What is Matcha tea? And how can it benefit my health?

by Steven Popec 25. September 2012 11:27

You may have heard of ‘matcha’ tea. In fact, matcha comes in a variety of products. There’s matcha ice cream, matcha cupcakes, and matcha noodles. Matcha is found all over the grocery store, and many people have no idea what it is.

Basically, matcha is finely powdered green tea. Normally, green tea consists of a blend of fresh tea leaves. As opposed to other types of tea, which have been left to ferment, dry, and curl up, green tea is usually left unfermented. When green tea is ground into a fine powder, it retains its natural green coloring, giving it a unique appearance and natural food dyeing properties. Matcha has also been linked to a range of health benefits.

Creating matcha

The Japanese word for matcha means ‘fine powder tea’, and that is exactly what matcha is. Matcha is made from tea bushes that are ‘shaded’. 20 days before being harvested, tea plants are covered in order to prevent exposure to sunlight. This stunts growth of the tea and causes the shades to turn a deep, leafy shade of green. In terms of health benefits, shading the tea also stimulates the production of amino acids. Interestingly enough, these amino acids also contribute flavor to the matcha.

After being harvested, the leaves are laid out flat in order to dry. This causes parts of the leaf to crumble. The veins and stems of the leaves are then removed. Finally, the remainder of the leaf is ground into matcha powder.

In the past, creating matcha was a very labor-intensive process. If the tea producer made an error while grinding the tea, it could become ‘burnt’, in which case the matcha was declared to be of an inferior level of quality. Today, most matcha production is performed by machines. 

Uses for matcha

Today, matcha is used in a variety of food products. It plays a particularly important role in Japanese tea culture. It’s also used to make all of the following food products:

-Matcha chocolates

-Matcha tempura

-Green tea ice cream

-Matcha cookies

-Matcha milk

-Matcha rice

Matcha is even used in Green Tea Lattes from Starbucks, which shows that it’s popular in both Japan and other parts of the world.

Health benefits of matcha

Most people know green tea is a healthy beverage. Like green tea, matcha has been linked to a number of different health benefits. However, since matcha tea is ingested (as opposed to regular green tea just being steeped in green tea leaves), its health benefits are often magnified.

Here are a few of matcha’s most popular health benefits:

-Increases antioxidant EGCG

-Boosts metabolism

-Lowers cholesterol

-High in antioxidants

-Mental health benefits.

Because of these health benefits, you can find matcha tea in health products like cereals and energy bars.

What’s The Story Behind Japanese Tea?

by Steven Popec 10. September 2012 01:11

Many Asian countries produce loose leaf tea. However, Japan is one tea-producing country that you don’t hear a lot about. Much of the attention is focused on Indian, Chinese, and Sri Lankan teas.

This has given Japan plenty of time to quietly refine the quality of its tea. While Japanese green tea might not be as well-known as the tea of its neighbors, teas like Genmaicha, Bancha, and Sencha remain popular to this day. In fact, Japan has developed a rich tea culture for hundreds of years, and today, ‘Japanese tea ceremony’ plays an important role at social events.

The history of Japanese tea

Tea has not always been grown in Japan. Unlike other parts of Asia, tea does not grow naturally in Japan, which means that the original seeds had to be imported. This didn’t occur until the 9th century, when Japanese explorers began traveling to and from neighboring China to learn about its culture. After these travelers discovered how important tea was to the Chinese, they decided to bring it back to the islands of Japan. 

Tea grew in popularity in Japan from that point forward. Japanese travelers to China continued to bring back different varieties of tea over the next few centuries, and Japanese priests were particularly interested in the beverage due to its healing properties. In fact, some of the most frequent tea drinkers in Japan during this period were priests.

Just how important was tea to Japanese health? One of the oldest tea specialty books in the world was written in Japan in 1211. It was called Kissa Yojoki, which means “How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea” in Japanese. That book begins by stating “tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete.” This is quite the spectacular endorsement, and the beverage continued to grow in popularity among all classes in Japan.

