First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with cloudy iced tea, other than it does not look very appealing. Iced tea becomes cloudy because the polyphenols in the tea bind with the minerals in the water in which it was brewed. This effect is heightened when tea is refrigerated for long periods of time.
The primary reason tea companies promote the concept of non-cloudy tea is for the purpose of marketing. Many of these same companies include additives in their tea blends to prevent clouding of tea. Home remedies include adding citrus or boiling water to the tea to remove the cloudy effect. The bottom line is that, while cloudy tea may look unappealing, there is nothing wrong with the tea. In fact, cloudy tea often indicates a higher quality of tea leaves.
It seems as if drinking tea has now become quite socially acceptable, even for men. Everyone is drinking some type of tea these days, especially green tea. They have been told that tea will cure all their ills. Manufacturers have also jumped on the bandwagon with all kinds of crazy products, including slimming tea and green tea pills. If you think either slimming tea or pills with green tea extract is your ticket to losing weight and a healthy lifestyle, think again.
Loose tea is definitely a part of a healthly lifestyle, but tea in itself will not shed the pounds. Have you ever noticed that people who drink tea regularly seem to also pay attention to the other aspects of their health, such as what they eat or how much activity they get. There is no magic pill, and drinking loose tea every day will not single-handedly solve all your weight or health problems. That said, when combined with other healthy lifestyle choices, drinking tea can be very beneficial to your health. In fact, studies have shown a number of positive benefits from drinking tea, including improving cardiovascular health, reducing risk for some cancers and boosting one’s immune system.
Sometimes even the most delicious flavored tea can become boring after awhile, especially if you like to drink tea on a daily basis. But whether you are hoping to bring more variety to your daily tea intake, or if you are simply hoping to impress your family and friends with a unique recipe of flavored tea, here are three unusual teas to try brewing in your kitchen:
1. Yellow tea
Yellow tea is both grown and processed on a small lake island in China, and after it is harvested it is then fermented under straw and then rolled into needles before drying. The flavor of yellow tea has a slight hint of cocoa, flowers and vanilla, and is extremely popular because of its subtle flavor.
In order to make yellow tea, you need 1/2 oz. of yellow root stems, 18 oz. of water, two teaspoons of sugar, one lemon cut into quarters, four teaspoons of lemon juice, and cheese cloth in which to wrap the root stems.
First you have to wrap the stems with the cloth but make sure it is tightly secured at both ends with a string. After bringing the water to a boil, add the stems and lemon quarters and keep boiling for one minute before adding sugar. Boil for another minute and then pour the liquid into a large picture before adding the lemon juice.
2. Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea has a unique espresso-like flavor that also has hints of mushrooms, nuts, plums and dark chocolate and is known to help treat digestion and high cholesterol.
All you need in order to make pu-erh tea is to purchase pu-erh tea cakes and then steep them in hot water for approximately two minutes.
3. Genmaicha tea (rice tea)
Genmaicha tea is made with roasted brown rice and a lesser grade of bancha leaf, and is also commonly referred to as “popcorn tea” because the rice usually pops during the processing. Genmaicha tea also tends to have a sharp and lemon-type of flavor because it contains both smooth and harsh tasting polyphenols.
In order to make the tea, spread a thin layer of brown rice into a medium sized pan, and then turn the heat to a low or medium setting. Toast the rice until it becomes dark brown, and although toasting time varies, try not to toast it for over five minutes.
Next, cool the rice on a plate and then place it inside of a container for storage. Then take one tablespoon of the toasted brown rice (one tablespoon will usually make one strong cup of tea), and then place the rice inside of a tea sieve with one teaspoon of green tea leaves.
Put the tea sieve into an empty mug and then pour hot, steaming water into the mug and let it sit for three minutes. Lastly, remove the tea sieve and pour the genmaicha into a mug and enjoy.
Bio: Aside from school and working part-time as an Assistant Chef, Bridget Sandorford is the resident Culinary Schools blogger where recently she has been researching Ottawa culinary colleges as well writing a guide on the types of chefs students can become with proper experience and training. She lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
How to Make Your Own Tea Smoothie
Whether you’re a fan of black tea, green tea or any other type of flavored tea for that matter, it may surprise you to know that transforming your favorite flavor of tea into a delicious tea smoothie is actually easier than you may think.
All you need in order to make a tea smoothie is 1 cup of brewed and chilled tea, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen or crushed fruit, 1/2 cup of crushed ice, and 1 cup of a liquid base. (This can come in the form of yogurt, milk, ice cream or even soy/almond milk as well). Some people like to add 1 tablespoon of honey to give the smoothie a little extra flavor, however, this is only optional.
First brew your desired flavor of tea, and then pour it into a bowl or leave it in the refrigerator to cool for 45 minutes. Next, add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth, (make sure you add the crushed ice last).
When it comes to choosing what type of fruit you want to include in your smoothie, this truly depends on the flavor of tea you are using; however, the general rule of thumb in making tea smoothies is that you should add at least 1/2 a banana into the mix because it helps with both the texture and the flavor of your smoothie.
Some of the most popular kinds of fruit you could add to your tea smoothie include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, mangos and blackberries, or you could even try mixing them all together if you’re feeling exceptionally experimental.
However, green tea smoothies taste best when combined with bananas, blueberries and strawberries, black tea smoothies mix well with strawberries and raspberries, and rooibos smoothies taste great with peaches. (And perhaps it goes without saying that berry teas taste the best when mixed with different types of berries).
You can even try experimenting with different types of flavored yogurt to use as your liquid base if you don’t feel like buying different fruit each time you make a smoothie.
If your smoothie did not turn out as you had hoped, keep in mind that making your own smoothies usually requires a sort of trail-and-error process. So if you can, try to experiment with not only the different types of ingredients you add into your smoothie, but the amount of ingredients as well.
Bio: Aside from school and working part-time as an Assistant Chef, Bridget Sandorford is the resident Culinary Schools blogger where recently she’s been researching culinary masters programs specifically culinary colleges in California. Her passion for food has followed her research into many different areas, such as nutrition, fitness, organic foods, gardening, and cooking on a budget. She lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina.