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Tea 101

 

BLACK TEA



Black tea is a powerful source of anti-oxidants that can slow down the aging process and help prevent a wide variety of diseases.Medical research suggests that black tea can assist in lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar. Much lower in caffeine than coffee, black tea gently stimulates the heart and circulatory system. A cup of black tea steeped in boiled water for 5 minutes will contain between 27-35 mg. of caffeine—about the same amount as an equal serving of Coca-Cola. An equal size cup of coffee will contain about 80-100 mg. of caffeine. Recommended brewing instructions: Use one level tsp. per 6 0z. cup. Heat fresh water to a roaring boil, let steep for 3-4min.

GREEN TEA



Green teas are primarily produced in China, Japan & Taiwan. To stop the oxidation process Chinese teas are pan fired, while Japanese are steamed. After the firing stage, the leaves are shaped. Depending on the region, the leaves can be twisted, flattened or balled. Research has indicated that green tea is high in polyphenols and antioxidants which are believed to improve cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer. The recommended brewing time for green tea is 2-3 minutes at 170-190 degrees F.

OOLONG TEA



Oolong tea is the “champagne” of the tea family. Crafting quality oolong tea is an art form. Like the regional variance in fine wines, soil integrity, humidity levels, genus and artisanal skill all leave their imprint on the delicate leaf. Oolongs are grown in limited areas where the conditions are perfect, and great care is taken to ensure the health of the surrounding environment. The tea leaf is semi fermented which gives the tea a little bit more body than a green tea, but less body than a black tea. The leaves are plucked, wilted in the direct sun, then shaken in bamboo baskets to bruise the leaf edges. The bruising is what makes the edges oxidize faster than the center. After about 15-25 minutes, the tea is fired, locking in the special flavor. Oolongs teas are best enjoyed when the leaves are briefly infused with hot water, which is then poured off. The tea is then reinfused and tea is poured to the lucky guests after about 1 minute. The leaves may be reinfused several times, with each resulting infusion yielding different liquor from the proceeding cup.

ROOIBOS TEA



Rooibos tea is derived from a pine tree like bush found in the Cederberg district of South Africa. The word in Afrikaans means “red bush” and is grown commercially nowhere else on earth. Rooibos is packed full of nutrients, including iron, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese and sodium. To brew rooibos, bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tsp. for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste. Rooibos is generally consumed on its own, but milk and a dash of sugar may be added to taste.

TISANE



 Herbal “tea” is an incorrect term. Herbal beverages generally do not contain the leaf of the Camellia Sinensis plant and are therefore not tea at all. The proper terminology for an herbal beverage is “Tisane”. Because tisanes do not contain a tea leaf, they are naturally caffeine free. Tisane blends include herbs, fruit, flowers, and spices. Depending on the blend, tisanes can be rich in vitamins, aid in digestive ailments, and boost immunity. Tisanes are an ideal low calorie beverage.

WHITE TEA



 White tea is especially potent in that it has three times as many antioxidant polyphenols as green or black, and has been shown to be 100% more effective in mopping up free radicals that cause skin to sag. Some of the world’s top cosmetic companies are becoming very interested in white tea for skin creams and the result is that high grade white tea is becoming even more rare than before. White tea has been found to be more effective than green in inhibiting the early stages of cancer. When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly—about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180 degrees F. Place 1-2 tsp. of leaves in your cup and let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low, add more water, and so on until the tea flavor is exhausted. For one time use, add boiling water and steep for 3-5 minutes according to taste. Milk and sugar will mask the delicate characters of this tea and are not recommended.

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