Chinese Wulong Tea, Green Tea and Tea Culture

May 1st, 2010

Tea evokes different images in the thoughts of people, ranging from the hot morning cuppa’ made from a black tea teabag to the mystery of China and Chinese tea culture and their Wulong tea and Green teas.

Some of the greatest teas originated in China, with China’s tea culture dating back for over a thousand years. Western experience with tea, however, is relatively recent, dating back a couple of hundred years when tea was introduced initially to the nobility. It soon became a favoured drink among many, with most of the tea exported to western countries, black tea.  Black tea remains one of the favourite teas for many Westerners still, although there is growing interest in Chinese teas such as Chinese green tea, Wulong oolong tea and Puerh tea.

No matter what the culture, drinking tea is usually a social event. A commonly heard phrase in China translates as, “Drink tea, make friends.”  Tea has also been traditionally used for centuries as a ceremony shared by master and student, no matter what the subject of the lesson; meditation, scholastic studies or martial arts.

Ancient Chinese Cloudwalkers who lived in the mountains in China, turned from the belief of Tao and instead chose a different path to enlightenment; “Cha Dao” or “the way of tea”.  Cloudwalkers discovered that tea possessed properties that would clear the mind and encourage better concentration, thus the master and student sharing tea together soon became an important ritual that survives amongst Chinese culture even today, the tea ceremony.

Cha Dao, the way of the tea, is almost a spiritual journey of enlightenment for many today. The wonderful calming and meditative properties of properly prepared tea has made Cha Dao not a religion as such, but a journey to find spirituality and peace. There is no set ritual for enjoying tea, nor is there any specific equipment that must be used. This journey is a personal journey, a journey of tasting and enjoying the subtleties and flavours of tea. Chinese believe and teach that in order to truly appreciate the finer qualities of teas your mind must be still, and after that you will begin to notice the difference between teas.

While it takes time for people to learn about tea, and to understand and recognize the differences between teas and between the qualities of teas, it can be learned. The best way to learn is to try different teas, and to learn how to brew them as they should be brewed. With time you will learn what constitutes a good tea and you will come to appreciate the different flavours.   It is a journey well worth taking.

If you are wondering where to buy wulong tea (also known as oolong or wu long tea), I would suggest that you buy from a health store or a special tea store, and that you look for organic wulong Chinese tea.  You can buy either the loose leaf tea or wulong tea bags. The best tea bags to purchase, if you go that route, are the triangular shaped bags that have loose leaf tea inside of them. They can be reused several times, and the quality is much better than teabags with dried tea powder.

You have most likely heard a lot about oolong tea side effects and benefits. It has been featured on numerous television shows, for example, where people talked extensively about oolong tea. Oprah helped to make it famous when discussing wulong slimming tea, and asking the famous question, “Oolong tea, does it work?”  There are also numerous sites online offering oolong tea reviews, and discussing the benefits of drinking oolong tea. Weight loss does often occur when someone switches to drinking wulong tea, (or wu yi tea, as it is also known as.)  It has been well documented, and actually my husband lost quite a bit of weight when he first began drinking it. Having said that, it is not a ‘miracle cure’ that will make all weight drop instantly from you, no matter what else you do.  It does help raise your metabolic rate, as does Green tea, which of course will affect your weight gain or weight loss. Chinese tea’s benefits are substantiated and real.

There are other health benefits to chinese tea’s both green tea and wulong tea. They both contain polyphenol, which has been shown to both enhance your body’s natural enzymes and removes dangerous free radicals from your body.

Healthy Organic Green Tea

July 10th, 2012

Green tea has been used by the Chinese since ancient times due to the beneficiary effects it has on health, and there have been several clinical studies undertaken which have actually proven this fact to be true. Green tea basically consists of various kinds of beneficial chemicals which includes powerful anti oxidants. All you have to do to experience the benefits of green tea is to drink at least two to three cups of green tea everyday so as to feel the impact it has on your lifestyle. Green tea contains anti oxidants which help your body fight free radicals produced during the production of cells in your body, and these free radicals have the role of intoxicating your body. The presence of free radicals in your body results in a variety of ailments and diseases which includes diseases related to the heart and also cancer. Amongst the various kinds of tea that are available, green tea is supposed to be the most beneficial for human health which has health invigorating properties. The reason is that this tea goes through the least amount of processing amongst all varieties of teas available in the market.

