What Is The Healthiest Type Of Tea?

by Steven Popec 6. August 2012 15:42

With so many different types of tea in the world, it can be difficult to find the perfect type of tea for you. What is the world’s healthiest tea - black, green, white, or herbal?

As you might know, black, green, and white tea all comes from the same plant – the Camellia sinensis plant. Depending on the processing techniques used, Camellia sinensis can turn into black, green, or white tea.

The tea blends made from the Camellia sinensis plant have been linked to several powerful health benefits. Here are a few of the health benefits of black, green, and white tea blends:

-Weight loss (due to caffeine and other ingredients)

-Increased levels of antioxidants that target free radicals

-Polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins benefit various areas of your body

Some tea blends have specific benefits that other tea blends do not have. For example, black tea has been said to protect lungs from smoke damage and reduce the risk of a stroke. Black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai. In many cases, tea that has health benefits will simply be classified as wellness tea.

The rich antioxidants in green tea have also been said to combat all sorts of different diseases, including neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Since green tea is not oxidized as much as black or white tea, it generally tastes more natural.

Meanwhile, white tea has powerful anticancer properties that make it healthier than virtually any other type of tea, and oolong tea has been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

One of the most popular types of tea in terms of health benefits is Pu-erh tea. Made from fermented and aged tea leaves, China Pu-erh tea has been linked to reduced weight gain and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

Herbal tea, on the other hand, is made from various herbs and spices. Although science has yet to research many of the benefits of herbal tea, herbal tea drinkers have reported a number of different benefits, including everything from positive mood changes to anticancer properties.

The answer

In short, all tea blends made from Camellia sinensis features similar health benefits. However, the way the tea is packed can affect its healthiness as well.

Tea experts suggest that loose tea blends are healthier than those packed in bags. In addition to being more flavorful, loose tea blends tend to contain more antioxidants. After all, tea bags limit the surface area of the leaves that is exposed to the water. With loose tea blends, the entire leaf is exposed, which means more nutrients and flavor is drawn into the surrounding water.

Herbal Tea Blends - The different choices

by Elena Popec 27. July 2012 15:39

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

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

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

Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Loose Leaf Tea, Part 1: The Tea

by Elena Popec 11. July 2012 11:46

So you’ve decided to make the switch from bagged to loose leaf tea.  Great!  Now what?  With so many options, becoming a loose tea aficionado may seem intimidating.  Don’t worry – with a little know-how and a few good tools, you’ll be brewing and enjoying your loose leaf tea in no time.

The first step is finding the tea leaves to brew.  You may have noticed that they’re not as prevalent as packages of pre-bagged teas, but you’ll be surprised how easily you can get your hands on loose tea leaves if you look for them.  You can start with a look around your area for an independent tea shop.  Finding a local shop is great because you’ll be able to get information, guidance, and brewing tips from the owner.  You’ll also be supporting a local business and contributing to your local economy.  If you can’t find an independent tea shop in your area, make a trip to the nearest shopping mall.  As the popularity of whole, less-processed foods has grown, so has the demand for loose tea.  Tea shops are popping up in malls all over the country.  If your mall doesn’t have a tea shop (yet), and you can’t find an independent shop in your area, there’s one easy and convenient option – the Internet.  A quick search will reveal countless suppliers, across the country and the globe, offering countless varieties for you to try. 

Once you’ve found your tea supplier, your next step will be picking out the type of tea you want to try.  Most teas come from the same plant, and are categorized by the processing (usually a combination of wilting or steaming and oxidization) needed to arrive at the finished product.  White teas are the least processed and the lightest in color and flavor.  Black teas, the traditional alternative to morning coffee, are darker, bolder, and have higher amounts of caffeine than other teas.  Green teas have a pleasant, light but distinctive flavor that pairs well with many fruit flavors.  Oolong teas, which you’ve probably had if you’ve ever ordered tea in a Chinese restaurant, have a bold and unique flavor and are known for their weight-loss properties.  Unlike conventional teas, herbal, rooibos, and maté varieties are made from a combination of dried herbs, fruits, and flowers.  These blends come from plants around the world and have flavors as diverse as their origins.  Their light, fruity flavors (and the fact that they’re caffeine-free) attract many tea enthusiasts to the herbal family.

