Green Tea & Sleep Apnea

by Elena Popec 22. June 2010 07:41

Sleep apnea is a form of sleep disorder that impedes the breathing process during sleep, and if you have it, you know it’s absolutely no fun. It can cause your breathing to pause or even to stop during sleep. It can be dangerous, and lead to a variety of other risky health problems.

Problems associated with sleep apnea

It may lead to problems with cognitive abilities such as learning and memory skills, as well as impede other cognitive abilities. Sleep apnea can also mean that you don’t get as much sleep as you should, and the sleep you do get is not restful and does not help restore and refresh your body.

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital
   
A good night’s sleep is actually extremely important for your body. It restores the body to prepare it for a new day, and refreshes the cells. Not getting a good night’s sleep is a tremendous problem, as sleep serves an incredibly important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Lack of good, restful sleep can interfere with your daily functioning and impede on your life.

Other effects of sleep apnea
   
Sleep apnea, otherwise known as obstructive sleep apnea, is a condition that deprives your body of oxygen while you are asleep. A person who suffers from this condition may experience pauses in breathing while asleep, and their breathing may even stop. This can lead to a drop in oxygen levels, and if oxygen doesn’t get everywhere that it’s supposed to, this can have a negative impact on organs in the body. Breathing is tremendously important, and during sleep it is especially dangerous not to get enough oxygen into your body.
   
This condition also increases the risk for other health problems such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes. It’s definitely a condition that is necessary to prevent, and green tea may be an aid in sleep improvement.

Green tea can help
   
Green tea is packed with antioxidants which may help improve memory and other cognitive functions. It also contains polyphenols which counteract oxidative stress that occurs in the brain. Damage to cells caused by free radicals, a type of harmful molecule, causes oxidative stress. This in turn causes other types of complications and illnesses. It can also affect memory and learning skills.
   
Fortunately, the polyphenols that occur in green tea work to counteract oxidative stress. They are found in abundance in loose leaf green tea and also in various fruits and vegetables. Loose leaf tea is also the best way to get all the nutrients from the tea. It is more natural, healthy, and hasn’t been processed to the point of beating out all the nutritional value. Loose leaf green tea is also much more flavorful, and far superior.
   
Tea bags have pounded and processed the leaves, leaving you with a bag full of tea dust that is, while not entirely void of, lacking in many nutrients found in loose leaf tea. Organic tea is even better for you, as tea that is not organic may have traces of harmful chemicals. When you drink tea, you want to be drinking the tea that is going to actually give you the health benefits that you need to improve your sleep.

Top 10 Reasons to Drink Loose Leaf Green Tea

by Elena Popec 14. June 2010 13:57

Is there even an argument of loose leaf over using tea bags? Loose leaf tea has been left in its natural state and the brewing of it brings out the flavor of the tea. It’s not really a contest over flavorless tea bags.

The Benefits

And green tea is delicious; it has a sweet, natural flavor. It can be paired with certain fruits or sometimes spices or nuts to complement its flavor. Beyond being completely delicious, green tea is a healthy choice.

Energy Boost

Green tea has just enough caffeine to give you energy, but doesn’t lead to the crash effect that coffee or espresso can give. The way caffeine is released from tea is in such a way that regulates how the caffeine is released, due to a compound that exists in the tea itself.

Stress Relief

Green tea also reduces stress. There are compounds that occur naturally in tea leaves that have a calming effect, which decreases the stress response in your body. Try brewing some green tea when you’re worried or stressed.

Weight Loss


Research has also shown that tea may help speed up the metabolism. This would help people who are trying to lose weight. Newer studies have found catechins in tea which help reduce fat in the abdomen. Catechins are found in weight loss supplements, but why take those when you can drink brewed, naturally occurring tea leaves?

Healthy Teeth

This tea has also been proven to fight off cavities. It reduces gingivitis and it reduces the bacteria in the mouth. The tea leaf has fluoride which occurs naturally, and is a substance that helps build up strength and health in teeth. Green tea also destroys the bacterium that causes strep throat.

Antioxidants

Green tea helps ward off many viruses and sicknesses. It has the most antioxidants among the four types of teas, and also has naturally occurring polyphenols, catechins, and many other naturally occurring compounds which increase immunity in the body.

