Here's to your health!
- All tea is beneficial in that it contains less caffeine than coffee.
- Tea is rich in antioxidants, which have proven in studies to attack free-radicals in the body that cause destructive aging and cancer.
- The level of these antioxidants is highest in the less processed teas. From (high) White - Green - Oolong - Black (lower).
- Rooibos has the highest concentration of antioxidants as well as minerals and has no caffeine!!!
Yes, but how do they taste?
- Black Tea: A character filled tasting tea with a light to dark amber color. These teas are what we are used to seeing as a base in most store bought tea bags, only they are filled with the lowest grade (size) of the tea process; the tea leaf dust/fannings.
- Oolong: A rich flavored tea blend with colors and attributes between a black and green tea. These tea leaves are more "twiggy" and whole compared to a standard black tea. Some oolongs even have a woodsy taste.
- Green: A pale infusion with a delicate simple flavor. Our base blend is not too grassy as some greens can be. Gunpowder Green Tea is even a tad bitter by design. But like wine lovers, everyone has a preference. To each their own.
- Rooibos: A deep beautiful mesmerizing red herbal infusion. This Tisane from South Africa, is slightly sweet, enjoyed hot or cold. Low in tannins so this tea cannot turn bitter. Great for those folks that steep a cup of tea and forget about it. No worries, can easily be reheated, has a solid rich taste and will not become bitter.
It is believed that the consumption of black tea reduces the risk of stroke. Foods high in flavonoids such as black tea, help all aspects of the cardiovascular system and reduce the production of LDL - the "bad" cholesterol that can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
An American Heart Association study in New Orleans found that tea drinkers have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. In this study, subjects drank four cups of water or tea a day for four weeks. According to their findings, black tea relaxes and expands arteries, thus increasing blood flow to the heart. Arteries of a healthy person release the chemical called nitric oxide causing the artery to dilate. People with coronary artery disease produce less nitric oxide and thus their arteries do not dilate normally. The study revealed tea reverses this abnormality while drinking water had no effect.
The levels of antioxidants in black tea have been found to not only improve artery function and is widely believed in the medical community to lower the rates of cancers. They have the ability to stop oxidation which damages DNA and turns normal cells into cancer cells.
Tea is believed to help prevent tooth decay. It contains fluoride and works better than the antibiotic tetracycline. Tea fights bacteria in the mouth that causes gum disease and cavity causing bacteria.
These teas fall in-between the Black and Green teas of the world. One distinct difference is that during the final stage of processing, the leaves are twisted giving them a larger, more stringy appearance than black teas. As far as taste, it all depends how long the leaves are processed. Some Oolongs are very close to black teas in their amber color and rich texture. In contrast, if the fermenting or oxidization process is halted early on, the flavors will be closer to a green tea in its pale infusion but not as vegetal (grassy) as most greens. Some even say a light Oolong has a taste that is more floral and fruity. But true tea lovers swear by the Oolongs of the world; maybe in part because they have qualities of both the blacks and the greens.
Many studies are being done regarding the health benefits of Oolongs. So much has been discovered on the green teas over the decades because of its high polyphenol and antioxidant properties, but studies have shown that drinking green tea...well has had one major downfall. Many people don't like the grassy after taste of some green teas, so they won't drink it. But by using a lighter Oolong (which doesn't have as high a content as green) people will drink more of it, so in theory it all becomes a wash at the end of the day.
One recent study is on weight loss and Oolong tea consumption. Many Westerners are coffee drinkers and inheritably will be intaking too much caffeine as a result. We all know the side effects and long term issues with too much caffeine over the years. Tea has only ½ the caffeine as coffee, even at its highest level. Oolongs are mid to low range levels (35-20mg) vs. a cup of coffee which has 110-140mg of caffeine. And since it has no calories or fats (unless you load up with sugar and milk) tea doesn't add all that extra "stuff" that coffee drinkers tend to expect with their coffees.
So these guys seem to have the best of both worlds. Depending on the day (or blend) they can act like a robust black tea or they can swing to the other side of the spectrum and mellow out like an earthy green. Either way you look at it, the Oolong is one of those team players that can play any position and is here to stay. Enjoy.
Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, resulting in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.
University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Research also supports that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Drinking green tea is reputed to be helpful for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, infection, and impaired immune function.
Rooibos isn't really a tea - because it doesn't come from the Camellia sinensis plant, so by definition it's a tisane or herbal concoction. It's often referred to as "Red Tea". One of its many benefits is, besides being naturally caffeine free and packed with antioxidants, it has lots of vitamins and minerals such as: copper, iron, potassium, calcium, fluoride, zinc, manganese, alphahydroxy (for healthy smooth skin) and magnesium (for the nervous system).
This wonder tea is thought to be especially useful when applied to skin irritations like itchy skin, eczema, sunburns, diaper rash and acne. It contains antioxidants which help slow the aging process and boost the immune system. According to studies conducted in South Africa and Japan, Rooibos has been shown to aid in health problems such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension, and hypertension. Studies also show that this tea contains anti-spasmodic agents, which can relieve stomach cramping and colic in infants.
