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Herbal Tea Blends – How It Benefits You

From the buzz and popularity around “super foods” to a wide range of vitamin supplements, Americans can’t seem to get enough of the trends in health and nutrition.  The vitamin industry alone boasts hundreds of formulas:  multivitamins, isolations of specific vitamins, vitamin combinations designed to target particular conditions and concerns, kids’ formulas, and compositions aimed at every stage of adulthood and activity level.  Most supermarkets and health food stores have whole aisles devoted strictly to the wealth of vitamin products they offer.  But what could potentially provide as many, if not more, health benefits are frequently found a few aisles away:  herbal tea.

Technically, herbals teas aren’t actually teas; they come from a wide variety of plants around the world, but not the camellia sinensis plant that is the exclusive source of true teas.  The vast range of plants that can be made into herbal teas, or tisanes, offer as vast an array of vitamins, chemicals, and compounds that are proven to offer myriad health benefits.  For everything from occasional discomforts to chronic conditions like diabetes, there are teas that can ease severity and relieve symptoms of a host of ailments.  Stomach upset, nausea, and digestive problems can be relieved with a tisane of ginger, peppermint, licorice root, or lemon.  The antihistamine and immune-boosting properties of Echinacea makes it the ideal choice for fighting cold and allergy symptoms.  Some tisanes, like chamomile, have soothing and calming characteristics; tisanes of Rhodiola and ginseng provide a boost in energy and vitality.  Passionflower and lavender may alleviate the nagging pain of a headache. 

While many conditions are incurable, herbal tisanes have been shown to be beneficial in helping to manage them and promote health.  Diabetes, for example, can be very difficult to manage.  Spikes in blood sugar can lead to a host of related health problems.  Several herbals can help a diabetic manage his or her condition.  Fenugreek may absorb excess sugar, preventing it from getting into the system; raspberry and bilberry infusions can help to lower blood sugar.  Herbal infusions are helpful in easing the symptoms of a number of other chronic conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and anxiety.  Some herbs can relieve colic and digestive issues in infants; others can boost lactation for nursing mothers.

Tisanes are ideal treatments for a wide range of conditions and maladies.  But they also offer preventive properties.  Most herbals contain antioxidant compounds, which are known to destroy the free radicals that have carcinogenic characteristics.  Nutrition experts recommend consuming foods high in antioxidants to help in the fight against cancer; most agree that getting your antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients from natural, food-based sources is preferable to taking expensive supplements.  Herbal tisanes are a convenient and easy way to load your diet with a variety of compounds to promote a healthful life.  And unlike vitamin supplements, tisanes are delicious, too.  They are available in a wide variety of flavors, from fruity choices to spicy options like cinnamon or ginger and a host of blends.

What Is Assam Tea And Where Does It Come From?

Assam tea has been popular for hundreds of years. In fact, Assam is widely considered to be the world’s largest tea-growing region. Located in India, Assam is known for its popular blends of black, green, and white loose leaf teas, all of which feature a distinctly bright color and hints of fruit flavor.

Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about Assam tea, from its history to its flavor.

The history of Assam tea

Assam is a region in India. It is bordered by one of the country’s largest rivers, the Brahmaputra. Assam is located in the far eastern side of the country, bordering Burma and Bangladesh. The entire region is prone to flooding and experiences high-precipitation monsoon periods on an annual basis. More importantly, Assam’s unique climate and high-humidity have made it a veritable greenhouse for tea production.

Most tea producing countries of the world cannot actually grow tea natively. In almost all cases, tea crops are imported. However, Assam is one of only two regions in the world where tea plants grow natively (the other region is southern China, which is located nearby).

During the 1830s, adventurers from the United Kingdom began to venture into Assam. They discovered that locals were brewing flavorful, aromatic tea from the wild plants that grew on the hillside. These adventurers informed friends that there could be a market for the crop back in Britain. By the time the English East India Committee had colonized the region, Assam tea had already developed a reputation as being heathy, flavorful, and fragrant.

What makes Assam tea unique?

Assam tea is unique for a number of reasons. Assam tea is different than Darjeeling tea and Nilgiri tea because it is grown in the lowlands, not the highlands. Assam tea grows solely in the valley of the Brahmaputra River, in which the nutrient-rich clay provides ample fertilizer for tea crops.

