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Posted by Susan Lutfallah on May 6, 2009

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Tea Varieties

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on August 9, 2010

 

  • White – White tea is processed differently than other teas.  The Chinese tea leaves are left in the sun to wilt slightly, causing them to lose the grassy taste of green teas. White tea may also have many health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It has also been rumored to halt the aging process.
  • Green – Green tea is only minimally oxidized and only needs a short steeping time. It does not have as much caffeine as black tea, and this Chinese tea has become a popular drink in the west. Green tea has been popularized for what many think are its many health benefits including lowering the chances of heart attack and cancer.
  • Oolong – Oolong tea is the most popular Chinese tea drank in restaurants; it has a strong, yet sweet aftertaste. Oolong requires quite a long steeping time of up to five minutes. Unlike other teas it can actually be reused throughout the day. Oolong may also have many health benefits. Like other teas it contains antioxidants that may help stop the spreading of free radicals which are harmful to the body and can create wrinkles and speed up the aging process.
  • Black – Black tea is the most oxidized of the Chinese teas. It has a strong, robust flavor and has more caffeine then the other Chinese tea types. Black tea can keep its flavor for several years compared to that of green tea, which usually loses its flavor after a year in the open air.
  • Herbal – teas made by infusing fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds, or roots. 
  • Scented – flowers or flavouring are added to actual tea leaves to infuse the leaves with the desired aroma.
  • Rooibos – pronounced roy-boss is the African name for “red bush”.  Rooibos in an African herb that is either oxidized to produce a reddish brown brew, or unoxidized to produce a green rooibos tea. 
  • Puerh – is a large leaf tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant.  Puerh tea can be classified as a green tea; or a black tea when it is fermented, however unlike most tea that should be consumed within a certain time period, puerh ages like a fine wine.  Tea connoisseurs will often spend $1000’s of dollars on one puerh cake. 

Puerh cakes were used as currency in early trading by the Chinese with other countries.

  • Flowering – these flowers are meticulously hand crafted.  Each bloom is made of dried tea leaves and flowers, tied together using a cotton thread.  When the bloom is steeped, the leaves unfurl slowly, giving the appearance of a a flower blooming. 

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Loose Leaf Tea

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on August 9, 2010

Loose Leaf Tea

There are many varieties of tea available today.  English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green Tea, and Flavoured Tea are all names that we recognize.  The most important thing to remember about all of these teas, is that they all come from the same plant, the camellia sinsensis. The taste difference in the various teas comes from the way in which tea leaves are processed.  The longer the leaves are processed, or oxidized, the darker the tea will be. 

White tea is the least oxidized of all tea varieties.  This gives white tea its very light, sweet, taste.  Green tea is oxidized slightly more than white, and as such will have a deeper colour and offer a stronger more vegetal taste than white tea.  There is much variety even within each kind of tea.   For instance, a green tea may be weak or strong, sweet or pungent, flowery or vegetal, all depending on the method that is used to oxidize the leaf as well as the length of time it was oxidized. 

The hierarchy of light to dark teas looks like this: White, Green, Oolong, Black.  Along with the teas from the  bush, we have also developed other teas from many plants that we have steeped in hot water over the years.  Herbal teas would fit into this category.  Chamomile is a great example of this and is recognized by most as a tea. 

Rooibos is a leaf from an African Red Bush.  It offers a somewhat spicy flavor to many teas and is the base in the most popular chai drink we all enjoy.  Chai simply means tea. 

As you can see, tea comes from many different regions of the world. 

To learn more about TeaScapes, visit us at www.TeaScapes.com

Posted in Black Tea, Green Teas, Matcha Tea, Oolong Tea, Types of Teas, White Tea | Leave a Comment »

White Tea and Chronic Disease

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Cancer Prevention

Flavonoids, which are a class of antioxidants that are found in white tea, can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. With the protective power of flavonoids, white tea can be a potent preventative measure against different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers.

Strengthens Bones

Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. Also, due to the potent cocktail of antioxidants found in white tea, it may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.

Decreases Blood Pressure

Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function – this is mainly due to a combination of the various antioxidants found in white tea, which can neutralize free radicals that can damage the circulatory system. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea can also guard against the ravages of strokes. Because white tea contains the vasodilator theobromine, it helps lower high blood pressure and maintains a healthy circulatory system.

Improves Cholesterol Profile

Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is simply loaded with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and the catechins in white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad.

Heart Protection

Researchers have previously discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. Combined with its ability to improve cholesterol levels, white tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Amazingly, white tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. Also, due to the anti-microbial effects of its antioxidants (see below), white tea also kills the bacterium which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath. A 2004 study at Pace University concluded that fluoride-rich white tea helps prevent the growth of dental plaque, the chief cause of tooth decay.

Healthy Skin

If you’re stressed out, have a poor diet, or stay out in the sun too long, free radicals can greatly accumulate in your skin, damage it, and cause it to prematurely age! As you might have guessed, drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin because it is chocked-full of many different types of antioxidants that scavenge these free radicals. Therefore, white tea can help protect your skin and helps to reverse some of the damage induced by free radicals.

Antibacterial & Antiviral

One of the most remarkable effects of white tea is that it is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. Overall, the antioxidants in white tea are so abundant that they boost the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders. Need another reason to drink white tea? A 2004 study concluded that white tea can help your body’s immune system fight off viruses –  including the common cold and flu – and dangerous infection-causing bacteria.

Stress Relief and Other Health Benefits

If all that isn’t enough, white tea even reduces stress!  It has a higher concentration of the amino acid theanine (which has relaxing and mood enhancing properties) than either green tea or black tea!

Finally, one study examining the composition of brewed green and white teas found that white tea contained more gallic acid (a potent anti-oxidant with anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties) and theobromine (an alkaloid that causes vasodilatation, or blood vessel widening, which can help increase circulation).

Clearly, with all of the aforementioned health benefits of drinking this brew, white tea is a potent addition to any health conscious consumer’s diet – moreover, all of the varieties of white tea have a sweet, silky flavour. In comparison to green tea, people that have tasted both teas note that white tea lacks a “grassy” aftertaste so often associated with green tea. Also, as we’ve already discovered, the antioxidant content of white tea far surpasses that of green tea. So, if you’re already a green tea devotee, or you’re just being introduced to the wonderful world of Camellia sinensis, then white tea is an extremely nourishing and tasty brew which is enormously beneficial to your health!

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Health Benefits of White Tea

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Overall, white tea has a great range of effects on the body and a tremendous number of benefits to your health – its supreme power are in preventing disease and disorder. Briefly, white tea helps protect against cancer, heart disease, and stroke – the leading causes of death in the industrial world. Moreover, white tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems, reinforces your bones and teeth, builds healthier skin, and eases the symptoms of illness.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty chemicals and metabolic by-products that go around wreaking havoc on your body by damaging DNA, structural proteins (e.g. muscle, skin), bones, and they can even accelerating aging!

Antioxidants can ‘scavenge’ the free-radicals and render them harmless – that is, they neutralize them. Fortunately, white tea is loaded with these protective antioxidants, more so than any other variety of tea! For example, studies have shown that white tea has a concentration of antioxidants that is three times higher than in green tea.  For another comparison, just one cup of white tea contains approximately twelve times as much antioxidants as fresh orange juice!

Here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

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White Tea: History

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Unlike most other varieties, white tea is an uncured and unoxidized tea leaf. Historically, white tea is a specialty of the Chinese province Fujian – in fact, white tea dates back as far as the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) and quickly became the tea of choice for the Chinese Royal Courts.

Until 1885, white tea did not undergo many changes – however, specific varietals of tea bushes were selected afterwards to make Silver Needle and other specialty white teas. Globally, Chinese exportation of these fine teas began in 1891 – however, the leaves now come from a number of varieties of tea cultivars, including those in Sri Lanka.

Like green, oolong and black tea, white tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, oolong and black teas are oxidized before curing – again, white tea leaves are completely unoxidized. Some actually regard white tea as a slightly modified version of green tea since they both undergo very little processing – however, the main difference between these two types of tea is that the white tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than the green tea leaves. During the processing stage, white tea is not fermented at all while green tea is partly fermented – on the other hand, black tea is fully fermented.

