The Secret of Peppermint Herbal Tea

by Elena Popec 28. February 2013 23:11

As more Americans become interested in a more natural and holistic lifestyle, many are turning to herbal tea remedies instead of pharmaceutical options for treating minor ailments.  With its aromatic and health properties, as well as a pleasing flavor, peppermint is a popular and readily available herb.  One of the most common preparations is peppermint tea, although peppermint tea isn’t a true tea.  This herbaceous plant is completely separate from camellia sinensis, the plant that produces all varieties of true tea.  The more accurate name for peppermint tea would be peppermint infusion, or peppermint tisane. 

A peppermint infusion is made by steeping the dried leaves of the peppermint plant in boiling water.  The essential oils in peppermint leaves provide a wealth of health benefits; for the strongest concentration of these oils in your peppermint infusion, cover the cup while it steeps.  A cover traps more of the essential oils in the cup, creating a healthier and tastier infusion.  These essential oils are packed with compounds that have a relaxing effect on the digestive system; the peppermint tisane is effective in, and perhaps best known for, its ability to calm an upset stomach.  Regular consumption of peppermint tisane has been shown to reduce the symptoms of certain chronic digestive conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.  The analgesic properties of peppermint aid the associated discomfort, while the relaxing effect is calming and soothing.  Peppermint also has some anesthetic properties that may be effective against a number of other conditions and disorders.

Menthol, a main component of peppermint, is a powerful compound with multiple benefits.  Its strong and refreshing aroma has an invigorating and energizing effect; it can help to increase mental alertness and fight fatigue.  The physiological impact of menthol can bring welcome relief from the symptoms of allergies and the common cold.  The menthol in peppermint thins mucus; the steam from a hot peppermint tisane can be inhaled to clear the nasal passages, and ingested to break up congestion in the throat.  It also acts as an expectorant, and can soothe the pain of a sore throat.  In fact, frequent consumption of peppermint infusions may be more effective at easing the suffering of a cold or allergies than pharmaceutical remedies.  It’s also safer, gentler, and presents with far fewer side effects.

A peppermint tisane is also a great source of antioxidants, which can keep you healthy.  It’s hot and comforting in cold weather, and can be served over ice for a refreshing summer drink.  If the flavor and aroma of a pure peppermint infusion is too strong for you, there are plenty of options out there.  Peppermint is nicely complemented by a variety of other herbal flavors; berries, vanilla, cacao, and earthy herbs like jasmine taste great when blended with peppermint.  It’s easy to find a blend from the many brands on the market, or to create your own favorite combination with loose dried herbals.  Treat yourself to great flavor, energizing aroma, and countless health benefits with a refreshing and invigorating peppermint tisane.

Embrace Fall With Autumn Tea

by Elena Popec 30. October 2012 20:52

The days are growing shorter and the nights are becoming cooler, and summer is coming to an end once again. Fortunately, autumn tea will help you usher in the next season with joy. It will have you embracing the cooler weather to come and have you pining for the golds, oranges and reds of the autumn season. Autumn Tea is the perfect drink to usher in the cooler weather. It’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy!

Harvest your ingredients:

-5 cups apple juice, unsweetened

-5 cups boiling water

-5 teaspoons loose leaf tea

-2 cups cranberry juice

-1/3 cup sugar or honey

-5 tbsp lemon juice

-1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Start by placing the tea into your filter or strainer, then place that filter into a pitcher (make sure this pitcher is heatproof). Add the hot water and allow the tea to steep for approximately 5 minutes. Then, remove the tea leaves and/or strainer.

Add your apple juice, cranberry juice, sugar (or honey), lemon juice, and the pumpkin pie spice. Stir until the sugar or honey is fully dissolved. The Autumn tea is ready to be served and enjoyed!

This recipe should make about 3 quarts, which serves about 12 people. However, after you have a sip of this drink – 3 quarts might not seem like enough! The notes of spicy chai will warm you inside and out and delight your senses with a warm aroma and flavor. The mixture of the tea with the cranberry, pumpkin pie spice and lemon will make you feel sunny and happy even as the temperatures begin to drop.  Just cuddle up with your mug of Autumn tea and some friends and relax.