Both Chinese and Assam teas are made from the camellia sinensis plant, although tea made in China is created from a slightly different strain of camellia sinensis. Assam tea is unique because of its glossy, dark green-colored eaves. The leaves of the Assam tea plant are also noticeably wider than Chinese tea plants.

In terms of health benefits, Assam tea is similar to Chinese teas and other blends. Assam tea has been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, and it has also been suggested to improve the immune system, relieve tension, and soothe nerves.

Assam tea is notorious for being strong, which can make it challenging for beginner tea drinkers. Many people choose to drink Assam tea with milk, which tends to complement its malty flavor. Because of these characteristics, Assam tea is usually marketed as breakfast tea around the world.

Conclusion

Because Assam produces tea naturally, the region has perfected tea cultivation over centuries. Today, tea drinkers can take a look at some of ESP Emporium’s best Assam tea blends under the black teas category.

Herbal Tea Blends - The different choices

Although it is most commonly referred to by the moniker “herbal tea blends”, the vast varieties of steeped herbal beverages that are enjoyed all over the world are not really teas at all.  In fact, tisanes (the more accurate term for herbal teas) don’t even come from the same plant as true teas.  Black, white, green, and oolong tea have the same source:  the camellia sinensis plant.  The distinctive appearance and taste of any type of true tea comes from how the leaves are prepared once they are harvested.  Altering the amount of time camellia sinensis leaves are given to dry and oxidize determines the style of tea that will result; the more time tea leaves spend in the curing process, the stronger and bolder they will be. 

While tisanes packaged, sold, and prepared in the same way as true teas, their origins could not be more different.  True teas are made exclusively from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.  Tisanes can have a variety of sources; the most common sources are the South American yerba mate plant, the South African rooibos bush, and any number of herb plants native to all parts of the world.  They can be made by drying different parts of the plants from which they come.  Tisanes are typically categorized by the part of the plant that is used to make them.  Many tea drinkers would be surprised to learn that a large number of the most common “teas” on the market today are actually tisanes:  mint and lemongrass (leaf tisanes), chamomile and lavender (flower tisanes), peach, raspberry and apple (fruit tisanes), ginger and Echinacea (root tisanes), cinnamon and black cherry (bark tisanes), and fennel and cardamom (seed or spice tisanes).  Unlike camellia sinensis, the plant sources of tisanes are used for much more than their leaves.  Because they come from such a wide range of plants and plant parts, tisanes offer many more options in flavor than true teas.  The wide variety of tisane flavors is often used to create flavored tea blends; true teas are mixed with tisanes to create varieties such as Chai.

Tisanes of all kinds have been steeped for centuries.  The ancient civilizations in Egypt and China left behind documented uses of tisanes for medicinal purposes as well as their general consumption for enjoyment.  Either in pure form or blended from various plant sources, tisanes were thought to have had a wealth of healthy properties that could ease anxiety and help to restore health.  Tisanes continue to be popular for both their delicious flavors and health benefits today.  They are naturally caffeine free (even decaffeinated true teas still contain trace amounts of caffeine), rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and are available in a broad array of flavors and blends.  No matter what your taste preferences are, you’re sure to find at least a few tisanes that satisfy your palate.  Tisane varieties are just as readily available, easy to prepare, and maybe for some even more tasty than true teas.

The History of Ceylon Tea

As you might know, ‘Ceylon’ is the former name of Sri Lanka, a large island country off the coast of India in the Indian Ocean. But what’s the story behind Ceylon tea?  Some of ESP Emporium’s most popular black tea blends come from Ceylon. Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Ceylon black tea.

Ceylon’s tea industry is an important part of its economy. In fact, it’s the country’s largest employer. In total, Sri Lanka’s tea industry employs approximately 1 million people, making Sri Lanka the 3rd largest tea producing country on the planet.

Sri Lanka was once a British colony. Contrary to what you might believe, the first major crop in Sri Lanka was coffee, not tea. However, after the island’s coffee plantations caught a serious disease in the 1860s, Ceylon’s residents were left looking for another productive crop.

Tea swiftly replaced coffee as the island’s number one crop. Ceylon’s residents experimented with tea growing methods, cultivation techniques, and leaf manipulation in order to maximize the country’s output. Ceylon’s tea growing efforts were particularly aided by the efforts of a Scotsman by the name of James Taylor. He called Ceylon the “Pearl” of the Indian Ocean and recognized the island’s natural affinity for growing tea.

