11. June 2010 07:34
The choices of flavors of teas can be overwhelming. There are literally thousands of different types and flavor pairings of teas. There are more types of teas in existence than a person could ever possibly try even in an entire lifetime. So, there are some things you should take into consideration when choosing a tea to taste.
There are four main types of tea: black, oolong, white, and green. Among these there are many varied flavors, but most teas fall under one of these varieties. Another thing to consider is the quality of the tea. Tea that has been processed by hand has the best flavor, much better flavor than teas that have been processed by other means. The quality of the flavor is another thing to take into consideration. Natural flavorings are always the best choice.
Among the different types of teas, it’s important to know the main differences to begin trying out which ones you might like. Black tea is the most consumed worldwide but it has a strong flavor and the highest level of caffeine. It can handle strong flavors such as chocolate and strong fruits.
Green tea tastes sweet but has a very natural almost plant-like flavor. Most fruit flavors work well with green tea, as do herbs and spices. There are some flavors that could overpower the tea, however.
White tea has a sweet flavor and aroma but its flavor can be overpowered by others very easily. Certain flower or fruit flavors do enhance the tea quite well. Melon and jasmine are examples which enhance the white tea flavor. Peaches, pears, and roses are also excellent to be paired with this type of tea.
Oolong tea has complex flavors, and it varies in flavor depending on how it is processed. It can range from being very similar to a black tea, to being very close to green tea. Peaches, apples, or oranges can be paired with this type of tea to enhance its flavor, but almonds or other types of nuts make good parings as well. Some spices and flowers can be paired with oolong tea as well.
The Health Benefits
There are many flavors of tea, but the health benefits of certain types of tea may alter your decision as well. Green tea and white tea have the most natural antioxidants of the other types of teas. When pairing these teas with healthy fruits full of antioxidants, you’ve brewed a drink exploding with health benefits. There are many fruits, spices, and nuts which have health benefits of their own that can be deliciously paired with white or green teas.
So How to Choose?
Learn what flavor teas you enjoy the most. Take some daring risks and try some flavor pairings you might not think would go well together. There are many different combinations of flavors of tea. Try out some different flavors and see which types of tea and which pairings you like the best. And by all means have some tea adventures and risk trying some bold new flavor pairings.
18. May 2010 23:51
Whether you’re an avid tea drinker with a cup board filled with exotic smells which fill the air each time you swing open the door, or you just enjoy the occasional cup of tea. It’s important that you understand the health benefits that certain teas can provide.
The big misconception is that tea often is viewed as just another beverage. However this is far from the truth, throughout the ages tea has been used as both a direct and preventative medicine.
Now we have study after study coming out all proclaiming a new health benefit of tea, but which tea’s are the healthiest? We will study the teas group by group so you understand the implications and benefits of all the different varieties.
White, Black, Green & Oolong - Camellia Sinensis
The first group of teas are clumped together because they are all found off of the same tree - Camellia Sinensis. The great thing about all these teas is that they are loaded with antioxidant polyphenols.
What do antioxidants do? Well, antioxidants basically help your body eliminate unwanted bacteria and chemicals which it cannot process on it’s own.
Some of the cited benefits of having enough antioxidants? Less heart attacks, lower cancer rates, longer living and the list goes on.
Keep in mind, that all these teas have an antioxidant count so high that they will match or beat most plants on the ORAC scale, a test which measures the antioxidant potential within plants and fruits.
Since they all come from the same tree, the only actual difference between these teas is when they are picked. To achieve the different colors, tastes and variants of tea. They are all harvested at different times throughout the year, but all with basically the same benefits.
Herbal Teas - Are They Any Good?
The first thing you’ve got to know about herbal teas is that most do NOT contain any health benefits. This is because they are usually an infusion of plants, berries and leaves put together to achieve a particular flavor or brew, but not provide health benefits.
Because most herbal teas substitute the Camellia plant with Tisane (a homogenous root to Africa) they do not contain antioxidants to the same extent. However other benefits such as relaxation have been cited. Further research is still required before we can completely discredit or confirm the health benefits of herbal teas.
Caffeinated Vs. Decaffeinated - The Choice?
A lot of people get antsy about the amount of caffeine they consume and worry about going over the limit. You can rest easy knowing the caffeine count in most teas is about half that you’d get from the same size cup of coffee.
However for those of you who prefer to drink decaf tea keep this in mind. So far it’s uncertain whether the de-caffeination process removes the beneficial antioxidants or keeps them untouched.
So our advice to you?
If you’re looking for tea with health benefits make sure that you pick a variety which originates from the Camellia plant.
Also to receive the full benefits brew your tea for 3-5 minutes allowing the water to absorb up the plant matter, antioxidants and taste.
It’s important you brew your tea properly otherwise you won’t receive the health benefits. Ideally you should be drinking anywhere from 3-6 cups spread out throughout your day.
Always remember to know what you’re drinking but most importantly enjoy what you’re drinking. Enjoy your tea and take care!