Anti-inflammatory

It also helps reduce inflammation. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties which are natural. It’s a better choice than taking even over the counter chemical compounds.

Lowers Cholesterol

Another benefit of green tea is that it can reduce cholesterol. Studies have shown that consuming green tea regularly can reduce levels of the “bad cholesterol” while increasing “good” cholesterol.

Helps Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

And green tea also helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia. Research shows that green tea can help improve memory related learning and have also been shown to help reverse mental deterioration.

Fights Cancer

Green tea may also protect against cancer, and it possibly kills off existing cancer as well. Research has shown that drinking between four and eight cups of green tea every day can really help when fighting off these diseases.

It’s Magic

Beyond all this, remember that green tea is also delicious. The most benefit of course comes from high quality loose leaf tea. These have less caffeine and more antioxidants. It doesn’t even seem like that difficult of a choice. The loose leaves can be brewed again to make three to six cups of tea. It’s affordable, delicious, and helps with everything from maintaining healthy weight and teeth to fighting off infections, preventing cancer, and even reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea truly seems like a magical elixir.

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.

Loose Leaf Black Tea Benefits

by Elena Popec 27. May 2010 07:20

The beneficial qualities that tea brings to both mind and body have long been recognized by the vast majority of people around the world. However it’s always the green leaf variety that takes the plaudits with other varieties playing second fiddle at best, and often times ignored. We are constantly bombarded through the media and treated to information overload to the extraordinary attributes of the green tea variety. It is certainly then no surprise that it is to green tea that one’s thoughts first turn while looking for a healthy drink to refresh. Whilst it is certainly true that green tea does come packed with an incredible health-giving pedigree, the black tea variety, or ‘crimson’ as it is known in Chinese and languages influenced by Chinese, should most certainly not be ignored.

What's the Difference?

Black tea has as much to offer as the green leaf variety to those that choose to give it a try. A fact of which many people are not aware is that both black and green tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The larger leaves from the Assamese plant are used for the black variety, with the smaller leaves from the Chinese plants being used for green and also white tea too. Whilst much has been said of the health giving qualities of green tea, those benefits can be said to be present in black tea also as they are essentially derived from the same source. This is despite its more intense processing and consequently lower levels of antioxidant. There also tends to be more caffeine in black tea and hence black tea can be considered more stimulating.

It is often of a better flavor too as green tea tends to lose its flavor after a year or so, whilst black leaf tea can retain the flavor for many years more. It is due to this attribute of black tea that it has long been used a commodity for trading, and black tea bricks were even used as a form of currency in the 19th century in countries such as Mongolia, Tibet and Siberia. TF-2 is a compound present in black tea. It is an antioxidant and as such is very helpful to the human body in the fight against cancer, diseases of the heart and other inflammatory ailments.

Black Tea Research

Studies carried out in Europe spanning a decade have shown that drinking in excess of 2 cups of black leaf tea a day can cut in half the incidence of heart problems in males. The best method by far with which to imbibe tea is in its loose form, and in the authors opinion the bagged variety should be kept firmly on the shelf. It’s not just a great flavor from which you will benefit with black tea but also the extraordinary health-giving benefits that it will bring to your body. And there are of course many brands from which to choose with varied tastes and flavors. All without exception compete admirably with their green leaf counterparts in health properties and arguably make a more enjoyable and flavorsome drink.

Vitamins and Minerals In Tea

by Elena Popec 17. May 2010 07:31

Due to the variety of minerals, vitamins and other elements contained in tea, this drink improves health, relieves fatigue, strengthens the immune system and has an overall tonic effect on the body.

Mineral substances contain in green tea leaf and in finished products, it constitutes about 5-6% of dry matter. Among them are the following: potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, fluoride and others. With the aging of the plant total number of minerals increases, while the most valuable part of the soluble reduces. Only the components of relatively small molecular weights which are infused with hot water give a specific accent to the tea infusion. Between the quality of tea and the content therein of soluble mineral substances there is a direct link.

The potassium content in the tea leaf is 50-60% of all mineral substances and depends on the mineral nutrition of plants. This compound plays a very important role in the livelihood of tea tree; it is given a great importance in the synthesis of carbohydrates and proteins, and in the general metabolism. Potassium is very important to the human body; it prevents muscle cramps and regulates fluid and electrolyte balance.

