Five Tea Tips To Get You Through Social Distancing

Japanese Teapot and Green TeaIt’s amazing to see how fast coronavirus has changed everything. Across the country, Americans are settling into new social isolation routines, which can be difficult and frightening, especially for those of us who enjoy long conversations with friends and family over a pot of tea. But even though times are stressful, we at Dominion Tea want to remind you to take comfort in the little things that can make it all more bearable: a healthy walk outside, a phone conversation with a loved one, or – of course – a comforting cup of your favorite tea.

Here’s five ways that tea can help while we’re all stuck at home:

  1. Tea can give you a better energy boost than coffee. Struggling to get through endless rounds of virtual meetings? Try swapping out your coffee for a cup of tea instead. The particular combination of caffeine and L-theanine in tea may lead to a longer-lasting period of alertness, without the usual jolt-and-crash experience of coffee or energy drinks.
  2. Switching to loose-tea tea saves both money and the planet. Loose tea is both environmentally friendlier and more cost-efficient, as it uses far less packaging to produce. Many loose-leaf teas are also able to be steeped multiple times, which doubles their value! If you’re new to loose-leaf, check out our post on the essentials you need to get started.
  3. Buying local tea can save you a trip to grocery store. Many tea companies have products available online for either shipping or in-store pickup. You can get your tea while still social distancing and support small business at same time.
  4. Tea has numerous health benefits, including immune system boosters. For maximum benefit, try to drink 1-3 cups per day (an easy task for most tea lovers!). Some of our favorites include matcha-infused sencha, hundred-year tea, and ginseng oolong.
  5. You can recreate your favorite café brews without leaving home. Check out our recipe for hojicha lattes and how to make matcha. In the mood for something stronger? Try some of the tea cocktails we’ve come up with in the past.

By: Jen Coate

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Hojicha Latte

Hojicha Latte

Hojicha Latte

Have you ever tried a hojicha latte? This roasted Japanese green tea boasts a nutty, lightly caramel flavor, which pairs beautifully with the creamy richness of steamed milk. Due to the roasting process, hojicha is also very low in caffeine – perfect for curling up with a book and blanket on a chilly winter night.

Hojicha Latte Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons loose-leaf hojicha

6 oz water

½ teaspoon brown sugar

6 oz whole milk or milk substitute

3-4 dashes vanilla extract

Ground nutmeg (optional)

Preparing Your Hojicha Latte

  1. Heat water to 175º F, then pour over hojicha leaves and allow to steep for seven minutes. Strain and discard used leaves.
  2. In a separate vessel, combine milk, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Heat on stovetop or in microwave until milk is starting to steam.
  3. Froth milk using a frother or handheld whisk until surface is light and foamy. Alternatively, pour heated milk into a screw-top jar, seal lid, and shake vigorously until preferred consistency is reached.
  4. Pour frothed milk over steeped hojicha. Top with ground nutmeg.

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The Health Benefits of Tea

Rolling Tea Fields in the Mountains of Fuding China.

Tea Fields of Fuding China – Home of White Tea

Drinking tea is good for you. That’s a fact, right? Flip open a health magazine and you’re guaranteed to find at least one article touting the health benefits of regular tea consumption. But what exactly is it that makes tea so healthy? What kind of tea gives you the most benefits, and how much do you need to drink to get them? Unfortunately, common as these notions are, much of the time they are based on claims that are vague at best and sometimes outright misinformed.

But the good news is, the scientific findings that we do have on the health benefits of tea are extremely promising. Tea is rich in polyphenols, a class of micronutrient with a host of antioxidant, tannic, and other beneficial properties.1 Research has found that many of these polyphenols, particularly flavonoid catechins, show anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antioxidant effects.2 Flavonoids are also useful as an immune system booster, strengthening infection-fighting cells.1 Epidemiological studies in Saitama, Japan, suggest that regular consumption of flavonoid-rich teas can act as a cancer preventative and possibly help inhibit cancer recurrence after treatment.3

Additionally, other studies have shown that regular tea consumption can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and repress angiotensin, a hormone that can cause high blood pressure.2 Tea is also naturally enriched by small amounts of fluoride, which can improve both bone strength and density and protect against cartilage wear.2 The list goes on and on – quite simply, the more we study it, the more we find reason to make tea-drinking a habit.