Because of the efforts of Taylor and other tea enthusiasts, Ceylon tea was soon being prized around the world. International demand grew rapidly over the years, and tea quickly turned into Ceylon’s most profitable plantation crop.

Sri Lanka’s tea estates

Ultimately, Ceylon’s booming tea industry led to the creation of a number of important tea estates in the central part of the country. During the British period, these tea estates were ruled over by a group of landlords called English Tea Barons, and as a result, many of the estates feature colonial Tudor styling and design.

Today, those tea estates provide valuable foreign exchange revenue and offer a reliable source of employment for approximately one million Tamils. The tea estates are located in both highland and lowland areas and offer a picturesque view of the surrounding countryside. Visitors to the country often visit Sri Lanka’s famous tea estates, and the estates continue to be the country’s most important source of revenue.

Sri Lanka tea benefits

Ceylon tea is rumored to have a number of powerful benefits. Namely, Ceylon black tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Like many East Asian teas, Ceylon tea is derived from the camellia sinensis plant, which has been linked to everything from healthy healths to weight loss. Because of all these benefits, Ceylon tea is valued around the world.

Conclusion

Ultimately, Ceylon tea is known throughout the world for its top-quality aroma, flavor, and health benefits. The country has a rich history in tea production that continues to be prominent to this day. Whether you’re visiting Sri Lanka or just drinking Ceylon tea, every sip you take is one steeped in history.

Sri Lanka’s Tea Industry Could Pass $5 Billion In Exports By 2020

As one of the world’s largest tea producers, we’re used to seeing massive tea production numbers from Sri Lanka. However, Sri Lanka’s Daily News is reporting that the country’s tea industry could achieve $5 billion USD in exports by the year 2020.

Since the entire country’s GDP is worth approximately $50 billion, the fact that tea could be worth about 10% of that amount is notable. However, the important thing to realize about this news is that the country’s tea production would not necessarily increase, but the price of Ceylon tea would.

Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary stated last week that production of tea is only expected to increase by 2% to 3% by 2020. Prices, however, could be raised by as much as triple their current price. The statement was made at the 118th Annual General Meeting of the Colombo Tea Traders Association, held June 29th in Sri Lanka’s capital.

This means that, within the next 5 to 10 years, prices on Ceylon tea could raise dramatically. Ceylon tea is famous for its black tea blends, as well as its connection to various health benefits. Of course, many people find Ceylon tea to have a delicious taste as well.

  The Treasury Secretary also urged Sri Lankan tea manufacturers to work together to ‘brand’ the country’s tea in order to collectively increase its value throughout the world. While Ceylon tea is a name known by most tea drinkers throughout the world, it’s not quite on the level of other famous brands, like Earl Grey tea or Oolong.

Interestingly enough, many in Sri Lanka view tea as a “rich man’s drink.” Most of the country’s tea crops are exported to places all over the world or consumed at higher prices locally. Cheaper teas are often imported, allowing locals to profit off of the high prices paid for Ceylon tea around the world. 

What’s the secret behind Sri Lankan tea?

You might know Sri Lankan tea better as ‘Ceylon’ tea. Ceylon was the name of the country under British rule during the 19th century. The British had a profound influence on the country’s tea production, turning the sub-tropical island nation from a coffee-producing country to a tea-producing powerhouse in an incredibly short period of time.

Today, the investments made by the British government are clearly paying off. Not only does the country earn millions of dollars in tourist revenue due to its beautiful British colonial-style tea plantations (which are scattered throughout the countryside), but Sri Lanka also depends upon the infrastructure and administrative systems established by the British in order to manage the country’s tea resources.

Since Sri Lanka has only recently become stable after the end of its civil war, its tea industry – and the country as a whole – is expected to grow at a rapid pace over the coming years. Some even expect Sri Lanka’s GDP to grow to $100 million by 2020, which means that tea production would account for far less than 25% of that amount.

As of now, ESP Emporium’s Ceylon tea prices haven’t changed, and we don’t expect them to rise dramatically at any time in the near future. If the price of Ceylon tea does change by double or triple its current price at any time over the coming years, our ESP Emporium blog will be the first to let you know.