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Green Tea Reduces Risk of Heart Disease


Loose leaf green tea is good for your heart! New research shows that loose leaf green tea can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, in addition to all of the other benefits it has on your health.

How does it work?
   
Studies show that green tea can help improve your circulatory system by improving the function of certain types of cells that occur in this system. Green tea can even reverse the damaging effects of cigarette smoke on the circulatory system.

Why green tea?
   
Green tea is harvested from the camellia sinensis plant and is processed a bit differently from the other three types of tea, (oolong tea, black, and white). It undergoes less oxidation than black and oolong teas and this change in the processing leaves it with more antioxidants and nutrients.

Other ways green tea can help
   
Green tea has been shown to prevent cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure, among other types of ailments. Research also suggests that green tea can help to lower your LDL, or the bad kind, of cholesterol. This leads to better heart health. Green tea can also help you to lose weight by boosting your metabolism, energizing you, and helping you to burn off calories and fat at a faster rate. By losing and maintaining a healthy weight, you are at less of a risk for having high cholesterol and developing heart disease.

Other benefits of green tea
   
Regularly drinking loose leaf green tea can have benefits other than helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases. It can help with anything from improving the health of your teeth to fighting cancer. It can alleviate anxiety, ward off depression, help improve your sleep, ward off headaches, cure allergies, help prevent hair loss, strengthen your immune system, and help to fight off free radicals and may help to delay the aging process.

It takes more than tea to tango
   
Of course, green tea isn’t, as much as it seems to be, a miraculous panacea. It won’t cure all your woes. It can complement a healthy lifestyle though. It’s important to maintain a well balanced diet with all the nutrients your body needs. And never underestimate the importance and value of daily exercise. But green tea, when added to a healthy lifestyle, can help to improve your health even more.

Green tea is tasty
   
Another major perk of green tea is that, even though it’s good for you, even though it has no calories, and even though it has all of these health benefits, it actually tastes delicious. It’s an all natural way to improve your health, and it has a heavenly flavor. So start brewing some loose leaf tea, even learning how to brew the tea can be an adventure in itself. Try mixing it with different flavors, experiment. And add a few cups to your daily life.

The Best Gift Is Loose Leaf Tea, No Doubts!

Coming up soon is the holiday season once again (and not the last time) raises a simple question: "What to gift?" The answer to this question will be repeatedly brought up a few times depending on amount of people one wants to impress. Think about it: relatives (present, past and future), the objects of passion, bosses, subordinates, colleagues and the beautiful stranger that can be met on the street.

I'm a tea fanatic, therefore in my extremely bias and subjective opinion - tea is the best holiday gift as well as everything that pertains to this blessed wonder of nature. Look at this pragmatically; the tea gifts are suitable for any occasion and almost anyone. Judge for yourself (hereinafter, the  phrase "tea gifts" will represent actually loose leaf tea, all products that accompany the preparation, storage and use)...

Tea is a perfect gift to someone that is not particularly close to you, but in relation to whom you want to be polite, prudent and thrifty at the same time. The tea gift performs this role excellently because, in any case, it will be applied and will not annoy with its uselessness. We all know what that means. The tea gift, on another hand, will emphasize an elegant taste of the gifter and generally will make an easy and pleasant impression of one. Such a gift can be presented to colleagues, including bosses and subordinates.

Tea is an extremely successful gift that will glorify the gift giver among others. In modern language, such gifts are called the “VIP-gifts”. Tea can be very expensive and rare, and the fact of getting such tea gifts automatically transforms the gift recipient in the category of connoisseurs, tea elite and even snobs that is now very fashionable and extraordinary cool.

Tea is a great gift for yourself and the loved one living under the same roof. The right set of words with a sincere voice trembling such as "Sweetheart, look what an exquisite tea of absolute rarity I found for you" will melt away any loving heart. Tea is a perfect gift for romantic moments and words like "imagine, we will enjoy it together" will be greatly appreciated. Don't forget to include a beautiful legend about the tea you are giving. Then you'll create unforgettable memories of the precious moments of drinking that tea together.

And finally, tea is a very qualitative surprise gift to a stranger someone met on the street and, possibly, will never see again. If he hands her a tin of tea saying: "Happy holidays", she'll stay surprised forever. And rightfully so... Note: This idea mostly pertains to romantic and single guys and is completely hypothetical. I just wanted to keep up your holiday spirit.