In order to apply the full benefits of anti oxidants which are beneficial to your body, it is recommended that you drink organic teas such as green tea. The reason being is that other tea varieties are produced using fertilizers and various other chemicals to make the plants (on which the tea leaves grow) to grow faster and more rapidly, and this helps to lower costs for producers and manufacturers, but at the same time, reduce its benefits and the use of chemicals during the growth process makes such teas an unhealthy option. Plants which are grown through natural techniques and organically have lower chances of suffering from various insect and pest attacks and also from various diseases that infect plants that are grown using artificial fertilizers and chemicals. The rapid growth such plants go through makes their immunity system weak, and the usage of artificial techniques can only be considered as an interference in the affairs of nature itself. While organically grown tea plants also suffer from diseases and insect attacks, but they will be in a better position to recover faster and in a smoother manner. Apart from this, the leaves of the plants which are used to make tea are picked from the plants in an irregular and unseasonal pattern, which actually ends up disturbing the natural rhythm of the plants that has a detrimental impact on the health of the plants themselves. Organic green tea is therefore a much healthier and smarter option for all those individuals who are seeking to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Organic Green Tea is always a preferred option considering the health benefits associated with the tea itself. Not only it is grown in a healthy environment, but the fact that it is grown in its natural way ensures that whenever you sip a cup of organic tea, you will not be exposing yourself to the harmful side effects that are associated with mass produced tea.

The Green Tea Diet

July 10th, 2012

You would have come across various kinds of diet plans that revolves around the use of a certain kind of green tea product. Most of these green tea diet plans seem quite sensible and practical option for most individuals, while the benefits of other diet plans are greatly exaggerated. Here are a few points that will help you understand a reliable green tea diet plan together with the some hints which will help you reach the right decision.

First of all, please understand that a real diet plan involving a green tea product does not produce results over night. However, green tea does help to catalyse the entire process for which green tea is being utilized for, but at the same time, it does not act in the manner of a vacuum. When opting for a green tea diet plan, please carefully check whether the plan does revolve around a green tea product, and it requires you to consume green tea together with a diet which is rich in various essential nutrients and vitamins and also recommends you to exercise on a regular basis. Green tea helps to invigorate the effects of the diet you are consuming as part of your plan and that the nutrients do behave in the manner they are expected to as part of the diet regimen, and it is necessary to undertake physical activity to further enhance the effects. Always search for diet plans that include green tea compounds which have been scientifically proven to help you lose a significant amount of weight within the shortest possible period, and the effects are optimized when you undertake the diet together with substantial physical activity. However, please be careful about how much weight you are willing to lose, since it is not recommended if you start losing more then a few pounds every week. Initially, most of us start losing water weight at the start of any kind of diet plan, but at the same time, a reliable diet plan is one which would help you change your lifestyle to a much more healthier one which would include a nutritious and healthy diet together with regular physical workout. Obviously, please do not expect the diet plan to start producing results over night, since falling for this fact would be a big mistake. These diet plans have gradual effects, therefore, if there is any product that offers overnight results and instant effects, then please do not fall for them, since there is no product manufactured so far which can actually be so successful.

A diet plan which uses Green Tea products as a major component of the diet regimen will allow you to lose weight in a healthier manner, while you undertake much needed healthier changes in your lifestyle and include a more healthier diet together with physical activity, while continue using green tea. Moreover, more and more physicians are now recommending the use of green tea to control one’s weight, and have realized the role of green tea as a safe option. Therefore, if you want to lose weight and become healthier, contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible, and enquire about diet plans which include the usage of green tea as a primary component.

How to Make Green Tea

December 22nd, 2011

Green tea and related products have actually swept the entire world and have turned into a popular global phenomenon. You would come across a variety of green tea products whenever you go into the market, from green ice tea, green tea cheesecake to green tea based diet plans. The health benefits of green tea on your diet are quite obvious on your health once you start consuming it on a punctual basis. However, green tea is more popularly consumed in the bottled versions, which can be quite expensive, and you will also be contributing to plastic based bottles which can lead to environmental degradation. Moreover, bottled green tea also contains a lot more sugar as compared to the green tea that you would brew at home on your own. There are so many varieties of green tea available in the market, so choose one which saves you the most money and at the same provides the most benefits to your health. By brewing green tea at your own home, you save a lot of money and this is also better for you, since you will be in control of how much sugar you would add to the tea, and you can always optimize the taste of your tea by adding a spoon of honey or lemon juice to add flavor.