Rooibos "tea" contains no colors, additives or preservatives,and is naturally caffeine free, making it a natural beverage.
Additional Tea Questions
The difference between loose and bagged tea is a little more complex than the obvious fact one starts with an "L" and the other a "B". When you use quality loose leave teas you'll notice that the size is the first difference. The tea used in most store bought mass produced tea bags is tea dust and or fannings, the smallest marketable part of the tea grading process.
When a tea leaf begins to steep it will expand and move around in the water or strainer. We like to refer to this as the "dancing part" of the steeping process. This "dancing" is when the flavors and most health benefits are released in the brew. As you can imagine, when you place quality loose leaf teas in a bag and seal it, you keep those tea leaves from their fullest potential-at times affecting the taste. Will loose tea taste better? We believe so, but that's up to you. Remember those bags will keep those leaves from tearing up the dance floor!
When finished watching the leaves dance, and enjoying your cup of tea, another added benefit to loose leaf brewing is that you can empty the leaves on your favorite plant; well don't just dump them on top of the plant-that will make them look pretty ugly. Add the leaves to the soil; makes a great compost and the aroma of the flavoring will stick around a bit.
The BIGGEST bonus to ordering loose leaf tea vs with the Easy Fill Bags; is you'll get more tea for the same price = a few more cups with each order!
Easy Fill Bags
I think it's fair to say that most Westerners (here in the States) have grown accustomed to the convenience of reaching into the cupboard and plopping a tea bag in a cup and nuking it to perfection. Part of Design a Tea's mission is to educate the consumer regarding the major difference between loose and bagged teas. And we don't want to just offer you loose teas. There is that convenience factor to enjoying a cup of tea on the go.
So if you order your tea with Easy Fill Bags, we'll put the appropriate amount of Easy-Fill tea bags in with your order. You'll notice that our tea bags are much larger than the store bought ones, allowing the leaves a little more room for that bossa nova or tango.
Just place a level tea spoon full of tea in the bag and drape it over the side of the cup. That easy! Every packet of tea bags will have picture instructions and a cute "travel sachet" that will hold two filled tea bags that you can take to the office or school for convenient brewing.
What are the health benefits of tea?
Tea is among the richest natural sources of antioxidants, which have been linked with cancer prevention, decreased risk of stroke, and reduced blood cholesterol. Additionally, it has trace amounts of various nutrients such as the amino acid theanine; the minerals calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium; and the vitamins C and K.
Based on available scientific research, tea and tea flavonoids have also been shown to help strengthen the body's immune system, protect teeth by inhibiting plaque bacteria, potentially fight free radicals produced during strenuous exercise, and possibly increase calories burned during everyday activities.
What are antioxidants and what are their benefits?
Naturally occurring antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants, including fruits and vegetables. The process of breaking down food for energy creates free radicals and peroxides in your body everyday. Antioxidants help your body keep these harmful substances in check. They bind free radicals and peroxides--both of which are oxygen-containing molecules in your body that, if left unchecked, can damage your DNA, lipid and protein in your body.
All teas are rich in antioxidants, including a class called flavonoids. Green Teas contain more of the simple flavonoids called catechins, while the oxidization that the leaves undergo to make Black Tea converts these simple flavonoids to the more complex varieties called theaflavins and thearubigins.
What makes one tea different from another?
Green, Oolong and Black Teas all come from the upper leaves of the Camellia sinensis. White Tea consists only of leaves from the branch tips-particularly the leaf bud and the first two leaves under the bud.
For all four teas, the main point differentiating them comes from processing. After being picked from the Camellia sinensis plant, both White and Green Teas remain as unoxidized teas for the most part, Oolong Tea is partially oxidized, and Black Tea is fully oxidized. What the heck is oxidization? Oxidation occurs when enzymes in the tea leaves are released and the leaf responds to the oxygen in the environment, causing the leaves to turn a bright copper color. Think of crushing a leaf and the places where it gets "folded" or torn will start to look wet. That's the enzymes working on the leaf...oxidation is starting.
The way they halt the oxidization process is with heat (dry or steam). So if white teas on up are less oxidized...you know all that means is they turn on the old hair dryer sooner than later. Relax they really don't use a hair dryer!
With Green Tea, the leaves are steamed and/or pan fired, then some are rolled before drying. Leaves for Oolong Tea are partially oxidized (more than Green Tea, less than Black Tea), then dried. Black Tea is fully oxidized. This processing-and the various regions of the world they are grown-all from the leaves of the same plant-is what gives tea types their differences in names and flavors.
Longer processing gives Black Teas a more full-bodied and robust taste and Green Teas a more delicate, fresh taste, while Oolong Teas fall somewhere in between. Since only the tips are used and the processing is minimal, White Tea has the most delicate flavor of all.
Rooibos (Red Tea) isn't really a tea at all-it's a Tisane or herbal concoction-because it doesn't come from the Camellia sinensis plant. But it does go through a much simpler "oxidation" process after harvested.