24. September 2010 12:39
Oolong or Wu Long means "Black Dragon". Oolongs are half-fermented (or semi-oxidized) teas that are in the specialty tea family. Half-fermented because the processing of Oolong tea requires only a partial fermentation (oxidation) of the leaves. Oolongs occupy an intermediate position between non-fermented green teas and fully fermented black teas and are the most diverse and interesting loose leaf teas. Oolongs can have varying degrees of oxidation that ranges somewhere between 10-35% in classic Chinese Oolongs to 60-70% in classic Taiwanese (Formosa) Oolongs. Oolong specialty tea is often made from mature leaves, collected from older tea trees.
Processing Oolong is considered the art of tea, where the character of tea is created. Tea masters participate in Oolong tea processing competitions to demonstrate their professional skills at this fine art.
Let’s take a look at Oolong manufacturing process.
There are no standard recipes on how to manufacture oolong tea; it is up to the discretion of each tea garden or tea master to decide on processing and the level of oxidation.
Immediately after gathering, the tea leaves are spread in a thin layer on special bamboo mats under direct sunlight for withering that will let most of water evaporate. The withering process time varies depending on the ambient temperature.
The next step of processing is very peculiar, withered leaves are placed in a large bamboo basket and put in a shady area. Approximately every hour, the tea leaves are shacked and gently tumbled in order to bruise the edges of the leaves to start an oxidation, at the same time avoiding breaking or crushing them. This procedure has to be done several times, until following effect will be reached: bruised up edges of the leaves due to the fermentation become brown blush (like 'rusty'), while veins and parts of the leaves should remain green.
Once the desired level of fermentation is reached, the oxidation process should be stopped immediately. This is achieved through the heat drying phase of raw materials in scorching air called "panning". The pan roasting of the leaves requires extensive experience in Oolong tea processing.
Most Oolongs are dried in two stages: first is partially, primary drying and rolling of tea leaves, then a final finish drying. Some highly fermented Oolongs undergo an additional stage of wetting and softening.
The partially drying process is carried out manually. This stage is necessary to stop the fermentation. Partially drying can be done in 2-4 steps, when the raw material is taken out of the oven, quickly cooled, then rolled. Then again dried in the oven, rapidly cooled, then rolled again, and so on. Afterwards, the leaves go through a final drying phase, ending oxidation and often followed by baking (roasting). Several kinds of Oolong are not rolled just dried after panning. With such a "multistage" technology, taste and degree of fermentation of Oolongs differentiate. Although, manufacturing Oolong is very intensive and meticulous process, unique aroma and flavor profile of this specialty tea makes this tea worth the trouble.
Good quality Oolongs are only loose leaf teas, not tea bags!
The most widely known and actively exported Oolongs are Chinese (Fujian and Yunnan) and Taiwanese (Formosa). Among the most well-known are Formosa Oolongs. Grown and manufactured in Taiwan, named after the province in which grown, these teas are considered the best in quality and affordability among Oolong the loose leaf tea family. Taiwanese Oolongs are often called "Champagne of Teas". Typically Taiwanese Oolongs are specifically labeled that indicates the quality of tea:
1. Fanciest or Extra Fancy
3. Extra Choice or Extra Fine
5. Fully Superior
Chinese Oolongs are famous for the fact that are used in a Chinese traditional procedure named Gongfu Cha and withstand up to 7 steepings.
Brewing Oolong is a very delicate process because it strongly depends on the type of oolong, more precisely, the degree of its fermentation. A lightly fermented Oolong is closest to the brewing of green tea with 190-195 degrees water and the brewing time 1-3 minutes. More fermented Oolong (such as Formosa) is brewing a little longer 4-5 min in hotter water 203-212. After brewing a quality Oolong has pronounced specific characteristics that cannot be mixed with any other kinds of tea.
The best quality Oolongs expresses a strong and rich floral aroma and a remarkable peachy flavor with a honey-sweet aftertaste. Oolongs that closer in oxidation to black teas, have a nutty, toasted flavor. Color of brew is very diverse: from light yellow with green notes (like green tea) to a dark red. Oolong specialty teas contribute 2% of tea consumption of all the teas all over the world.
Enjoy a great cup of Oolong, happy drinking!
22. July 2010 12:06
Loose leaf tea is a delightful, delectable tea that is packed with health benefits for you. But protecting this tea, and keeping it fresh and delicious, involves storing it in a proper container. Heat, air, light, and moisture, are some elements that could potentially damage the tea or drain it of nutrients, so it’s important to keep the tea protected from these elements.