Another important mineral is located in the tea - phosphorus. Its content ranges from 15-20% of weight of all mineral substances in tea. The properties of the finished product depend on its quantity. The two top leaves and a bud have higher content of phosphorus compare to the lower coarse tea leaves and stems. It is known fact that phosphorus is needed for the human body for normal functioning, as part of the nervous, brain tissue and bones.

Despite the slight content, copper and iron play an important role in plant’s life. They are part of some physiologically important organic compounds, such as enzymes. Another, small in content, but necessary for redox processes, is manganese. Its share is approximately 1-4%. Due to the iron content, tea has a beneficial effect on the human blood, as well as a good means for the prevention of various vascular diseases. In addition, the body needs iron to transport oxygen.

The complex experiments revealed effects of the duration of brewing tea and the quantity of the tea leaves on the degree of content in the drinks of various trace elements. Adding citric acid increased the yield of all elements, except copper. In the end, it was found that  a tea drink satisfies the daily requirement of zinc, copper and manganese at 1, 2 and 50% respectively.

Now let us turn to vitamins contained in tea. This is mainly vitamins B complex and C. The tea shoot has the following B complex vitamins: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3, and B5 (PP), B6, B12 and P. Since these compounds are very stable, in the processing they are almost completely transformed into finished products. Content of vitamin B1 is small - an average of 0.3 - 10 mg per 1 kg of dry tea leaves. In the body this vitamin (B1) regulates metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, has versatile affect on the function of the cardiovascular, endocrine and central nervous system. Vitamin B2 has positive effect on the skin and mucous membranes, the health of the liver. The most important is the presence in tea of vitamin P. One of its most important properties is the strengthening of the capillaries of the plant. During the technological processing of raw material quality and quantity of the vitamin are undergoing significant changes. Its content is reduced from 20-25% in green tea to 8-15% in the final. Along with others, the tea contains vitamin PP that is important for normalizing the higher nervous activity, the functions of the digestive system. It also affects the cardiovascular system, in particular, expanding the small vessels.

Tea leaves are rich in Vitamin C. Gentle leaves contain approximately 2-3 times more of this vitamin than the coarse. In the process of refining its amount is sharply reduced, especially during the fermentation and drying. This vitamin is essential for strengthening the immunity of a person, it reduces the risk of infections, but also useful for the prevention of osteoporosis and periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontal tissue, i.e. tissue surrounding the tooth root). Tea fluoride also provides the beneficial effect on teeth. This element exists in tea leaf as anion. Fluoride anion produces various fluoride compounds and covers the surface of teeth to prevent bacterial attack. Just wanted to point out that tea is very useful for vision, because it contained β-carotene and other elements, strengthens blood vessels.

 

Iced Tea Time! How to Properly Brew Iced Tea

by Elena Popec 15. April 2010 21:50

ESP Emporium Iced Tea

According to “urban legend”, iced tea was discovered accidentally by an enterprising Englishman ­ Richard Blechynden who had come all the way from Calcutta, India to represent teas from the Far East at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.  Not meeting with much success in the stifling heat, Mr. Blechynden poured the tea over ice and met with a near instant success. However, the oldest printed recipes for iced tea were published in 1870. Russian tea with sugar and lemon slices was fashionable in the USA and served in hotels in 1860th under the name “tea a la Russe” both hot and cold.

 

America is unique in its tea consumption habits. In the United States over 85% of the tea is consumed as an iced beverage. Iced tea has gained wide spread popularity as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks being an attribute of a healthy life style. This refreshing drink is traditionally served sweetened or unsweetened with lemon slice over ice cubes in a tall glass. Black tea is the classic ingredient used to make iced tea.  With incredible offers on the market today for black and green teas, Rooibos, blended teas, ayurvedic, flavored, herbal and fruit teas, try to find your preferred beverage by experimenting with such a variety. For iced tea to have consistent strengths from start to finish, use ice cubes made from leftover tea.

 

Here are three ways for making perfect iced tea:

 

Hot Water Method

Boil water. Steep your favorite tea with double the amount of loose leaf. Strain prepared drink to remove the tea leaves. Sweeten with sugar or honey if desired. Pour the strained tea into a pitcher with ice cubes. Serve in a tall glasses filed with additional ice cubes, garnish with a lemon slice and a spring of fresh mint.

