Tag Archives: Buddhism


Tea for Fasting or Ketosis


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

Black Fusion Doke Estate and Bihar Tea

Black Fusion Loose Leaf Tea from Bihar India

Black Fusion, Doke Estate, India

We continue to be fascinated by India and a recent addition of Black Fusion from Doke Estate in the state Bihar only feeds our interest in this dynamic and complicated country. In prior blogs we’ve spent some time discussing Darjeeling, Assam, and even Nilgiri far to the south and west of the country. As we add Black Fusion to our offerings we figured it would be great to provide a bit of background to this region which is far less well known for tea.

Doke Estate

Doke Estate, established in 1998 originally for CTC production, is located on the banks of the Doke River in Pothia within the Kishanganj district of the state of Bihar.  The district technically borders both the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and the country of Nepal, though is actually quite flat, sitting about 800 ft above sea level. This is in dramatic contrast to high grown tea estates of Darjeeling ranging between 4,000 and 6,000 ft in elevation. Owned by the well known Lochan family, this estate was built on land previously thought to be useless for agricultural purposes and is now used for hand made orthodox teas. The nearby Doke River, now with water year round, used to be monsoon fed and is now providing water for irrigation thanks to a nearby hydro-electric power dam and making tea production possible. While their Black Fusion has garnered a lot of attention the estate does produce other hand-made teas as well including green and white teas.

Kishanganj and Pothia

Bodh Gaya - Pilgrimage site for followers of buddhism.

Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya by Man Bartlett, CC BY 2.0

Pothia, where Doke Estate sits, and the broader region of Kishanganj in Bihar isn’t nearly as well known in tea circles as its nearby neighbors of Assam and Darjeeling. While it has had tea plantations since the 1990’s it has struggled to develop it into a large industry and still must rely heavily on processing facilities in West Bengal. However, the industry has continued to grow bringing much needed jobs to the region and slowing migration away from the district.  (Prasad)

Tea aside, this district which at one time was part of Nepal, is about the size of the Hawaiian island of Maui with a population about the size of Idaho. It is one of the poorest regions in India with a 30% literacy rate (~18% among women) and has suffered severe floods and high rates of Polio infection leading UNICEF and other organizations to organize large efforts to immunize large parts of the population.

The state of Bihar is well known in Buddhist circles as it is home to Bodh Gaya, the most holy place on earth for its followers, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Black Fusion, Doke Estate

Doke Estate, Black Fusion leaf and liquor.

A fresh cup of Black Fusion.

We’ll admit to choosing to add Black Fusion before learning a lot about Bihar and now that we have, we hope to learn more. The 2014 Black Fusion is an exceptional black tea. This tea is unique in that it carries qualities of both assam and darjeeling teas yet is grown at a low elevation on flat land. The flavor is fruity with a clean finish expected of assam.

In appearance this is a large, long wiry leaf which is beautiful to admire both prior to steeping and after infusion. The pluck is two leaves and a bud most of which are fully intact and unroll nicely when infused. Steep 3-4 grams slightly cooler than a typical black tea at about 195°F for a more complex buttery flavor profile or hotter with 205°F for a slightly bolder and more malty taste.  


Tea City status eludes Kishanganj, by Bhuvaneshwar Prasad, Oct 20, 2010, The Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Tea-City-status-eludes-Kishanganj/articleshow/6777156.cms

Evaluation of Social Mobilization Network (SMNet)- FINAL REPORT, January 2014, UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/evaldatabase/files/India_2013-001_Evaluation_of_Social_Mobilization_Network_Final_Report.pdf

Kishanganj District Profile, http://www.kishanganj.bih.nic.in/District%20Profile.htm

Korean Tea Set (Banner Image)

South Korean Green Tea

Infused and Loose Tea

Tea Photo from Republic of Korea

Like Japan and China, tea in South Korea has been very much influenced by Buddhism.  The introduction of tea to Korea initially occurred somewhere around the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392 AD) at a time when the king would give tea as gifts to religious leaders and the military.  It was also incorporated into funeral rituals in the form of tea boxes placed with the deceased.  Unlike Japan and China, however, tea was not reserved for the upper classes and in fact was enjoyed by all classes in the country.

Tea, however, was not to last in South Korea.  At the start of the Choson dynasty, which ushered in Confucianism as the replacement for Buddhism, tea was pushed to the background.  Tea was heavily taxed, the tea fields destroyed, and many Buddhist temples destroyed.  What little was left of the tea industry in South Korea was crushed in the Seven Year War with Japan.  Most of the remaining tea fields were destroyed and many South Koreans skilled in pottery and other crafts were taken and forced to work in Japan.

Tea Set in Seoul Korea

Korean Tea Set

Though it had never died out completely, tea began its re-introduction in the 1800’s by Confucian scholar Chong Yag-yong who in turn passed along knowledge for drinking and producing tea to the Buddhist monk Cho ui who wrote a poem praising tea.  Then from 1945-1970 tea culture grew substantially with schools and universities devoted to tea and ultimately the writing of The Way of Tea by Hyo Dang. (Jane Pettigrew, 2008)

Tea Plantation

Green tea field in Boseong, Jeollanam-do South Korea

Today most tea is grown in the southern part of South Korea, with the Boseong area producing nearly 40% of all tea grown in the country. Virtually all tea produced in South Korea is green tea grown on plantations that were formed from the 1930’s onward (Boseong County, 2014).  Though tea production for the Republic of Korea is on the rise it still doesn’t rank anywhere among the top growers.  In 2012 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates it produced 3,000 tons of tea while Japan produced 85,900 tons and China produced 1.7 Million tons (United Nations, 2014).

Tea production in South Korea is generally from new growth coming in April and May.  Tea produced before April 20th or Kok-u are referred to as Ujon and are the most sought after and highest priced.  Sejak is produced between April 20th and May 5-6, or Ipha.  After May 5-6 the tea produced is referred to as Chungjak with tea produced beyond May not considered to have the right qualities for good tea.

In Korea, like Japan, tea may be finished using industrial methods for drying and rolling or by hand.  There are two primary methods for crafting the finished products, resulting in Puch’o-ch’a and Chung-ch’a.  For Puch’o-ch’a the tea leaves are heated in an iron pan then removed and rolled, repeatedly alternating between heat and rolling until the finished product is produced.  For Chung-ch’a the tea leaves are immersed in near boiling water then removed and drained for several hours before being rolled and dried over a fire with no rest until fully dried (Anthony, 2014).

According to United Nations FAO statistics, the Republic of Korea production has generally been on the rise over the past ten years.  This is promising since Korean tea can only add to the breadth of experience in your tea experience.  South Korean tea can be had though one hopes for greater availability and diversity in the options over the coming years.

Have you tried South Korean tea?  What do you think of it?

Works Cited

Anthony, B. (2014, 04 3). Making Tea in Korea. Retrieved from Brother Anthony/An Sonjae: http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/kortea07.htm

Boseong County. (2014, 04 3). Green Tea Plantation. Retrieved from Boseong County, Jeollanamdo, South Korea: http://english.boseong.go.kr/index.boseong?menuCd=DOM_000001404000000000

Jane Pettigrew & Bruce Richardson, B. R. (2008). The New Tea Companion. Perryville, KY: Benjamin Press.

United Nations. (2014, 04 3). FAOSTAT Gateway. Retrieved from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/download/Q/QC/E