Loose leaf vs. tea bags
Sure, tea bags may seem to be convenient. But in the long run, they can be harmful to you. Tea bags are almost unrecognizable as tea anymore. The nutrients and antioxidants have been beaten out of it, resulting in little more than “tea dust.” The processing of these teas may also have left traces of harmful chemicals that will bring on inimical side effects. Loose leaf tea on the other hand is intact, with more antioxidants and nutrients, and more flavor. It is processed through simpler methods and allowed to retain its sweet, rich aromas and the taste is far superior to tea bags. When you brew loose leaf tea, the water has room to move around the leaves, which brings out the flavor.
Health benefits of loose leaf tea
Drinking tea every day yields many results that are beneficial to your health. It can help you to lose weight, help lower your cholesterol, prevent you from developing high blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, and improve your dental health. Regular tea drinking may prevent you from developing cancer. It may also help improve your sleep, ward off headaches, improve your memory, improve cognitive functions such as learning, and help to prevent you from developing arthritis and types of dementia. Tea is just packed with an almost countless number of health benefits. Green tea has even been shown to lead to a longer life-span.
How to store tea
Tea of course should be stored at room temperature, and the best way to protect it from heat, moisture, and other elements is by keeping it in an airtight container. Tea can’t be sealed and put in a freezer, as this will damage it. Likewise it cannot be kept near a toaster, stove, or microwave or any other type of heat, as this will also damage the tea. If kept in a pretty, but not airtight container, the tea will lose its flavor fairly quickly.
Try not to use containers that are clear plastic or clear glass. This leaves the tea accessible to light which can damage it. Try to store tea away from any foods or spices that are strongly scented or flavored, as teas can easily absorb the flavor and aroma of the food around them.
Don’t keep tea for too long, as over time, even in the best of storage containers, tea will lose its flavor and nutrients. Tea is meant to be consumed. And drinking a few cups of tea every day will help improve your health and has even been shown to lengthen your life. So brew some tea. You can even brew tea and refrigerate it to enjoy refreshing iced tea all week.
19. July 2010 09:31
With all the weight loss miracle claims, it’s hard to ascertain what actually works, and what’s actually good for you. There are many fad diets and crash diets that make wondrous and difficult to believe claims, but many of these are incredibly unhealthy, damaging, and can wreak havoc on your body, and cause far more harm than good. Diet pills and diets that exclude food groups are advertised all the time these days. The truth is that there is no miracle cure, but adding green tea to a healthy diet and exercise plan may help you to lose weight.
Weight loss effects
Being at a healthy weight is about more than just social acceptance. It can lead to significant health improvements, such as a lower cholesterol, and put you at a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and a variety of other ailments.
The “secret” is that green tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which may be beneficial in helping you lose weight. This is just one of many nutrients and antioxidants that green tea contains that have a beneficial effect on your health and your weight loss adventures.
What green tea is and does
Loose leaf green tea comes from the same plant as white, black, and oolong tea. It’s a plant called camellia sinensis which is grown in many countries all over the world. The difference between these types of teas is all in the processing. Green tea is a little more oxidated than white tea, and unlike the fermentation process of black tea, is produced by steaming fresh leaves. In this way, the process yields a higher content of certain types of beneficial nutrients and compounds. Due to this process, loose leaf green tea has a higher content of polyphenols than does black tea, or oolong tea.
Green tea has many healthful effects, including a boost in your metabolism which will lead to burning off calories at a quicker rate. Green tea has also been shown to help improve your energy, which leaves you with more energy for daily exercise. It may also burn off fat, making it easier to see those pounds start dropping.
The EGCG polyphenol that occurs naturally in this tea will make it easier to burn off more calories throughout the day. It has a stronger effect than other natural compounds to increase thermogenesis, which leads to a higher amount of calories burned off at the end of the day.
While all of these are shown in various studies, the truth is that there is no miracle weight loss cure. There is no answer that will instantaneously slim your waist. Weight loss is a journey, and it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. It needs to include a well balanced, healthy diet, and daily exercise. But adding loose leaf green tea to your daily routine can help you in this process. Drinking green tea can only be helpful, as it has a myriad of other nutrients and antioxidants that will lead to health improvements in many areas.
It can’t hurt to give green tea a try. It’s healthy and tasty. Drink up and enjoy!
