Four Main Varieties of Loose Tea

by Elena Popec 10. June 2010 10:11

There are thousands of varieties of tea throughout the world, and even among these the tea can be processed in a unique and different way. India’s Assam region harvests the most tea, and second in total world production is Sri Lanka. Among the varieties of tea are oolongs, assam, darjeeling, silver needle, wuyi, gyokuro, sencha, dragon well, white peony, and ceylon. There are thousands of types of teas, and the choices can be overwhelming. Most of these different types fall under four main types. These four main ones are ones which you are probably familiar with if you are a regular tea drinker: green, black, oolong, and white teas.

Do the Different Types of Teas Come from Different Plants?
   
There is only one type of plant that tea comes from, which may surprise someone who is new to the world of tea. All tea comes from the Camellia sinesis plant. There are some teas, called tisanes, which don’t come from Camellia sinesis. These include chamomile and herbal teas. But a newcomer might wonder how the single plant produces so many different types of teas.

If Teas All Come from the Same Plant, What Makes Them Different?
   
Anything can change the outcome of a tea. And there is a lot that affects the Camellia sinesis plant. Changes in the weather or different altitudes can impact how a tea turns out. Different parts of the world have different climates and different compounds of soil. These account for very varied types of teas that exist in the world today. A look at the four main types of tea:

Green Tea
   
Green tea is pretty well known these days and it offers many health benefits. It’s harvested in the spring, and after harvesting the oxidation process is stopped. Green tea is fermented a little longer. Some types are grown in the shade, and some are grown in sunshine. It’s a common variety of tea and can be found in most grocery stores, but there are certain types of this tea which are incredibly expensive. Some types of green tea can cost hundreds for a few ounces.

Black Tea
   
Black tea is oxidized more than the other three types of teas. The leaves are left to dry until they turn dark. It is also known to have health benefits as the other types. Black tea has much more caffeine than the other types of tea, and is consumed more world wide than the other types of tea.

Oolong Tea
   
Oolong, also called wu long, has a longer oxidation process, like black tea. Oolong tea varies in taste, but can have a woody or flowery flavor. Oolong is similar to green and black teas, and is a cross between the two.

White Tea
   
White tea is harvested in the spring, like green tea. It’s sweet in taste and has a delicious aroma. It is the least fermented type of tea and goes through a very simple process. It’s simply left out to be dried by the sun or in a room with specially controlled climate. It has health benefits that include its ability to fight cancer and fight off organisms that cause disease.

Black Tea May Lower Blood Sugar

by Steven Popec 9. June 2010 07:17

Many teas have health benefits, and black tea has many such benefits. This tea, which has been used for thousands of years in China, has many positive effects on the body, including lowering blood sugar.

Black Tea and Diabetes
   
Black tea is known to improve the health of the heart and to improve the immune system. Recent research also indicates that black tea can lower blood sugar. This would help people who suffer from diabetes. Research studies have found a substance in black tea that works in the same way that prescription medication which is used to control blood sugar levels work. These medications are used in patients with type 2 diabetes, and a substance that works in the same way is in black tea. This naturally occurring substance is found in higher levels in this type of tea than in others such as green tea.

How Does it Work?
   
The polysaccharides found in black tea help to inhibit an enzyme which changes starches to sugars. This decreases blood sugar levels, and this is the same process the prescription drugs use. Polysaccharides help to stop the absorption of sugar, and research has pointed out in the past that this might help people who have diabetes. Black tea also is shown to possibly help prevent cancer and other diseases.

So Can You Drink Black Tea in Place of an Oral Diabetic Medication?
   
No. Talk to your doctor before ever making a change in your treatment. These studies are not clear whether drinking the tea would be enough for treating diabetes. The study extracted the polysaccharides from the teas using chemical methods, which is not the way you brew tea at home.

Why is the Tea Black?
   
Traditional teas actually come from the same plant. The difference in color is due to the amount of processing. The black interacted with oxygen until the leaves darkened, in a process called oxidation. The process of the black variety only involves the tea leaves and oxygen. There’s no yeast or fermenting involved in this tea making process.

