Japanese Tea Culture

by ESP Tea Lover 2. April 2012 11:01

Believe it or not, most of the tea traditions and rituals that are practiced by the Japanese people today originated in China many, many years ago. These rituals and customs were brought to Japan by monks that were in China studying. Fast forward to modern day and you will see that the main type of tea that is consumed by the Japanese public is green tea in a powder form or oolong tea that originated in China.


It was way back in the ninth century when the first monk returned from China with knowledge of tea. However, it was not until the twelfth century when tea really became somewhat popular in this part of the world. The powdered green tea was placed into a bowl that had hot water added to it. Next, it was mixed together to produce the earliest form of green tea. In addition to that, some of the monks that introduced tea to Japan also brought tea seeds back with them from China. These seeds were responsible for producing some of the best quality Japanese teas of this period.


At first, the powdered green tea that the monks brought back with them was used mainly for religious rituals or medicinal purposes. However, before long it was determined that tea drinking was to become a status symbol amongst the upper class citizens of Japan. Because of this early tea tasting parties developed where the participants could win big prizes just by guessing what the best quality tea was.


The basic Japanese tea ceremony began to evolve and develop hundreds of years ago. Specifically, wabi-sabi is a Japanese tea ritual that is somewhat sacred. The wabi is thought to represent the spiritual experiences of the human life whereas the sabi is thought to represent the outside experiences of life. When you put these two things together you are to have a nice experience that is sacred. Wabi-sabi is supposed to be experienced when drinking tea in Japan as there should be a subdued state of mind along with a spiritual awakening. The whole Japanese tea ceremony is a spiritual practice that is thought to help cleanse the mind, body and soul.


By the 1500’s the ritual of drinking tea had spread all over Japan. It was a ritual that was not only for the rich but also for anyone that had the means to partake. This meant that more and more families were getting involved with tea customs and tea culture. The end result of this involvement was the further development and enhancement of some popular traditions that are still being observed to date. Without the popularity of tea culture during this time period there is a chance that Japanese tea rituals would not be what they are today. For many people this may be hard to imagine as tea is such a large part of the lives of many people in this area of the world.


Since tea culture is so popular in Japan there are actually groups of people that get together in order to study it. These groups meet on a regular basis to talk about the different traditions and rituals that are present. The traditions and rituals are discussed and interpreted with an open mind at these meetings. Believe it or not there are dedicated tea schools in Japan that focus on the study of local tea traditions. Students that attend these schools usually pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of the tea as well as any complimentary equipment or books. The teachers at the schools will always be dressed in traditional Japanese outfits that fit the era being discussed. While most schools allow the students to be dressed casually, in some cases they will allow a student to wear the schools mark. Being granted permission to wear this mark means that you are a high level student that has a deep understanding and regard for the local tea traditions. In general, the newer students start out by observing the practices of the older students. In fact, the newer students may be taught much of what they know by the more advanced students instead of the teacher. These advanced students are the ones that are taught directly by the teacher. New students will learn about tea but they will also be taught about things such as how to enter a tea room in Japan, how to correctly open and close sliding doors and even who to bow to when they enter a room filled with people.

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Traditions

Korea And Its Way Of Tea

by ESP Tea Lover 28. December 2011 19:45

Believe it or not, the first documented tea ritual in Korea was recorded in the year 661. Loose leaf tea was used as an offering to the spirits in hopes that they would provide protection even in the afterlife. These types of rituals were also common with the spirits of well thought of monks all the way into the fourteenth century. The rituals would take place in temples and could last several hours or even days! In addition, most of these rituals were overseen by high ranking officials to ensure that they were executed properly. Over the last several hundred years the Korean tea drinking rituals have been developed and evolving to the point where they are typically used just for special occasions. In fact, the rite to have tea was made a national rite that was made available to all residents of the country. This type of rite is not present in other countries that do not take tea drinking as seriously. Over history there have been periods of decline in the ceremonial tea rituals of Korea. However, each time there was a decline it was followed up with a period of great interest. This fact alone shows how serious the people of Korea are in regard to the tea rituals that they hold so dear. No matter what the circumstances surrounding the decline in tea drinking it has always seemed to make a comeback is it is central to the core values of the people.


