Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Tea and The “L” Word

During the month of February, l’amour is found wafting in the air. The birds seem to chirp a little bit more merrily, the sun shines a little more brightly and roses and chocolates are flying off the grocery store shelves.

Now is also the month where more people search for the elusive love potion, the elixir that is destined to make men and women fall in love and bind fast to one another for the rest of eternity. People have been searching for that special mixture for ages with parties searching for items that were moist, produced flatulence (per eighteenth century Europe) and were warm. Martin Downs, author of Aphrodisiacs Through the Ages, explains, “Almost everything edible was, at one time or another” considered an aphrodisiac.

Of course, tea is no exception to this rule. In fact, it is a common belief that foods and drinks containing caffeine such as coffee and tea might stimulate the senses and cause excitement, thus setting an ideal mood. However, Paola Sandroni MD, neurologist at the MayoClinic and author of Aphrodisiacs past and present: a historical review, states, “I think the effect is much more general,” she says. Though the caffeine might stimulate the central nervous system, they do not seem to give the body the love bug.

That still does not stop stores from cashing in on this idea. Popular tea brand Adagio Tea, which has a warehouse in Garfield, NJ, sells an aphrodisiac tea that claims to be “Like a warm summer’s kiss on the beach, this tea will take your breath away. It’s love at first sip! Need to feel some love? Tangerines and strawberries are natural and tasty aphrodisiacs.” The NY Daily News wrote an article in May 2013 about how Ceylon tea can help rev the libido and improve blood circulation. Going down the aisle of the Asian supermarket, one can often find a box of Horny Goat Weed herbal tea for sale.

Whatever the case may be, what harm would there be to brew up a tasty cup of Masala chai and a box of truffles? Travaasa.com published a recipe that is designed to stir the senses and send the drinkers to Cloud Nine.

Ingredients:

- Bay leaves

- Cinnamon

- Ginger

- Green cardamom

- Fennel

- Anise

- Cloves

- Black pepper

- Darjeeling tea or black tea

– Combine all the ingredients except the tea in a pot of water and bring it to a boil

– Allow the mixture to simmer for five minutes

– Steep the mixture for 15 minutes

– Add two teaspoons of tea. Note, if you want a stronger brew, simply add more tea

– Boil the water for another five minutes

– Serve in your favorite tea cup and enjoy

Shedding Pounds With Green Tea?

People who know me know that I like my gym.   I might not get to go as often as I would like to, but when I do, I work out and I work out hard (and fun, usually doing something stupid like trying new machines and almost killing myself in the process).   I have been on a mission to lose weight for quite some time.   While working out this past week, a thought struck me.   Everyone always talks about losing weight with green tea.   While we all know how many snake oil products are out there, promoting their ability to help you shed the pounds in little to no time at all, I was curious if this one had any, well, weight to it.

So, curious, I turned to Facebook to ask for your opinion.   General consensus is that yes, it does help.

But Does It Really Help?

But Does It Really Help?

But, while it would be nice to take a Facebook poll and find out the secrets of the world, real life dictates you need to do your research to find out the truth, not just go by social media.

So, does it actually help?

I tried punching “green tea lose weight” into Google and came up with 22,300,000 results!   Articles ranged from WikiHow explaining how to drink tea (not necessarily green tea) to get a tiny waist, to Science Daily posting studies regarding weight loss and green tea.   Even popular website Calorie Count (of which I am a huge fan, especially for their yummy, healthy, low-fat recipes) chronicle how green tea has helped with weight loss.

There are lots of weight loss products that explain how they use the power of green tea to boost your metabolism and thus help you lose weight.   Again, a quick Google search pulled up 1,980 products in my area alone.   I think that I can go out on a limb and say that’s a lot!

Now, what do the heavier, scholarly articles say?

Well, we can’t make this easy, can we?