Our recipe uses a spicy chai black tea blend but you can use any black tea like a darjeeling with its aromatic and mild flavor which would blend well with the rest of the ingredient. Don’t get confused by the chai tea we used. Chai tea usually refers to masala chai which literally means mixed spice tea. In the tea our recipe uses, those mixed spices include aniseed, cinnamon, ginger and other special spices.

Or, you can use a fruit or herbal tea if you so desire! A berry blend or apple tea blend would be a welcome addition and make for a sweeter and fruitier beverage.

Do not fear or dread the oncoming change of seasons! Instead, embrace the short days and long nights and face them head on with a steaming cup of Autumn tea in your hand!

What Is The Best Way To Steep My Tea?

by Steven Popec 1. October 2012 11:29

Experienced loose leaf tea drinkers know that the right brewing process is critical to making the perfect cup of tea. Steeping tea for too long can make it too bitter, while not steeping it for long enough can lead to a thin and watery taste.

Just how long should you steep tea in order to make the perfect cup? What kinds of water should you use? Steeping methods vary around the world, but there are some general rules to follow.

Before steeping

First, make sure you start steeping process of your loose tea with fresh cold water. Cold water has more oxygen in it, and oxygen helps draw out the flavor of tea. To preserve as much oxygen as possible, make sure you pour the water as soon as it starts to boil. Letting the water boil for too long will allow oxygen to escape.

Contrary to what many believe, you don’t have to boil water in order to make a perfect cup of tea. In fact, only black tea should be brewed with boiling water. If you’re brewing oolong tea, try to pour the water just before it reaches its boiling point. For green tea, pour the water when it reaches approximately 180F. At cooler temperatures, green tea tends to release more flavor and less bitterness.

Many tea experts recommend using filtered water to brew tea. Those who live in big cities often have chemicals in the water that can destroy the delicate flavors within complex tea blends. If you want your tea flavor to be as pure as possible, then it’s best to use filtered water.

During steeping

After pouring the heated water into the kettle, timing becomes very important. Different types of tea are steeped for different amounts of time.

Black tea: Steep for approximately 4 to 5 minutes

Oolong tea: Steep for about 2 to 3 minutes or 4 to 5 minutes, depending on stage of oxidation.

Green tea: Steep for about 2 to 3 minutes.

If you want your tea to be stronger, let it steep for closer to the maximum range using more tea leaves. Leaving it beyond that range will cause it to be overly bitter and not as tasty.

Many people believe that steeping their tea for longer will make it have a richer flavor. This is not always true. The best way to extract more flavor from your tea is to add more tea. In general, one heaping spoonful of tea per 6oz tea cup is enough. Add more if you want more flavor.

Other methods

The method we’ve listed above is the traditional method of brewing tea. However, it’s not the only method. Some people brew tea using a special Chinese ‘Gonfu’ method, while others used a Guywan system. Some of these methods require special equipment and unique blends of tea leaves. They lead to slightly unique tea flavors that complement different blends of tea.

Ultimately, you need to choose the tea steeping method that works for you. Some people like their tea flavored using a certain method, while others can’t tell the difference. Test out a few different methods to see which one you prefer most.

How is fruit tea made?

by Steven Popec 18. September 2012 22:20

ESP Emporium has a wide selection of fruit tea available for purchase. Fruit tea comes in a wide variety of flavors and blends, and our fruit teas include everything from blueberries and pineapples to watermelon.

You might be wondering how fruit tea is made. How is it possible to create such delicious and interesting blends of flavors with only a few pieces of dried fruit? Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about fruit tea production.

Essentially, fruit teas are made by taking and then mixing in blends of dried fruit, hibiscus, rosebuds, leaves, blossoms, petals... etc. The hot water extracts the flavor from all of the ingredients, which is why strong fruit flavors can be experienced when only a small amount of fruit is actually included in the blend.

It’s even possible to make fruit infused tea for yourself at home. Here’s how:

Step 1) Create extra strong tea by pouring 6 cups of water into a pitcher with six tea spoons of loose leaf tea.

Step 2) Select whichever fruit you would like. Popular options include lemons, oranges, strawberries, pineapples, and peaches.