 

Cold Water Method

This method is the best to achieve a crystal clear drink result. Fill a large pitcher with cold water and loose leaf tea (8 teaspoons of tea per 4 cups of water), let it chill overnight. Strain the mixture to remove tea leaves. Sweeten with sugar syrup if desired. Serve and enjoy.

 

Sugar syrup: combine equal amounts of water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer until clear, about 7 minutes. Cool and store in refrigerator. You may add lemon zest to the mixture while boiling, proceed as directed, discard the zest and enjoy lemon sugar syrup with your favorite iced tea!

 

Sun Tea

“Sun tea” is tea brewed by being left to steep in the sunlight. In a glass jar, combine water and loose leaf tea (8 teaspoons of tea per 4 cups of water). Place the jar in a warm, sunny location for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture to remove tea leaves. Sweeten with sugar syrup if desired. Chill in refrigerator. Serve and enjoy!

 

There are also lots of different variations of iced tea.  Common modifications to the traditional recipe include adding fresh fruit, flavored syrups, cranberry or orange juice, sparkling water and even champagne to make a delicious tea drink. Bubble tea is very popular in Taiwan and worth to try on a hot summer day as an exotic desert. A strong black tea sweetened with condensed milk and served cold with large tapioca pearls. Great low calorie desert that quenches your thirst! The possibilities for making a unique and refreshing glass of iced tea are virtually countless. Experiment and enjoy your summer!

 

Tealicious!

by Wishpot 4. April 2010 21:36

ESP Emporium and Wishpot have teamed up to make your wish list dreams come true!

How do you Teacup?

We love tea and we know you do too! What do you drink your tea in? Maybe you have a favorite teacup, mug, tumbler, teapot or bucket? Share a picture of your favorite cup with us and be entered to win this Tea Sampler and this amazing MOM friendly (Hint: Mother’s Day is right around the corner) Strawberry Fields cup and Saucer Set and a Flavored Tea Sampler "Chocolate Infusion".

Win this as a gift for your Maid of Honor or your new Mother-in-Law!

 

domenique Collins

 
 

How do you enter?

Get an entry each time you show us how you teacup!
On Facebook and/or on Twitter share a picture of your fave cup, mug, tumbler or teapot!

on Twitter include #espemporium
on Facebook Post on EspEmporium’s wall

* Get an extra entry each time you help spread the word
include @espemporium and the contest link: bit.ly/espemporium

We look forward to seeing what our fellow tea aficionados drink their tea in and good luck!
Contest starts this Monday 4/5 and the draw takes place Friday 4/9.

The History Of Tea From India

by Steven Popec 9. March 2010 16:48

India Black Tea

Tea consumption in India has a long history, South Asians viewed tea as an herbal medicine rather than as a recreational beverage. Although commercially, tea is being cultivated in India is relatively recently - within the second half of the 19th century. However, in the foothills of the Himalayas in the north and north-eastern regions of country, tea trees grew before the arrival of the British. For centuries, tea has not been cultivated but only gathered from wild trees. There is a legend that British merchants transported a few tea bushes from China and planted them in the plains of India, by the time they occupied and colonized by Britain. From those few bushes, started a global cultivation of tea in India and Ceylon. It happened in the thirties of the 19th century when the British East India Company became concerned about the Chinese monopoly on tea that constituted most of its trade and supported the enormous consumption of tea in Great Britain. After the first successful experience in 1863, the British East India Company brought to India a large batch of germs and after 10 years of hard work, the tea plantations give the first crop. In 1870, over 90% of the tea consumed in Great Britain was still of Chinese origin but by 1900, this had dropped to 10%, largely replaced by tea grown in India and Ceylon. Success has created several companies, many of which still sell tea and are known throughout the world. India's success on the international market is mainly due to accommodating the special English taste for strong tea, adequate for chalky water.

High quality tea in India is growing on mountain slopes which are very steep (up to 70 degrees). Plantations are located on terraces which rings encircle the mountain slopes. These high quality grades of tea gather exclusively by women and only manually. The tea plucking process takes place usually at the break of dawn. Manufacturers are trying to make tea of the highest class, twisted leaf tea and no broken leaves.