Modern Japanese tea

All different types of tea are produced in Japan. However, certain types of tea – like green tea – are particularly popular. The Japanese make several different varieties of green tea, including the popular Japan Sencha green tea.

In the past, Japanese tea was rolled, dried, and steamed by hand. Today, that is no longer the case. Except for the most expensive tea blends, all Japanese tea is produced by automation. However, due to the quality of Japanese manufacturing, automating tea production actually improved its quality as opposed to taking away from it.

Japanese tea ceremony

For hundreds of years, the Japanese have made tea an important part of their culture. ‘Japanese tea ceremony’ is an important part of welcoming guests into the home, and tea must be prepared and presented in a certain way. In more formal settings, hosts are judged by the artistry of the tea ceremony. Zen Buddhists played a key role in bringing tea ceremonies into Japan, as certain types of tea – like matcha and sencha - are important to the Zen Buddhism religion.

ESP Emporium has several popular Japanese tea blends from which to choose, including the Cherry Green Tea Blend and Bancha Green Tea. Whatever your tastes may be, Japanese tea has been refined over hundreds of years, leading to the quality flavor and rich history we know today.

The History Of Jasmine Tea

by Steven Popec 30. August 2012 20:02

You may have noticed a lot of jasmine tea blends on the ESP Emporium website. Jasmine is a pretty name, but have you ever stopped to consider what jasmine tea is, or wondered where jasmine tea comes from?

Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about the history and modern usage of jasmine tea.

China Jasmine tea was first produced over 1000 years ago, during the Song Dynasty period in China (960-1279). The tea was crafted from the jasmine plant, which had originally been imported into China in the year 220. Today, China is famous for producing the best blends of jasmine tea, and is widely regarded as the best jasmine tea-producing country in the world.

To make jasmine teas, Chinese farmers simply blend jasmine flower leaves with traditional tea leaves. The picking process for jasmine tea is extremely specific, and it requires the flowers to be kept cool until nightfall before being picked just as the flowers begin to open. Then, the flowers are placed in the tea. After being placed in the blend of tea leaves, the jasmine flowers continue to open, releasing their aroma and fragrance into the surrounding leaves. This can be done several times in order to release the maximum amount of jasmine fragrance into the tea leaves.

For years, jasmine tea has been used in northern China as a ritual welcoming drink. It has played a strong role throughout that region’s history and is seen as a welcoming gesture for house guests.

The flavor of jasmine tea

Jasmine is a versatile flower, and it can be blended with any type of tea leaves. It is commonly blended with green tea, although white and oolong jasmine teas exist as well. There is also black jasmine tea, although it’s often reserved for ‘diehard’ tea drinkers due to its challenging flavor. Ultimately, each type of jasmine tea has its own unique flavor.

The taste of jasmine tea is best described as being ‘fresh’, particularly in green tea blends. The combination of jasmine aromas and tightly rolled green tea leaves makes it taste refreshing and natural. As you can imagine, it also features the distinct taste of jasmine.

The steeping process is critical if you want to make good jasmine tea. Steeping it for too long will cause the jasmine tea to become bitter, while not steeping it for long enough will lead to thinness and minimal flavor.

Jasmine tea – like other types of tea – is also prized for its health benefits. Green and white jasmine teas are rich in antioxidants, which are used to fight free radicals in the body and can unlock all sorts of health benefits. Studies have even suggested that diets rich in green and white tea can reduce the risk of cancer and high cholesterol.

Jasmine tea is tasty, aromatic, and steeped in history.

What Is Gunpowder Tea And Why Is It So Popular?

by Steven Popec 29. August 2012 20:13

At ESP Emporium, China Gunpowder Organic Green Tea is one of our most popular blends. But what is Gunpowder tea? And what makes it so popular? Let’s find out!

Gunpowder tea is one of the world’s oldest types of tea. Instead of allowing the tea leaves to spread out, gunpowder tea is created by rolling each leaf into a tight little ball. The term ‘Gunpowder’ tea comes from the fact that each little leaf resembles gunpowder grains. And, after being exposed to hot water, each gunpowder tea leaf ‘explodes’ and expands, furthering the gunpowder metaphor.