Step 3) Extract the juice from your chosen fruit. To do this, peel it, slice it, and remove the pits or core.

Step 4) Create approximately 3 to 4 cups of squeezed juice, then add it to the tea and stir well.

Step 5) Add sugar to taste

Fruit tea can be served either chilled or hot. If you do choose to chill the tea, simply leave it in the fridge for a few hours. 

Benefits of fruit tea

Fruit tea, like any food with fruit in it, contains high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful compounds that have been linked with all sorts of benefits, including reducing the effects of aging and contributing to a better complexion.

Fruit teas are also high in Vitamin C, which has a number of unique and powerful benefits on our bodies. Vitamin C helps improve our immune system and reduces the risk of infections. It also helps regulate blood pressure and has been used to treat hypertension. In short, Vitamin C leads to a healthy body and a healthy heart. ESP Emporium even offers special Vitamin C rich tea blends to help you unlock all of these benefits.

With so many different types of fruit tea available, it’s difficult to be specific about the benefits of fruit tea. We have a number of different blends of fruit tea, including fruit teas will unique names like Miami Ice or Grandma’s Garden. These tea blends feature a wide range of fruits and truly have to be tasted in order to recognize their unique flavor and powerful aromas.

Whether you choose blueberry, strawberry, or pineapple fruit teas, each blend is delicious in its own unique way.

The Secret of Peppermint Herbal Tea

by Elena Popec 7. September 2012 13:26

As more Americans become interested in a more natural and holistic lifestyle, many are turning to herbal remedies instead of pharmaceutical options for treating minor ailments.  With its aromatic and health properties, as well as a pleasing flavor, peppermint is a popular and readily available herb.  One of the most common preparations is peppermint tea, although peppermint tea isn’t a true tea.  This herbaceous plant is completely separate from camellia sinensis, the plant that produces all varieties of true tea.  The more accurate name for peppermint tea would be peppermint infusion, or peppermint tisane. 

A peppermint infusion is made by steeping the dried leaves of the peppermint plant in boiling water.  The essential oils in peppermint leaves provide a wealth of health benefits; for the strongest concentration of these oils in your peppermint infusion, cover the cup while it steeps.  A cover traps more of the essential oils in the cup, creating a healthier and tastier infusion.  These essential oils are packed with compounds that have a relaxing effect on the digestive system; the peppermint tisane is effective in, and perhaps best known for, its ability to calm an upset stomach.  Regular consumption of peppermint tisane has been shown to reduce the symptoms of certain chronic digestive conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.  The analgesic properties of peppermint aid the associated discomfort, while the relaxing effect is calming and soothing.  Peppermint also has some anesthetic properties that may be effective against a number of other conditions and disorders.

Menthol, a main component of peppermint, is a powerful compound with multiple benefits.  Its strong and refreshing aroma has an invigorating and energizing effect; it can help to increase mental alertness and fight fatigue.  The physiological impact of menthol can bring welcome relief from the symptoms of allergies and the common cold.  The menthol in peppermint thins mucus; the steam from a hot peppermint tisane can be inhaled to clear the nasal passages, and ingested to break up congestion in the throat.  It also acts as an expectorant, and can soothe the pain of a sore throat.  In fact, frequent consumption of peppermint infusions may be more effective at easing the suffering of a cold or allergies than pharmaceutical remedies.  It’s also safer, gentler, and presents with far fewer side effects.

A peppermint tisane is also a great source of antioxidants, which can keep you healthy.  It’s hot and comforting in cold weather, and can be served over ice for a refreshing summer drink.  If the flavor and aroma of a pure peppermint infusion is too strong for you, there are plenty of options out there.  Peppermint is nicely complemented by a variety of other herbal flavors; berries, vanilla, cacao, and earthy herbs like jasmine taste great when blended with peppermint.  It’s easy to find a blend from the many brands on the market, or to create your own favorite combination with loose dried herbals.  Treat yourself to great flavor, energizing aroma, and countless health benefits with a refreshing and invigorating peppermint tisane.

Can Tea Be A Dish?

by Steven Popec 6. September 2012 06:38

Most of us think of tea as a healthy, flavorful drink to have at any time of the day. However, tea is one of the most versatile beverages in the world, and different cultures view tea in different ways.

