Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tips for Making Tea Part of Your Daily Routine

Tea is among one of the world’s most consumed beverages.  Drink it hot, cold, iced or sweet.  It doesn’t matter because it just tastes good.  If you’re looking for something to do that makes you happy each day, why not drink more tea?

Can’t get enough of the good stuff?  Here are some ways to make tea a bigger part of your day:

Buy a beautiful tea kettle to brew tea in.  Choose a stainless steel or ceramic pot to brew your tea in.  It lasts for year making it easy to enjoy tea every day for the rest of your life.

Select a travel mug that allows you to take your favorite varieties of tea with you wherever you go.  Never be without the beverage you love most.  Choose an insulated mug to keep drinks hot or cold.

Make tea a part of your next celebration.  Serve tea along with other beverages at your next party or event.  Invest in a tea chest to set on a table or countertop.

Learn more about different cultures and how they feel about drinking tea.  Find out how and why other countries love tea.  Learn how they serve it and what they feel it does for their health and happiness.

Attend a tea festival and learn more about how tea leaves are harvested.  Find a regional or global event and go to it.  Attend a workshop or demonstration to see how to properly steep tea leaves or use powdered teas to flavor dishes.

Now that you have some ideas on ways to make tea a part of your tomorrow, get busy gathering all the necessary supplies needed to brew, steep, and enjoy your favorite varieties of black tea, green tea, chai tea, hot tea, and cold tea.  After all, there’s few beverages as healthy and delicious as loose leaf and bagged tea.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Five Outstanding Teapots We Really Love

Tea is a beloved beverage enjoyed around the world.  Long before the invention of the teapot, people in China, Japan, Indonesia, Europe, and the United States enjoyed different variations of tea-flavored delicacies. 

When it comes to teapots, these five take the cake (or petit fours, crumpets or cookies, whichever you prefer):

1. The Bodum Chambord.  Modern and stylish, the stainless-steel bowl on this teapot allows loose tea leaves to swirl freely.  Once the perfect cup of tea brews, there’s enough to share with family or friends.  It’s ideal for tea parties and other social gatherings.

2. Tangerine Seahorse Descending A Staircase Reassembled Ring Teapot.  Fired Clay Artist Ray Bub’s teapots are in a category of their own.  Whimsical and truly delightful, this particular piece was chosen to be part of the “10th International Ceramics Competition Mino, Japan.”  It’s a shining example of what happens when creativity and practicality mesh.   

3. Moroccan Cast Iron Infuser Teapot.  A stainless steel basket resides in the ornate teapot making it perfect for brewing loose leaf and bagged tea.  The enamel-coated interior prevents rust and oxidation as well as makes cleaning the vessel a breeze. 

4. OXO Good Grips Uplift Teakettle.  Made from burnished stainless steel, this teapot looks great in any kitchen.  Its classic appearance makes it the perfect piece to pass down from generation to generation.  More importantly, it creates a beautiful blend of tea because the steel heats quickly.  

      5. All That Panda Cup of Tea Set.  The head of the panda bear screws off to create a cute coffee mug.  It comes with a mesh basket for both loose leaf and bagged tea.

The type of teapot you choose is a matter of preference.  These fun and funky options keep your tea hot and tea leaves out of your cup.  Brew a pot of your favorite variety of tea to test how your teapot stands up to the heat.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tea Steeping Times for New Tea Drinkers

If you’re new to the world of loose leaf tea, knowing how long to steep it significantly impacts its flavor.  Using this handy guide as a tool, learn what it takes to make each variety of tea taste its best.  It’ll be one of the most useful things you learn as a tea drinker.

Steeping Guidelines

It’s advisable to follow the direction of the manufacturer if steeping times are listed on their products.  If they’re not, here are some general guidelines to go by:

  • Japanese Green Teas for 1-2 minutes
  • Chinese Green Teas for 2-3 minutes
  • Green Oolong Teas for 3-5 minutes
  •  Black Teas for 3-5 minutes
  • Herbal Infusions for 5-10 minutes

A Tea Infuser for Everyone

There are a number of different tea infusers a person can choose from.  Some are classic and elegant while others are novel and funny.  It’s up to you to determine which one works best for your tea consumption.