According to an article in Obesity: A Research Journal, a scientific study, funded by Novartis Consumer Health in Nyon, Switzerland, decided to look at 76 men and women who had BMIs ranging from 25 to 35 kg/m2, considered to be clinically obese.   The group was split where some received placebos and some received green tea pills.   From there, each division was then given a dose of low caffeine and high caffeine.   Those that had a lot of caffeine in the study seemed to have lost more weight!   However, if you do not drink a lot of caffeine, then green tea seems to help you with weight management, partially due to fat oxidation (breaking down fatty acids, which increases energy) and thermogenesis (generation of heat).

In the end, I would still always recommend exercise and eating well.   However, incorporating some tea will not hurt you in your weight loss journey and may even help out with your weight management, depending on your caffeine intake.

Drink tea, be happy, and maybe even have a happier waistline.

Happy National Iced Tea Month!

As the temperatures soar and my house starts to swelter and my body responds in kind by giving me a nasty cold, I wish you a happy Iced Tea Month!   Yes, legend has it that in June 1904, a tea vendor at the St. Louis World’s Fair was having trouble dispensing his ware.   After all, it must have been hot, sticky, and who wanted to walk around a fair with a piping hot beverage?   Even worse when you want to go on a roller coaster and you have to say, “No, I just bought this tea.   I need to wait for it to cool and then I’ll go on.”

Or You Can Always Take Your Chances And See If You Could Balance Your Tea Cup and Saucer On This Baby.

Or You Can Always Take Your Chances And See If You Could Balance Your Tea Cup and Saucer On This Baby.

So, the vendor started offering the tea for free.   People wouldn’t even accept that!   So, he decided to run the hot tea through iced pipes in order to chill the tea.   This new concoction got some attention and word quickly spread.   Then, iced tea was born.

Now, iced tea is easy to make.   You brew the tea hot, then you chill it, and there is your iced tea.   Make sure to add any sugars to your tea while it is hot, or the sugars will not dissolve.

Want some natural sweetness?   Add some fresh fruit to your cup.   Then not only will you get your Earl Grey, you’ll get a tasty strawberry along with it.

An extra tip for cooling your tea is, rather than plop ice cubes in your tea and dilute it, freeze some tea and use that as your chiller.   That will allow the tea to stay strong and will let you enjoy a cool cuppa.

Reblog – Don’t spoil good Tea with bad preparation

While searching the web, I stumbled across the Tea Trunk, another blog dedicated to tea.   On it, the writer posted Don’t spoil good Tea with bad preparation, a movie from the 1940s detailing how one should properly prepare tea.

Definitely sit down, relax and have a look!

A Time To Celebrate, A Time To Love, A Time To Drink Tea!

Perfect Holiday Tea

Perfect Holiday Tea

It’s that time of year again!   Scrambling for presents, decorating houses with Christmas trees, menorahs and/or snowflakes, and hosting holiday parties to gather friends and family in order to exchange gifts and share happiness.

Well, what kind of a “tea-o-phile” would I be if I did not prompt you to have a Holiday Tea Party?

There are plenty of cute ideas that you can do in order to make this holiday merry, bright and tea-rific!   Why not try to…:

  • Have an area where people can decorate their own tea mugs!   You might have seen the pin on Pintrest suggesting this fun activity.   All you need are some mugs (found cheap, about $1.29 at The Christmas Tree Shop), some assorted colored Sharpies and an oven to throw your mugs in once you are done decorating.   This activity is fun for both children and adults.
  • Stock up on some holiday tea.   Just go in Google and type, “Holiday tea” and watch the onslaught of tea!!!   Personally, I love Celestial Seasoning’s selection.   A green choice and all very tasty.
  • We all know about mulled wine, but what about mulled tea?   Check out Food.com for a yummy recipe.
  • Sit down and watch some tea-inspiring movies, such as Alice in Wonderland, or some nice Beauty and the Beast.
  • These recipes made with Bigelow Tea are bound to make you drool, whether you choose to serve appetizers, a meal or some sumptuous desserts.   Personally, I am contemplating persuading my family to let me try Jasmine Green Tea Truffles.
  • Make cute gifts for your party guests, such as a tea traveler pouch!   Need ideas?   Go on Tea Love’s Pintrest page.
  • And of course, relax, and enjoy your good company.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, however you choose to celebrate, make sure that it is a happy one!