As the oldest tea culture in the world, China knows a thing or two about serving tea. However, what many people didn’t know is that tea plays a central role in many Chinese dishes. The Chinese have used tea as a main ingredient in many classic dishes for hundreds of years. Today, more and more Chinese restaurants have adopted that tradition by serving tea-based dishes.

Instead of just being “infused” with tea or featuring similar flavors to tea, many of these dishes actually use tea leaves in the meal itself. This can draw out all sorts of different flavors from the dish.

Which types of tea leaves can be used for cooking?

Chinese restaurants that have started serving tea dishes do so with all different types of tea leaves. The only limit is the chef’s imagination. Today, modern Chinese cuisine uses some of the most popular varieties of tea leaves as a main dish, including:

-Oolong tea

-Jasmine tea

-Pu-erh tea

-Green tea

-And many more

Many of these tea varieties have been made more interesting by adding certain spices and flavors. For example, some chefs infuse chrysanthemum and kuding into their meals.

What kinds of meals can be made using tea?

Why haven’t more people used tea as a main ingredient over the years? Well, tea is a challenging ingredient because even the most experienced chefs find it difficult to extract flavor from tea leaves. In the past, any tea leaves that were added to dishes were purely ornamental. Most dishes do not fully absorb the elusive fragrance and flavor of tea leaves.

Fortunately, things have started to change today. More chefs are unlocking new ways to extract the flavor from tea leaves. One classic recipe involves adding infusing roasted duck with tea leaves. The duck is smoked using black tea leaves and camphor wood chips. The smoke pierces through the greasy duck skin, giving the meat a distinctly smoky taste. This dish is called “camphor tea duck” and it can be found at many restaurants in Sichuan, a province in China. The dish has even started to make its way to other parts of the world.

Chefs have also started using tea leaves in soups. The tea leaves are left to soak in the hot water, extracting their flavor. One particularly popular dish is called Huaiyang-style chicken soup. In this dish, chrysanthemum petals float around the bowl to extract flavor.

Tea also mixes well with seafood. One dish called salted tieguanyin mixes oolong leaves with deep-fried shrimp. Shrimp are fried to a point where they become crunchy, and the crisp tea leaves add to the crunchy texture of the dish.

To learn about more tea recipes and to find out where you can sample some authentic Chinese tea cuisine, click here. Or, if you’re ready to start preparing meals, check out ESP Emporium’s selection of green tea, oolong tea, and black tea varieties.

Why buy Herbal Tea: Part II

by Elena Popec 4. September 2012 09:36

Once you try herbal tea, chances are good that you’ll like them enough to keep drinking them.  Herbal tisanes are very flavorful, almost calorie-free, and packed with so many healthy compounds that many herbals are considered “super foods”.  Any visit to your local supermarket or specialty foods store will most likely result in the discovery that whole aisles are dedicated to true teas and herbal tea blends.  There are all sorts of interesting flavor combinations out there, and blends that combine herbals with similar effects to achieve maximum results (for example, just about every major tea manufacturer offers at least one herbal blend that is intended to soothe and relax you before you go to bed). 

These pre-packaged blends are a great place to start.  They give you the opportunity to try out a large variety of flavor profiles and to learn what benefits best fit your needs.  But no matter how big that aisle is, eventually you’ll exhaust all the options available there.  When that happens, skip the supermarket altogether and head for your local tea shop.  If you’re a true fan of herbal tisanes, the tea shop will open up a whole new world of beverage opportunities.  First of all, tea shops generally deal in loose teas and herbals, rather than the pre-packaged varieties.  Loose herbals are much more flavorful, they are comprised of higher quality plant parts, and you have more freedom to experiment and find the perfect proportions in your steeped infusions. 