Loose teas give you the freedom of buying small quantities.  You can sample many types and varieties, without committing to a whole box of a tea you might not prefer.  Most tea shops have samples brewed; many are even happy to brew up a special taste of something you’re curious to try.  Ask your tea vendor how to store your favorite tea to best preserve its flavor (usually an airtight container), and you’ll be ready to brew!

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Preparation

Loose Leaf Tea: From The Plant To Your Cup

by Elena Popec 6. July 2012 10:31

When you’re enjoying a cup of your favorite loose leaf tea, you’re probably giving little thought to the process those leaves went through on their way from nature to your kitchen.  The journey of your loose leaf tea, from plant to brew, takes several years and a lot of work.  The family of plants used for tea, Camellia sinensis, grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions, where it can be cultivated either by seed or by cutting.  Unlike the plants or flowers in your garden, it takes years for a new tea plant to bear seed, and at least 3 years before that same plant is ready for harvesting.  Once a plant is mature enough to harvest, workers pick the flushes (the leaves from the top 1-2 inches of the plant).  Because loose leaf tea is comprised of the premium quality tea leaves, hand-picking is the only way to ensure that the quality of the leaves isn’t compromised during the harvest. 

Once the leaves are painstakingly harvested and the best of the harvest are selected, the processing begins.  Because most teas (with the exception of herbals) come from the same plant, the processing is largely responsible for determining which variety the tea will become.  For all tea varieties, the process begins the same way; leaves are laid out, often in the sun, for wilting (also called withering).  This important first step allows for the leaves to dry out a bit, concentrating and strengthening their essential oils and flavor.  If the leaves are to become white tea, the process ends here; white tea leaves are then dried, rolled, packaged and ready for shipping.  For other varieties, there is still much work to be done.  The leaves begin the next step, fermentation (or oxidation); the reaction of the leaves when they are spread out and exposed to oxygen allows the leaves to brown.  It is this step in which the leaves will adopt the unique color and flavor familiar to tea drinkers around the world.  Different varieties of tea require different lengths of oxidation; leaves that will become black tea are left to oxidize the longest before moving on to the next step.

Because the length of oxidation is so important in determining the final variety of the tea, oxidized leaves are then heated and dried to stop the oxidation process.  Green tea, which requires no oxidation, skips that step and goes straight from wilting to heating and drying.  Finally, dried leaves are graded; only the finest, most perfect large leaves will go on to become loose leaf tea.  Leaves that have been broken or don’t meet the strict standards of loose leaf tea will be sent for grinding and packaging as bagged tea. 

Throughout the years-long process, tea leaves are meticulously supervised to ensure proper color and flavor.  From the plant to your cup, you can be sure that your loose leaf tea has been carefully cultivated and diligently monitored so you know you’re enjoying only the highest quality loose leaf tea brew.

What Is White Tea? And How Does It Improve Your Health?

by Steven Popec 5. July 2012 08:25

White tea is a popular type of tea originated in southern China. It is only lightly oxidized, which distinguishes it from more heavily oxidized strains of Chinese teas like oolong and black tea.

White tea has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its rumored health benefits. Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about white tea. We’ll also show you how white tea can help treat all sorts of serious conditions and diseases.

A basic guide to white tea

As far as teas go, white tea is a relatively new invention. It first came into use around two centuries ago. When white tea started to be shipped abroad, it was mistakenly labelled as black tea by people outside of China due to their similar manufacturing processes.

Eventually, people around the world started to appreciate the lightly sweetened flavor of white tea. The taste itself is not prominent, although there is a slightly malty flavor and a vague natural sweetness. Since white tea is neither bitter nor acidic, its weakened flavor makes it an ideal drink for anybody who’s experiencing tea for the first time. It also doesn’t have the strong herbal taste of green tea.

Despite what the name suggests, white tea is not white. Instead, it’s a pale green color. The name ‘white tea’ comes from the unopened leaf, which is covered in distinctive, silvery-white hairs. In China, buds are plucked before they open and then sun dried and lightly fired to make white teas like Silver needles.

