Ready for a New Year Tea-tox?

After a week of reflection at the start of a new year, the holidays are a distant memory and we have slotted back into work schedules, school runs and day-to-day living.

Taking time out before going full throttle back into ‘normality’ is important. We aren’t machines after all. Christmas time and New Year allows people to focus on what is really important: family, friends, bonding and relaxing. A simple cup of tea also reminds us of this.

Tea with journal
Tea allows us to take time out

Regularly touted as a phenomenal health tonic, tea is a time to look internally at ourselves and our lives and what we would like to change. People want to experience different flavours, different ways to serve and drink tea, as well as enjoy health properties tea can offer.

Tea is beyond just a drink. It is there throughout the day, marking time and shifts in our patterns, as well as being a social glue and enjoyed in ceremonies such as afternoon tea. We take tea together or enjoy tea in solitude. Tea, just like coffee and beer, is evolving in a craft-style movement, where taste, quality and ethical implications are at the top of people’s priority lists.

afternoon tea
Afternoon tea is now a popular past time. JW Catering in Pier Red offers afternoon tea

Tea for Health

Tea is the elixir of life
Lao Tzu

Tea is seen as health and wellbeing drink and over the past decade, advertisers have taken ahold of marketing tea in this way. Tea sales are greatly impacted by health trends, some brands suggesting that it is responsible for around 80% of their sales[1]. Tea has actually dropped in consumption, however, this has resulted in people buying better quality teas. This could perhaps suggest that tea is now seen as a healthy lifestyle choice.

The 4 main types of tea, black, green, oolong and white, come from the plant Camellia sinensis[2]. This plant is found in China and India.

Camellia Sinensis
The wonderful plant Camellia Sinensis

Tea can come in many forms. In a teacup, iced tea, cold brew tea or kombucha. Recently exploding in popularity, kombucha, a fermented tea, is a great drink to include in your drink inventory. After a splurge at Christmas and New Year, the body is busy trying to repair the damage resulting from poor diet choices, lack of exercise and illness. Kombucha’s fermented qualities mean that it is a probiotic and can kill off bad bacteria in the gut[3], helping it heal for a healthy, happy new year. Probiotics can help with gut issues such as bloating and indigestion. Kombucha can also be your go-to drink if you’re looking for a sophisticated, slightly carbonated drink when socialising.

5 Healthy Reasons to Drink Tea

  1. Tea is brimming with antioxidants
  2. It has less caffeine than coffee or energy drinks
  3. Tea can help with weight loss
  4. Tea can help balance cholesterol
  5. Tea reduces stress

Another bonus is that tea virtually contains no calories unless you add anything to it such as honey, sugar and milk.

Tea Time is Me Time

I like the pause that tea allows.
Waris Ahluwalia

Despite the efforts to promote tea out of the home, our favourite place to enjoy our favourite drink is at home, made just the way we like it. Brewing methods have changed though, due to the popularity of loose leaf, glass teacups, and more we can experiment at home and also drink it traditionally especially as tea sets are en vogue again. Treating yourself to teaware you can use daily creates a more meaningful me-time experience.

China tea set
Old-fashioned china tea sets are fashionable items to have

It is an unassuming but luxurious drink which brings calm and joy to anyone who drinks it.

If you’re not a fan of hot drinks, experiment with tea flavours you like the sound off and create cold-brew teas, iced teas or tea cocktails. Tea can also be added to your culinary repertoire. Bake a date and Earl Grey tea loaf or cook grains and beans in brewed green tea. It can also be used for stocks for stews and soups. You may be surprised how delicious your food can taste.

New Year, New Brew

Tea makes everything better.
Bindi Irwin

Tea, like water, is a beverage which can be enjoyed any time any place. Here’s a selection of teas from local tea brewers to get you started on your 2019 tea journey.

Peppermint

A tea which is widely touted as an excellent digestif as well as for its calming effects. Drinking peppermint tea can help those who suffer from oily skin. Peppermint can inhibit oil production which can help to avoid clogged pores and healthier looking skin[4]. You can make your own peppermint infusion at home if you grow herbs. Or try loose leaf peppermint from Bari Tea or biodegradable pyramid bags from Tea & Kin. Alternatively, for a digestive boost try Peppermint and Fennel, the digestive blend from The Heavenly Herb Company.

The cooling effects of menthol can alleviate symptoms including tummy cramps, bad breath, anxiety and mental awareness
The cooling effects of menthol can alleviate symptoms including tummy cramps, bad breath, anxiety and mental awareness

Lavender & Camomile

A tea that can be used to naturally alleviate tensions and stress in both mind and body. Both of these herbs have been used for their healing properties since the ancient empires of Egypt, Greece and Rome[5]. These 2 herbs can improve mood, sleep quality, reduce stress and calm the nervous system[5]. The oils and antioxidant compounds found in these herbs are natural sedatives and anti-inflammatories which can help skin and hair to look its best. Camomile, in particular, eases skin conditions such as acne and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Both herbs contain apigenin, an antioxidant which is believed to encourage sleep[6]. Studies have proven the effects of camomile increasing the chances of a good nights sleep[7]. Restore restful nights after the party season and enjoy the soothing combination of lavender and camomile by drinking The Heavenly Herb Company‘s Serenity Blend tea.