Of course, with all the powerful benefits that tea has to offer, it stands to reason that frequent consumption of it can cause other health changes as well. Tea can occasionally interact with certain medications or preexisting conditions, so consult with your doctor before beginning an increased tea regimen.2 As always, it is important to carefully research significant changes in diet and ascertain that the health benefits are appropriate for your own situation.

Ceremonial Grade Matcha Powder

Ceremonial Grade Matcha Powder

But what sort of tea should we drink to get these benefits? Since all tea comes from Camellia sinensis, every type of tea is going to offer at least some health advantages. Multiple studies, however, have found that green tea possesses the highest concentration of flavonoids and other positive polyphenols.1 And of all the green teas, Japanese matcha is most nutritious of all, as the drinker is consuming the powdered form of the tea leaf itself, rather than just its infusion.

Scientists also recommend that green tea is most beneficial when brewed fresh, and recommend at least 3-4 cups a day to intake enough polyphenols to impact health.2 So if you’re looking to incorporate a new healthy habit into your lifestyle this year, why not add a few cups of green tea into your routine? It’s an easy – and delicious – way to do something good for yourself.

For more on tea and health be sure to read our other posts on the subject.

 

Sources:

  1. Sinija, H., & Mishra, H. (2009). Green Tea: Health Benefits. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 232-242.
  2. Chatterjee, A., Saluja, M., Agarwal, G., & Alam, M. (2012). Green Tea: A boon for periodontal and general health. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, 161-167.
  3. Fujiki, H. (2005). Green tea: Health benefits as cancer preventive for humans. The Chemical Record, 119-132.

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Tea for Fasting or Ketosis

Buddha

Future Buddha, Emei Lake, Hsinchu County, Taiwan

This post is something of a departure from most of our others where we focus on history, culture, and simply great tea. But intermittent fasting, longer fasts, and a ketogenic or low-carb high fat (lchf) lifestyle is something we (the owners of Dominion Tea) have adopted and seen great personal benefit from. We are very focused on how to maximize our health over our entire lifespan and see this lifestyle as part of how we do this. So many modern ill’s today (heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and potentially even cancer) have roots in the standard American diet.

We’ve made significant changes to our lifestyle over the past 18 months and are more convinced than ever that real food is critical to the prevention of many, perhaps even most modern illnesses. Real food is ideally nothing heavily processed nor has much of an ingredient list. Most of the time it doesn’t event come from a package!

This gets us to the point of this post. Tea is widely accepted within the keto/lchf community as a support for those doing intermittent fasting or even prolonged fasts. This isn’t anything new though. Some of the earliest associations of tea and fasting come from Buddhism. Monks during the Han (206 BCE – 220 CE) and Song Dynasties(960 – 1279 CE) would have tea to support meditation (Buddhism and Tea). Buddha even recommended intermittent fasting and one meal a day to his followers, with nothing consumed after noon (Food & Insight).

Real tea has caffeine which some can’t live without and has been found to suppress hunger in some people. Tisanes have no caffeine but can also provide something to hold one over during fasts. Either option is a great tool to support an overall keto/lchf lifestyle which may or may not include some fasting.

What really bothers us though are the “keto teas”. They go along with the keto bars, keto deserts, and other “keto” products that marketers are coming up with to sell products you really don’t need. So keto teas, for the most part, are really nothing more than simply tea having some added ingredients that may have beneficial qualities — though these claims usually lack strong evidence or require amounts far in excess of what’s in the tea itself. Worse still are products manufactured as “ready-to-drink” or tea “crystals” that have been heavily processed to effectively make an instant tea product.

Looking for a great tea to compliment your keto lifestyle? All you need is a great quality tea with a flavor you like. We prefer green teas and herbal/tisanes during fasting.

