Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Tea is one of my favorite things. I love tea like many people love coffee or beer. I believe in the relaxing, revitalizing & medicinal properties of teas. I am a bit of a tea snob sometimes. Relocating too Portland in so many ways has proved to be the right move for me and the many ways there are for me to indulge my tea dreams is one of those ways. The tea bowl pictured is the much talked about Japanese Matcha green tea. This is the green tea noted for its' anti-oxidants, essential vitamins and minerals. It comes in powdered form and is whisked with water to create a drink. It is used in traditional tea ceremonies. When you order a preprepared Matcha tea it comes in a tea bowl not a tea cup. It is fairly high in caffeine. Matcha is said to bring about mental concentration, composure of the mind and emotional stability. I am so fortunate to live in a city that boosts a fabulous teahouse/cafe called The Tao of Tea. You might have seen their teas on the shelves of health food stores or tea shops. If you are able to find Matcha powder in your city give it a try. It has a rich, oceanic flavor. It is also called Liquid Jade.
White teas are low in caffeine & high in antioxidants. They are the least processed of all the teas and usually have a light flavor.
Kukicha is twig tea (one of my favorites) it is low in caffeine and easy. It has an earthy flavor as one might imagine.
Green Kukicha is also low in caffeine and is not roasted.
Genmaicha is a blend of green tea and two variables of rice(usually brown rices to my knowledge) It is high in antioxidants
Tulsi teas are new to me and they boost a wide array of health benefits. Tulsi is a sacred plant in India referred to as the "elixir of life". In the west we know it as Holy Basil. It is commonly used in a Ayurvedic medicine. Often on the teas you will see different teas recommended for the different doshas. Tulsi has several phytochemicals, vitamin A, C Iron and Zinc. It is antiviral, antimicrobial and enhances the immune system. I tried my first pot of Tulsi tea Monday. It was Shanti and is my new favorite tea because it was earthy with a mix of spices that made it yummy and cooling. Shanti means peace within.
Yerba Mate is native to South America where it is used in tea ceremonies. Traditionally it is served in a hollowed out gourd and drunk with a metal straw( typically made of silver) called a bombilla. Mate does contain caffeine but regular drinkers report that they do not get the negative side effects of caffeine like jitters, inability to fall asleep, and diarrhea. Yet they do find it a stimulant. Mate is high in Potassium, Magnesium & Manganese.
Pu-er teas are black teas that are fermented, rather than oxidized, and then aged. They do contain caffeine and are said to offer health benefits like aiding in weight loss and protection from bacteria. They have a nice earthy flavor. Another favorite of mine.
In china what we call black teas they call red teas.
Herbal teas are referred to as tisanes which means herbal infusions and have the properties of the herbs used to make them. In general herbal teas are caffeine free.
This is the tip of the tea iceburg. There is so much more to learn about tea. Enjoy a cup or if you are like me, a pot because a single cup just won't do. Be adventurous and as always choose organically grown. There is a world of tea out there have fun exploring it. The Tao of Tea has a very informative website.

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