The Tang Dynasty (618-907) was the first group to start making Gunpowder tea. However, it was mainly after production migrated to Taiwan in the 19th century that Gunpowder tea become more popular. During this period, gunpowder tea leaves were painstakingly rolled by hand – a process which took a lot longer than creating other types of tea.

Today, most Gunpowder tea is rolling by machines, although it is possible to find some (particularly the higher-grade ones) which are still rolled by hand. Most tea drinkers feel that small, tightly rolled pellets help enhance the flavor, and lower-quality Gunpowder tea blends are distinguished by larger, less tightly rolled pellets.

The best way to assess the flavor and freshness of Gunpowder tea is to look at the shininess of its pellets. In most cases, shiny pellets indicate that the tea is quite fresh.

Advantages of Gunpowder tea

If you’ve looked at our Best Selling Tea page lately, then you might have noticed that China Gunpowder tea is one of our most popular green loose leaf teas. Why is it so popular? Here are a few reasons why people love drinking Gunpowder tea:

-A unique and powerful flavor: Instead of breaking down the flavor in the leaves, the rolling process intensifies the flavor. Rolling the leaves into a tight ball prevents them from experiencing physical damage, which ultimately leads to more flavor retention.

-Can be aged for decades: Unlike other types of tea, Gunpowder tea can be aged for decades in order to unlock different flavors. However, it’s important to note that proper maintenance (like periodic roasting) is required over this period.

-Different varieties and flavors: Gunpowder tea comes in a number of different styles, including Ceylon Gunpowder tea (from Sri Lanka), Formosa Gunpowder tea (from Taiwan), and Pingshui Gunpowder tea (from the Pingshui region in China).

-Worldwide appeal: Gunpowder tea is popular in a wide variety of cultures. In North Africa, Gunpowder tea is used in the preparation of mint tea, which plays a key role at social gatherings. It’s also commonly consumed in China, Taiwan.

-Thicker, stronger taste: Gunpowder tea has a unique taste. In terms of flavor, gunpowder tea has been described as being grassy, minty, or peppery. It’s also thicker and stronger than most other teas, and its texture almost resembles ‘soft’ honey with a pleasant, smokey aftertaste. When brewed, gunpowder tea is yellow in color.

Can Green Tea Promote Natural Hair Growth?

by Elena Popec 15. August 2011 08:48

The battle against hair loss is yours to win. For centuries we have been fighting hair loss with countless solutions. There are toupees, wigs, and now there are even surgeries and hair plugs. There are dozens of methods advertised, tons of varied solutions offered.

Hair loss
   
For those who suffer from hair loss, it may lead to low self esteem and less self confidence and self assurance. It may alter your positive self image and lead you to involve yourself less in social interactions.
   
And with all these miracle cures that are advertised, the choice of one to aid you can be overwhelming. Each method makes claims to lead to a full head of hair, but how can you be sure they will work for you? Do any of them work? Are there any that truly prevent hair loss?

Green tea and how it can help

   
Loose leaf green tea, in addition to its multitudes of other health benefits, may prevent hair loss. Studies show that it may help in the battle against baldness.
   
Green tea has many antioxidants and other types of nutrients that help to improve your health. It can help to fight off cancer cells, fight off diseases, and can help to slow down the aging process. It can alleviate stress and anxiety, help to relax you, and lead to a stronger, healthier life. It can fight off diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and help to lower cholesterol and help you lose weight. Its positive effects are almost endless.
   
Live a longer, fuller life by regularly drinking green tea, and it may even help you to look younger by fighting off the effects of aging such as hair loss. It contains a compound called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, which has been studied and shown to have marked benefits on general health.
   
Research shows that nutrients in green tea help to suppress the production of various compounds that cause inimical health effects in the body and can lead to cancer, diseases, arthritis, and are also implicated in causing hair loss. In this way, green tea works to fight against baldness.
   
