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The Health Benefits of Different Teas

Coveted for centuries in the East as the key to good health, happiness and wisdom, tea is gaining the attention of researchers in the West who are discovering the many health benefits of different types of teas.


Research studies have shown that tea can provide help with cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It can also assist in weight loss, lower cholesterol and provide mental alertness. Tea has been found to also contain antimicrobial qualities.


“There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,” said Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, LD, spokesperson for The American Dietetic Association. “I think it’s a great alternative to coffee drinking. First, tea has less caffeine. It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea - their flavonoids - are good for the heart and may reduce cancer.”


However, nutritionists agree that brewed premium, organic provides the maximum health benefits, with less calories, sweeteners and preservatives over bottled, instant or “name brand” tea.


Here are the basic tea blends and their respective health benefits:


Green, Black and White Tea

Most any beverage that is steeped is called tea, however, purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea to be actual tea. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids.


The most potent of these flavonoids are known as ECGC which help fight free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease and clogged arteries. These teas also contain caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain by heighten mental alertness.


The more processing applied to tea leaves, the more they lose their overall content of antioxidants. Oolong and black teas are oxidized, or fermented, so they have lower concentration of antioxidants than green teas. However, their antioxidizing power is still very high.


Here is what some research studies have found to be the potential health benefits of tea:


Green Tea

Several studies have shown that green tea leaves, which are steamed, are high in concentrations of EGCG. The antioxidants in green tea have been shown to interfere with the growth of cancer in the bladder, breasts, lungs, stomach, pancreas and colon.


They also prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, reduce risk of stroke and improve cholesterol levels.


Black Tea

Made with fermented leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown black tea to protect the lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also reduces the risk of stroke.


White Tea

White tea is uncured and unfermented, studies have shown that it has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.


Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels. There are also some claims that Wuyi, a variety of oolong tea, shows weight loss properties.


Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. Studies have shown that pu-erh provides weight loss benefits and reduces LDL cholesterol.


Herbal Tea

Made from herbs, fruits, seeds or roots, herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green, white, black and oolong teas. However, their nutritional benefits are based on their own specific properties. This makes it difficult to list all of the health benefits available in herbal teas without listing each ingredient separately.


For more information on the health benefits provided by our numerous blends of premium herbal tea please refer to the Herbal Tea category on our site.


At ESP Tea Emporium, our goal isn’t to only sell tea, we want to inform and teach you about the amazing world of different teas, tea culture and the provided health benefits. Please check back for more interesting, helpful and informative articles about all the benefits to drinking tea.


The Benefits of Polyphenols & Flavonoids Found in Tea

There is a reason why tea is the second most popular drink in the world, next to water, because it is packed with several powerful ingredients that provide many benefits to your mind, body and soul.


Polyphenols Fight Disease


One of the major benefits to tea are its high quantities of polyphenols that literally combat and destroy the free radicals in our bodies which cause cancerous tumors to grow and allow disease to spread and reak havoc on our bodies in the form of several other debilitating health problems.


Free radicals are oxidants which are unstable molecules that damage cells, change our DNA and cause significant disease. Therefore, antioxidants, like polyphenols, are needed to fight cellular damage and repair vital cells. Because many diseases are the result of cellular damage, drinking tea for the benefits you receive from the polyphenols can be vital to a healthier lifestyle.


All tea, whether it has been oxidized or not, contains the health benefits of polyphenols. However, white and green teas contains higher amounts of polyphenols. Polyphenols have been proven to improve the oxidative stress biomarkers (the forecasters of disease risk).


Studies have shown promising evidence that polyphenols may help us fight cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus and some neurodegenerative diseases and may enhance overall bone and dental health.


Flavonoids Promote Overall Good Health


Polyphenols contain phytochemical compounds called flavonoids which provide antioxidant activity, and tannins that contribute to the flavor of the tea, mainly its astringency.


Catechins, a more powerful type of flavonoid, appears in very small amounts of oxidized tea, substantial amounts of green teas and a little less in white teas. Catechins are considered potent antioxidants and hold the most promise for fighting heart disease and cancer.


In addition to polyphenols and flavonoids, tea contains several other healthy ingredients, based on the numerous other herbs, spices and fruits which are added to the wide assortment of premium blends available.


This makes tea one of the healthiest, most nutritious beverages you can consume. Tea is just about everything you need for a healthier lifestyle, all in one cup.


At ESP Tea Emporium, our goal isn’t to only sell tea, we want to inform and teach you about the amazing world of different teas, tea culture and the provided health benefits. Please check back for more interesting, helpful and informative articles about all the benefits to drinking tea.