White tea leaves have a light green color when dried. Since they don’t spend as much time oxidizing in sunlight, the leaves aren’t as withered as other Chinese teas.

You might notice some of the leaves have a fine, silvery fuzz on them, which comes from the hairs on the white tea plant. When drinking white tea, it’s not unusual to see these white threads floating on the surface of your drink.

Is white tea healthy for you?

Since white tea is derived from the same plant as black and green tea (the Camellia sinensis plant), it has similar health benefits. Here are just a few of the reasons why people love to drink white tea:

-Anti-inflammatory properties

-Reduces cholesterol

-Decreases blood pressure

-Boosts the immune system

-Reduces the effects of aging

Several official studies have been performed on the health benefits of white tea. A 1984 study at Pace University suggested that white tea has powerful anti-bacterial qualities that slow the spread of viruses and fungal growth. That study also concluded that white tea improves the strength of our teeth.

Further studies also reinforced the belief that white tea boosts the immune system. In 2009, a study at Kingston University proved the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of white tea. That study concluded by stating that white tea is a healthy way to treat conditions like arthritis and heart disease. The antioxidant properties also make it a great anti-aging drink.

Conclusion

Some people like the light, unobtrusive taste of white tea, while other people appreciate its health benefits. Check out ESP Emporium’s full selection of white tea.

Loose Leaf White Tea

by Elena Popec 3. August 2011 11:41

Loose leaf white tea is loaded with health benefits, and is completely scrumptious. It has the most delicate flavor of all the tea types, of which there are four. (Green tea, oolong tea, and black tea being the other three.) It comes from the same plant as the other three types of tea. The plant is called camellia sinensis, but the difference between the teas is in the processing. White tea is the least oxidized of the tea types, in fact is not oxidized at all.

Is white tea better than green tea?
   
White tea is less oxidized than green tea. These means many things. It means that this type of tea has more antioxidants and nutrients than the other three types of teas. It also means that the flavor is the most delicate of the other three types. It’s an interesting and unique tea and definitely worth experiencing. It can be an adventure to add and to mix different flavors such as fruits to loose leaf white tea and see what unique combinations can do to the taste. Many fruits can help to enhance the flavor.
   
This type of tea has also been researched, and studies have shown that it has many benefits to your health. It has effects that may help to prevent cancer, and it may also help improve the strength of your immune system.

Loose leaf vs. tea bags
   
Loose leaf tea will always yield more benefits than tea bags. Tea bags have been processed and pounded to the point of leaving little more than dust. They are almost flavorless, and the chemicals used in the processing can leave the tea not only devoid of nutrients, but actually harmful to you. Going with loose leaves is the obvious choice.
   
Loose leaves will yield the most wonderful aroma, and the best flavor, and the most health benefits. When brewing this tea, the water is able to move around the leaves, and brings out the best flavor.
   
Loose leaf white tea contains catechin antioxidants and polyphenols, among other types of nutritional compounds that are excellent for you.

White tea and flavor
   
White tea is light in color, and has an airy, almost elusive aroma. Its flavor is subtle, but fruity, much less vegetal than green or oolong tea. It has a light and mild taste, which can be enhanced with fruits or nuts. It can be a great tea to start off trying, because of its airy, fruity flavor.

How to brew white tea
   
To brew loose leaf white tea, heat up some fresh water, but don’t bring it to a boiling point. Let it steam, and pour in a large infuser to give the leaves plenty of room so that the most flavor can be brought out. Letting it steep from anywhere between three or five minutes will give you the perfect cup of tea.
   
It’s a great experience, and worth trying. If you enjoy this type of tea, start adding a few cups of it to your daily life. It’s a delicious way to add some more health benefits to your healthy lifestyle.

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White Tea

Drinking Loose Teas While Pregnant

by Elena Popec 18. February 2011 09:35

Loose teas are delicious and healthy for you. But is it safe to consume while pregnant? Caffeine is not a safe substance to consume, but are the levels in tea low enough not to cause any harm?