The interesting thing about Korean tea ceremonies is that they seem to follow along with the seasons.  Because of this, the way in which the tea is served varies greatly depending on what time of year it is. However, for the most part tea is always served with the assistance of bowls and cups. Much of the time the bowls and cups are green with images and designs on them for decoration. There are, however, instances where the cups and bowls are different colors. For example, special situations may call for a bronze or white cups and bowls. In the summer months the bowls that are used are about 5-centimeters high and 12-centimeters wide. These dimensions are important because it allows for quick cooling of boiling water as there is more surface area that is exposed. The boiling water is cooled in the bowl and then emptied into a teapot. In Korea, the water is cooled because pouring water that is too hot over the tea will make the product taste bitter. In the fall and winter the bowls are taller and narrower so that they could maintain the internal heat without cooling too much. The tea would be made the same way that is made in the summer- the water is poured into a teapot making sure that it is not too hot so the taste does not become bitter.


It should be noted that the way in which the tea is consumed is unique and unlike most other tea cultures. In short, the approach to tea is less ritualistic than other places. The emphasis is on relaxing and enjoying the tea. In other cultures the emphasis may be on the technique that was used in making it and even the way in which it is to be consumed.  Because of this, the Korean teahouses are all a bit different in design and styles. For example, some will offer food along with the tea while others will not. The teaware that is used can also vary from teahouse to teahouse as there is not strict guidelines that must be adhered to. The thing that is common in all the teahouses in Korea is that the best local water is used to brew the tea. Some teahouses in Korea even go as far as to develop their own springs where they can harvest high quality water. The water is taken from the spring, boiled and then immediately used in the tea making process. This ensures that the taste of the tea is natural and that it is unique to the area that the tea is being consumed in.


Tea has always been served in Korea on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. The tea signifies the importance of the event as well as makes it memorable. Most often the tea will be served with some other type of cake or pastry for the guests to enjoy. At the party the host or hostess is in charge of making sure that all the guests have the tea just how they want it. This is a sign of showing respect to the guests that you have invited to the party.

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Traditions

What Is The Difference Between Tea In The Bag And Loose Leaf Tea

by Kirill Hmir 23. August 2011 21:27

While we all find ourselves cornered by stresses of daily life, we do find time to enjoy subtle little pleasures, and that’s how you find yourself at the loose leaf tea blog. However, you ask yourself what’s the big difference between tea in the bag and loose teas; while both have their drawbacks they both have their benefits. The difference is convenience and tasteful experience.


When it comes to drinking tea, it is important to keep in mind that tea bags are recent invention compared to tea itself. While teabags went commercially around 1904, tea became a common drink during Qin Dynasty (around 200 BC). However, both teabags and tea have evolved since their origin.


Teabags


Teabags main advantage is their convenience compared to the loose leaf tea; the brewing, clean-up, and storage are all the highlights of teabags. And with today’s innovations teabags are made of different materials and come in different shapes allowing different properties to the brewing process. The reason for improvement in the design is due to flaws that teabags bring to the table and that is: due to size of the teabag only lower grade teas can be packed in them, flavor cannot flow evenly, and overall benefits of the loose leaf tea are lost in the tightly packed confines of a teabag.


Loose leaf teas


As the name suggests loose leaf tea has no confines. It gives the entire flavor of the tea leaf into the cup of delicious tea you are brewing. Loose leaf tea at this point is a tradition, and the flavor it brings to the table is unparalleled. While the tending to loose leaf tea might be seem difficult, it is what preserves its flavor and health benefits. It is important to understand that the loose leaf tea is minimally processed and preserves stronger/better aroma and taste unlike its tea bag counterpart.

Conclusion


While it might seem tough to decide between teabag and loose leaf teas, it is no brainer if you really want to submerge yourself in the world of teas; loose leaf teas all the way. While brewing process might expose few hurdles, it also allows greater control over quantity, aroma, color, and taste of the tea. Lastly today’s innovation make drinking loose leaf tea much easier than you might think there are plenty of devices such as Magic Tea Filter, and many others that allow you the benefit of loose leaf tea with easy clean up.

