results indicate that the caloric expenditure increase is the same as about 100 calories for a 24-hour period. Green tea and caffeine also seem to boost fat oxidation over 24 hours by about 16% or 0.02 grams per mg catechins. Researchers have also determined that individuals drinking green tea and caffeine lost about 2.9 pounds in 12 weeks, while sticking to their regular diet.

Tea for Osteoporosis Researchers have performed studies with postmenopausal women having low bone mass to determine if adding green tea flavanols will help improve bone health markers as well as muscle strength. At the end of the six-month study the researchers discovered that 500 mg green tea extract (equal to 4-6 servings of green tea every day) improved markers for the formation of bone, reduced inflammation markers and also increased muscle strength.

Tea for Mental Sharpness Drinking black tea improves attention as well as alertness. In a study, individuals consuming tea had been more precise on an attention task as well as feeling more alert than individuals drinking a placebo. This study supports earlier research on the mental benefits of tea.

10 Amazing Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

From the website www.naturallivingideas.com

A long standing tradition of Japanese culture, Matcha Green Tea is the highest quality powdered green tea available. Made from the nutrient-rich young leaves picked from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants, Matcha Green Tea is steamed, stemmed, and de-vined before being stone-ground into very fine powder. Matcha Green Tea powder is then stored away from light and oxygen in order to preserve its brilliant green color and antioxidant properties. This miracle elixir has been consumed for over a millennium in the Far East, and is now considered to be one of the most powerful super foods on the market today.

Here we give you ten great reasons to enjoy a cup of Matcha Green Tea as part of your daily routine.

1. High in Antioxidants

We’ve all read this word before. Antioxidants are the magical nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger-looking skin, and preventing a number of life-threatening maladies. Antioxidants are something that all health-conscious individuals seek from such foods as raw fruits, green veggies, and (let’s not forget) dark chocolate. The first amazing benefit of Matcha Green Tea is that just one bowl provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food – the highest rated by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) method.

Furthermore, on that note…

2. Loaded with Catechin, EGCg

You may have already heard that not all antioxidants are created equal. Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha Green Tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha Green Tea contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.

3. Enhances Calm

For over a millennium, Matcha Green Tea has been used by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks as a means to relax and meditate while remaining alert. Now we know that this higher state of consciousness is due to the amino acid L-Theanine contained in the leaves used to make Matcha. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers.”

4. Boosts Memory and Concentration

Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something that can benefit everyone!

5. Increases Energy Levels and Endurance

Samurai, the noble warriors of medieval and early-modern Japan, drank Matcha Green Tea before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, the energy boost received from Matcha is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. The increased endurance from a bowl of Matcha Green Tea can last up to 6 hours and because of the effects of L-Theanine, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side-effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.

6. Burns Calories

Drinking Matcha Green Tea has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average. Again, unlike many diet aides currently on the market, Matcha causes no negative side-effects such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure.

7. Detoxifies the Body

During the last three weeks before tea leaves are harvested to be made into Matcha, Camellia sinensis are covered to deprive them of sunlight. This causes a tremendous increase in chlorophyll production in the new growth of these plants. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll in Matcha Green Tea not only give this tea its beautiful vibrant green color. Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

8. Fortifies the Immune System

The catechins in Matcha Green Tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties which promote overall health. Additionally, just one bowl of Matcha Green Tea provides substantial quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A & C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium. Further studies have even suggested that the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.

9. Improves Cholesterol

Researchers aren’t entirely certain how Matcha Green Tea has such a positive effect on cholesterol, however studies of different populations have show that people who drink Match Green Tea on a regular basis have lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while at the same time displaying higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Men who drink Matcha Green Tea are about 11% less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink Matcha.

Finally, the tenth and final benefit of drinking Matcha Green Tea…

10. Amazing Flavor

Drinking something just because it’s healthy can be a lot like swallowing medicine. It’s unpleasant and you dread it, but you feel obligated to do it. After all, it’s good for you… right? Sure, but wouldn’t you rather look forward to improving your overall well-being? Of course you would!

Fortunately, unlike a lot of other teas which require sugar, milk, or lemon to make them palatable to the average consumer, Matcha is absolutely wonderful all by itself. It’s crisp vegetative notes are complimented by the savory taste of the L-Theanine amino acid making Matcha a tea that is truly unique in every way. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious bowl of hot Matcha.

