Secrets of Tea – Jill Sung

1 Mar

We love to drink tea at JUARA. Not a day goes by where the statement, “Who’s going to make tea today?” doesn’t find its way into office conversation. But tea wasn’t always our drink of choice. In the past, we survived off pots of coffee. But after several of us read “Skinny Bitch” (I’ll admit it), we had a cold turkey reckoning, and tea and water became our new best friend. (And Kombucha – but you’ve already been enlightened on our love of that healthy beverage.)

Although we had all grown up drinking different types of tea, few of us knew much about tea beyond the fact that it can have caffeine and has healthy antioxidants that help skin and body fight age-inducing free radicals. We’ve also all heard that tea can prevent cancer, calm the stomach, improve immune function, decrease cardiovascular risk, etc.

But did you know that tea comes from only 1 plant – the Camellia sinensis plant and that the different types of tea: White, Green, Black, Pu-erh, and Oolong differ based on the amount and type of processing each tea undergoes? All “teas” that come from other plants are “herbal teas” – but tasty nonetheless. Examples of the different types of teas:

  • White (air dried buds, natural oxidation): Silver needle
  • Green (air dried leaves processed by steam or wok-fire, natural oxidation): Hojicha, High mountain tea
  • Black (rolled leaves, fully oxidized): Keemun, Darjeeling, Pekoe, Ceylon, Breakfast
  • Oolong (partially oxidized by baking for different flavors): Tie Guan Yin, Oolong
  • Pu-erh (cave-aged large-leaf, better with time, classified by age and region – like wine!): sheng (green/raw) types, shu (ripened/cooked)

Something new I learned recently, the caffeine in tea doesn’t create that “crash” that so often happens with other caffeinated beverages, it’s a smooth and energy lifting awareness. Something I’ve experienced, but never realized. Also, I’ve always heard that green tea has more caffeine than coffee, but I didn’t realize that a typical serving has far less caffeine because tea is brewed more “weakly” than coffee.  Plus, color is NOT an indicator for caffeine content.

Other fun facts: you can brew tea with the same tea leaves multiple times, just add hot water. If you like it sweet, add agave or honey instead of sugar. Agave doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels (thus preventing the sugar high and crash) and honey is naturally immune-boosting. No milk? Try soy milk. And sometimes, when I’m tired of the millions of teas we have in our cupboard, I mix teas. Chai with herbal mint tea. Herbal antioxidant Rooibos with black tea. Choco-mint with Thai Chai. So let’s drink to your health!

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