Tea is so good for you! Not only is it 0 calories, but it has been shown to boost immunity, slow cognitive decline, rev your metabolism, help relieve stress, decrease your cardiovascular risk and more!
A few weeks ago I went with some friends to visit Sensibiliteas, an ‘everything tea’ store located in the Shirt Factory building in downtown Glens Falls. The hundreds of teas lining the wall of the store was impressive as the picture above shows. We spent quite some time listening to Ben talk to us about tea in general, and their store in particular. What an eye opener! Here are a few things I learned during our visit:
- All tea comes from the tea leaf, or camellia sinensis. The differences in tea quality are directly related to how the leaves are processed. There is no such thing as decaf tea leaf tea. Decaf tea is simply processed tea, and the actual processing of the tea removes some of the valuable antioxidants (called catechins). Same goes for powdered forms of tea.
- Many bagged teas are low quality. This is partly due to the fact that producers use machines to harvest the leaves. The highest quality teas are hand picked.
- A simple way to take the a significant amount of caffeine from your tea is to seep it for 30 seconds, toss that water and then seep fresh hot water.
- If you seep your tea for too long, tannins are released and your tea might taste bitter. I learned that the hard way just the other day. Yuk! For best results, steep your tea for at least three minutes and squeeze the bag at the end. Try to avoid adding milk or cream, which can bind tea’s beneficial compounds and make them less effective. On the other hand, if you add lemon or lime, you can enhance absorption of catechins.
- Teas do expire over time and lose some of their beneficial nutrients, especially when exposed to light or moisture. Store your tea in a dry, dark place. Tins or ball jars are simple and effective storage containers.
- Many popular loose leaf tea companies have artificial flavors and colors in their teas and/or added sugar. No wonder my family always thought that Teavana tea tasted so good!
Three types of tea:
- White: the least processed and therefore has the highest levels of antioxidants.
- Green: less caffeine than black tea and about 50 percent as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Matcha is green tea ground into a powder. Be careful as the caffeine is more concentrated!
- Black: has 75 percent as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
When preparing tea, for best results, steep it for at least 3 minutes. Be wary of adding milk or cream as studies have shown that these liquids bind to tea’s beneficial compounds and diminish their antioxidant effect. Adding a twist of lemon or lime, however, is beneficial as the vitamin C in citrus can increase the absorption of catechins up to three fold!
Here are a few things I learned about Sensibiliteas in the Shirt Factory building in downtown Glens Falls:
- They have over 500 teas to choose from! Most of their teas are $3 for one ounce. One ounce makes about 10 cups of tea. The more you buy the more you save with their discount incentive.
- Some of their teas have a designated charity, so when you purchase it you are also giving to a local cause such as the South High Marathon, WAIT house, etc.
- You can bring your own container to them to have it filled.
- They sell tea supplies, tins and so much more.
- If you bring a bagged tea from home to them, they can try to match the ingredients for you.
- They are open from 11 – 5 Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 10-5.
If you are not a tea drinker, I encourage you to take time to learn more about it and try it for yourself! Here’s a link to a good WebMD article about the types of teas and their health benefits: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits#1.
Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.”