Because they are so gently treated, white tea and green tea both retain a large proportion of their beneficial antioxidants. Essentially, as we’ll see in the next section, the health benefits of white tea are simply staggering – leaving tea leaves so close to their natural state means that white tea contains more polyphenols, the powerful anti-oxidant that fights and kills cancer-causing cells, than any other type of tea!

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Oolong Tea: Other Health Benefits

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

In addition to its weight loss benefits, oolong tea has gained immense popularity for its many health benefits – in fact, there are hundreds of studies done on the various benefits of oolong tea.

Firstly, oolong tea promotes general health and well-being since it contains a large quantitiy of polymerized polyphenols which have been shown to:

• promote strong, healthy teeth;
• improve cognitive functioning and mental well-being;
• prevent eczema, allergies;
• clarify skin aberrations, giving it a healthy, radiant look
• strengthen immune system

Cancer Prevention
Again, oolong tea has long been consumed in Chinese society for centuries, and has been consumed for its many health benefits – nowadays, many recent studies have shown that oolong tea can help reduce the risk of cancer, and in some cases it has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

In one study, researchers found that oolong tea polyphenol extract (OTPE) induced apoptosis (programmed cell-death) in human stomach cancer cells – this means that the OTPE was able to trigger a genetic program in these stomach cancer cells which caused them to die. Moreover, another study found that oolong tea contains the compound chafuroside, which is a new flavone derivative – chafuroside has been found to be a strong anti-inflammatory compound, and the same study found that chafuroside from oolong tea maybe a good chemopreventive agent against colon cancer.

Anti-aging
Not so surprisingly, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the anti-aging benefits of oolong tea. In fact, one study performed on older Chinese adults found that regular consumption of oolong tea is associated with lowered risk of age-related cognitive impairment and decline. The study involved 2501 subjects over 55 years old, and they found that total oolong tea intake was significantly associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment.

A 2001 Japanese study found that drinking 1 litre of wulong tea a day can take 2 years off the internal organ ‘age’. To point out the weight loss benefits of oolong tea, researchers also reported that out of the 11 participants, 9 experienced 2 centimetres reduction in their waist size and 8 experienced 2 centimetres reduction in their upper arms. Finally, they also observed lower bad cholesterols levels (LDL levels).

Antioxidants
Oolong tea also contains high concentrations of antioxidants which are beneficial for your health. Here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

Reduces Blood Pressure
Oolong tea has also been shown in studies to reduce the risk of hypertension – in fact, many of these studies come from Chinese research done on various segments of the Chinese tea drinking population. One study measured the risk of newly diagnosed hypertension in 1507 subjects aged 20 years and older. In this study, researchers found that the risk of developing hypertension was reduced by 46% for subjects who drank 120 to 599ml of oolong tea per day – staggeringly, for subjects who drank more than 600ml of tea, the risk of hypertension was reduced by 65%.

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Oolong Tea and Weight Loss

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Even in traditional tea drinking countries like China and Japan, oolong tea has a well-known and lasting reputation for helping people to keep slim. Overall, oolong tea promotes weight loss through three different mechanisms, as seen below:

–         Increasing basal metabolic rate

–         Burning fat (through a process called lipolysis)

–         Blocking dietary fat absorption

Again, the Chinese have long believed that oolong tea is beneficial in reducing and maintaining weight. In fact, a 1998 Chinese study involving 102 females showed that continuous consumption of oolong tea for six weeks resulted in a reduction of body weight – of course, this study spurred further research.

Subsequently, Dr. William Rumpler, a physiologist at the US Agriculture Research Services’ Diet and Human Laboratory, investigated the ancient Chinese belief that oolong tea is effective in controlling body weight. The 2001 study measured how oolong tea influences energy expenditure (EE) and included 12 male volunteers who were given 4 separate beverage formulas over three consecutive days. The four beverage formulas were:  1) full strength oolong tea, 2) caffeinated water with caffeine equal to full strength oolong tea, 3) half strength oolong tea and 4) non caffeinated water.