Black Tea has a Higher Level of Caffeine

   
This method does, however, leave much higher caffeine content in the tea. Black tea has a much higher level compared to other teas, including green and white teas. A cup of black tea has just about 50% less milligrams of caffeine in it than coffee has. A cup of black tea is used in many parts of the world instead of coffee in the mornings.

Where Can I Buy Black Tea?
   
Black teas are available at most grocery stores. Organic brands are becoming more readily available in stores, or they can be purchased online or at local health food stores. It may be available as a single tea packet, or in a blend. There are many different brands, and the choices can be a little overwhelming. Try a few different brands and types. Find the flavor you most enjoy. Brew the leaves in a pot-bellied teapot for the most delectable experience of the drink.
   
And drink up the deliciousness, and know that’s good for you too! The benefits of this drink are many, and it perhaps could lead, with more research and study, to another breakthrough for helping to lower blood sugar.

How Do They Make Decaf Tea, Anyway?

by Elena Popec 8. June 2010 11:22

Decaffeinated, which is also commonly referred to as decaf tea, is tea which has undergone a decaffeination process of one sort or another that has removed most of its caffeine. There are many different processes of decaffeinating tea. There are processes that are dangerous and have been made illegal, and ones that are completely safe without any health risks. The different processes in use have an impact on the tea, and can affect its flavor. There is also a process today that still uses a possible carcinogen, so it’s important to learn about the processes of decaffeination which are used on the tea you are buying.

Different decaffeination processes used on tea

Carbon Dioxide
   
Carbon dioxide or CO2 decaffeination is completely safe, and it’s extremely effective at removing caffeine. It’s also excellent at preserving the flavor. It’s the safest process that maintains most of the flavor. It uses highly compressed CO2 in gas form, which becomes a fluid under pressure. The only negative to this process is the cost; it’s expensive.

Ethyl Acetate
   
Ethyl acetate is a compound that occurs naturally. It is found in fruits and it does occur in tea leaves, though in very small amounts. This process is completely safe, but removes a little more of the flavor compared to other processes. However, the ethyl acetate process is inexpensive.

Methylene Chloride / Dichloromethane
   
Methylene chloride, or dichloromethane, is possibly carcinogenic and it is toxic in large concentrations. It is an effective process and does preserve the flavors, but it’s risky. This decaffeination process is legal in the United States and is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. The low concentration left in decaf tea probably does not pose a large health risk, but there have been analyses of teas in the past which have had levels above the legal limit. It’s difficult to find out which teas come from companies which use this process, as they generally do not make it known due to the negative perception about this process.

Benzene

   
Benzene is a process that has been banned and has not been used for a long time. It is a dangerous carcinogenic chemical that can lead to many health problems and is not safe to be used in a decaffeination process.

Trichloroethylene

This is another chemical that has fortunately been banned and has been ceased to be used. It is unsafe for decaffeination, and was banned due to studies showing that it causes liver tumors in mice.

In Summary:
   
Carbon dioxide decaffeination is the most preferred method. It’s safe and preserves the flavor, though it’s a little more expensive. Ethyl acetate is safe, but doesn’t preserve as much of the flavor. But its decaffeination process is less expensive. Methylene chloride is legal, though it is a little more risky to use. This decaffeination process is regulated by the FDA. Other processes which were used in the past are trichloroethylene and benzene, which have been banned due to the health risks, and are no longer used.

Organic Tea: A Better Choice by Far

by Elena Popec 7. June 2010 10:43

Organic tea is a healthy, delicious choice and has been becoming more and more popular in recent years. The demand for organic products has led to these types of teas being available from mainstream tea companies and in most supermarket chains. It’s easier than ever to buy organic tea.

Why is Buying Organic Tea Important?
   
Avoiding toxic chemicals is one of the main benefits of buying organic tea, and of course there is also the benefit of helping to protect the environment.

Toxic Chemicals:
   
Non-organic teas may have traces of harmful, toxic chemicals due to the use of pesticides in the production. Much of the tea available in stores comes from China and India, where the environmental regulations are not as stringent as those in the United States or countries in Europe. The toxic chemicals in pesticides can be dangerous to ingest and be a risk to the health of people drinking the tea. There are many benefits to drinking tea, such as properties that may help prevent cancer, but this is outweighed by the toxic effects of the chemicals used in the production. Some of these chemicals are known to have carcinogenic effects and toxins.
   