Cleaning Your Tea Infuser

Make sure to clean all residue from the infuser before using it again.  Hand wash using a mild detergent and give it plenty of time to air dry to prevent mold from growing on it.  You’ll also keep it odor free if you allow it to dry on its own.

Storing Tea Right Maintains Its Flavor

It’s also very important to store tea properly.  Keep it in an airtight container, free from light, moisture, and other foods.  Glass jars look beautiful but compromise the quality of tea by exposing it to light.

Some people think tea should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer but it shouldn’t.  Leaves lose their flavor when frozen and thawed.  It’s best to keep them in the box, container or canister that it came in and to store it in a cupboard or pantry.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Uses for Tea You Probably Never Thought Of

Tea makes an amazing beverage hot or cold.  It also does a number of things such as serve as an antiseptic for wounds, a natural beauty product, and a kitchen deodorizer.  There’s far more uses for tea than this list contains.  It is, however, a starting point for you as you make the most out of everything you buy for your home this year.

Here are some additional ways to make the most of the tea you’ve bought:

  • Give your linens a boost of freshness.  Dried tea works like dried herbs by infusing its beautiful aroma into clothing.  Select Earl Grey for its floral undertones, lavender or jasmine.
  • Feed your houseplants.  Have leftover tea that you don’t know what to do with?  Give it to your ferns and houseplants.  They’ll benefit from the extra acid.
  • Fertilize roses.  Brew your tea and then use the black or green leaves as food for your rosebushes.  Scatter them around, add mulch and water to help them thrive.
  • Condition your hair.  Skip the store-bought beauty products and opt for something natural.  Steep strong black or green tea and apply it to wet, shampooed hair.  When hair is dry, rinse it out for soft, luxurious locks.
  • Take the itch out of pink eye.  Use a warm tea bag as a compress.  It’ll take the itch right out of your eye(s).
  •  Cook with it.  There’s so much you can do with tea!  Use it to flavor soups and rice.  Add matcha powder to desserts and dressings.
  • Make your fridge fresh again.  Keep dried tea leaves in a bowl in your fridge.  They’ll help absorb odors.
  • Tenderize meat.  Pour black tea over meat and place it in the fridge to marinate it.  It’ll make it tender and easier to eat.

Now you have even more reason to buy and use tea.  Pay close attention to the different varieties that you choose as some types of tea work better than others to clean, disinfect, and flavor.  Experiment with different combinations to see which works best for you and your home.  You’ll be surprised at how much bang for your buck you get out of each little tea bag.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Study Finds Chamomile Tea Reduces Mortality Rate in Women

The health benefits of chamomile tea is undisputed and a recent study published in the journal The Gerontologist claims that sipping the calming beverage decreases mortality rates in older adults.  Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston tested their theory on 1,600 men and women from the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly for a period of seven years.  What they learned from analyzed data was that chamomile lowered the risk of death from all causes among the women in the group by 29 percent.

The difference was found despite a variation in demographics, health conditions, and behaviors.  Sadly, chamomile didn’t affect the men studied the same way it did the female participants.  Day-to-day household activities including managing the family’s health was thought to have made some women’s bodies respond positively to herbs.

Chamomile has been used in the past as a way to boost health.  Prior studies show that it strengthens the immune system.  Participants in a 2005 study published in the journal consumed five cups of chamomile tea for two weeks and showed increased levels of hippurate which boosts immunity and fights bacteria.  It stays in the body for a long time which provides defense against colds.

WebMD notes that chamomile, particularly German chamomile, treats chest cold irritation, wounds that take a long time to heal, abscesses, gum inflammation, and skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, and diaper rash.  Chamomile tea comes in loose leaf and bagged varieties and is an ingredient in liquid extract, tinctures concentrated in alcohol, creams, and ointments.

Studying other populations lead to greater proof of chamomile’s healing properties.  For now, we encourage Hispanic women to drink their fill of chamomile tea.  After all, it promotes good health and well-being which are definite advantages.