You’ll also be able to experiment with new blends and adventurous flavor of tea ingredients combinations.  Sure, some combinations are obvious, like lavender and vanilla bean or cardamom and cinnamon, but once you’re familiar with the flavor profiles you love, you’ll have a lot of fun mixing them to discover delicious new blends.  If you’re not sure where to start, ask the proprietor of the tea shop; he or she will undoubtedly have some great blend ideas to get your started.  Are you ready to take your herbal drinking to the next level?  Try growing some of your own herbs.  Many herbs, like chamomile, rosemary, mint, and lavender, grow easily in a variety of different settings.  They’ll thrive in your backyard herb garden, but they’ll also be perfectly happy in an indoor or box garden.  To turn your herbs into herbal infusion blends, simply pick the leaves, petals, or fruits when they’re mature; left alone in an undisturbed area (with little or no direct sunlight), they’ll dry up all on their own.  Different herbs require longer drying times, and can vary from a few days to a few weeks.  You’ll know they’re ready when they crumble easily.  Then, just crush the dried pieces, place them in a labeled, airtight container, and store them in your pantry for up to a year – if they last that long.

The options in herbal tisanes are endless.  Whether you buy bagged blends, mix flavors from your tea shop, or grow your own herbs, you’ll always have several delicious tisanes ready to steep.

Why Buy Herbal Tea?

by Elena Popec 28. August 2012 21:41

If you look in your closet right now, you’d probably find a variety of different clothing items.  You may have some shirts that are similar, but your collection is most likely made up of a wide range of styles and fabrics, and a rainbow of colors.  Similarly, your pantry is probably stocked with an assortment of options in each category.  Maybe you have several different snack foods, a variety of herbs and spices, or a selection of convenience foods in different flavors and cuisines.  Whether you’re considering your wardrobe or your kitchen, or any other area of your life for that matter, you acquire a variety of items because you want to be prepared for different situations.  The same outfit that’s appropriate for a day at the office might not work for a nice dinner out.  You may be in the mood to wear black one day, and feel like wearing a bright color the next.  Likewise, you stock your pantry and refrigerator with lots of food options so that you have a choice; you can find something that is appealing, no matter what you’re in the mood to eat.

A well stocked herbal tea collection should be approached just as you approach filling your closet or your kitchen; choose a variety of different options, across a few broad categories, so that you know you’ll always have something to suit your mood.  Not only are herbal infusions incredibly healthy, they are available in a huge array of flavors.  In fact, the choices when it comes to herbals might just be so wide that it becomes overwhelming.  If you feel like there are too many options to consider, you might be tempted to stick to the one brand or blend that you know, and forgo the rest of the possibilities.  But if you stick to only one herbal infusion, you’re missing out on some fantastic flavors, and some really valuable health advantages.  How can you branch out and expand your herbal collection without fumbling through the tea aisle of your supermarket for an hour? 

First of all, think about adding to your collection one herbal at a time.  Try looking for an herbal in a different flavor profile than the one you already have at home.  Look at the options you have, and consider which category each belongs in:  floral (like hibiscus or orange blossom), fruity (like peach, berry, or apple), spicy (like cinnamon or Chai), or earthy (like rooibos or chamomile).  Once you’ve determined what flavor profiles you already have, experiment with a new flavor.  Or, try a new blend that mixes something you know you love with something you haven’t tried yet.  If you’re apprehensive about committing to a big box of prepackaged infusion bags before knowing whether or not you’ll like the flavor, seek out a local tea shop.  They are becoming more common all across the country, and they have huge selections of loose herbals (and true teas) that you can purchase in small quantities to taste.

How Is Yellow Tea Different Than Other Types Of Tea?

by Steven Popec 27. August 2012 21:32

You might have come across yellow tea as you navigate around the ESP Emporium website. Yellow tea is a popular blend of tea that can be compared to oolong or green tea. However, it features its own unique taste and a powerful stimulating effect that many people find enjoyable.

The history of yellow tea

Yellow tea has been used by Buddhist monks for hundreds of years. In fact, due to its stimulating effects and other pleasant qualities, the consumption of half-fermented yellow tea was a privilege of Buddhist monks for many years.

In ancient China, the term ‘yellow tea’ actually referred to any tea given to the emperor of China. The term didn’t refer to a specific blend of tea, but it was called ‘yellow’ because that was the royal color at the time. Tea was often taken as a form of tax from the surrounding countryside.