The consumption of teas that have used these chemicals in their production can cause health problems for people who drink it. It’s dangerous as well for people who live near the area of production as the areas may have become contaminated by the toxins. By buying tea that has been produced by such methods contributes to the environmental contamination and to the health problems the people in the area suffer from.

Nutrient Pollution from Fertilizer:
   
Beyond the toxins that are in the pesticides used for production, there is damage to the environment itself. The overuse of fertilizer can destroy the environment. Tea needs fertilizer to grow because as the tea leaves are harvested the organic matter is taken away. Overusing fertilizers can acidify soils and add nitrogen to runoff. This is incredibly destructive, as these damages entire ecosystems in rivers and streams and even in bays near the region or area that grows the tea. The effects of this are devastating and can destroy or damage the fishing industry as well.
   
Using organic fertilizer helps, but doesn’t completely eradicate this problem.

What does Organic Certification Mean?

   
Organic certification has certain requirements that the tea is produced without the use of synthetic chemicals. This generally includes pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. The organic cortication does vary depending on the organization that determines the certification, or on the product that is being certified. The certification also prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms. It also requires a certain number of years that the land has had to have been maintained free of synthetic chemicals. The organic certification also requires records to be kept to make certain that organic materials are kept separate from non-organic materials.
   
In the United States, the USDA is the organization that determines organic certification. In other countries there are a number of other agencies that certify products as organic.

Organic Agriculture is not Perfect:
   
Of course organic agriculture is not the end-all solution to all environmental problems, but it is a step in a positive direction. There are flaws with the process of course. Some products are falsely marked as organic by some companies so that they can sell them at a higher price. It’s important to check the certification of the teas, to make certain that they do have the proper organic certification. But even when the product has been certified, organic agriculture itself is not without flaws. It can still have some damaging impacts on the environment. And the certification process doesn’t address other problems. There is a need for fair wages for workers, which is not addressed by the organic certification.

Is Organic Tea More Expensive?
   
It depends. Sometimes it is, but the prices of teas vary. Many organic tea prices are comparable to non-organic tea prices; they may be about the same or even a little less expensive. Organic tea is healthier and better for the environment and is becoming more readily available. It seems like common sense to buy organic. As buying organic becomes more and more common, and then the focus can be addressed to more environmental concerns and public issues. We can begin restoring the earth’s ecosystems, keep toxic chemicals out of our environment, and help people by addressing the needs for fair wages for workers.

Drink Herbal Tea: It's Good for You!

by Steven Popec 4. June 2010 07:10

There are so many types of herbal teas available to help you in so many ways. Drink them regularly and you'll find yourself better than you've been in a long time. They have the power to affect your healing from various conditions from which you may suffer. They will also assist in recovering from the stress we're all prone to these days, and in detoxifying from the poisons our bodies carry from these stresses, from poor lifestyle choices, and also from the environment. In terms of its detoxification properties, herbal tea is a real boon. It can go into the colon and help you pass the toxins that have gathered there.

What's Wrong with Us?

Many of us don't feel completely well but don't realize it or don't understand why. With our lack of exercise, stress that's common in our fast-paced world, and fast food/junk food diets, waste cannot be passed as it should and accumulates within the digestive track. That means you've got a bloated feeling and a bloated appearance. Bacteria grow where the waste accumulates so that you get sluggish and sick without knowing why. Added to that, the new food you take in can't be processed well, so any nutrients they could bring can't be absorbed and you're not getting their benefits. Herbal teas with cleansing capacities take care of this problem.

How do Herbal Teas Help?

There are lots of different teas that have this cleansing property, and you can ask at your local health food store for some more names. Senna, barberry, raspberry, and rhubarb are some of the commonly known teas that help with fostering your digestive well-being. Your colon's health improves immensely when you drink these or other cleansing herbal teas over time. The natural process of waste elimination begins to happen regularly again once you've begun drinking these teas.