L-theanine and What it Means to Tea

L-theanine is a chemical regularly found in tea and is responsible for some of the well known effects tea has on the mind and body, as well as having an influence on the flavor itself.


The concentration of L-theanine found in any tea is high for this pretty uncommon chemical. Two of the teas with the highest known concentration, gyokuro and Anji bai cha, both contain around 2% L-theanine by dry weight. All other teas contain around 1% by dry weight.


The effects of L-theanine

Even though not completely understood and subject to ongoing research, L-theanine has a number of effects on the mind and body.


L-theanine reacts with caffeine to promote increased alertness with less amounts of caffeine required. This effect has been suggested for a long time before it was finally confirmed by controlled studies.


This is why tea is so popular for boosting concentration, even though it contains so much less caffeine than coffee. On the other hand L-theanine also plays a role in relaxation. This effect is what has led people to claim that L-theanine promotes a relaxed alertness.


L-theanine also has the ability to promote healthy sleep. In spite of the caffeine content, this is why tea is so well known to give you the “pick me up” when you need it, relax your body and mind at the end of the day and promote sweet dreams at bedtime.


At ESP Tea Emporium, our goal isn’t to only sell tea, we want to inform and teach you about the amazing world of different teas, tea culture and the provided health benefits. Please check back for more interesting, helpful and informative articles about all the benefits to drinking tea.


The Importance of Teaware to a Great Cup of Tea

While enjoying your favorite cup of tea, the teaware you use is just as important as the tea leaves you choose. I’m not talking about your “morning eye opener, I gotta wake up before I get to work” cup of tea, although there are plenty of fantastic travel mugs available for that, I’m talking about the “sitting on the back deck at the end of a hard day relaxing” cup of tea.


Teaware refers to the various tools and equipment used in the brewing and consumption of tea. Along with the obvious teapots and tea cups, teaware also includes tea strainers, tea trays, kettles, tea warmers, tea tins, tea trivets, travel mugs and other tea accessories and tools.


There is a varied range of material used to produce tea pots and tea cups, from cast iron made in Japan to porcelain and clay made in China, along with glass and glazed stoneware among others. The most highly regarded are the Yixing clay teapots produced in eastern China.


An important factor to consider when selecting teaware should be the particular thermal qualities of the material. It is recommended that each type of tea should be brewed at a specific temperature to taste its best. This will be affected by the ware’s level of heat conductivity.


Teas that are either lightly fermented or unfermented are better brewed in lower water temperatures. Glass and porcelain are both good choices for these applications because of their high heat conductivity.


However, heavily fired and fully fermented teas like Pu-erh should be brewed in higher water temperatures. Yixing stoneware and porous teapots with low heat conductivity are great ideas of these types of tea.


Whatever material your teaware is made of, taking proper care of it will ensure its longevity and enjoyment for years to come. Each type of material has its own care requirements. However, as a general rule of thumb, teaware should never be scrubbed with abrasive pads or washed with harsh detergents or soaps. Microwaves and dishwashers are also major no no’s.


Shape Matters

Wine connoisseurs understand that the shape, and the material of your glass influence how you taste a beverage. This is also very true with tea. However, unlike with wine, teaware comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Whereas most wine is consumed from glass, tea can be consumed from a variety of different materials.


The shape of your cup influences how you will enjoy the tea, because it controls the way you smell the tea while you are drinking it. The Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago states that “90% of what is perceived as taste is actually smell”.


Similar to wine glasses, the size of the rim your cup has, the angle at which it opens from its base, whether it is flared outward or inward, all affect how you taste the tea. Here are some of the ways that cup shape influences the taste of your tea.


Shape:


Narrow Rimmed

If you are drinking out of a tall and narrow teacup, as in the case of a whisky tasting glass, the smell will be funneled in a very concentrated channel straight into your nose. This is why aroma cups are tall and narrow, and not flared.


Wide Rimmed

A wider rimmed cup, something which opens up from the base and ends with the top being wider than the bottom. This allows the hot air, containing the aroma to diffuse quickly into the air.


Material:


Glass

One of the reasons glass is used to drink tea is that it is usually perfectly smooth, the tea has nothing hinder its movement. This means that the flavors and aroma remain fairly condensed.


Glass is also a neutral material, so it won’t add any of its own flavor to the drink. Have you ever noticed when you drink something in a plastic container it will taste different than the same drink in a glass? This is because the plastic leaves its own taste behind in the drink, usually a synthetic taste.


Ceramic

Ceramic is the most basic material for a teacup. Since the ceramic is glazed, it is usually free of imperfections. These imperfections mean that, when they are present, the tea will bump up against them and gives the drinker a more flavorful and aromatic experience.