Bubble Tea Pearls As A Carcinogen and How To Combat It

Now, those who read this blog know about my love for bubble tea.   Whether it be in a smoothie or iced tea, the taste of tea intermittent by the sudden gulp of tapioca balls is a nice surprise in a drink.

Cute Cups of Tea!

Cute Cups of Tea!

So, imagine my surprise when I saw news articles on how the bubbles in bubble tea are carcinogens!   Apparently, a German-certified government lab tested some tapioca balls coming out of an unnamed German bubble tea factory and found that the tea contains PCBs, a material that was once used in coolant fluids but, due to toxicity, was banned from the US in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.   On top of that, this organization argues, the balls pose a choking hazard.

Now, bubble tea’s history is no clearer than that of regular tea.   The exact origins are unclear but it is believes that bubble tea was started in the 1980s, possibly by a Taiwanese tea shop owner Liu Han Chieh who wanted to start a new creation.   Eventually, a Japanese TV show happened upon the intriguing drink and showcased it, releasing the beverage to the world.   Since its inception, there have not been any reported accidents of bubble-tea related accidents.   If there have not been any accidents in 30 years, I would argue that bubble tea’s drink-ability is fine.

Obviously, not being a scientist, I cannot argue with the PCBs.   However, as a tea fanatic, I have searched around and found a quick recipe online for making your own tapioca pearls.   The process is not difficult at all, is very forgiving and can prove to be a fun activity to do with the kids:

For this activity, you will need:

- Tapioca starch

- Food coloring (if you want to have a bit of fun with it.)

Directions:

- Put your tapioca starch in a bowl (no measurement, as that will vary depending on how many balls you want to make) and slowly add boiling water.   Make sure your water is boiling, or this will not work.

- For a bit of fun, add in your food coloring.

- This is the part that you can have fun with.   Knead the starch until it has the same consistency of play-doh.

- Roll your play-doh dough into bite-size pearls on a wet towel.   Make sure they’re not too big!   If your dough starts drying, then just add a little bit of water.   If it gets gooey, throw in some more starch.

- Let the tapioca balls dry.    This will vary depending upon preference, but overnight should be perfect.

- In order to make the drink, throw your pearls into some boiling water and wait for them to rise.

- Depending on preference, you can leave them in for a few more minutes (since once they rise, they are only half-way cooked) or you can let them soak for longer.   Personally, I like mine a little chewy, so the shorter amount of time, the better.   Otherwise, they turn gooey and make me feel like I am drinking fish eyes.

- Drain your pearls and quickly put them on ice.

- Throw in your tea and enjoy!

While I must say, I do not think that this tea is a carcinogen nor do I think it poses a choking hazard, having a recipe on hand is fun and handy, allowing there to be no question what you are putting into your body.   Since you can roll the pearls to whatever size you would like, you can also avoid a choking hazard.   Have fun, make a night of making delicious tapioca balls and then spend the next day reaping the rewards by sipping on a nice, cool cup of bubble tea.

Homemade: Thai Bubble Tea

I always love reading Le Zoe Musings’ blog.   Her writing style is unique and informal, like talking to an old friend, and her photos are amazing, to say the least!   If I remember correctly (and please Kellie, correct me if I’m wrong), she has not had formal photography training.   Looking at what she does, I think she’s fibbing :-)

Like me, Kellie is a huge tea fan, posting pictures of her chai matcha green tea that she makes, as well as her latest, Homemade: Thai Bubble Tea.   Take a look, learn how to make it yourself and indulge.

The Fountain Of Youth – Found

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known for getting men on the moon, enduring astounding training sessions that few are capable of and – beverages?

Today, NASA announced that a drink that was initially developed to protect astronauts from the sun’s radiation can also noticeably reduce wrinkles and signs of aging in as little as four months!   One of the components included in the drink known as AS10?   Green tea.

The Now-Famous AS10

The Now-Famous AS10

The drink, a blend of fruit and plant derivatives, including cupuacu fruit, acai, prickly pear, yumberry, acerola, grape, pomegranate and, of course, green tea.   Not only does the blend provide a rich array of vitamins and antioxidants (exactly what green tea is famous for), but it also has a high dose of phytochemicals, a chemical that naturally occurs in plants and cause the lush, green color that we love to see in the spring.   This chemical also acts to shield cells from the harmful effects of radiation.