Studies also show that high amounts of the compounds in green tea increase a hormone which may help to stimulate hair growth. The EGCG compound has been tested and in some studies results in increased hair growth.
   
Studies also show that green tea consumption can help with eradicating dandruff. Green tea can help to interfere with and a protein that can cause skin cells to die off too quickly, leading to dandruff. It can be a healthier, more natural way to help cure this condition, rather than using products packed with harmful chemicals. Green tea can have other beneficial effects on skin and can help to alleviate inflammation.
   
Green tea contains lots of nutrients and antioxidants that can help improve your hair health by strengthening it and softening it, bringing out your natural beauty.
   
Green tea is a tasty beverage that can help with more than just hair problems. It is a healthful drink that also tastes delicious, and can help to enhance, lengthen, and improve your life with all of its health benefits.

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Health Benefits

Oolong Tea to Treat Eczema

by Elena Popec 2. August 2011 12:57

Oolong tea, sometimes called wu long tea, and known to mean “black dragon,” is one of the four main types of tea. Among these types of course there are countless different varieties. Black, white, and green tea are the other three main types of tea. They all are harvested from the camellia sinensis plant, but they are processed quite differently. It is in this processing that they acquire their very different flavors, aromas, and health benefits.

The oxidation process
   
White tea is the least processed of the teas, and undergoes no oxidation. Green tea undergoes a small amount of oxidation, and black tea undergoes the most of this process. Oolong is oxidized more than green tea, but less than black tea. The length of time it is left to oxidize will change its flavor and aroma, and it can vary from being more similar to the taste and flavor of green tea, to being closer to the fragrance and taste of black tea. Due to the complexity of the processing for this type of tea, it is varied in flavor.

Oolong tea is varied
   
Oolong can vary tremendously depending on the processing. Some types of this tea take a day to process, while others can be processed in the course of only hours. The varieties this creates leads to a unique and intriguing type of tea. Even subtle differences in the complex process of making oolong tea can have an impact on its flavor, and so there are many different flavors of oolong to experience.
   
It is a complex and delectable tea, and worth trying and experimenting with the tastes of the different types of oolong tea.

The effects on eczema
   
Loose leaf oolong tea, in addition to being varied in flavor and a delectable, creative type of tea, may help to treat eczema. Studies show that drinking oolong tea may help to relieve the symptoms of eczema on the skin when a person is experiencing an outbreak. It may reduce the inflammation and itching, or even eradicate these irritating symptoms within a few days.

What is eczema?
   
Eczema is a condition that affects the skin and results in itchy, irritated red patches on the epidermis (skin). It is unknown what causes this condition, but it may be worsened by dry skin and cold weather, among other things such as stress. Eczema in itself can cause other problems, it can lead to social anxiety, low self-esteem, changes in self-image, and can alter your self-confidence and self assurance. It can impede on your normal daily life, and it is no fun to go through the outbreaks with this condition.

What research says
   
Oolong tea has been researched on treating eczema, and it does take a good amount of the tea to affect the outbreak. However, after drinking about a liter of this type of tea every day, some people may show significant improvement and may reduce or completely eradicate inflammation and itching.
   
Why does oolong tea have this effect? This tea contains antioxidant polyphenols that have specific properties that help to alleviate allergic reactions and to quiet an unnecessary immune system response.

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Health Benefits

Losing Weight with Oolong Tea

by Elena Popec 1. August 2011 17:20

Oolong tea, which is also known by the name wu long, is a unique type of tea. It is widely consumed in the East, and just starting to become more popular in the West. It comes from the camellia sinensis plant, as do the other three main types of teas. (Those being white tea, green tea, and black tea). It is processed a bit differently though. It goes through an oxidation process that oxidizes it more than green tea, but less than black tea.white

Oolong and its flavor

In this way, its flavor varies between being closer to black tea to being closer to green tea. It’s delicious, but depending on the type you may have a variety of flavors and oolong experiences. In addition to its complex and varied flavor, oolong tea has health benefits. It contains antioxidants and vitamins that help to improve your health.

