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.
Make Your Own Green Tea Mints
If you’ve been standing in a check-out line recently at any supermarket, you’ve probably noticed the phenomenon of green tea mints in small designer tins. You may have been tempted to throw one on top of your pile of groceries, but upon closer inspection, it’s pretty clear that most of these mints have very little to do with green tea. However, the principle of green tea mints sounds tasty and intriguing – we drink peppermint tea and sometimes add fresh crushed mint leaves to our favorite varieties, so why not give green tea mints a try? You’ll have fresh breath, enjoy the effects of antioxidants, and even have ready-made gifts for friends if you can find some fun tins that will hold your mints. You can try the following recipe to make your mints and, of course, feel free to experiment. The simplicity of this recipe will allow you to be as bold or as subtle with the tea and mint flavors as you like.
What to Gather
- Teajo Tea Filters
- Teajo Green Sencha Loose Tea
- 1 Cup Granulated
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- Peppermint Extract
What to Do
First, you’ll need to make a green tea reduction. Heat one or two cups of water in a small saucepan until it starts to simmer, then remove it from the heat and add a tea filter with some green sencha leaves. This tea is recommendable because of its natural mild sweetness, and you can use as much or as little as you’d like.Â Next, cover the saucepan with cling-wrap to intensify the steeping period, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Once you’ve done this, remove the tea filter and return your saucepan to the stovetop. Boil the tea until you have just enough to measure four tablespoons.
Add the granulated sugar to the four tablespoons of tea reduction and bring the mixture to a boil. Next, add the powdered sugar and peppermint extract to taste. Drop your mints onto sheets of waxed paper, trying to maintain a uniformly round shape. Once the mixture cools, this will become more difficult and you might want to warm it up again. The best course of action is to drop your mints as quickly as possible. Wait for your mints to cool and you’ll be able to peel them off of the waxed paper easily.
Storing Your Mints
Most craft stores offer “favor tins” in a variety of shapes, and some even come with small decorative labels that you can use to personalize tins for friends. They can often be found with wedding and reception items, and if you come up empty-handed, you can always ask an employee about them. While you’re there, you can even purchase some ribbon to tie around your mint tins, making them even more festive. Your friends will be delighted to receive them as a gift.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is a passionate blogger on the topic of education and free college scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
The Healing Power of Black Tea: Reversing Blood Vessel Disease
Green, black, and even white tea are all popular as beverages that offer health benefits such as the potential to prevent cancer and to help people lose weight. Black tea, however, is perhaps the first tea found to completely reverse a specific disease. Endothelial dysfunction is, essentially, an imbalance between the substances produced by the endothelium, or blood vessel lining. This imbalance can impair immune function, coagulation or clotting, and the number of electrolytes present in the blood. The condition has been associated with obesity, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), and various types of cardiac disease. In a study conducted by Stephen Duffy and his team from the Boston University School of Medicine, black tea was found to be a successful treatment for these health complications.
Conducting the Study
Duffy and his team randomly selected 66 patients with confirmed coronary artery disease (CAD), then administered both a short- and a long-term test to the subjects. The tests were given in a series of different treatments, rather than having a control group, so all subjects drank both tea and water. For the short-term test, subjects drank 450 mL of either tea or water, then underwent testing after two hours to determine the effects. The long-term test was similar, with the subjects drinking 900 mL of tea or water daily for four weeks. Ultrasounds were used to examine the subjects’ arteries both before and after the experimental treatment, so water was proven to have no effect on artery disease while both short- and long-term consumption of black tea improved artery function significantly.
How Black Tea Helped Reverse CAD
The researchers behind this study didn’t isolate any “precise mechanism” that enabled black tea to affect patients with CAD, but they gathered evidence that the benefits were related to the antioxidant flavonoids found in the tea. Flavonoids, also referred to as Vitamin P, are widely distributed in plants, and their antioxidant activity has been observed in controlled environments. The researchers believe that the number of flavonoids in diseased tissue was built up, positively affecting reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions taking place in the tissue. When Duffy and his team administered their short-term black tea test to healthy volunteers, they learned that tea consumption can increase the antioxidant activity of the blood’s plasma. The implications of their findings are significant, suggesting that the prevention or reversal of endothelial dysfunction by black tea consumption could stop or reverse the development of more severe cardiovascular disease.