They also support the strength of the muscles in this area of the body, which means that they are strong enough to contract as they should in order to push this stuck fecal waste, as well as future contributions, out of your body. Your body is meant to let go of food once their nutrients have been absorbed. If it doesn't, that food turns into poison in your body. So it's not like you're adding something foreign to your body. Rather, you're restoring it to the way it's meant to work in nature.

Herbal Tea Ideas

If you run out and can't get what you need at the moment and just want a simple tea solution, boil a piece of ginger root. Or you can drink green tea, which is readily available, or just boil water with some lemon until it's hot. Any of these will greatly benefit your digestive system and help you cleanse and feel lighter and healthier. Your elimination will become more regular and you'll be more positive and radiant without that sluggish feeling. It's unquestionably important that you watch what you eat when you're aiming for a healthy colon.

How it Affects Your Diet

Fast foods don't get digested properly and leave toxic plaque on the intestinal track. Fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, pass through this are as they're meant to do. After all, your body was made to process its food well. It's our contemporary lifestyle of fast food and junk food, combined with stressing out over small issues, and getting little sleep that contributes to our digestive woes. A good start is to buy some herbal teas that are good for cleansing and detoxification and use them regularly. Then your body can begin to get back to normal and you can have the advantages of the good food that you're going to start buying and consuming as part of your everyday diet.

So What's Really in Green Tea?

by Steven Popec 3. June 2010 06:53

Green tea has a reputation for having tremendous positive effects on your health but what are the reasons behind it? This article will help explain the reasons. What are the compounds included in green tea that makes it so good for you? Below is a list of what the most significant ingredients are, and how they benefit your health:

Polyphenols - a powerful-acting antioxidant, which is naturally occurring and most responsible for the color, flavor, and taste in fruits, vegetables, seeds and types of plants. The benefits include lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and other types of diseases. The properties in polyphenol can be such that they serve as an anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic.

Catechins - a class of polyphenol, commonly in high doses in green tea. Benefits include anti-carcinogenic, lowering of cholesterol and LDL levels, prevention of high blood pressure, prevention of red blood cell clots, prevention of allergies, anti-biotic acting functionality, and improvement of digestion and elimination of body odor.

Flavonols - another class of polyphenol with anti-oxidant properties. Benefits include the trapping of free radicals and peroxides, and the prevention of destruction of body tissue. Works in conjunction with vitamin C, helping to strengthen the walls of blood vessels.

Glycosides - complex sugar. Prevents blood sugar increase.

Carotene - compound which is organic and found in most orange and yellow vegetables and fruits. Helps to make body produce vitamin A. Benefits include prevention of oxidation, improves immunity and has anti-carcinogenic properties.

Flouride - mineral which helps strengthen tooth enamel, thereby preventing tooth decay.

Caffeine - diuretic. Benefits include speeding of nervous system, prevention of asthma, increase in metabolism.

Vitamin C - vitamin which helps fight against infections and helps the immune system.

Vitamin E - vitamin which helps in prevention of breakdown of body tissues. Also helps with infertility and is anti-carcinogenic.

Vitamin B - vitamin which helps in metabolism, maintenance of healthy skin and muscle tone, enhancement of immune and nervous system, promotion of cell growth, and reduction of certain cancers.

Zinc - mineral which helps in prevention of skin inflammation and helps in maintenance of immunity level.

Selenium - mineral which helps in prevention of oxidation and heart muscle deterioration.

Magnesium - mineral which helps in prevention of oxidation, prevention of heart-related diseases, and maintenance of bodily nerves, muscles, and bones. Also helps in the synthesis of protein and cellular metabolism.

Flavored Tea: A Guide

by Elena Popec 2. June 2010 06:57

If you're new to the tea-drinking world, you'll want to have some fun experimenting with different flavors. However, at first you may feel overwhelmed. It helps to know something about how tea is grown and processed to start with. There are some similarities in the ways any tea is processed, and it's good when you're choosing a particular flavor to know what the process necessitates.

Tea Harvesting and Processing

First, the uppermost leaves of the plant are harvested and then they're left to wither for a day or so. There are chemicals inside these leaves that need to be released, so then the leaves are crushed. After that, the crushed leaves are rolled and left in the air to oxidize over a few hours. At the end, they're heated so that all dampness is removed. When the leaves have been completely oxidized, the result is black tea, which is probably the most commonly used in the world. Around seventy-five percent of people in the world regularly drink black tea.

Green tea, on the other hand, is heated before the leaves are rolled, so it is not oxidized and stays green. That green tea accounts for the other twenty-five percent of the tea that people drink. It's less common, but is becoming more popular as its health benefits are being realized and its taste is being appreciated. There's a vast array of tea flavors, so you'll probably want to focus on those within the category you prefer the most. If you like black, or green, or white teas, select from within that category to make it an easier choice.

A Question of Quality


Select loose tea that's been picked early in its growth to really get a great taste. You can go for cheaper teas, but you'll be glad if you don't stint on quality. It's always best to use teas that have been grown in gardens without chemicals and that have been processed manually over time without the aid of chemical additives that are meant to hurry the process along. Artificial flavors are also to be avoided as they take away from the tea's flavor, giving it a more harsh taste. If you like strong flavors, like licorice or blackberry, a black tea is your best bet. Its robust quality can withstand the addition of stronger flavors.

Flavors to Your Taste!

Coffee drinkers often take to black teas that are well flavored. Green and white teas are more delicate, so choose them if you enjoy more subtle flavors such as pear or mango. Green tea is so subtle and delicate that it really goes well with light fruits or herbs such as mint or ginger. That's especially true of white tea, also. It has an aura that you take in almost as if you're inhaling the sweetness of roses or strawberries as you drink. You can be sitting in your kitchen and feel as if you're lounging in a tropical garden. However, for total well-being, don't just opt for the flavors you like.

...But Remember to Try New Things Too!

Look into the health benefits of particular teas, also, and find those that help you deal with your own particular set of health issues. There are so many to choose from, and you can find out more online or at your local health food store. Green and white teas especially are filled with anti-oxidants that can prevent cancer and help lots of other physical issues you may have or want to prevent. If you haven't fully explored the world of flavored teas, this is the time to begin your adventure. Body and mind will be glad you did!

Green Tea Benefits

by Steven Popec 1. June 2010 07:07

When it comes to making healthy life choices, people don't usually consider the type of tea they drink. But one of the best life choices you can ever make in your life is to try and include a healthy affinity for natural herbal teas. Herbal teas can aren't just for the body's health, but also the mind, --tea is relaxing or stimulating, depending on your variety of choice. People who are especially looking for a natural way to detoxify their bodies will take a particularly strong interest in herbal teas, --such as potent loose leaf varieties of green or white tea, --because of the various minerals and vitamins herbal teas have. Green tea is probably the most beneficial to a person's health.

So What Kind of Benefits Exactly?

We'll briefly review how green tea aids your health with these properties; we'd stake good money that once you hear all this awesome TRUE stuff about green tea, you'll be fascinated. Maybe a little miffed too, that the medical profession has kept green tea such a big secret. . Antioxidants are probably the best things we can currently supply our bodies with. In the war between the healthy cells in your body, against free radicals bouncing around and causing trouble in your body, you might get sick, --or worse, get a serious disease. The polyphenols found in loose leaf tea become antioxidants in your body; they aid the healthy cells by taking out and controlling free radicals. Sort of like the ride of a cavalry.  Antioxidants protect the body from various diseases, even cancer, the big C.

Green Tea Prevents More than Cancer

Once your body acquires the strength to fight against the dreadful free radicals that claim penetration, then the accumulation of mutated cells which turn into harmful cancer can be checked. Green tea also prevents your body from becoming susceptible to other illnesses, like inflammatory bowel disease, Chiron’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.  These diseases can make your life Hell; causing trouble eating, thus reducing the level of nutrient intake and causing even more health problems, even malnutrition. Green tea prevents them all.

Green Tea Is Good for the Heart Too

It also significantly improves essential cardiovascular health, which our whole body depends on; --it might actually make a difference between life and death. Green tea keeps blood from being pumped through the more unhealthy blood vessels, and also prevents heart attack and stroke. Conclusively, we can all agree that green tea can play a vital role in your daily and lifetime health issues. Accompanied with a regular multivitamin, green tea works wonders. Deep analysis on whether green tea helps you will always lead to a positive answer of yes, in more ways than one!

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