Weight loss and oolong tea

Oolong tea may also help you to lose weight, and keep you slim. While green tea has more proven beneficial effects on your health, it is also studied and researched far more extensively than oolong tea. And while perhaps oolong tea may not have the same effects as green tea, it does have tons of nutrients and vitamins that are excellent for you. And oolong tea can help you to lose weight.

Benefits of weight loss
   
And weight loss can be important to you for many reasons. There are more than cosmetic reasons for losing weight. Though it is important to feel comfortable in your own body. The condition of being overweight or obese can lead to social discomfort and anxiety, and even lower self-esteem and self-confidence. By reaching a goal weight you can increase your confidence level and your self-assurance.
   
But beyond these reasons, reaching a healthy weight can help to lower your cholesterol and prevent against cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Boost your metabolism
   
There is scientific evidence which supports the belief that oolong tea can help to boost your metabolism. In this way, you can burn off more calories at a faster rate. This is one of the things that weight loss diet pills and crash diets advertise; how much they can increase your metabolism. An increased metabolism is known to be extremely beneficial in the weight loss process.

Burn off fat
   
Loose leaf oolong tea can also improve the process your body uses to burn off fat. Some research suggests that it may help to burn off twice the amount of fat than is normally burned off by your body. It can also block the absorption of fat by your body. By preventing the fat from being absorbed, it prevents it from becoming fatty cells in your body. Oolong tea can help to slim your waist by burning off belly fat. And it can lower your LDL, or the bad type of cholesterol.
   
But even after you reach your goal weight, how do you keep the pounds off? One of the most difficult part of a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a healthy weight once you’ve reached it. Oolong tea can actually help you to keep the weight off. Regular consumption will help keep you burning off fat on a long term basis.

 

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Oolong

Green Tea Fights Allergies

by Elena Popec 27. July 2011 14:46

Millions of people suffer from allergies of one kind or another. And allergies are an awful experience, as all of you who suffer through them know all too well. It feels as though you are sick every day, and it can ruin the spring and summer seasons. You want to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather and gorgeous sunshine, but allergies will make this a miserable experience for you.

Allergic effects
   
An allergic response known as “hay fever” is caused by pollen in the air during spring and summer months. It is caused when the body recognizes the pollen as a foreign and dangerous invader, and in turn reacts with a histamine response. It is actually the body system’s protective response that causes the pain and suffering associated with allergies, including red, itchy eyes, congestion, and scratchy throats.
   
For those of you who have allergies, you know how much they can impede upon your life. They can take away from your focus and concentration at work, and can destroy any hope of outdoor leisure and recreation.

Green tea may help
   
There is an answer, however, loose leaf green tea may help you to say goodbye to all your allergy woes! This type of tea may relieve you of some of these allergy problems. Green tea is a healthful beverage that contains antioxidants and other nutrients and compounds that will improve your general health. It has properties that fight cancer, and regular tea drinking can help prevent heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, tooth decay, and anxiety. It’s known to help with a myriad of other conditions and health problems.

Why it works
   
Loose leaf green tea contains a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate, commonly known as EGCG, which may fight off your allergic response. It works in this way by blocking a certain cell receptor that produces these types of response in your body. This compound is known for many healthful effects, and is one of the reasons that loose leaf green tea is an extremely healthy choice of beverage. It occurs in higher amounts in green tea as compared to oolong and black types of tea.
   
Other compounds in loose leaf green tea have also been shown to have effects that fight off the allergy response. Tea has been consumed regularly for centuries in many parts of the world to fight off the effects of allergies and other types of illnesses and ailments. It may be effective against allergies against pollen, pets, dust, and other types of allergies.
   
Regular consumption of this tea may help by stopping the body from producing histamine which creates the allergic reaction in the body. A receptor called immunoglobulin E may also be blocked by the EGCG polyphenol that occurs in green tea. This receptor is another compound that triggers the immune system response in allergic reactions. By blocking it, the effects of allergies such as congestion and itchy eyes will not be triggered.
   
