We have been going realllllly heavily for three weeks on loneliness, so I think it’s time for something relaxing! It’s going to be very basic – types of tea.
Being a good Texas girl, the only tea I really knew about growing up was the southern staple – Iced Tea. I capitalize it to give you the effect of it’s importance in the southern United States. Thus one might read sweet tea as SWEET TEA – for it is even more important to being a citizen of the south. Dr. Pepper and Sweet Tea are the true drinks of the south.
I don’t drink either one (*all Americans reading this gasp in horror), but I do love me some hot tea. I haven’t enjoyed water with ice in about ten years just because it’s soooooo cold. Though I do make an exception in Texas summers…which I get to skip this year. Yay!
Let’s get into some basic teas… and you can make the decision to ice them if you want. My New Zealand best friend has outlined them for me and done the research as she is more qualified and also a faster researcher than me.
Tea leaves that are oxidized become black tea, having the highest caffeine content of the teas (Yay for caffeine!). This will include your basic breakfast teas, afternoon teas, and includes regional teas like Darjeeling and Assam teas. It’s harvested in many parts of the world now since it’s international popularity when the English started drinking and selling it (Remember the Boston “Tea Party”?), grown mainly in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
About 75% of the world’s consumption of tea is black tea. I’m sure that a large portion of that is Americans who put ice in it. The tea you buy in the store or in the drive through is probably Pekoe or Ceylon – black teas.
It is acceptable to put cream and sugar in your black tea, while you might get scoffed at (I have learned) if you put cream in your green tea.
Oolong Tea has long been my favourite tea, though it was always very hard for me to explain to people. There’s no English name for it, so that makes it even more difficult, though sometimes it is called “Dragon Tea”. Now I can tell you that it is a tea right in between black tea and green tea – which means that the leaves are partly oxidized.
This great-tasting tea is partially fermented, so you also get polyphenolic compounds, which apparently helps prevent degenerative diseases – like cancer or heart disease.
That are harvested and wither, and are then heated are known as green tea. In Japanese styling, they are heated through steaming; Chinese style pan fries the leaves. Today, it is grown and produced in several countries – China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and surprisingly in South Carolina and New Zealand as well!
Green tea has grown in popularity (if you haven’t noticed) in recent years because of the health benefits. The antioxidants you get when you drink green tea are catechins, and they fight against and help prevent cell damage. So, it makes sense that it could help with stress, depression, and loneliness – at least a little – because each of those can create cell damage in the long term. Green tea also helps lower cholesterol, prevents heart-related problems, regulates blood sugar, and even helps protect you against some of the damage that American high-fat diet can cause. Some studies have even linked green tea in making a difference in Alzheimer’s, weight loss, and even cancer.
If you don’t like the “grassy” taste that a lot of people complain about, try adding lemon. No one will laugh at you for that.
White tea is the most delicate tea variety because it is processed minimally. They are often hand-picked and hand-processed. I LOVE white teas. They are often combined with other nice flavours, which is probably why. We have this white tea with vanilla and rose that someone gave us for an engagement present – because the blend was called “Marriage Tea”. So nice.
What you probably DON’T know is that white tea has even more antioxidants than green tea! What?! Because it is the least processed tea. I just now learned that. So all of the health benefits of green tea are the same as white tea. Flavonoids, another type of antioxidant, goes into cancer cells and prevents more from being developed. With a little fluoride as well, teeth and gum are kept healthy, and the health benefits for your skin can be amazing as well.
I’m pretty excited about learning more about this white tea. I just knew it tasted nice.
If you’re worried about your daily caffeine intake, then go for Rooibos tea. Grown in South Africa, the name rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans, and that red bush grows wonderful tea. It’s actually my husband’s favourite.
Rooibos/Red Tea is naturally decaf and also very high in antioxidants. Give it a try. I’m also 100% positive it would make a nice iced tea, too. 😉
Oh my goodness. The possibilities are endless with herbal tea/”tisanes”! It’s basically anything that are not actual tea leaves – from herbs to fruits to spices.
If you’ve ever had chamomile tea to help you relax, you have had herbal tea.
If you’ve ever had raspberry tea for a sweet drink, you have had herbal tea.
They can have cinnamon, sage, licorice. They can have peppermint, Echinacea, ginger. The possibilities are endless. Your health benefits are endless as well. You can put together whatever herb, flower, fruit, spice you like to make a tasty, healthy concoction. Just make sure you know what they are when you put them in – like, don’t go get poison ivy leaves and try to make tea out of it.
So those are the basics. Hope you feel enlightened. Tune in next Monday for “The Art of the Tea Party”. 😀