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Tea Talk

Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Tea

by ESP Tea Lover 23. August 2011 08:30

When it comes to tea preparation, this process is as important as the tea being brewed; you do not want to find yourself buying batch of premium teas and not enjoying a full potential of the tea.  The beauty of loose leaf tea is that it is such a delicate substance that in order to unlock all of its flavors you need to be methodical about the brewing process. Like everything amazing, a great cup of tea begins with the best ingredients: your favorite tea, right temperature and time it needs to be brewed in, and something most might overlook, water. After all, every cup of tea is composed primarily of water so it is imperative to use the right kind of water to steep your favor cup of green tea, black tea, herbal tea or many others.

 Alright, so I preached the importance of every ingredient involved in the preparation of your favorite cup of tea, and water is the topic of our discussion. Before you worry about how difficult or special the water might have to be for your tea, I want you to take a sip or two of chamomile herb tea (it tastes best with hint of dandelion honey), please stick with me. These days we are surrounded with an immense variety of aqua, from its origin to pH levels and calcium levels; all this fine and dandy but when paired with spoonful of Silver Needles white tea, you do not want to make any mistakes.

So before you put that kettle on the stove make sure of few key steps to prevent from making your tea dull and flavorless. Firstly, make sure you are using the purest water available to you, it might sound silly but many different location have different quality coming out of its tap; if you are not 100% confident that your tap water is best then I would advise to use filtration system, and you do not need to install an enormous water purifier or buy dozen of gallons of filtered water, instead use a simple water filter that eliminates the chlorine, salt, calcium, and any other heavy particles in water; essentially you are trying to make your water as “soft” as possible. While boiling water helps for all those heavy minerals and particles to descend it does not eliminate them. So what is the ideal water for brewing tea? Well, most experts agree that spring water, because of its purity, freshness, and high oxygen level. However, it might be difficult to find your local well or natural spring source in the middle of NYC. So why not give all those bottled waters a try, right? Yes and no, many of the bottled waters might have minerals added to them, or in case of distilled water it's so purified that is considered dead water.

So to wrap this up, be cautious what you prepare your tea with, and if you looking for a safe bet and you can’t get your hands on natural spring water, then use your tap water just make sure to filter out all heavy minerals and others additives that are in it.

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Tea Talk

A fabulous hot cup of green tea and also its particular marvels

by Steven Popec 7. August 2011 21:02

The latest medical analysis implies that aside from being revitalizing, tea provides substantial health advantages. Even though green tea is regarded as the advantageous, you actually cannot make a mistake with any kind of selection. A straightforward beverage includes a sophisticated brew connected with substances, a plethora of which will be flavonoids, a class of purely natural anti-oxidants. Flavonoids assist one's body eliminate free radicals which behave adversely with essential molecules making way for heart related illnesses and cancer.

Human population research has connected consumption of tea with a decrease chance for a variety of forms of cancer. Experts theorize that flavonoids, particularly in green tea can certainly destroy cancer cells. They already have been identified its capability in decreasing LDL levels plus encouraging blood vessels to relax.

This in turn potentially reduces blood pressure as well as minimizes stress on the heart. Research indicates that catechins of green tea alleviate the metabolic process and also increases thermogenesis. As a result it may be defensive against strokes and Parkinson's disease.

The mystery associated with green tea is based on the reality that it is actually loaded in EGCG polyphenol this is a potent anti-oxidant, the fact is two times as powerful as resveratrol of red wine in which restricts the side effects of cigarette smoking and also a unhealthy eating habits. Although green, oolong and black tea, all originate from the same leaves of the identical plant, camellia sinensis, they do not possess equivalent health-giving attributes. Black and oolong teas are prepared by fermenting the leaves, green tea is merely steamed just before packing and shipping.