However, all of the above is just a fun theory. Now I would love to give you some tips regarding how to choose tea and accessories for the gift. First of all, tea or tea utensils must be presentable or at least unique (i.e. vintage Pu-Erh, rare Milky Oolong tea…). Here, in fact, is nothing to add, it is clear that the tea gift has to be well searched for; a box of tea bags from the supermarket is unlikely to be impressive.

When choosing tea gifts for a couple, I would suggest following very simple rule: tea is for men, accessories are for women. The reason is very simple. By presenting a man with a tea gift, you will emphasize his knowledge and ability to appreciate the essence of things. Men appreciate gifts that can be used to direct application, so the result will be the cease of the gift existence and gain of memories that can be shared. This may be manifested by destructive nature of man, but the fact remains, the gifts that can be drunk, men value very highly! ;)

Women, by contrast, more appreciate the gifts that can be stored and used without following the direct application. Tea accessories, for instance, can be put on the shelf then taking off this shelf on major holidays and, unconditionally admired by women, will make a very favorable impression. Equally favorable will be gifts that can be actively used in the household every day, but such gifts should be exclusively functional: cups, mugs, strainers, tea pots, tea cozies...

Happy holiday gift shopping to you! And do not forget to stun the stranger on the street and let her wonder carried away with Christmas Carol…

How Does Loose Tea Help Your Teeth?

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Tea is not only delicious, it’s good for you! And it’s even good for your teeth. Unlike soda pop and sugary fruit juices, loose leaf green tea may actually help improve the health of your teeth. In sugary, calorie-packed drinks like soda pops and various juices, there are certain acids that can damage or destroy the enamel of teeth. Enamel is what protects our teeth and when it is gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back. It’s important to take care of your teeth and the enamel of them.

Can drinking tea really help your teeth?
   
Water is great for your teeth, but many people don’t enjoy the taste of it. Most people want flavorful drinks. And tea, especially Chinese white tea, won’t stain your teeth like coffee or soda pop. Tea has no calories and can actually help improve your dental hygiene. The best effects come from, of course, tea that isn’t sweetened with sugar or even with artificial sweeteners.

Why does tea work?
   
Tea contains fluoride. If you’ve ever read the label on your toothpaste, you’ll know that this is the active ingredient in most types of toothpaste. Fluoride fights bacteria and helps to maintain a fresh, clean, white toothed mouth. It can also help to keep your teeth strong and keep the enamel from wearing down.

Tea has many benefits to your health
   
It’s more than just preventing tooth decay and keeping your teeth pearly white. Regularly drinking tea can help you to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and boost your metabolism. It can help to strengthen your immune system, promote healthful sleep, and prevent you from developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, illnesses, headaches, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and many other ailments and conditions.

Tea is a delicious way to be healthy
   
Tea tastes great. This has to be said. Tea is delicious, and you have your choice of literally hundreds of different flavors. While there are four main types of tea, which are oolong, green, white, and black tea, these types branch off into their own subtypes and varied flavors. They can be mixed with other flavors such as fruits and nuts to create unique aromas and tastes. Learning how to brew loose leaf tea is an enjoyable experience that is beneficial to your health. And it can be an adventure to learn the delicate intricacies that can alter the flavors of the teas. It can be fun to try out different flavors and types to find out what you like best.  Once you’ve started down the tea path, it’s hard to turn back. And this tasty beverage will actually improve your health!

Inevitability of Fall

The most fascinating events in nature occur at the junction of the seasons. Winter, spring, summer, autumn then winter again are beautiful. But in our climate, with its usual well-defined and fair duration of all seasons, each season can get us bored. In winter, we unbearably miss summer and short sleeves; in summer we experience nostalgia for calm and long winter evenings, the rhythm and content of which is mainly determined by snow and frost.

There are moments amazingly unique and exclusive despite its annual predictability because its predictability is not absolute. Everyone knows that one day in late fall or early winter the first snow will happen. But each time the first snow is a delightful surprise that makes us happy and brings childhood memories.

Fall is notifying us already about its approach by chilly foggy mornings, changing color trees...and spider webs that suddenly become visible in the rays of the rising sun. Yellow and red strands on the trees I love the most! They are outlined to let us know that one day soon Nature will turn our lives from summer to fall.

I wrote all this to the fact that fall is inevitable and there is only one way to take it favorably. Get some sweet Sherry or Benedictine, get fragrant black loose leaf tea (Darjeeling, Keemun or Yunnan fit perfectly), get a small wineglass, a cute tea cup, a cozy throw and a chair.