Caffeine
   
Some studies do show that moderate intake of caffeine may be completely harmless while pregnant. Moderate intake would translate to about three cups of black tea a day. But to be more cautious, you can drink green or white tea, or even decaffeinated tea. White and green teas do not contain nearly as much caffeine as oolong or black teas. These types of teas are completely safe to consume while pregnant, unless you drink more than three cups in a day.

A healthy choice?
   
The effects of white and green teas can actually be healthy for your baby, as they contain a powerhouse of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Rooibos and honeybush

Both African Rooibos tea and Honeybush teas are considered decaffeinated herbal teas.Anemia is a common problem during pregnancy. Many teas prevent the body from absorbing iron due to an ingredient called tannin. Rooibos and Honeybush teas contain low levels of tannin, so they are less likely to interfere with iron absorption.

Herbal options
   
There are also some herbal teas that you may find to be delightfully flavored that are safe to drink while pregnant. Learn a lot about the different types of herbal teas, for there are some that could have negative side effects on your baby, as would caffeine. But explore all your options.

Decaffeinate your tea
   
Decaffeination is always an option. But pay attention to how the tea has been decaffeinated. It’s important to know about the process the tea has undergone, as some decaffeination processes can be dangerous and inimical to your health. Decaffeinated tea can also be more flavorful than caffeinated tea. Many people prefer decaffeinated tea for the obvious reasons; there's no giddy after-effects, as some people experience from caffeinated beverages. Decaffeinated tea is a great option for those who love tea, but have high blood pressure, or a health related aversion to caffeine.

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Pregnancy

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

White Tea May Soothe Depression

by Steven Popec 18. November 2010 13:32

Drinking tea may cheer you up, and help to ward off depression. Loose leaf white tea might be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle to help lessen depression symptoms. Beyond being absolutely heavenly and enjoyable, Chinese white tea has many health benefits.

What is white tea?
   
White tea comes from a plant called camellia sinensis, which oddly enough is the same plant that the other four main types of tea are harvested from. The difference between white, green, oolong, and black teas are all about how they are processed. White tea undergoes no oxidation, unlike the other three teas. In this way, it is able to maintain more antioxidants and nutrients than oolong tea or black teas.
   
It has a delicate flavor that is absolutely divine, especially when mixed with other flavors such as fruits and sometimes nuts. It can be a great way to start off, or to close your day.

Stress relief
   
Tea is perceived by many to be a relaxing experience, and white tea is also shown to have this effect. White tea can help to alleviate stress, and can soothe anxiety. In this way, adding white tea to your daily life may help to ward off some of the symptoms of depression.

Why it works
   
There may be scientific, and direct biological reasons for this. White tea contains a compound which is called L-theanine. This is a type of amino acid which enters the brain and has certain psychoactive properties which have been shown in some studies to reduce different types of stress. It is a naturally occurring compound in this type of tea that is harmless to consume even in high quantities, and it works in much the same way certain classes of antidepressants work; by increasing serotonin, dopamine, and gamma aminobutyric acid levels in the brain.
   
This leads to a lower stress level, which can alleviate anxiety. Those who suffer from depression tend to experience higher anxiety and stress levels, so regular white tea consumption can only help. Decaffeinated loose leaf white tea can only be more beneficial in this process, but white tea already has the least caffeine out of the four main types of teas, which all contain less caffeine than coffee. This may mean that loose leaf white tea may mean that it is superior in effectiveness against depression than the other three types of teas.
   
It would take regular consumption to build up the serotonin enhancers in the brain, but adding a few cups of white tea to your day isn’t that difficult, especially since the drink is so enjoyable on its own.
   
This L-theanine compound in white tea has been shown by research to have other properties that may help to lower hypertension, and may promote cognitive functions such as concentration and learning.

Talk to your doctor
   
As with anything, though, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes a well balanced, healthy diet and daily exercise. And it’s important to discuss any changes or health plans with your doctor.
   
But drinking white tea every day can’t hurt, as it has many proven health benefits and is a delectable treat to enjoy.

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Health Benefits | White Tea

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