There are two main areas of growth of Indian tea: Darjeeling and Assam. Important cultivation areas are, apart from Darjeeling and Assam:

Dooars - west of Assam, mainly production of CTC teas.

Nilgiri - South Indian tea district, fresh teas, similar to those of Sri Lanka

Sikkim - north east of Darjeeling, high-quality teas

Terrai - south of Darjeeling, similar to Darjeeling, somewhat more herb in taste.

India Tea Plantation

Today India is the second largest producer of quality black tea and the first one of the middle and low-grade "bulk" teas, CTC. A large portion of this "simple" tea stays in the country; locals are very fond of drinking tea (a modest 750 grams per person a year), it is quite different in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Although these countries are close neighbors, the locals hardly drink tea, and the entire Ceylon crop is exported.  A small proportion of green teas are produced in India as well and mainly for Japan that buys simpler varieties to add them to their own production.

Assam is a tea district in Northern India across the Brahmaputra. It is the largest connected tea growing region in the world. The plateau with highly arable rainforest soil contains a lot of humidity due to the prevailing monsoon winds. The local climatic conditions, especially rainfall, create a greenhouse effect which positively affects the quality of tea leaf. Tea plants are cultivated in tea gardens on large cultivatable land of up to 1,000 hectares. There are about 2,000 plantations in Assam. Assam tea is generally heavy and spicy, dark in the cup. It is the main component of the classical English and East Frisian blends which are prepared for water with high chalk contents and are usually drunk with milk and sugar. Since the appearance of the young tea traders on the international market, especially from Africa, Assam was largely driven out of this market by the cheaper tea varieties.
 
Harvesting Periods

Mid April to Late May: First Flush. These qualities are of rather little economic significance for the European or US market. These teas are mostly aromatically fresh, light and of rather tart character. For this reason they do not meet the traditional Assam features.

Early June/Mid August: Second Flush. The second flush, harvested in June/August, before the large monsoon rain starts, is highly demanded. Assam teas from the second plucking period are of greater relevance in terms of quality and the export business. These qualities are often very “colored” in tips, with a pouring that is mostly very dark and has a typical strong, full-spicy and malty character.
 
The oldest tea gardens in Assam were founded in 1832-33 by English trade agencies. In 1839, the first Assam tea appeared in a London action. The Assam region is bordered by China, Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh. Assam is one of the most beautiful places in the world and in all respects, is one of the best places for the cultivation of black tea.

Darjeeling is a region in the North-Eastern India, located at the southern slopes of the Himalaya Mountains. Darjeeling is the most famous tea region of India. Tea gardens are located at altitudes of up to 2,600 meters above sea level on an area of 20 thousand hectares and produce the most exquisite types in the world. Darjeeling borders with China and Bhutan. The special microclimate of the region is ideal for growing elite types of tea also called “champagne of tea”. Black Orthodox tea from Darjeeling (Indians pronounce the name with the accent on the second syllable) are considered one of the most delicate and fragrant teas in the world, competing with the best Chinese varieties and very often surpassing them. The unique taste of tea from Darjeeling is highly valued by tea lovers and experienced connoisseurs. The best tea grows in the coldest part of the terrain, at an altitude of 2,600 meters. The color of the infusion is deep burgundy with a green tint.
 
Harvesting Periods

March-May: First Flush is in March, as soon as the weather is good after the end of the vegetation break, the first soft leaves and buds of the first period are plucked. The characteristics of a good F.F. Darjeeling are a lively fresh, delightful flowery aroma and a honey color of the infusion. This tea is sold at auctions, and prices are several times higher than the subsequent charges from the same plantation.

May-June: In between crop – the qualified “trailer” of the first flush season does have a particular connection with the first touches of the second flush period. The leaves and the infusion are already turning darker and the diversity of the flavors varies from full-bodied to slightly aromatic. The In-between is often used as a profitable blend-quality. Due to the high demand, the prices are not as cheap.

June-July: Second Flush. The summer crop is the summit in a crop year. The tea leaves develop more aroma by the longer exposure to sun. The most important quality features of a classical S.F. tea are dark brown leafs with golden tips and the color of infusion is soft amber. Taste is full-bodied with a distinctive nutmeg note. The second collection is no less interesting and appreciated by connoisseurs, sometimes higher than the first crop.