15. July 2010 07:54
In this age of fad and crash diets, it can be difficult to find a way to lose weight that is effective and healthy. Adding green tea to your diet can be a healthy -and safe- way to make a beneficial lifestyle change and to help you in your weight loss adventures. Studies show that green tea can be an effective weight loss aid, and this type of tea has become more popular in recent times due to its tastiness and health benefits.
The nutrition of green tea
Green tea is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, and polyphenols, and has been consumed for centuries in many countries. It has a plethora of health benefits. It has compounds that may fight cancer and heart disease, and it may even improve your metabolism. Improving your metabolism means that you will burn off the food that you consume, which will help you in your quest for a slimmer waistline.
Loose leaf green tea also helps to lower high cholesterol, and may even prevent your cholesterol from ever getting too high. This is a wonderful benefit, especially for those who are trying to lose weight. Even by helping you to lose weight, this may help to get your cholesterol back down to a healthful level. A high cholesterol can lead to other health risks, including a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. There’s no need for diet pills and crash diets. Drinking loose leaf green tea every day can help you to lose weight and improve your overall health.
Loose leaf green tea also contains a certain type of polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate, which is also referred to commonly as EGCG, and studies show that this compound may help to lessen the appetite and may also help to burn off fat. This is a far healthier way of suppressing the appetite. Diet pills may make the same types of claims of suppressing the appetite, but they can actually cause more damage than improvement. Actually, there are some “green tea diet pills” that now exist, as this drink truly does produce significant results.
Another reasons that loose leaf green tea work include, surprisingly, the caffeine content. Caffeine is known to have a small effect on suppressing the appetite, but research also supports that caffeine can help burn off fat. Caffeine may speed up thermogenesis, which is the process in the body that leads to burning off fat cells.
Drinking a few cups of loose leaf green tea may help you to see marked improvement in your weight loss journey.
Loose leaf green tea is said to be able to lower LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol. Some research also supports the idea that the EGCG in loose leaf green tea may help to regulate blood sugar levels, which would inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates.
It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on any type of diet. Drink lots of water and get lots of exercise. And while drinking green tea is beneficial to your health, it isn’t a cure all for everything.
12. July 2010 10:25
Trying to lose weight? Add a few cups of tea to your day, and it may help. Loose leaf tea has many health benefits, it is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. There are four different types, which consist of green, white, black, and oolong teas. They are each unique and contain their own creative flavors and aromas.
And now, new studies show that drinking two cups of tea may help men to lose weight in their waistline. The study did not yield the same results in women. Weight loss in the abdominal area is important, as it reduces other health risks such as diabetes and heart disease. But the weight loss associated with tea can also help women, though not specifically in their waistlines.
Weight loss improves your overall health
Weight loss in general produces many health benefits. Getting down to a healthy weight is one of the easiest ways to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the bad type of cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy weight can help tremendously with a multitude of health problems. It can reduce many health risks by preventing them from forming.
Heart disease, stroke, diabetes
Being at a healthy weight can prevent you from developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and it can help prevent you from developing cardiovascular diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent heart attack and stroke. A healthy diet with daily amounts of exercise can truly be an answer to a number of health risks, and green tea can help.
Self-image and self-confidence
People who are overweight or obese may face other types of problems. This condition can interfere with their self-esteem and self-confidence. It may impact their lives to the point where it is difficult to feel that they are living life to the fullest. Weight loss is an important step in fulfilling life goals and may help to alleviate social anxiety, and stress about self-image.
Options other than tea
But with all the products being marketed these days, who knows what really works? The truth is, crash diets don’t work. They may help you lose a lot of weight very fast, but it’s weight that’s easy to, and usually will be, put back on. Diet pills have inimical side effects and harmful chemicals. Drinking tea is a healthier, natural way to improve your health and to get down to a healthy weight.
Improve your metabolism
Loose leaf green tea can help to improve your metabolism, which will in turn help you to increase the amounts of calories you will burn off. It also has the ability to help you burn fat at a quicker rate and prevent fat from staying in your body.
Add tea to a healthy lifestyle
There is no miraculous panacea that will answer all your weight loss woes. There’s no magical spell that can vanish away pounds. But loose leaf tea has been scientifically studied to have a positive impact on weight loss. Of course, having a well balanced and healthy diet and getting daily exercise are vital to living a full, healthy life. But adding tea to your day can help you on your way.