In case you consume tea for wellbeing, hold the milk! Proteins connected with milk react with flavonoids, abating their particular wholesome effects in regards to their vasodilatory function and also the cancer preventing components aside from neutralizing their own fat-fighting potential. Plain tea served by pouring boiled drinking water over leaves provides all of the amazing benefits of its anti-oxidants. Decaffeinated, bottled and also ready-to-drink teas contain much less of these compounds. Boiling leaves in normal water is likewise not suggested since it leads to their tannin being introduced in to the liquor which could damage abdominal surfaces.

 

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News

A Green Tea Diet Encourages A Healthy and Balanced Weight Reduction

by Steven Popec 7. August 2011 15:33

A green tea diet plan produces a moderate carbohydrate deficit which allows one's body to help burn body fat by using one of the most natural and finest fat burners found - green tea. Additionally, it inhibits carbohydrate absorption, curbs hunger, levels glucose within the bloodstream as well as enhances your disposition. There is not like any moderate eating routine considering the benefits associated with green tea.

Nowadays, our country incorporates an emerging strategy with the challenge towards being overweight. Using loose leaf tea, it has definitely purported to assist individuals develop a command over their own health as well as their destinies. Unquestionably, it's sensible, in addition to being a scientifically-sound strategy, the utilizlation of green tea increases the ultimate results.

Often a healthy eating plan results in a carbohydrate shortage that will make one's body to lose unwanted fat as a way to get the energy it will require. Green tea may be the central component within the diet plan since it eats away at excessive fat four to five percent quicker, suppresses the desire for food, not to mention heightens ones frame of mind in combination with various other advantages which can be appropriate for weight reduction.  Green Tea incorporates a resolution for decreasing carbohydrates together with an improved activity level.

Even more than two-thirds of American citizens are generally either overweight or perhaps obese, of which often one-third are generally obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This particular astonishing statistic is undoubtedly much more worrying if examined over time. Ever since 1960, the actual amount connected with obesity has increased by much more than five hundred percent. Presently, there are actually 5.7 people today per 100 whom are quite overweight in 2011 when compared to less than 1 for each 100 in 1960. Furthermore there has been a 155% increase in all the actual amount of overweight individuals, however, just a 6% increase of obese people. The actual weight problems will be essentially exploding throughout the United States.

Despite the fact that presently there are countless who seem to have connected green tea and weight loss, many have not specified a scientifically appropriate method in order to make use of green tea to assist in losing weight. A green tea diet plan entails the use of superior premium loose leaf green tea. Alternative kinds of teas frequently are lacking the necessary amounts of polyphenols, theanine and also tannin to stimulate thermogenesis to be able to melt away excess fat. Each of those premixed as well as bagged teas are generally commonly lower quality teas devoid of the large quantity of catechins which have already been scientifically shown to be able to enhance mood, help safeguard against a number of forms of cancer, make improvements to dental hygiene and also help against Alzheimer's disease.

Green tea supplements as well as bagged green tea just simply will not perform very well. These products tend not to possess sufficient catechins in order to improve ones metabolic rate in my personal opinion. Numerous are usually made of tea dust eventually left over as the result of loose leaf tea processing. Loose leaf is actually the most effective green tea in which consumers currently have appreciated throughout the world for thousands and thousands of years. Today's scientific principles maintains the fact that the actual moderate quantity of caffeine within green tea may perhaps interact along with its natural antioxidising catechins in order to increase the metabolic process rate.

Generally there tend to be around 200 to 300 types of green tea, and each assortment provides a distinctive name and method of cultivation as well as processing which impacts the actual level of natural ingredients delivered through the tea. Any time a tea is actually generically named "green tea", that may suggests the actual amount of natural ingredients may not likely be known. A good solid green tea diet and lifestyle will certainly help save many of individuals the agony and tremendous expense associated with manifesting preventable health issues. In short, always drink a quality loose leaf tea.

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Green Tea

Tea Drinking for Headache Relief

by Elena Popec 9. March 2011 03:31

Headaches and stress are a common occurrence in this fast paced society. But instead of popping some Advil, reach for a cup of relief tea. This is an absolutely heavenly way to ward off headaches. Plus, you won't face the eventual liver problems researchers have discovered, that comes from habitual use of over the counter pills and remedies.
   
