THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE TEAS…

by Elizabeth

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I wanted to share some helpful tips with those of you who may be interested in drinking more tea but don’t know quite where to start. I’m sure that you’ve already read or heard about some of the health benefits of tea. But if you’re not completely familiar, I’ll start you off with a list of 10 reasons why tea is so great & can actually help you lose weight:

1. It’s hydrating.
2. It contains antioxidants.
3. It speeds up metabolism.
4. It gives you energy.
5. It helps cleanse the body by stimulating digestion.
6. It reduces inflammation.
7. It encourages an alert yet relaxed state of mind
8. It promotes better sleep.
9. It contains NO calories, unless you add milk or sugar.
10. It helps lower cholesterol.

Okay, so now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about the different types of tea. I don’t want to bore you, but this is important, so don’t even think about skimming… unless you have knowledge of this already. When you get to know the different types of tea, that is when you can really decide on when to drink what. Not to mention, this is where it gets interesting. Who knows, maybe you’ll even learn something new! 🙂

tea cups

Most tea is made from the same plant (Camellia sinensis). White, black, green, and oolong are all made from this plant. What makes them different from each other is the degree of processing that each goes through (fermentation, oxidation, steaming, etc.). Herbal teas (including Rooibos, which is a South African Herbal tea) are not made from this plant and actually aren’t really considered teas at all because of that. They are considered “tisanes” (herbal infusions) because they are made up of flowers, roots, stems, and leaves of other plants. One of the really great things about herbal teas is that they contain no caffeine, so you can enjoy this type of tea at any time of the day (they are especially great to have in the evening). Lastly, the best (most flavorful and health-benefiting) teas/tisanes will always be full-leaf. Sometimes they come in “sachets”, but many times the higher quality stuff comes loose-leaf in canned containers. Choose those for the best flavor. Yes, they tend to be more expensive but good loose leaf tea can be steeped multiple times and the second time around still tastes great. It’s a way to justify the expensive stuff, anyway. 😉

There’s your history lesson for the day. Now, let the fun begin! Because of the specific benefits that each type of tea offers, I’d like to share with you the best way to enjoy your tea throughout the day while really gaining from those benefits. Not only that, but I’m including a list of some of my favorite teas and tea brands to help get you started. Have fun!

4 teas

GREEN TEA

Best time to enjoy: With or after breakfast.
Steeping time: 2-3 minutes
Recommendations:
Precious Companions by Extraordinary Gourmet
Coconut Green Tea by the Green Teahouse
Grapefruit Dragon by Butiki Teas
Enchanted Forest by Joy’s Teaspoon
Peachy Green by Extraordinary Gourmet

BLACK TEA

Best time to enjoy: Late morning/before noon.
Steeping time: 3-5 minutes
Recommendations:
Winter Wonderland by Joy’s Teaspoon
Tali’s Masala Chai by Art of Tea
Chocolate Pheonix Chai by Verdant Tea
French Earl Grey by The Tea Merchant
Queen of Earl by T Salon

OOLONG TEA

Best time to enjoy: With or after lunch.
Steeping time: 3-5 minutes
Recommendations:
Chocolate Tears by Extraordinary Gourmet
Aloha Oolong by Extraordinary Gourmet
Peach Tree Oolong by California Tea House
Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
Duo Oolong by Village Tea Gourmet

WHITE TEA

Best time to enjoy: With or after dinner.
Steeping time: 1-3 minutes
Recommendations:
White Ambrosia by White Lion
108 Blossoms by Extraordinary Gourmet
White Ayurvedic Chai by Teavana
White Tibetan Tiger by T Salon
Cantaloupe & Cream by Butiki Teas

rooibos

HERBAL INFUSIONS:

Best time to enjoy: Before bed.
(Peppermint teas are great after meals as well)
Steeping time: 5-7 minutes
Recommendations:
Chamomile Vanilla Bean by Fusion Teas
Chamomile Citrus by Mighty Leaf
Pillow Talk by Extraordinary Gourmet
Cocomint Cream by David’s Tea
Balance by T Salon (my husbands favorite)

ROOIBOS BLENDS (SOUTH AFRICAN HERBAL):
Carrot Cake Rooibos by Fusion Teas
Honeybush Masala Chai by Extraordinary Gourmet
Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos by Teavana
Red Lavender by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea

TIPS FOR BREWING LOOSE-LEAF TEA:
1. The darker the tea, the hotter the water you want to steep in.
So around 165 for lighter teas, and around 205 for darker teas.
2. Use 1-2 teaspoons of tea per 6-8 ounces of water.
For white & herbal teas, you can use a little more (up to 1 tablespoon) since they contain less caffeine & aren’t as strong.
3. Make sure you DON’T over-steep!
If you get distracted like me and would really rather not drink a bitter cup of tea, maybe get a tea timer/thermometer. I’m sure there’s an app for timing your tea as well, if you don’t want to spend the money. 🙂
4. If you are buying loose leaf tea for the first time, you will need to invest in tea bags or a strainer like this one or this one.
Or, if you really want to get something cool, check out Teavana’s Perfect Tea Maker. Fuss-free and not too pricey, either!
5. Sweeteners & milks.
It’s hard to enjoy a great cup of chai or earl grey without a little milk & sweetener, I understand. So here’s what I recommend:
a. Unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (full fat is fine, but make sure the can is BPA-free) or
organic whole milk from pasture-raised cows IF you can tolerate dairy (but still keep this to a minimum as it’s not ideal).
b. Raw, organic honey (local is best for reducing allergies), Organic Grade B Maple Syrup, or Stevia (green leaf or extract). Stevia actually contains no calories or sugar so this is a great option if you are trying to lose weight or just trying to stay away from sugar.

Let me know if you try any of the listed teas I shared and how you like them. Enjoy!