Sage, Lemon Balm & Lemon Verbena

A tea to clear the mind and ease the stomach.  Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, is well known for its relaxing properties.

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family

Lemon balm is recommended if you are anxious. Lemon verbena helps to alleviate tummy troubles as well as period pains[8]  and sage can help with heartburn and bloating[9]. Try the Clarity Blend from The Heavenly Herb Company to get the benefits from this interesting combination of healing herbs.

Sencha Green

Sencha tea is the most popular tea in Japan, with consumption rates of around 80% of the population enjoy this tea regularly[10]. Green teas are all high in antioxidants and health benefits such as moderating cholesterol levels and reducing the impact of carcinogens in the body[10]. Sencha green tea is, in particular, has a high vitamin C content, so perfect for the cold months. For something different, and a great tea-on-the-go, try Left Field Kombucha‘s No2 Sencha Green for a zesty drink perfect for any time of day.

Sencha cherry rose loose leaf tea
Sencha cherry rose green tea by Bari Tea offers floral notes to a light tea

Chai

Chai is the Hindi word for tea. The origins of this tea contained no tea leaves, instead, it was a mixture of spices which is steeped in hot water to create an interesting, aromatic drink. It is usual to find cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger included in a chai recipe which was used in Ayurveda, an ancient medical practice in India[11]. This recipe has changed over time and now includes tea leaves, milk and sugar. Try the Masala Chai from Tea & Kin, Coffee & Kin‘s sister, which offers an authentic taste of south Indian-style chai.

Spices to add to chai
Chai spices: cardamom, black peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon, black tea and ground coriander make a delicious, warming and aromatic brew

Earl Grey

Earl grey is an infused black tea with bergamot oil which has floral and citrus notes. Mostly, this tea is best served with lemon, although some prefer it with milk. The bergamot in the tea can help to ease stress and anxiety[12].  earl grey tea is seen to be particularly good for improving heart health and decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol and oxidative stress in the heart. Earl Grey, like Darjeeling, is a fantastic tea to enjoy in the afternoon with light snacks. Try loose leaf Earl Grey from Bari Tea and enjoy the scents of bergamot while the tea is brewing.

Tea and Kin Tea varieties
Tea & Kin offer biodegradable pyramid tea bags including the flavour Earl Grey

Darjeeling

A famous tea from India. The tea is available as black, green and white tea. It is a naturally fruity tea; its aroma is what makes it famous. This type of tea is most popularly served with afternoon tea because of its light colour, beautiful aroma and is regarded as the ‘champagne of teas’. Try No. 4 Darjeeling by Left Field Kombucha for a fruity fizz or try white Darjeeling tea from Bari Tea and enjoy a rare indulgence. The loose leaf tea is hand-selected and sorted. The taste is light and fresh with notes of white wine lingering on the palate. A tea to impress with! White tea is less processed compared to black and some green teas. This means it retains more of its antioxidant powers. The antioxidants in white tea can help protect the skin from damage including from UV rays and the environment and can help skin retain high levels of collagen[2].

The 4 varieties by Left Field: yunnan black, sencha green, oolong and darjeeling
The 4 varieties of kombucha by Left Field: Yunnan Black, Sencha Green, Oolong & Darjeeling

Gyokuro

A luxury green tea from Japan. This tea is regarded as one of the more luxurious and expensive teas in the world, but this is due to the lengthy process it takes to make. The tea bushes are grown in shaded areas at low altitudes[13] in order to increase the chlorophyll and reduce the tannin. This gives the tea a strong flavour with hints of sweetness and freshness. The tea is harvested just once a year[13]. After picking, rolling the leaves into needle shapes and drying, the tea is aged for many months to mature before being ready to drink and enjoy. Gyokuro has a higher caffeine content than other teas[13], so is perhaps best for a morning boost or post-lunch slump to carry you on for the rest of the day. To enjoy at its best, get Gyokuro loose leaf tea from Bari Tea and enjoy as it is and drink slowly to feel the benefits.

Please note that all black tea, white tea and green tea varieties all contain caffeine.

Raise Your Tea Cups

Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual.
Thomas de Quincey

Make tea part of your new 2019 routine. Enjoy your favourite leaves in a number of different ways. Tea can be used as a step towards mindfulness and creating that time you need to take away from the daily struggle.

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