Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hangover? There Is A Cup Of Tea For That

Rid that headache with a cup of Tung ting oolong tea. From the mountains of Taiwan, this part fermented blue tea is soothing and relaxing for the mind. This blended tea is a mix of green and black tea, the only ingredient is pure Formosan Tung ting tea. Because the whole of the leaf is used this tea is high in caffeine and will also help you to stay slimmer as a dietary addition.

Here is another tea that will help with that horrible "the morning after a great night before"; it will also help make you feel younger. Forget the full English breakfast and hair of the dog, have a spicy wake up with a cup of hot or cold Chilli Chai. Sounds just like it tastes too, extra spicy and not for the mild curry eater, this one has a kick to wake you up and rehydrate quickly. A traditional twist on an authentic Indian recipe that contains real chilli flakes! A blend from Assam containing ginger chunks and cardamom, this tea sounds expensive but it really isn't.

Bordering Bangladesh and Burma, Assam in India is the world's largest tea growing region. During the monsoon season they get up to 12 inches of rainfall per day and with temperatures of 40 degrees this is a veritable hot house of a country, this is truly tropical.

Apparently, the renowned Robert the Bruce first discovered this tea bush while trading in the country. Bruce noticed local tribes picking and brewing the leaves but before the plant was verified he unfortunately died. It was his brother Charles who decided to step in and supervised the bush being sent for analysis and cultivation in Calcutta's botanical gardens.

The Chinese got involved with the English East India committee in 1834 to try to refine the plant. They found that the bush thrived in the climate with the addition of the Chinese tea seeds which replaced some of the wildness of the Assam plant.

The tea is grown in the lowlands and is picked by hand twice a year. The bush is covered in white blossoms and it's during March that the first flush is harvested. The gold tipped leaf that is picked in the second flush has a sweeter and fuller body some saying it is much more superior in taste. This tea is nicknamed "tippy tea" and is highly praised by many experts in the industry.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Different Types of Japanese Green Tea Explained

Green tea is a very popular beverage and one reason for its popularity is because of its health benefits. It has a high content of flavonoids which are a group of phytochemicals that have anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic properties. What that means is that phytochemicals can help fight off or prevent a number of diseases. Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis but there are a number of varieties created by variations in growing conditions, harvesting time, and processing. On this page we are going to focus on four popular varieties of Japanese green tea.


Macha comes in powdered form and is the tea that is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. There is an un-powdered form of Macha that is called Tencha. Macha tea leaves are grown in shaded fields much like the Gyukoro variety. The leaves are steamed and dried and only the blades of the leaves are used, not the stems and veins. This variety of tea has a mellow sweetness and a subtle bitterness.


Many people consider Gyokuro the very best Japanese green tea. This variety is grown under diffused light and it is made from single buds that are picked in April and May. The leaves are very small when they are plucked and they undergo minimal processing but they are steamed for approximately 30 minutes to stop fermentation and seal in flavor. They are then dried to a 30% moisture content and they are rolled until they are formed into thin, dark green needles. They are then dried again to a 4 to 6% moisture content. The flavor of this variety has been described as rich and sweet with a little bit of a briny taste and an almost buttery aftertaste.


The Hojicha of Japanese green tea is made from a mixture of leaves and stems that are pan fired to give it a flavor that is very much like roasted grain. This variety of Japanese green tea has less caffeine than other varieties.


Sencha is made from the top parts of the tea leaves and buds. The whole leaves are steamed for a short period to stop oxidation. They are then rolled into long cylinders and dried. The final step is to fire the leaves which will preserve them and give them their flavor. The flavor of the Sencha variety of Japanese green tea is mildly sweet with herbal flavors.