Duffy, Stephen J. et al. “Short and Long-Term Black Tea Consumption Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease.” American Heart Association, Inc. 2001.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident education blogger and performs research surrounding College Scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Photo: Public Domain
There are so many fantastic uses for tea other than drinking. Teas can be used for cooking and in recipes, adding a little extra flavor without overpowering the taste of food. Substituting tea in your favorite foods and beverages sounds tricky but is so easy, delicious and may just become your “cup of tea!”
Tea Flavored Ice Cubes and Popsicles
One of my favorite ways to make iced tea is to take some of the tea I’ve made, pour it into ice cube trays and add them to your glass of tea. It’s such a great way to make iced tea without it getting watered down as the ice melts. You can also try to add different flavored tea ice cubes to regular iced tea to give the tea a great fruit flavor. Along the same lines as tea flavored ice cubes, freezing fruity teas in popsicle holders is the new, grown up way to enjoy a frozen treat on a hot summer day.
Mint Teas in Chocolate Recipes
I love chocolate mint, but using mint extract tends to be too strong for me. So in place of the extract, when cooking, I brew a fairly strong cup of mint tea and add a portion of this in place of the mint extract. This gives my recipes a softer flavor as opposed to that kick that the extract has.
Teas to Enhance Recipes
Raspberry or lemon teas specifically, along with pretty much any other fruit flavored teas can be added to glazes, icings or mousses to give the recipe a subtle taste without overpowering. Brew your tea as usual, making it as strong or mild as you like and in place of the portion of the water you would normally add to these recipes, substitute that liquid with the tea. I would advise you to add the tea slowly, less is better since you can always add more!
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She often can be found blogging about education and scholarships for college. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
In the U.S., most of the green tea we consume is from China. Very few are exposed to Japanese teas, and in particular, Sencha. Sencha is the most popular green teas in Japan and represents approximately 80% of the green tea produced in Japan. How is it different from the typical Chinese green tea? First, sencha leaves are initially steamed whereas Chinese green tea is pan-fried. This initial steaming step creates a more vegetal, almost grassy-like flavor with the sencha. In fact, it also has a slightly sweet flavor as well.
I personally prefer the taste of sencha over Chinese green tea any day and would recommend it to anyone who would like a lot more flavor in their green tea. This summer, instead of brewing up some black tea or Chinese green tea, try getting your hands on some sencha and definitely enjoy it over ice.
One of the largest specialty loose tea retailers in the world, TeaGschwendner, is moving forward with an aggressive strategy to be number 1 in the U.S., a spot arguably claimed by Teavana. A recent interview with their Director of U.S. Operations reveals some interesting aspects of the company’s strategy, including a comment about not wanting to be the “Starbucks of Tea.” Read more…
After having watched the movie, Food Inc., I realized that there are many similarities between food and tea. If you know anything about the book or movie, you understand that most of the food we consume in the U.S. is processed in a factory environment from a small handful of large food companies. Even when you see the words “Farm Fresh” on the labels of your favorite beef or poultry, you can rest assured that the contents in the package most likely did not come directly from a farm. Everything today is highly processed and rarely fresh, primarily because it is cheaper to do so.
The same thing applies to your favorite loose tea. 99% of the tea in the supermarket or tea shops are highly processed, consist of factory blends produced by consolidators and are certainly not direct from tea gardens/farms. Why do they do this? It is cheaper, plain and simple. Just like there are very few retail choices for consumers to shop for organic meats, there are very few places for a tea drinker to purchase organic and garden-fresh loose tea.
The choice is yours. Pay a little more and eat better tasting and healthier food or eat cheap and risk your health. Also, if you are looking to make a change to a more organic lifestyle, do your research and visit your local natural foods stores.
Teajo Teas is proud to announce that our flavored loose teas are now available through a quality chain of 13 natural food stores located throughout the Midwest and Florida. Akins Natural Foods Marketplace has stores in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, where as Chamberlin’s Natural Foods, the sister company of Akins, is located throughout Central Florida. For more information, please visit https://www.teajo.com/wheretobuy.php.
Drinking tea and how it can affect pregnancy is a subject that has recently become very near and dear to our hearts, given that my wife and I are expecting in the next few months. Naturally, as a regular loose tea drinker, my wife is wondering if a cup of tea a day is considered safe to drink without adding significant risk to the pregnancy. Most doctors will tell you, including ours, that everything in moderation is basically safe. While there have been studies that show large amounts of caffeine can have adverse effects on the fetus, there are no conclusive studies that rule out caffeine completely. If you are pregnant, the bottom line is listen to your doctor and also to your body. The following is a well written article on what is considered safe in terms of caffeine intake during pregnancy…read more.