So if you’re looking for an all natural cure or aid for your allergies, look no further. Add a few cups of tea to your daily routine, and enjoy the benefits of a life free from the hassle of allergies.

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Health Benefits

Can Green Tea Help You Quit Smoking?

by Steven Popec 27. April 2011 09:03

In addition to all of its other health benefits, loose leaf green tea may help you to quit smoking. Green tea may truly be a miracle tea, with all of its health benefits. This type of tea comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant as the other types of tea, but it is processed differently. It is less oxidized than oolong or black tea, and a little more than white tea. Being oxidized for less time leaves many of the antioxidants and polyphenols intact. It creates tea leaves that are a powerhouse of healthy benefits for you.

Cigarette smoke is bad for you
   

Smoking does damage in many ways to your body, as is commonly known today. Yet the process of quitting is vastly more difficult than tossing out that last pack and vowing never to light up again. Cigarette smoke causes damage to the lungs, throat, may cause high blood pressure, discolor your teeth, cause diseases such as emphysema, and forms of cancer. The risks are not worth continuing, but you may need a little extra help in the journey of quitting smoking. Smoking also breaks down your immune system. It leaves your body open to attack from free radicals which cause illnesses.

Green tea can help

Loose leaf green tea can help alleviate some of the effects of smoking after you have gone through the process of quitting. Green tea has many health benefits, from anti-carcinogenic effects to helping keep your teeth healthy. Loose leaf green is just packed with antioxidants which help boost the immune system and help to combat free radicals which cause diseases in your body.
   
In this way, loose leaf green tea can help to prevent you from getting sick. But this is just one of many of the health benefits of regularly drinking this type of tea. Green tea can also help protect against the effects of aging, and even work to slow down the process.

Weight loss and fighting cancer
   
After quitting smoking, many people find it hard to keep weight off, or to lose weight if they are trying to. Drinking green tea can help in this process as well. There are compounds and nutrients in green tea that help the body to burn off fat at a faster rate. It also helps to boost your metabolism and increase your energy throughout the day.
   
Loose leaf green tea also has ant carcinogenic effects, and may even prevent cancer from developing as well as fight off cancerous cells.
   
When you quit smoking, and start adding five or six cups of loose leaf green tea to your daily routine, you can reduce and help to eradicate the toxins cigarettes have left in your body by a significant amount. Drinking tea regularly is a great way to help get rid of toxins in your body and start the path to a healthy lifestyle.
   
And you don’t have to drink hot tea, you can brew it and store it in a refrigerator. Enjoy a glass of delicious iced tea while kicking the smoking habit.

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Health Benefits

Green Tea & Arthritis

by Elena Popec 5. January 2011 15:49

 

 

Loose leaf green tea may be a delectable way to help prevent arthritis. Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant that white, oolong, and loose leaf black teas come from. However, it is processed in a different way which results in its unique, vegetal flavor. Green tea undergoes less oxidation than oolong tea or black tea and this leaves it with more antioxidants, polyphenols, catechins, vitamins, and nutrients than those types of tea.

Arthritis and how green tea may help
   

Arthritis is a debilitating condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It can be extremely painful and cause stiffness and weakness. It can interfere with your quality of life and even impede upon basic daily tasks. It can become difficult to climb stairs or even to type, walk, or prepare food. Drinking green tea may help with rheumatoid arthritis. It contains polyphenols that may help to reduce the severity of this condition. Green tea may delay the onset of arthritis and even after the condition sets in, regular consumption of green tea may result in a more mild form of it.

Green tea is not a cure
   
There is no known cure for arthritis, and while drinking tea on a regular basis may help to prevent it or delay the onset, it is not a cure. And it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet, and daily exercise. While green tea has many health benefits, it’s not a miracle cure for everything. However, it can’t harm you, and in fact is better for you than other types of drinks. It tastes delicious, and yet has no calories. It is a tasty treat that will help improve your health and quality of life over time.

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Green Tea

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