Headaches can be excruciating enough to interfere with your daily life activities. Migraines can be incredibly debilitating, and they may even immobilize you. While they may be caused by stress, there are many other factors, and exactly what causes this is unknown. They can lead to nausea, and light and sound sensitivity.
   
They may reduce your productivity; you may lose time from work. And they can also interfere with your recreational activities, leaving you less time for yourself and with your friends. They can interfere so much with your life that it is difficult to enjoy your life to the fullest degree.
   
To reduce migraines and headaches, it’s advisable to lessen the stress in your life. But in this fast paced society, that’s far easier said than done.
   
Drinking tea can help to alleviate stress and may help to eradicate an oncoming headache. Regular tea drinking may even help to prevent you from getting headaches.
   
Loose leaf tea has a myriad of other benefits from regular consumption, in addition to alleviating headaches.
   
It isn’t that complicated to brew some tea, and settle in to enjoy a heavenly tasting drink. And just drinking tea every day can help to boost your metabolism, fight cancer, improve memory, help keep your teeth healthy, and give you many other health benefits. It may also help to alleviate anxiety, which means less stress, which leads to fewer headaches for you.

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Health Benefits

Black Tea Health Benefits

by Steven Popec 11. January 2011 12:37

All types of tea have some health benefits, and while green tea and white tea are praised for being powerhouses of healthy compounds, black tea is excellent for your health as well.

What is black tea?
   
Black tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, the same as green, white, and oolong tea. But it is oxidized for far longer than the others. This gives it a rich, strong flavor, and a delightful aroma, and also gives it its dark color and name. It contains more caffeine than the other types of tea as well. But the claim is that it doesn’t leave it with as many antioxidants and nutrients as other types of teas. But it does, actually, contain a great deal of nutrients and antioxidants, and is far healthier to drink than soda pop or sugary fruit drinks. It contains no calories, fats, or carbs, and contains vitamins in every cup.

Black tea benefits
   
In the East, green and white teas are far more popular than in the West. But in the West, black tea has always been more popular than the other types of tea. It’s inexpensive and convenient to find.
   
And it does contain nutrients and antioxidants. It can help to strengthen your immune system and fight off colds, illnesses, and the flu. By drinking a few cups of tea every day, research has shown that you may improve your immunity to certain viruses and illnesses.
   
Black tea has also been shown to increase cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and concentration. It can benefit the circulation of blood in your body and help to alleviate many ailments. And even though it contains the most caffeine of the varied types of tea, this can help to energize you throughout your busy day.
   
Tea in general has health benefits, and black tea is not excluded. Drinking black tea every day can help improve your health overall and your quality of life.

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Black Tea

Great Reasons to Drink Loose Leaf White Tea

by Steven Popec 24. December 2010 13:00

Loose leaf Chinese white tea is amazingly healthy for you. It’s a delicious way to enjoy many health benefits. It may be even better for you than green tea! And green tea is excellent for you, so white tea must be some sort of miracle drink.

What is white tea?
   
White tea comes from the same plant, camellia sinensis, as does green tea, and the other two types, black and oolong tea. The process of oxidation is what changes the flavors of teas, creating these four distinct types. White tea doesn’t undergo the oxidation process, and so these leaves it packed full of more antioxidants that the other four types.

The flavor
   
It also gives white tea an airy, elusive, but fruity taste. It can be enhanced by various fruits, and it can be a fun process to mix and match to see what tastes best to you. This tea can be a flavorful dance along your taste buds, and it has many ways to improve your health as well.

The nutrients
   
White tea also contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate, which is more commonly known as EGCG. This catechin is known to fight off harmful free radicals that are involved in causing illnesses and have other harmful effects on the body. It has been shown to have anticarinogenic effects as well, and studies show that it may help to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and numerous other illnesses and disorders.
   
EGCG may help to slow the aging process, and fight the effects of aging. It can help against a myriad of other inimical conditions. All the different types of teas contain this catechin, but white tea has the highest quantity. It contains even more of it than does green tea.

Tooth health
   
Loose leaf white tea is also good for your teeth. It contains a substance called fluoride which is a product in toothpastes, and typically the main active ingredient. It has antibacterial effects which has been studied and measured in white tea. This will help you to maintain healthy teeth. This tea also doesn’t stain the teeth, which coffee and teas with higher periods of oxidation can do.