The manufacturing process for yellow tea is similar to that of green tea. The main difference is that yellow tea is allowed to oxidize slightly longer than green tea (which is hardly oxidized at all). In addition, yellow tea leaves are dried more slowly, which ultimately leads to a light green or yellow appearance. Yellow tea leaves are also harvested earlier in the year than green tea.

When looking at yellow tea leaves, it’s easy to confuse them for white tea leaves. The only difference is that yellow tea leaves are not covered in white down. When steeped, yellow tea is a rich, golden color that many tea drinkers find appealing. Because the color is so unique and attractive, many people prefer to drink yellow tea from glass mugs. Some people even steep their yellow tea in glass tea pots to show off the color.

Health benefits and flavor of yellow tea

Since there are only a few popular blends of yellow tea, limited research has been done on its health benefits. However, since yellow tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, it features similar health benefits to green tea, black tea, and white tea. Those health benefits include reduced cholesterol buildup and increased weight loss. Since yellow tea leaves are oxidized only slightly longer than green tea, many of the health benefits of green tea can also be linked to yellow tea.

One of the best health benefits of drinking yellow tea is the antioxidant properties. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental disorders, and other serious diseases.

Yellow tea appeals to a niche market of tea drinkers. For that reason, ESP Emporium only carries one type of yellow tea. That tea is called Kekecha Yellow Tea, and it features a unique coloring and a complex, smooth flavor. Many describe Kekecha Yellow Tea as fruity, as it contains hints of papaya, apricot, and an underlying spiciness. In short, Kekecha Yellow Tea is one of those teas that you should try at least once, just to see if you like it.

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Yellow tea

Chamomile Herb Tea And Its Powers

by Elena Popec 27. August 2012 14:08

Historical evidence suggests that chamomile was valued for its medicinal properties as far back as the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece. It was commonly used to treat a host of ailments, from anxiety to indigestion.  Chamomile herb tea continued to be highly regarded throughout the Middle Ages, when it became indispensible for other reasons, as well.  Its strong, pleasantly pungent aroma made it the ideal “strewing herb”; it was scattered on the ground in public places as a primitive air freshener.  Chamomile was also important in breweries, and was used prior to the wide availability of hops to give beer its characteristic bitterness.  Throughout centuries of use, across several continents, chamomile continued to be valued and respected as an important part of medicine.

Many ancient “healing” techniques have been proven ineffective, or even harmful, by modern science; bloodlettings, the use of leeches, and magic spells have all been replaced by treatments that actually work.  Chamomile, however, is quite different.  Ancient healers trusted it, without any real knowledge of how or why it worked.  Instead of proving it ineffective, scientific research has instead led to documented evidence of the properties of chamomile that make it a legitimate wellness remedy for a number of conditions.  Perhaps most commonly known for its soothing properties, chamomile contains compounds that can relieve muscle spasms and relax the nerves.  These compounds can ease the discomfort of mild aches and pains and provide an effective relief from stress and anxiety.  Research has also shown that chamomile metabolizes into phenolic compounds, which have antibacterial and immune-boosting properties.  It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  The active components in chamomile make it an ideal remedy for the symptoms of ailments like the common cold, allergies, insomnia, and arthritis.  A topical salve made from chamomile can also be effective in treating conditions like eczema and hemorrhoids. 

Chamomile has powerful medicinal properties; when consumed regularly, its effects are compounded.  However, consuming a chamomile infusion won’t ever be confused with taking medicine.  It has a distinctive flavor; it’s light, slightly tart, and fruity.  If the flavor of chamomile by itself doesn’t suit your palate, you can still enjoy this healthy beverage in one of the many flavor blends available from a number of different brands.  Chamomile mixes very well with many fruit infusions like peach and berry, as well as earthy herbal flavors like jasmine and lemongrass, and floral flavors like orange blossom and hibiscus.  No matter what your taste preference is, there’s a chamomile tea that you will love.  Enjoy a chamomile tisane any time you want to relax and feel better; consumed regularly, chamomile is an important part of your natural journey towards a healthier life. Because it’s an herbal infusion, chamomile is completely caffeine-free and a great way to encourage a restful and restorative night’s sleep; steep a cup of pure chamomile or an herbal blend and drink about half an hour before going to bed.  Healthy, natural chamomile is a daily treat for a better life.

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