America & Canada Now Have Levels of Tea Consumption that Rival Britain, China & India

Written by E.W. @theeconomist

A STAND at the entrance of a Teavana tea store heralds the arrival of Monkey Picked Oolong Tea. “According to legend, Buddhist monks trained monkeys to harvest the youngest leaves from the tops of wild tea trees,” the placard explains. Behind the checkout counter, the line-up of tins on Teavana’s “Wall of Tea” (pictured) reads like a hymn to exoticism: Maharaja Chai, Imperial Acai Blueberry, Sweet Asian Pear, Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos. In recent years the specialty tea industry in North America has exploded. DavidsTea, a Canadian retailer founded in 2008, now has 130 stores across North America. Earlier this year Capital Teas, a regional chain based in Annapolis, Maryland, received a $5m investment to double the number of its store locations.  And Starbucks, which acquired Teavana in 2012 for $620m, operates 366 Teavana outlets and plans to open 1,000 more within the next five years.

America and its northern neighbour now boast levels of tea consumption usually associated with the tea-drinking cultures of Britain, China, and India. According to Packaged Facts, a consumer-goods research firm, tea sales have risen by 32% since 2007. Tazo, also owned by Starbucks, remains the largest specialty tea brand in America, but other big chains—not to mention countless independent tea boutiques, lounges and startups—are also capitalising on tea’s new-found popularity. World Tea News forecasts the emergence of 8,000 tea-specific retail outlets in America by 2018 (in 2003 there were only 1,000). George Jage, founder of World Tea Expo, which held its 12th annual trade show in May, expects tea sales in America to surpass those of coffee by 2017.

 

Much of the growth in sales is expected to come from coffee retailers that are willing to expand their offerings to meet changing consumer demands. Tea is conspicuously marketed as the healthier alternative to coffee. Laden with antioxidants and containing 80% less caffeine, it promises to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, neurological decline—and even certain cancers. Some blends are used treat insomnia. Others, like Capital Teas’ Slimming Oolong Organic Tea and Detox Tea, are said to improve metabolism to “cleanse body and mind”.

The growth of the specialty tea industry goes hand-in-hand with the emergence of a class of consumers who are health conscious and interested in Eastern culture. Until 2013 Tazo’s tea boxes were labeled “Blessed by a certified tea shaman” and they continue to use new-age-style product labeling. Meanwhile, Teavana insists on balance, the importance of “a life well lived,” and the need to “step back from the frantic pace of the modern world.” Tea-drinking draws on a discourse of purification and renewal that complements popular spiritual practices like yoga and meditation. The Tea Gallerie in San Diego holds “Reiki-energy” healing workshops and regularly transforms its tea lounge into a yoga studio.

This is not to say that tea culture is somehow anti-modern. In fact, a new industry of hi-tech tea-brewing machines has sprung up to accommodate tea’s growing popularity. But tea drinking represents a different approach: if coffee is the elixir of efficiency and overstimulation, tea energises by pressing the pause button. It encourages reflection and reprieve. Partnering with Teavana, Oprah invites you to “Steep Your Soul.” There is an intimation of luxury well deserved—but a luxury that almost everyone can afford.

At the same time, brands are encouraging consumers to become connoisseurs of fine teas, just as they are of fine wines or coffees. Specialty teas are marketed as complex beverages steeped in history and ritual. Tea bars and restaurants offer tea ceremonies. Retailers sell accessories such as bamboo tea tools, cast-iron teapots, and tea-making sets that adhere to 12th-century Japanese tea-making practices. High-end teas like the Super Butterfly Wuyi Oolong sell out, even at a price of $220 for eight ounces (227 grammes). There is a pervasive belief that tea requires understanding and appreciation. Capital Teas proclaims its mission to “educate people… one cup at a time,” and Teavana offers books like “Culinary Teas” and “The Way of the Buddha.” Tea isn’t just a drink, in other words; it is an experience—one well suited to the modern culture of customisation. A manager at DavidsTea says that the retailer aspires to being far more than the Starbucks of tea. “I’ll give people a cup of tea and make their day.”