Cup of Tea Father
We, like Mrs Doyle of Father Ted fame and probably a majority of the world's population, really do enjoy a cup of tea! Due to its' ubiquity, the humble brew is perhaps unappreciated for the complex beverage that it is - some of the world's greatest teas are as outstanding in taste as the finest wines or rarest whiskeys and may also offer some significant health benefits. Read on to learn more about the properties of this ancient drink and why not expand the horizons of your food service business by offering your customers some of the more exotic varieties on the market?
All teas contain complex chemical compounds whose properties continue to be researched and understood. Most tea's are a source of bioactive compounds - natural components of food that have potentially beneficial effects in the body when consumed. Examples of tea bioactives include flavonoids and polyphenols. Research indicates that flavonoids may exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body, while polyphenols may offer protection against the development of certain cancers, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative disease. The well-known compound caffeine, is also found in tea. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug, acting as a stimulant of the central nervous system. A typical cup may contain between 26 - 70 mg of caffeine, depending on the steeping method and the type of tea used. healthpro recommends consuming less than 300 mg of caffeine per day for adults and less than 100 mg of caffeine per day for adolescents. Younger children should not drink caffeinated beverages on a regular basis.
Some Tea Varieties;
Black Tea is the type of tea that most people are familiar with. It is a stimulating tea and it thought to be great for circulation. Black teas can be enjoyed with or without milk. Each cup contains approximately 40 - 70 mg of caffeine, which is about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. Examples of Black Tea include Breakfast Tea, the traditional Irish tea, and Earl Grey.
Ceylon Tea is a long, whole leaf tea from Sir Lanka. Ceylon Tea has a mild flavour that is reminiscent of citrus fruits. Black Ceylon tea is the most common form and this tea takes well to milk but is best taken as the locals do, black.
Organic Bohea Lapsang, is a beautiful and smokey tea from the Wuyi region of the Chinese province of Fujian. Lapsang is distinct from other teas as the leaves are traditionally dried over a pinewood fire.
White Tea is known to contain higher levels of antioxidants than any other type of tea. It is made from the new growth buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. This tea is almost caffeine free and expert tea drinkers claim that it contains all the benefits of green tea and more.
Oolong Tea is a traditional Chinese tea. Some passionate tea drinkers say that this tea contains the freshness of green tea and the richness of black teas. Chinese medicine suggests that oolong tea aids digestion and may boost bone health.
Green Tea is a type of tea that is made from the Camellia sinensis plant however it has not undergone the same withering process used to make oolong or black tea. It is known for its suspected health benefits due to its high level of antioxidants, namely catechins. Catechins are antioxidants that fight cellular damage.
Scented Green Tea has the freshness of green tea with the scent of flowers or fruit oils. These are fresh and fragrant teas with the same low caffeine content of the green tea.
Moroccan Mint is a scented green tea that is clean, bright, refreshing mint tea. There are many scented green teas out on the market.
Flowering Tea are artisan teas, consistsing of a number of dried tea leaves wrapped around dried flowers. These are stunning creations. Common flowering or blooming teas are the flowering jasmine arch or a lilly flower is used. Typically they are sourced from the Yunnan province of China.
Flowering Jasmine Arch, the strands of green leaf open like a sea anemone. A delicate arched garland of jasmine flowers lifts from the crown of the leaf and strands to hang suspended in the water.
These are not strictly tea, they are a product of infusing a herb, flower or dried fruit in boiling water. They are fragant, clean tasting and caffeine free.
Blackcurrant and Hibiscus Fruit Infusion is intense and lively with a rich spectrum of berry fruits and a sweet perfumed finish.
Whole Organic Chamomile Flower has a full, mellow floral taste. Most Europeans and Americans know Chamomile as an aid for sleep.
Whole Lemon Verbena Leaf has a mint like freshness and lemon zest pungency.
Rosebud Infusion is caffeine free and is refreshingly light.
Some Preparation Advice;
For the best tasting cup, choose teas made from unbroken leaf rather than the dust which can make up a lot of the content of tea bags.
How to brew the perfect cup of tea?
Step 1: Use one heaped dessert spoon of tea
Step 2: Infuse the tea with the correct water temperature
Step 3: Leave the infusion to steep for the desired amount of time.
Know your temperature and steeping times:
Black Tea: 90 degress and steep for 3 to 4 minutes
Green Tea: 80 to 85 degrees and steep for 2 to 3 minutes
Scented Green Tea: 80 to 85 degrees and steep for 2 to 3 minutes
Herbal Infusions: 90 degrees and steep for 2 to 3 minutes
White Tea: 80 to 85 degrees and steep for 2 to 3 minutes
Flowering Tea: 90 degrees and the tea is ready when open
Oolong Tea: 90 degrees and steep for 2 to 3 minutes
Remember, tea is a great addition to any balanced diet. There is no conclusive research to suggest that tea alone will provide any one health benefit, more likely health benefits may be present as part of a balanced diet. Consultant Dietitian, Harriette Lynch says that "your health is not determinded by any one food. No one food can protect you from disease. Health is a factor of dietary intake, lifestyle, genetics and environment, so if you drink tea, you will also need to take care of your health through your overall diet, activity and lifestyle choices."
So, relax and enjoy your favourite cup of tea and let us know which tea is your favourite and why.
The healthpro Team.
Pandey, K.B. and Rizvi, S.I., 2009. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2(5), pp.270-278.
Published on 5 February 2017 | Back to February Articles