October-November: Autumnal crop. After another period of rain in late summer and until the vegetation lull in November, fully aromatic but somewhat mild teas are plucked.

Nilgiri is one of the major tea regions of India, located in the south of the country, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. The tea gardens in Nilgiri are small compared to plantations in Assam. Tea in Nilgiri is cultivated on altitudes between 800-2,000 meters above the sea level. Tea plantations are surrounded by snow-covered mountains and luxuriant growing jungle. In 1840, the first tea seedlings had been planted, thanks to good climatic conditions, the seedlings became well acclimated and the basis for future plantations.
Nilgiri takes second place in India in volume of black tea production. Frequent monsoon rains, high average annual temperatures, allow the great cultivation of tea all year. Tea gathers unite in Nilgiri twice a year:  in spring (April-May) and second flush in autumn (September-December), the best being the spring collection. The Nilgiri tea is a main component of so-called English blend. The tea of these regions is full-bodied, with a bright infusion, mild taste and can be distinguished by a fresh citrus scent which is reminiscent of the Ceylon high-growns.

Black Tea

Most of the Indian tea is used for mixtures or blends. Different companies make a blend for a large consignment of tea, which is then packaged and sent to consumers. Naturally, the composition of blends from time to time changes, so there is a practice such as a sampling of tea. Similar to the in the selection of wine, tasting is needed prior to purchase of product in order to understand which tea is the best. There are companies (mostly British) that have their own tea testers in the tea factories located in India, whose main task is to monitor the quality and stability of tea taste, regardless of the crop. To do such, they select from several tea plantations and make trial blends, the best of them becomes a model for the party. There are four varieties of Indian tea that is sold unblended: Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri (also used in blends) and Sikkim. Sikkim Tea is a new variety introduced in late 1980, but has already won the position on the market of tea. This delicious and sweet tea is reminiscent to the taste of Darjeeling tea and Assamese tea aroma. One can say that it occupies an intermediate position between these two titans.

Black tea from India can be brewed in several ways. Brewing methods of tea depends on its type and grade. Chinese method: more loose leaf tea leaves and less time of brewing, English method: 1 tsp of tea leaves per 6oz cup and a long (3-5 minutes) brewing process, or Indian method: very strong tea infusion, hot milk and a lot of sugar. All three methods have their unique characteristics, and each way is good for its type of tea.  The Chinese way is suitable for any Indian tea, but best of all, it reveals aromas of delicate high grade tea varieties such as teas Darjeeling. The English method does not allow steeping the tea more than twice. If you prefer to drink tea, as it is loved in England, with milk or cream, then pour the cream into a cup prior to the tea slightly heated. Fine broken leaf grades are very popular in India, where English tradition of drinking tea with milk has spread in a transformed way. Brewing using the Indian style is a very intense brewing method. Tea leaves are steeped with hot milk, water and a lot of sugar. Then the infusion is poured from one tall glass into another to create the appearance of abundant foam. This very thick drink, with a nice color, can hardly be called tea; however, the Indians are very fond of it and consumed in large quantities. This method is also used to prepare a strong tea with milk and spices called Masala Chai. Some of the chai masala spice mixtures are still in current use are derived from Ayurvedic medical texts.

ESP Emporium
offers an amazing selection of black tea – the most popular drink in the world. Vast selection of high quality tea from India presents all the most magnificent types from Darjeeling and Assam, First and Second Flush, pure and blended. Worth to give it a try!

 

 

Exploring The Art Of Japanese Loose Leaf Green Tea

by Elena Popec 2. March 2010 12:54

Over the long centuries of isolation from the rest of the world, in Japan appeared amazing things: ikebana, bonsai, origami, sumo, kabuki, mange and much more. It is logical to assume that in respect of Japan, tea is not so simple either.

Green Tea

Green tea is very popular drink in the world today, but the Japanese consume tea in quite a peculiar way, starting with the production of special teas and ending with particular traditions of tea drinking. Japanese tea ceremonies (Sado or also known as Chanoyu) cannot be described in gastronomical terms. This is an art of contemplation and meditation, a way to achieve harmony with the world and cognize knowledge of the laws of the universe. Even leaving aside the complexity of a Japanese tea ceremony, we can tell you a lot about the kinds of traditional Japanese teas and its consumption.

