Tea: Health, Ritual and Enjoyment

by Laura on February 10, 2013

in Beverages, Drink, Partaking

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photo courtesy World Tea Expo

According to the Tea Council, 165 million cups of tea are consumed daily, making tea the most consumed beverage in the world after water. Filled with antioxidants and polyphenols, tea is a drink that has been enjoyed for cultures around the world for centuries.

For some of you, thoughts of tea may still conjure up the vision of a blue-haired old lady sipping Afternoon Tea, today, men, women and children of all ages are enjoying tea in one form or another. No longer are the Lipton tea bags the only choice, pu-erh, jasmine tea, savory broccoli, flowering teas, and cherry-infused ready-to-drink varieties, stand aside classic favorites such as Earl Grey – all beckoning us during different times of the day.

“Tea is on fire with consumers,” says George Jage, founder and director of World Tea Media, which puts on the World Tea Expo, the leading trade event with a robust conference that is focused 100% on premium teas and related products.

And this, according to Jage, is due to a variety of reasons. “We’re seeing more and more successful products on the shelf and online. Additionally, the industry continues to focus on quality, there are new retail establishments are springing up, and consumers learning about tea, enjoying its health benefits and appreciating its variations, complexities and cultural distinctions.”

His sentiments are mirrored by Erin O’Hara, product marketing manager, for Bay-area based Numi Organic Tea. “Because the number of tea drinkers continues to grow, there is no longer a typical tea consumer. There are not only more tea drinkers in general, but there is a savvy-ness to them as well. Their palates are awakening and they are realizing that high quality teas exist and taste completely different from what they grew up drinking. Organic, fair trade, fuller-leaf teas, real ingredients versus sprayed on flavoring – these are all attributes that create a better cup of tea.  There are nuances and deeper flavor profiles, very similar complexities to that as wine.”

So, if you find yourself in that tea consumer category, Family Eats is ready to bring you all things tea.  Here area few new tea offerings that can be enjoyed on the day of love, or any day – and, any time of the day for that matter.

1. Looking for a Love Connection: Jasmine Tea

Did you know that elephant owners put jasmine oil (or jasmine flowers) on them to help arouse them, and assist them, in reproducing? Long considered to be an aphrodisiac scent, jasmine has been used in everything from perfumes to incense, and yes, in tea.

We’re not sure how scientific this all is, but anyone would agree that jasmine has an alluring scent. And, when used in tea, it only amplifies. “There is a tea for every time of day, occasion, and type of food, whether you are a newbie or a foodie,” says Anne-Marie Phillips, head of sales and marketing for Choice Organic Teas. “Jasmine Tea is especially popular on Valentine’s Day due to its the purported aphrodisiac qualities. We have several Jasmine Teas to choose from in tea bags, tea pyramids, or loose leaf.”

Choice200Choice Organic Teas, offers a deliciously satisfying – and perhaps, aphrodisiac, Jasmine Green Tea. Scented with jasmine blossoms, you can easily lose yourself in the ethereal virtues of this Chinese treasure, produced only in August when jasmine flowers are in bloom. The company’s growers blend the finest green tea with freshly picked blossoms, which are removed after they’ve imparted their floral essence. The delicately sweet taste and aroma offer instant enlightenment.

 

 

2. The Ritual and Ceremony of Tea

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Called The Way of Tea, the Japanese tea ceremony is a ceremonial preparation of tea that dates back centuries. The star of the centuries-old Japanese tea ceremony is a green powdered tea called matcha. The custom of drinking tea is based in ritual that provides not only pleasure, but the medicianl benefits of the tea. In the matcha tea ceremony, the finely ground green tea leaves are whisked in a bowl with hot water to create a frothy, bright green, nourishing beverage. Once prepared, it is immediately consumed in its entirety. Often it is served with traditional Japanese treats, called wagashi. The taste is stronger than other green teas, because you are consuming actual tea leaves.

 

V20003Premium Natural U•Matcha™ from The Republic of Tea, is unlike regular green tea, these tender, shade-grown leaves are ground to a fine powder creating a rich balance of flavors in baked goods or ice cream. This exceptional tea is abundant in nutrients and has the balanced flavors of what is referred to as umami (literally, “yummy” in Japanese). Premium Natural U•Matcha™ is great blended into water for sipping, powder and all, or in cooking.

 

 3. Enjoy the Bold and Chocolaty

Pu-erh is the oldest known tea that travelled along one of the five Tea Horse Roads (or, Ancient Tea Routes). Originated in the village of Pu-erh, merchants discovered pu-erh by accident, compressing the ta into bricks for easy transport. When aged in damp conditions, it developed a richer flavor and unique healing properties. In China, pu-erh is celebrated to have a myriad of health benefits. Although scientific research is in it’s early stages, clinical results substantiate cultural beliefs and anecdotal evidence that pu-erh can improve digestion and circulation, as well as increase metabolism and energy, supporting weight loss.

 

numis-10360Numi has a collection of pu-erh teas to choose from including the Chocolate Pu-erh, an enticing blend of deep, dark pu-erh and organic coco nibs. While vanilla beans and sweet accents of orange peel enhance this blend along with nutmeg and cinnamon rounding off a spicy finish.

 

 4. Refresh with Tea

tt_jasmine_500ml_productTea may be a hot category, but chilled varieties are more popular than ever. Try the Teas’ Tea line of natural, unsweetened bottled tea fro ITO EN. Green Jasmine is green tea that has been infused with the natural scent of jasmine flowers by alternating several layers of the flower within the green tea leaves prior to the brewing process. Exuding a distinct refreshing taste, Jasmine tea has nerve-calming and relaxation effects and also helps promote fresh breath. Unsweetened, and zero calories, Green Jasmine provides 180% of the daily value of Vitamin C. High in antioxidants.

 

5. Find a Blend of Love

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Get ready to satisfy the tea lover with the new Love Petals Set from Adagio Teas. Filled with three exclusive loose tea Valentine’s Day Blends, the collection comes ready to present in a gift box. Hugs and Kisses blend is a mix of caramel, almond cream and vanilla flavoring, along with flower petals. The Ripe for Romance tea is a black tea blend with chocolate and raspberry flavoring, and the Sweet Nothings Tea is a white tea with an apricot and peach flavors. Each tea is packaged loose in festive floral tins, and contains enough to make 50 cups of tea.

Tea companies have been offering consumers with delightful taste combinations for years. Whether it is the addition of superfruits, adding depth with chocolate, or simply adding zing with citrus, tea drinkers have the option of drinking a flavored tea for ages. Tea is all about the experience, whether you enjoy it at home or on the road. Take the time this Valentine’s Day (and beyond) to enjoy a deliciously satisfying cup of tea.

To help our readers enjoy some great tea, Choice Organic Teas is supplying us with four boxes of Jasmine Green Tea to give away. To be entered to win, please add a comment below – and we’ll choose four readers (randomly) by the end of the day February 26th. Good luck! And, Thank You, Choice.

 

 

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