24. June 2010 16:41
Diabetes is a condition that affects the way the body processes glucose, a type of blood sugar. Studies show that drinking tea may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, though how and why this works is unknown and merits further research.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a type that can be developed, and research says that the rates of people with this type of diabetes will most likely increase. Type 2 diabetes already affects millions of people worldwide.
It even effects children, and those who are overweight are at a much higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, in addition to helping with some of the complications caused by diabetes, certain types of tea can help to promote weight loss. Loose leaf green tea is known to boost your metabolism, which helps with weight loss in general. Compounds in some teas can help burn off fat, and so green tea can help, over time, to promote weight loss.
How diabetes affects the body
Diabetes is a chronic condition and it affects the way the body uses glucose. Glucose a type of blood sugar, and is what the cells in our bodies use for energy. In a body not affected by diabetes, glucose in the blood will trigger the production of a hormone called insulin, which will be added into the bloodstream. Without insulin, the glucose in the blood doesn’t go to the places it needs to go. And in people with diabetes, the body doesn’t create insulin, or doesn’t use it properly. This leads to an increase in blood sugar levels, which can lea to many other health concerns and issues.
Diabetes can impede upon your life. When blood sugar levels drop this can lead to irritability and dizziness and even loss of consciousness. When blood sugar levels get too high this can lead to fatigue, weight loss, irritability, and sometimes changes in vision.
Tea and how it can help
Fortunately, regularly drinking tea lowers the risk of developing this type of diabetes. Loose leaf tea is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, and has many health benefits. Drinking more cups per day will lower the risk of diabetes even more. The tea may have a direct biological effect that lowers the risk of this type of diabetes, but further studies are needed to determine which compounds in the tea are causing this.
Other benefits of tea
Beyond that though, loose leaf tea can improve your health in a myriad of other ways. It can help you to lose weight, give you more energy, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory, prevent tooth decay, prevent kidney stones from forming, boost your metabolism, help with sleep disorders, alleviate allergies, along with many other health improvements. It’s an incredibly tasty way to enjoy improving your health. Add some cups of loose leaf tea to your day and enjoy the overwhelming plethora of benefits it will give to your life.
Of course, drinking tea is not a panacea. Adding a few cups of loose leaf tea to your day would be an addition to a healthy diet and exercise.
23. June 2010 14:37
Loose leaf green tea is truly marvelous. It will help purify your body, give you health benefits galore, and beyond all that, it’s an incredibly tasty beverage. In this world of processed, sugar and corn syrup packed products, it’s hard to find a sweet, delectable treat that is pure and natural. Compared with other drinks, green tea truly seems to be the closest thing to what would be the nectar of the gods. It’s wonderfully aromatic, and the delicious scent of this drink treat gives you a hint of what’s to come.
And now let’s move on and start talking about its countless health benefits. There are simply too many to discuss them all in depth. Loose leaf green tea can appear to some to be a miracle drink for your health.
This type of tea is packed full of nutrients and compounds that all promote tons of health benefits, and is almost like a miracle elixir. It can do all sorts of wonderful things for your health, including improving memory, improving the health of your teeth, fighting off cancer, boosting your metabolism, boosting your immune system, improve your heart health, help alleviate allergy symptoms, help regulate blood sugar, along with a multitude of other health benefits. It almost makes one wonder if there’s anything green tea can’t do for your health.
Preventing kidney stones
New studies now show that drinking loose leaf green tea on a regular basis may have even another healthful effect on your body; it may help to prevent kidney stones from forming. How does this work? Compounds in green tea may help to prevent this painful condition by making it more difficult for certain types of kidney stones to form. They may even prevent the compounds from forming before they form crystals.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones can cause pain in the abdomen, rib area, and it can be a drawn out painful experience. If you have ever suffered from kidney stones, then you now how excruciatingly painful they can be. This condition affects around five percent of the population, and is caused by a high concentration of minerals which cling together and form crystals that can cause a great deal of pain. The most common type of kidney stone is formed when a high concentration of calcium clumps together to form these crystals. This type of kidney stone is called calcium oxalate.
Studies have shown that green tea compounds can combat these types of kidney stones from forming. The compounds from the green tea will bond to the crystal, making it lose its shape and become less likely to form a kidney stone.
Drinking green tea may help prevent this painful condition. When you regularly consume this tasty beverage, you’re doing your body a favor. By drinking just a few cups of green tea every day you can help to prevent kidney stones from forming and save yourself from being in a great deal of pain. In addition to that, regularly drinking tea on a daily basis, you will be improving your overall health on the long term.
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.
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!
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.