Hydration
   
White tea can help to fend off dehydration. Dehydration leads to dry, chapped lips, dry skin, and if it becomes severe can cause you to become seriously ill. White tea helps to restore the balance of fluids. It contains the least amount of caffeine out of the four main types of teas and so it doesn’t lead to your body losing a lot of water. It helps to hydrate you by taking in more fluid than it releases, which is not necessarily true of highly caffeinated drinks.

Energy
   
It does contain some caffeine though, and in this way it can help to energize you. White tea will stimulate brain activity and increase your alertness, and give you more energy for exercise. White tea will also give your metabolism a boost, which will help your body to burn off more calories faster. It will help you slim your waistline if that is a goal of yours, and is far superior to drink than sugary soda pop or sugar packed fruit concentrates. In this way, by replacing your typical soda pops or sugary fruit drinks with white tea, you can lower the amount of calories you are taking in. White tea doesn’t have any calories, so drinking up its deliciousness has no effect on your waistline. And by drinking this you can reduce your intake of sugar, which has a tremendous effect on weight loss. High sugar intake can lead to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.

Purify your body
   
White tea can also help to detoxify substances that can cause your body harm. The antioxidants in this tea help to do this, and there are more antioxidants in this type compared to the other three main tea types.
   
Drinking a few cups of loose leaf white tea every day is an enjoyable, relaxing experience. It can help to alleviate anxiety and relax you. And it’s a luxurious treat that will improve your health tremendously.

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White Tea

Drinking Loose Leaf Green Tea Strengthens Memory

by Steven Popec 10. November 2010 12:09

New studies show that loose leaf green tea and other types of loose leaf teas can actually help improve your memory! Research shows that these types of teas help to inhibit enzymes that are associated with memory. This could mean that we’ve found a preventative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, or perhaps a way to help treat this form of dementia even after onset.

How does this work?
   
Studies and research show that compounds in certain types of tea may inhibit enzymes that are connected to loss of memory. By acting as an enzyme inhibitor, tea can actually prevent the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The enzyme is called acetylcholinesterase or AChE for short. This enzyme breaks down neurotransmitters called acetylcholine. A decrease in these chemical messengers is linked with Alzheimer’s disease. By preventing this enzyme from breaking down this neurotransmitter, tea can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from progressing.

Another enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase, or BuChe for short, is found in the examined brains of patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and is another enzyme tea may help to inhibit.

Differences with green tea
   
Green tea has also been shown to obstruct something called beta secretase. This compound produces protein deposits in the brain which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. By obstructing the activity of these, green tea may further help to work against Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of loose leaf green tea also last for a longer period of time than do the effects of black tea.

Slowing the development
   
Green tea is not a cure. There is no cure for dementia, but studies show that it is possible to slow the progression of the disease. Medicines on the market work to hinder the activity of the enzymes discussed here, AChe and BuChe, and beta secretase. But these drugs may have harmful chemicals with inimical side effects. Green tea is an all natural alternative. But it is important to discuss this with your doctor before putting it to the test. It would be wonderful to see what further research yields, because green tea is inexpensive and tastes delicious, and is free of the adverse side effects that medicines may produce.

Your memory

Green tea may improve your memory and sharpen your cognitive and learning abilities by drinking it every day. Try to add a few cups to your daily routine to enjoy these healthful benefits.

In addition
   
Drinking loose leaf teas every day will improve your overall health on the long term. Studies have shown that green tea has wonderful benefits to your health, including benefits to your dental hygiene, cardiovascular health, cholesterol, blood pressure, weight loss, anxiety, depression, and many others. It can boost your metabolism, it can strengthen your immune system, help to fight off disease and illness causing free radicals, and help to improve the overall quality of your life.
   
Try brewing some loose leaf tea today and try some of the many flavors available to you. Test out some teas and see what you like best. There’s no harm in trying and finding out what you like best. It’s a delicious drink that research shows will improve your health.

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Health Benefits

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