After twenty-four hours, the energy expenditure (EE) of the participants was measured and resulted in:

EE levels of about 3% higher when they drank either the full strength oolong tea or the caffeinated water versus the non caffeinated water.
Participants burned an average of 67 more calories per day when drinking the full strength oolong tea.
Participants increased fat oxidation (‘lipolysis’ or fat burning) by a whopping 12% after consuming the full strength oolong tea versus the caffeinated water.
This data confirms that a component other than caffeine is responsible for promoting the preferential use of fat as an energy source.

The increase in fat oxidation in this study is amazing! Drinking oolong tea can actually tell your body to burn fat as an energy source!

Moreover, a 2003 Japanese study went one step further by comparing the benefits of oolong tea and green tea regarding weight reduction. In this well controlled study, eleven healthy young female student participants received three different beverage formulas: 1) oolong tea, 2) powdered green tea leaves and 3) water.

After all of the measurements were taken, the results determined that:

Oolong tea had higher energy expenditure (EE) levels from beginning to end and at intervals of 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes.
EE levels peaked at 90 minutes for both oolong and green tea and remained at their respective levels until 120 minutes.
These results indicate that for up to two hours after consuming oolong tea, you will expend more energy than if you were to drink green tea or water.

Additionally, the concentrations of caffeine, catechins, and other polyphenols were measured producing these intriguing findings;

The caffeine content was much higher in the green tea versus the oolong tea.
The concentration of polymerized polyphenols was significantly higher in the oolong tea versus the green tea.

These findings show that it’s the polymerized polyphenols that link tea to burning fat, not just the caffeine – again, the concentrations of polymerized polyphenols are highest in oolong tea. Furthermore, the rest of the chemical compounds compared in the oolong and green teas were similar or equal to one another with no marked differences – this reinforces the result that the polymerized polyphenols principally contributed to the lipolytic effect of oolong tea.

Finally, oolong tea’s effect on blocking the absorption of fats and carbohydrates is thought to play a key role in its weight reducing benefits – in fact, oolong tea is a popular accompaniment for greasy food in Asia for that very same reason. Now, scientists have proven that it is an effective fat blocker. A study conducted by the University of Tokushima found that drinking oolong tea can double the amount of fat being excreted. During the study, tweleve young Japanese adults participated in the 17-day program, consisting of 10 days of washout (drinking nothing but water) and 7 days of treatment (drinking oolong tea). The scientists found that fat excretion was twice as high for those who consumed oolong tea compared to the placebo.

Overall, oolong tea promotes weight loss through increasing basal metabolic rate (energy expenditure), increasing lipolysis, and blocking the dietary absorption of fat. Just by drinking this tasty brew, you can help yourself on the way to a healthier, slimmer you!

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Oolong Tea: Origin of the Name and History

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Oolong Tea is a traditional Chinese tea that’s also known as ‘Wulong’ Tea. The name Oolong (or Wulong) means black dragon in Chinese, where Wu means black, and Long means dragon. Oolong tea is also known as Qing Cha, is a semi fermented tea, and it is named after the person who discovered this tea.  The Chinese province most noted for its oolong tea production is Fujian.

According to Fujian tea folklore, Oolong tea was discovered by a tea farmer who lived in Fujian Province during the Qing Dynasty – his name was “Su Long”. However, because he had a dark complexion, the local farmers all called him “Wu Long” – of course, this is how the name ‘Wulong’ Tea was derived.

All tea comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis – actually, if it doesn’t come from that plant it is not considered proper ‘tea’. Over time, Camellia Sinensis has protected itself from photosynthetic stressors by forming chemical compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols, which include flavonoids, have the same beneficial class of compounds – known as antioxidants – that make fruits and vegetables good for you.

Green Tea is treated or boiled following picking to prevent the leaves from oxidizing and retaining their natural colour. Black Tea is left to oxidize following picking, that’s how it gets their distinctive colour. For Oolong Tea, the raw leaves are sun-wilted and then bruised, which exposes their juices to the air, so the leaves oxidise and start to turn brown like a cut fruit. They are allowed to oxidise only partially, giving them a rich, floral flavour. The tea is then dried fully – this locks in the rich flavours that oolong tea is known to offer.

Unbeknownst to many, oolong tea can range from bright green and slightly fermented to dark-leafed and hearty – a rule of thumb is that the greener varieties are less fermented. Oolong tea therefore comes in a wide range of tastes and aromas – these include teas very close in taste to green tea to those very close to black tea.