Clay

Clay is very porous, with tiny imperfections in the surface. As with ceramic, just on a larger scale, the imperfections allow the flavor and aroma to be much more pronounced. Rather than offering the drinker a subtle experience it is much more robust.


Although none of the imperfections in a teacup, made of any material, are easily visible, the difference can be very noticeable in the taste. When you brew the same type of tea, at the same temperature and under all of the same conditions, you will notice a difference in the flavor and aroma based on the teacup you are drinking out of.


You will find that a clay teacup gives you a much fuller, more robust flavor and aroma then you will receive from one that is made from glass or ceramic. This is why choosing your teaware is just as important as choosing the tea you put into it.


At ESP Emporium, we believe that there is a big difference between brewing a cup of tea and brewing a relaxing cup of serenity.


Whether it's your “morning eye-opener” cup of tea or the “after a hard day, let the stress drain from my body and soul” cup of tea, We have exactly the right blend for you.


Our goal isn’t to only sell tea, we want to inform and teach you about the amazing world of different teas, tea culture and the provided health benefits. Please check back for more interesting, helpful and informative articles about all the benefits to drinking tea.


How to Make a Perfect Cuppa Tea

It is a debate that has raged for years, if not centuries. How do you make a perfect cuppa? It seems writer George Orwell took on this debate in 1946 with his essay “A Nice Cup of Tea”, which is still used today. And why shouldn’t it be? He did, after all nail what the future would be like in his still popular novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.


Some of the steps may seem a little dated but you can’t argue with the overall methods Orwell offers in his essay, he was obviously a tea lover who knew how to brew a cup of tea. Here are some of the steps Mr. Orwell lays out for us, with a bit of a modern twist that is sure to only improve your cup of tea.


When reading Orwell’s first tip you need to keep in mind that he wrote this, right after World War II, during a period of severe food rationing in England. He states:


First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical...”


However, lucky for us, today we don’t have to settle for teas that are available, there is a whole selection of premium teas to be found at ESP Emporium that will be kind to any wallet and pleasant to any palate.


Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware...”


Here again we don’t have to settle any one type of material for our teaware, nor do we have to deal with cauldrons, which really doesn’t sound appealing at all since they were probably used to wash socks in the morning.


“Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.”


Several guides to making the perfect cup of tea claim that it is crucial to warm the pot before you boil the water for your tea. Never boil the water for your tea in a cold pot.


“Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right.”


This step, now more than ever, seems to be one of taste more than actual requirement. We also need to take into consideration that when Orwell wrote this essay severe rations were in place throughout England and they didn’t have the wide variety of teas that we are lucky enough to have available to us.


Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea.”


In a lot of ways this becomes a case of ease or necessity. If loose tea does make the best cuppa, then sometimes this may need to be sacrificed because it is more convenient to use a tea bag because, we don’t always have the convenience of being in a place where we can easily use loose tea to make our brew. In cases like these, it is perfectly fine to use a tea bag.


This step has also been questioned because many people believe that the tea should meet the boiling water only in the cup, not the teapot. However, everyone believes that a very high boil should be used to brew the tea


“Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.”


Everyone also believes in this step as well. After “warming the pot”, you should dump the water used and start out with fresh water to start the boil for your brew.


“Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.”


Well this could be a little messy, but hey who am I?


“Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one's tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.”


Here Orwell is suggesting that you should always drink tea out of a large mug. I’m all for that the more the better.


“Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.”


When was the last time you ever had to pour the cream off the milk before using it?


“Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.”


This one also makes a lot of sense to me because we judge how much milk we want to add by how light the tea becomes as we are stirring it in. Otherwise, it is very possible to add more milk than you intended.


“Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.”


I personally have to agree with Mr. Orwell on this point. However, I’m not going to summon the other villagers to grab their torches and pitchforks and run the tea drinkers who prefer sugar out of the village.


Although it will be difficult not point at them and laugh. Tea is a drink that has an amazing flavor all its own. That flavor can be whatever you want it to be, it can be subtle and earthy, it can be fruity and it can even be bitter if you like. Don’t ruin it with sugar. Come on folks you wouldn’t add hot sauce to mom’s apple pie would you!?!


I hope you found these tips about making the perfect cuppa tea helpful. It only goes to prove, not only could George Orwell freak out generations of people with tales of our government watching us and offer an idea for an awesome reality show like “Big Brother”, but he also knew how to make a great cup of tea.


At ESP Tea Emporium, our goal isn’t to only sell tea, we want to inform and teach you about the amazing world of different teas, tea culture and the provided health benefits. Please check back for more interesting, helpful and informative articles about all the benefits to drinking tea.