When researchers at the University of Utah tested the effects of nearly 200 people drinking two ounces a day, they found that the drink had a dramatic effect on the people’s faces.   30% of the people’s dark spots were reduced and 17% had less wrinkles!

The drink is thought to be so effective because it helps to destroy free radicals, which damage skin cells.

This drink can be bought as 2.5 fl oz. bottles for $29.95 per six pack.

While this time, I cannot say that tea is the only beverage worth mentioning, the fact that this super-drink could be a part of such a powerful blend is absolutely astounding to me!   Green tea has been toted as a miracle beverage for centuries and now, it can be added to another blend to create a scientifically proven elixir of youth, reversing the damage of the sun and giving people back their baby skin from years ago.

Would you buy this drink to get back your baby bottom face?

UPDATE:

One of my Patch.com readers commented saying that he found the whole idea preposterous and wanted details.   Not one to disappoint and leave my readers hanging, I went on a search and found oodles of news articles on AS10.   However, I did find two that said that the whole ordeal was, in fact, fake.

I am keeping in mind that out of all the websites searched, two said the drink was fake and then the rest still keep to the idea that it is real.

I’ve attached some of the articles below but what are your thoughts?   Is AS10 really the miracle drink it claims to be?   Or is it just another beauty product hoax?

Article stating the issue is a false claim:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.rss.spacewire.html?id=1654

Other news sources fooled:
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12260200-as10-nasas-cure-for-radiation-wrinkles

http://theweek.com/article/index/228525/nasas-wrinkle-erasing-space-drink

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nasa-astronauts-space-drink-reverse-signs-of-ageing/1/197821.html

http://www.counselheal.com/articles/1887/20120528/nasa-s-drink-astronauts-fight-wrinkles-sun-spots-blemishes.htm

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/nasa-space-drink-can-reverse-signs-of-ageing/261911-17.html

Organic Tea Versus Regular Tea

Organic certification

Organic certification (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I wish to issue an apology to all my readers.   The past few days have been a hectic, cold blur.   In fact, I am still fighting off this darn cold that is trying to take over!   But, no matter.   With plenty of matcha tea and water by my side, I’ll muscle my way through.

And now, for the reason that you came to this blog in the first place – tea.

At work last week, my employer came into the office raving about these wonderful organic almonds that she bought and the delicious organic green tea she was sipping on.   Now, I am sure that, just like me, you hear the phrase “organic” being thrown around constantly.   I have personally seen organic toothpaste, organic band-aids and even organic dirt.

I am not knocking organic anything.   However, I am curious – what’s the difference between organic tea and regular tea?

Turns out, organic tea is better for health benefits.   It does not have the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which means that less of that gunk and junk goes into your body.   For those that are earth-conscious, it also allows a friendlier farming strategy as well, allowing us to also be a bit kinder to the earth.   Rather than rely on ineffective solutions, organic farming allows for farmers to do green methods, such as using “green” manure to fertilize crops.

Either way, Tea Gschwendner, a tea store started in Trier, Germany, states that, “tea, whether grown organically or conventionally, is one of the cleanest foods on earth.”

With the miracles that tea provide, I don’t doubt this.   Though, to help Mother Nature every once in a while, it can’t hurt to imbibe a bit of organic tea.

Green Tea Bobas { Homemade }

I love Le Zoe Musings’ posts and photos but this one, I think I adore!

Boba tea (popularly known as bubble tea is delightfully tasty, gives you a bit of a pleasant surprise when you slurp up a tapioca ball (found at your local Asian food market) and is chock full of health benefits if you make it using matcha like Le Zoe Musings recommends.

Matcha green tea uses the entire tea leaf.   It is ground into a fine powder and is used for Japanese tea ceremonies.   It is also believed to have that many more health benefits since you do use the whole leaf.

Read more about Le Zoe Musings’ great blog here:

Green Tea Bobas { Homemade }

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