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Matcha Tea: Cancer Prevention

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Again, antioxidants are found in many foods including fruits and vegetables – however, not all antioxidants are created equal.

The class of antioxidants known as catechins are only found in green tea, and they are easily among the most potent. Of the catechins themselves, EGCg (epicgallocatechin gallate) is the catechin with broadest and most potent cancer-fighting properties – numerous studies have shown that it’s free radical neutralizing power is able to help prevent various types of cancer, including pancreatic, stomach, kidney, and liver cancers.

Sixty percent of the catechin content of matcha tea is EGCg – overall, one gram of matcha contains 105 mg of total catechin content, roughly 61% of which is EGCg!

Energy, Relaxation, and Focus:

Much like coffee, matcha can give you an energy boost – that is, without any jittery side effects. However, unlike caffeine from coffee, matcha contains a mild stimulant known as theophylline – unlike the caffeine found in coffee, drinking matcha releases smaller dosages of theophylline over a much longer period of time. Actually, this slower release is caused by matcha containing an abundance of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals – this slows the absorption of theophylline into the blood stream, allowing for a continual release of energy over a period of 3 to 6 hours.

Moreover, the amino acids called theanines found in matcha are found virtually exclusive to green tea. Interestingly, research now suggests that the consumption of theanines may help to produce more alpha waves in the brain – briefly, alpha waves are the same brain waves that are created when you have a massage or relax in a hot bath. Overall, theanines trigger the brain to feel more relaxed and to reduce the feeling of stress.

Finally, many people comment on matcha’s ability to help provide sustained focus and feelings of lucidness – intriguingly, the Buddhist monks were the first to harness the power of matcha for this reason. For example, Buddhist monks often meditate for 3 to 6 hours at a time – after drinking matcha, the mild stimulation from theophylline keeps them awake and alert, while the theanines allowed the monks to focus, relax and concentrate on their training.

Detoxifying Agent

Over many years, numerous scientific studies have shown that chlorophyll, the pigment which gives leaves their green color, helps to remove poisonous heavy metals and various chemical toxins from the body.

Again, unlike tea leaves which are infused then discarded, and matcha powdered tea is fully ingested when consumed – since matcha is shade grown, a process which greatly increases the chlorophyll content in the leaves, matcha is an extremely chlorophyll-rich food.

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Antioxidants and the ORAC Tests

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Briefly, ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a testing method developed by the U.S.D.A. and Tufts University to quantitatively measure the potency of antioxidants found in foods and beverages – generally speaking, foods that score high in the ORAC antioxidant assay may protect cells and their components from damage by oxygen radicals. Free radicals are nasty chemicals and metabolic by-products that go around wreaking havoc on your body by damaging DNA, structural proteins (e.g. muscle, skin), bones, and they can even accelerating aging! Antioxidants can ‘scavenge’ the free-radicals and render them harmless – that is, they neutralize them.

Recently, an ORAC test was conducted by Brunswick Laboratories on ‘muzi’ matcha green tea, and the results demonstrated that the antioxidant complement of matcha tea is exponentially greater than all hitherto known foods and beverages – staggeringly, ‘muzi’ matcha tea scored a whopping 1348 ORAC units per gram, and thus surpassed all antioxidant rich foods identified by the USDA by a magnitude of greater than 20! Again, when compared to other premium green teas, matcha contains approximately 10 to 15 times the antioxidants per serving.

Moreover, matcha contains a host of unique antioxidants – for example, EGCg, or epigallocatechin gallate, is a unique set of polyphenols that help to scavenge free radicals from the body, and they are currently the center of attention by many biochemical researchers and epidemiologists. In fact, a recent study conducted at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs suggested that matcha green tea contained over 137 times the EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) levels of popular tea bag green teas. Furthermore, matcha contains polyphenols EGC (epigallo catechins), ECG (epicatechin gallate), and EC (epicatechins) all of which have a significantly stronger antioxidant effect than EGCg alone when working in synergy.

Now that you’ve learned about the extensive array of potent antioxidants found in matcha tea, and here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

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