And one night, all of these items should be brought into action. Fireplace is lit up, tea is brewed wineglass is full. And then you need to sit in a chair, wrapped in the throw, drink tea and whatever in the wineglass, enjoy  the beauty of a fireplace excepting the fact that fall is here, winter is next ...and smile.

Loose Leaf Oolong Tea: The Process Of Fermentation

Oolong or Wu Long means "Black Dragon". Oolongs are half-fermented (or semi-oxidized) teas that are in the specialty tea family. Half-fermented because the processing of Oolong tea requires only a partial fermentation (oxidation) of the leaves. Oolongs occupy an intermediate position between non-fermented green teas and fully fermented black teas and are the most diverse and interesting loose leaf teas. Oolongs can have varying degrees of oxidation that ranges somewhere between 10-35% in classic Chinese Oolongs to 60-70% in classic Taiwanese (Formosa) Oolongs. Oolong specialty tea is often made from mature leaves, collected from older tea trees.

Processing Oolong is considered the art of tea, where the character of tea is created. Tea masters participate in Oolong tea processing competitions to demonstrate their professional skills at this fine art.

Let’s take a look at Oolong manufacturing process.

There are no standard recipes on how to manufacture oolong tea; it is up to the discretion of each tea garden or tea master to decide on processing and the level of oxidation.
 
Immediately after gathering, the tea leaves are spread in a thin layer on special bamboo mats under direct sunlight for withering that will let most of water evaporate. The withering process time varies depending on the ambient temperature.
 
The next step of processing is very peculiar, withered leaves are placed in a large bamboo basket and put in a shady area. Approximately every hour, the tea leaves are shacked and gently tumbled in order to bruise the edges of the leaves to start an oxidation, at the same time avoiding breaking or crushing them. This procedure has to be done several times, until following effect will be reached: bruised up edges of the leaves due to the fermentation become brown blush (like 'rusty'), while veins and parts of the leaves should remain green.

Once the desired level of fermentation is reached, the oxidation process should be stopped immediately. This is achieved through the heat drying phase of raw materials in scorching air called "panning". The pan roasting of the leaves requires extensive experience in Oolong tea processing.

Most Oolongs are dried in two stages: first is partially, primary drying and rolling of tea leaves, then a final finish drying. Some highly fermented Oolongs undergo an additional stage of wetting and softening.

The partially drying process is carried out manually. This stage is necessary to stop the fermentation. Partially drying can be done in 2-4 steps, when the raw material is taken out of the oven, quickly cooled, then rolled. Then again dried in the oven, rapidly cooled, then rolled again, and so on. Afterwards, the leaves go through a final drying phase, ending oxidation and often followed by baking (roasting). Several kinds of Oolong are not rolled just dried after panning. With such a "multistage" technology, taste and degree of fermentation of Oolongs differentiate. Although, manufacturing Oolong is very intensive and meticulous process, unique aroma and flavor profile of this specialty tea makes this tea worth the trouble.

Good quality Oolongs are only loose leaf teas, not tea bags!

The most widely known and actively exported Oolongs are Chinese (Fujian and Yunnan) and Taiwanese (Formosa). Among the most well-known are Formosa Oolongs. Grown and manufactured in Taiwan, named after the province in which grown, these teas are considered the best in quality and affordability among Oolong the loose leaf tea family. Taiwanese Oolongs are often called "Champagne of Teas". Typically Taiwanese Oolongs are specifically labeled that indicates the quality of tea:

1. Fanciest or Extra Fancy
2. Fancy
3. Extra Choice or Extra Fine
4. Fine
5. Fully Superior
6. Superior
7. Good
8. Standard

Chinese Oolongs are famous for the fact that are used in a Chinese traditional procedure named Gongfu Cha and withstand up to 7 steepings.

Brewing Oolong is a very delicate process because it strongly depends on the type of oolong, more precisely, the degree of its fermentation. A lightly fermented Oolong is closest to the brewing of green tea with 190-195 degrees water and the brewing time 1-3 minutes. More fermented Oolong (such as Formosa) is brewing a little longer 4-5 min in hotter water 203-212. After brewing a quality Oolong has pronounced specific characteristics that cannot be mixed with any other kinds of tea.

 The best quality Oolongs expresses a strong and rich floral aroma and a remarkable peachy flavor with a honey-sweet aftertaste. Oolongs that closer in oxidation to black teas, have a nutty, toasted flavor. Color of brew is very diverse: from light yellow with green notes (like green tea) to a dark red. Oolong specialty teas contribute 2% of tea consumption of all the teas all over the world.

Enjoy a great cup of Oolong, happy drinking!