Gimme a Tea!!! Today I’m discussing the truths about tea.
Step aside milk, tea does a body good. So good in fact, it may actually counteract some of the negative effects of diabetes and smoking and lower the risk of lung cancer.
When talking about tea I’m referring to black, green, white, or oolong. All of these teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Why is tea so good for you?
Studies indicate that phytochemicals in tea, such as flavonoids, may protect against bone loss, heart disease, cancer and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The caffeine content of teas vary, but despite which leaf you choose each cup is packed full of antioxidants – which help fight free radicals and stress-induced inflammation.
Cold Or Hot Tea?
Both! Depends on how you like it. Personally, I only drink hot tea early in the morning or late at night before bed and during the day I prefer iced tea – even in the winter months.
However, iced tea brewed from loose leaves is the best source of antioxidants. It’s true that bottled varieties vary in potency. Just don’t use hot water when making iced tea. This creates a chemical reaction that changes the flavor slightly.
To make cold-brewed tea it’s best to put tea leaves in a bottle of water, then refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Use one teaspoon of tea leaves (or one bag) to every six ounces of water.
Although, it’s important to note that you should drink your tea within 24 hours for maximum benefits. After that, the antioxidants in tea start to dissipate.
Try squeezing in a little juice from a lemon or an orange – both of which are high in vitamin C. This may help you absorb up to three times as much of certain polyphenol antioxidants.
Don’t like lemon in your tea? That’s ok. Try having an orange as a snack while you drink your tea. As long as the citrus and the tea mingle in your gut together, you’ll get the same benefits.
When you first use loose leaf tea making the perfect cup takes practice. There are a ton of options to choose loose leaf teas so make sure to try a variety of brands and flavors. It’s really personal preference. Don’t be intimidated by loose leaves though. Fresh, loose leaves yield the most health benefits and flavor compared to tea bags. Different types of teas require different preparation methods.
First, the water temperature really matters. What I’ve learned from researching and from personal experience is that the lighter the tea, the cooler the water should be.
(although don’t quote me on this exactly because I am not an expert)
White Tea: 155 degrees F. Let the water rest for 3-4 minutes after boiling before you pour.
Green Tea: 165 degrees F. Let the water rest for 2 minutes before you pour.
Oolong Tea: 200 degrees F. Let the water rest for 1 minute before you pour.
Black Tea: 212 degrees F. No resting. Pour right after boiling.
Steeping time –> while each tea has a specific resting (steeping) time, the 3-5 minute rule works well for most teas. If the tea tastes bitter chances are you over-steeped. Try diluting the tea with a little water to make it more palatable.