single tea cup

So have you all been watching the Olympics?  With all the events and drama it was the greatest excuse to not turn on the evening laptop and blog and instead sit down in front of the telly with a cup/mug of tea of choice.   Speaking of choice I am a bit of a tea devotee and practically have a library of tea.  I am short one of those wooden lidded boxes that get presented to you in some restaurants post main meal with an unexpected great choice of enveloped tea bags.

Tea storage box Amazon

Tea presentation box (Image taken from Amazon)

I thought that if I mentioned herbal tea in my post header it would turn a lot of you away.  To some,  mentioning herbal tea and tea in the same sentence elicits an “ugghh” type sound.  But it doesn’t have to be that way, as there are some amazing herbal teas out there including some black teas of the chai variety that I have become very fond of, and they really aren’t too far a taste stretch away from the old reliable Barrys or Lyons Irish tea.

There are some that I cannot warm to at all but I think it’s a very subjective preference (nettle, rooibos tea) and I believe everyone has to find and adopt the herbal tea that suits them and what they like.

 

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My daily Chai tea

Chai tea has benefits as outlined in this article ‘Why Everyone Should Drink Chai Tea‘ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5825/Why-Everyone-Should-Drink-Chai-Tea.html and as the article says contains a number of standard ingredients such as black tea, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, clove and black pepper. A  lot of these ingredients assist with improving digestion and are full of flavour.

 

Banana_VietnameseDessert

Vietnamese tea (with what I think was a bay leaf flavouring it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green tea has been around for hundreds of years and is very popular in Asian countries where they have green tea menus in tea houses (in Korea for instance).  It relatively recently had a resurgence in popularity in the Western world and while some restaurants and cafes in Ireland offer a great tasting brand of green tea, others are well… depressingly awful or bland.  No wonder it turns some people off green tea.

Green tea has reported benefits – thanks to its decent content of polyphenols – such as ; –

  • Relaxation, managing stress – this may be due to the calming l-theanine amino acid contained within ¹
  • It is full of very beneficial antioxidants such as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG ( I mentioned these in my dark chocolate post last March
    http://nutritionbyanna.com/2016/03/dark-chocolate-cravings/#sthash.fG9A0wZx.dpbs
    )
  • Reported benefits with weight loss ²
    To quote from the article referenced in the footnote “Recent data from human studies indicate that the consumption of green tea and green tea extracts may help reduce body weight, mainly body fat, by increasing postprandial thermogenesis and fat oxidation” , of course more studies are needed but this is interesting right?

Matcha green tea has also become quite popular. It is available as finely ground powder and is expensive.  However only a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is needed to make a cup of tea.  Some people put the powder in smoothies or in making ice cream!

I have heard reported  side effects such as nausea or headaches from people who consume green and matcha green tea so this tea may not be for everyone.  It still contains caffeine unlike other herbal teas.

Herbal teas count towards the daily water intake quota and are a great thirst quencher to black tea.  And you don’t need to add milk – although I do add a drizzle (of the non dairy kind as per personal preference) to my plain chai teas or a decent Earl Grey (which is a black tea blend with added bergamot oil).

Peppermint tea, ginger and fennel tea are all very calming to the digestion and can be an aid in keeping things balanced with digestive system movements 😉  They are great after a heavy meal (or on their own if feeling nauseous for instance).  Ginger is anti-inflammatory and a definite warmer for the winter!

Teapigs peppermint tea

A gorgeous peppermint tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t say too much about chamomile tea – it’s a calming one for mind and body.  I don’t know why I don’t drink it more.  I think it’s due to a long standing memory of having it years ago when it tasted terrible but the infusion has much improved now, and of course it depends on the brand.

Finally and harping back to the chai tea again, if I had to pick my one favourite alternative – it would be the the Clipper Organic Indian Chai Tea – not everywhere in Cork does it but when I do encounter it I buy immediately.. we don’t want a shortage now do we.. #mycomfortblanket

clipper Indian chai tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¹ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1829632

² http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/