The first thing that catches the eye, when studying the varieties of Japanese teas, is that they are all green and non-fermented. There are not that many types of Japanese traditional teas and they are all very unique. Their individual characteristics are not similar against each other, nor anything else in the world. The names of Japanese teas are fascinating: Matcha, Sencha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro, Hojicha, Bancha, Usucha, Kamairicha, Kabusecha, Tamaryokucha and Kukicha. Most of these products cannot be found on the shelves of tea shops outside of Japan. The most popular exception is Sencha and Bancha - the easiest tea to prepare with traditional green tea taste.

Sencha literally means “roasted tea”, a basic Japanese tea and the basis of which many other varieties of Japanese teas are developed. In fact, Sencha is a plain green tea that does not require special knowledge and skills to prepare. Most Japanese green teas are steamed at first to prevent oxidation, then rolled, shaped, dried and finally fired to preserve and add flavor. All lovers of green tea will admire its lightly grassy note. As any tea, Sencha could be a high quality and poor, we should not draw any conclusions about this tea when tasting Sencha of incomprehensible production. Good quality Sencha consists of a flat and long delicate tea leaves with distinctive fragrant of fresh green grass. Even high-graded Sencha contains a large amount of powder or tea dust. When brewed, Sencha gives a very bright infusion with a lively green color, traditionally served in transparent or white cups. The aroma and taste of Sencha are soft, both fresh and slightly sweet and velvety. Sencha tea infusion includes a large amounts of caffeine, vitamins C and B2. This tea invigorates the mind and body.

Preparing Sencha is a simple process, even thou the first attempt may fail, don’t be discouraged: warm teapot, put tea leaves in, cover with water remembering that water should not be boiling, and steep for a while ... However, it is impossible to give universal recommendations about the amount of dry tea leaves, water temperature and time of infusion, since the quality of tea and water are always different. Made with hard water tea is not as good because of its active substances that cannot dissolve fully. For green teas (all teas in general) there is a tip: the more delicate tea and softer water, the lower the water temperature should be and less time of infusion. Sencha tea leaves must not steep longer than 2-3 minutes. This means that the entire teapot tea should be poured into cups or into a separate container no later than in 3 minutes. If over steeped, the tea will be bitter, if under steeped the taste will be watery.  Sencha is the only Japanese tea that almost does not change the taste and aroma in the second and subsequent brewing. Other Japanese teas are inconceivable to brew a few times without losing the taste. The first of each new brewing is recommended to take one heaping tea spoon per 6oz serving of tea and infuse for 2 to 3 minutes. If the taste and aroma seem to be weak, hold the second brew a little longer, but next time increase the amount of tea. An indicator of properly brewed Sencha is bubbly foam. If not, that means that the water is too hot, cold, hard or the tea leaves are not the best quality.

Tea Gyokuro (also known as "precious dew" or "jade drops") is a higher grade expensive tea, which is cultivated in a special way. Gyokuro is different from Sencha because it grows under the shade for about two weeks prior to the harvesting period that aims to reduce amount of Catechin in leaves, therefore the bitterness in tea infusion. This fine tea is very rich in aromatic oils, vitamins, minerals, caffeine and other useful and pleasant elements. Splendid Gyokuro is also called "King of tea" and "Tea of genius" because it cheers up (raises) the spirit and stimulates the thinking. The taste and aroma of Gyokuro is similar to Sencha but with light almost imperceptible nuances. Color of dry tea leaves vary from bright green to golden-brown depending on the terrain and weather during the growth and harvest. Tea merchants will recommend a unique method of brewing for Gyokuro which differs from any other tea brewing techniques. Gyokuro tea leaves are typically steeped at low temperature 150 to 165 F for 1 to 2 minutes. Since the temperature of water is low, pre-heating the pot and cups in order to maintain the warmth of tea would be recommended as well. If the water used is too hot, it will destroy the magnificence of taste and aroma.