Green Tea Suggestions for Keto

  • Ginger Biscuits – Organic Green Tea, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Lemon Grass, Organic Lemon Mytle
  • Hundred Year Tea – Organic Green Tea, Organic Schisandra Berries, Organic Goji Berry, Organic Astragalus, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Licorice
  • Jasmine Green Tea – Organic Green Tea with Jasmine
  • Moroccan Mint – Organic Jasmine Green Tea, Organic Peppermint
  • Matcha Infused Sencha – Organic Japanese Sencha Green Tea, Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea
  • Sencha – Organic Japanese Sencha Asamushi Green Tea

Herbal/Tisane Suggestions for Keto

  • Amber Mint – Organic Rooibos, Organic Peppermint, Organic Orange Peel, and Safflower Petals
  • Ginger Honeybush – Organic Lemon Myrtle, Organic Goji Berry, Organic Honeybush, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Fennel Seed, Organic Lemon Grass
  • Lavender Dreams – Organic Lavender, Organic Raspberry Leaf, Organic Blackberry Leaf, Organic Chamomile, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Lemon Myrtle, and Organic Peppermint
  • Martha’s Mint – Organic Peppermint, Organic Spearmint
  • Moroccan Nights – Organic Rose Buds and Petals, Jasmine Flowers, Organic Spearmint Leaf
  • South African Chai – Organic Cinnamon, South African Organic Rooibos, South African Organic Honeybush, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Cardamom Seed, Organic Fennel, Organic Clove, Organic Star Anise, Organic Peppermint, and Organic Black Pepper

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Compressed Tea Cake Utensils

We’ll admit it: tea cakes can be daunting! Although compressed tea is a delightful way to explore unfamiliar traditions and flavors, we know that starting out may be intimidating. Maybe you’ve recently purchased a brick of your favorite puerh or aged white and aren’t certain how to use it. Maybe you’ve been given a handful of tuo cha by a well-intentioned friend. Or maybe you’re looking for a gift for the tea connoisseur in your life. Whatever the reason, we at Dominion Tea are here to help. Here’s a list of our favorite tea cake utensils, perfect for either the seasoned tea veteran or the novice just starting out.

    1. Tea Needle/Pick: These handy tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to help break off sections of tea from your brick or cake without damaging its form. Picks and needles are used by sliding them horizontally between leaf layers in your tea cake, allowing you to gently pry free small measures at a time.
    2. Cha Ze Scoop: Traditionally made from bamboo or wood, Cha Ze scoops are an elegant way to measure out and present your tea after you have broken off the sections that you need. The high walls and long body of this tool make it perfectly shaped for transferring tea into your teapot for brewing.
    3. Cha Jia Tongs: Cha Jia serve a variety of purposes, especially if you are serving your tea traditionally. These bamboo tongs can be used to handle broken-up sections of compressed tea, pick out brewed leaves from a pot or pitcher, and

      Compressed Tea Cake Utensils

      Compressed Tea Cake Utensils

      handle hot cups during a Gong Fu ceremony.

    4. Breaking Tray: Also referred to as a Judging Tray when it is used for evaluation purposes, this small and shallow tray provides an ideal surface for breaking up compressed tea cakes. One bottom corner is always cut out, which allows you to easily pour your dry tea into your Cha Ze, gaiwan, or teapot.
    5. Tea Knife: Just like picks and needles, tea knives are specially designed to help you pry apart your tea cakes without causing excess damage to the leaves. Look for a small, flat, and very rigid blade that can easily slip between the dense layers in your tea cake. A good puerh knife can be a work of art in its own right, and many are designed to be beautiful as well as functional.

 

If you’re feeling intimated by the thought of a tea cake, why not pick up a few new utensils to try with it? (We carry them in our Purcellville, VA store.) Just like any other art, when it comes to tea preparation, having the right tools can make all the difference.

By: Jen CoateFollow Dominion Tea: Facebooktwitterpinterestrss