Matcha is a fine-powder with the consistency resembling talc green tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies and cooking. Matcha is the most difficult Japanese tea to prepare according to traditional techniques and requires specific skills. It was invented in China in the tenth century and was introduced to Japan only in the twelfth century. Being forgotten at home, powdered tea has become a cultural asset of Japan. Matcha is made from Tencha that has very similar cultivation process to Gyokuro. The process of covering tea bushes from direct sun light before harvesting enriches the tea leaves of amino acids and makes it sweeter. Gathered and processed tea lives with removed stems and veins undergo grinding procedure by millstones.  Matcha  is a premium quality and has a sweet taste with a deep flavor.

Matcha

During a Japanese tea ceremony, Matcha powder frothes up into a foam with bamboo whisk and a small amount of water. The advantage of this type of tea is the fact that all substances contained in tea leaves are delivered into the human body completely - in the form of an opaque beverage. Matcha is a concentrate of tea leafs. The taste of this tea is very fresh, but slightly bitter. Matcha can be combined with other types of tea adding freshness to taste and aroma. Lower quality grades of Matcha can be added to various dishes of rice, noodles and tempura to chocolate, ice-cream and traditional Japanese sweets.

Tamaryokucha is a high-quality Japanese green tea. To make it, tea leaves are steamed or fried. Tamaryokucha is rich in vitamins and contains little caffeine. This tea has a berry-like flavor with an almond aftertaste and citrus-grassy distinctive aroma.

Genmaicha is a combination of Sencha with roasted brown rice. This mixture gives a turbid light brown color of infusion and well pronounced rice flavor with hints of sunflower seeds and fish. Taste-wise, Genmaicha resembles soup, after the tea is drunk, you can eat the rice. This drink-dish is a great alternative to dinner or lunch for those who are on a diet. Japanese drink Genmaicha to subside the feeling of hunger without burdening the stomach. This tea contains a large amount of vitamin B1 and a small amount of caffeine.

Hojicha is a roasted tea that is set apart from other Japanese teas. This tea is made from Sencha which is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal at high temperature. Tea leaves of Hojicha tea ate brown and shiny with a dominating roasted flavor. Hojicha steeps by conventional infusion for less than a minute. Color of the infusions resembles weakly brewed black tea. Hojicha does not have subtle nuances of aroma and taste. This is a simple tea to quench the thirst or drink during the meal. Because of the process of roasting Hojicha, the amount of caffeine decreases, this tea can be served after the evening meal and/or before going to sleep.

Other Japanese green teas that are characterized as low quality Sencha are Bancha and Kukicha. These uncomplicated teas are made from big crude leaves, stems, stalks and twigs. These types of Japanese teas are collected at the end of the season and are considered as lower grade. Bancha and Kukicha are the simplest and cheapest of Japanese teas and are used for daily consumption of liquid for Macrobiotic Diet, the dietary regimen that is based primarily on grains and plants.  This macrobiotic way of eating is very popular in Japan. There are twenty two grades of Bancha. Kukicha can be added to juice for children’s consumption.

 

Green Tea & Black Tea can reduce the risk of a stroke

by Steven Popec 18. February 2010 23:51

Stroke - acute impairment of cerebral circulation, noticeably "rejuvenated" for the last decade. This medical emergency can be averted by having a few glasses of black or green tea a day. This statement was made by a group of American scientists from the University of California, studied nine researches on the subject. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223091806.htm

In recent years, every twelve months, around the world more than six million people are diagnosed with a stroke. In peacetime, stroke causes the death of every third adult person, which means that is more frequent cause of death than a car accidents. Thus, every two out of ten cases of stroke happen to people under the age of fifty. There are very few ways to reduce the risk of stroke. According to lead author of study Lenore Arab, a professor of medicine, by the time a stroke victim receives medical care, it’s nearly too late to impede the damage.  Another research found that 25 percent of people who had a stroke died within one year. 

American scientists have collected and conducted nine large-scale studies on the relationship between regular consumption of green and black tea, and the risk of stroke. It appears that tea may be the prevention from this disease. The survey covered nearly 195,000 individuals of different sex, age, social status, and so on.  This group of people in a certain period of time had 4,378 cases of stroke.


As the researchers found, people that regularly drink green or black tea two to three cups which is about three hundred milliliters of tea per day, the risk of stroke for them is reduced by 21%, compared to people who do not drink tea at all, or drink one cup a day or less.

The scientists suggest that the whole matter in the substances contained in tea, and plan soon to conduct a series of clinical trials to confirm the findings.

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