Green Tea
Photo By: Like_the_Grand_Canyon

You can drink green tea either hot or chilled. There are a number of ways through which you can make green tea for yourself. In most cases, you need to add approximately one teaspoon of green tea for each cup you make. However, the amount of tea leaves you use to make green tea for yourself depends on your tastes and you can always add a little less or a little more to your cup. It would not be difficult for you to decide about the amount of tea leaves that you would want to add into your cup if have already gained experience with brewing tea. The duration of brewing the tea and the temperature at which you brew varies from one type of tea to the other. The hottest temperatures of the water required for brewing tea ranges between 180°F to 190°F and you would need to steep the tea between 2 to 3 minutes which is the longest duration required for brewing tea. The coolest brewing temperature on the other hand ranges between 140°F to 150°F and the shortest duration is approximately 30 seconds. Low quality green tea require more time for steeping and require more heat for brewing, while high quality green teas can be steeped in much lower temperatures and for lesser durations. If you steep green tea for a much longer time, then the taste of your tea would become bitter. The high quality option of green tea require to be steeped between 2 to 3 times to get the best tastes.

It is recommended that you use fresh and filtered water for the purpose of brewing tea, which does not contain many minerals in order to get the best tastes for your green tea. With experience, you will be able to develop better skills at brewing tea that best suits your needs.

What is Green Tea Latte

December 10th, 2011

For most of us, starting our morning without a cup of coffee or tea seems next to impossible. Some other people prefer other variants such as cappuccino and latte, which are equally quite popular. Latte is basically an Italy based beverage and is also referred to as cafe latte and is quite popular in a number of countries worldwide. The original latte is made using milk and coffee, and is available both hot and cold for consumption. In order to add more flavor to the drink, a few other ingredients are also added. Green Tea latte has also become a popular option for many individuals these days and can be consumed at any time of the day, and has no side effects. Green Tea latte helps you relax together with being quite beneficial for your health and for your body. It has been proved through research that green tea has a number of health benefits and helps to cleanse your body of toxins and stimulate your metabolic system due its antioxidant properties. It has been widely used in Asia since ancient times, and is now being used as a primary ingredient in various food products including cookies, puddings, cakes, smoothies and now gaining popularity in making lattes. There are various green tea latte recipes available, and you can always add more flavor to your cup of tea by adding the juice of your favourite fruit or honey as you like. Here is a great green tea latte recipe which you will really enjoy drinking.

Green Tea Latte
Photo By: ihatemyselfforlovingyou

For ingredients, you need four cups of cold water, 2 tea bags of Chai, 3 tea bags of green tea, 1 cup of chilled milk and four tablespoons of either honey or brown sugar. To make the green tea latte, you will need to boil the water first and then add both the tea bags of green tea and Chai. Let it seep for the next three to five minutes and after that remove the bags and throw them away. Then pour milk into a blender and blend it till it become frothy. After this, pour the boiling tea into each cup and mix 1 tablespoon of either honey or brown sugar. After you have mixed, add the frothy milk. To make your green tea latte look more delectable, you can sprinkle green tea powder or cinnamon powder on the surface.

In order to ensure that the green tea you have brewed does not lose its health benefits and at the same time retain its flavor, it is recommended that you use one tea bag for every cup of water that you boil to make the tea. Always use cold and filtered water to make tea, and boil it gradually. The moment your water starts boiling, remove the pan you are boiling it from the source of heat and leave for the next few minutes. After this, put the tea bag for the next 3 minutes so that it seeps adequately. This is a great way to retain the flavor of your green tea and at the same time ensuring that it remains beneficial for your health.

Green Tea with Ginseng

November 30th, 2011

Green Tea is considered to be amongst the most complex herbs which is manufactured in the medicine producing industry. Green tea is used widely in various health products these days and is also consumed as an excellent source of antioxidants and in weight loss programs. You can purchase a variety of green tea products from most health shops where it is available in the bottled version as well as tea leaves that can be easily brewed at home, together with in the form of tablets. All these versions definitely will help you lose weight. Green tea is quite beneficial for human health, and helps to stimulate your metabolic system, which in turn catalyses the fat burning process in your body. Green tea also helps to slow down the ageing process in your body since it helps in the regeneration of new cells and kills free radicals that are generally harmful to your body. When you start losing weight, more fats get burned in your body which are converted into energy, and you are able to lead a much healthier life as compared to the past. While the consumption of green tea can have several positive effects on your body, but if you continue leading an unhealthy life, then you will be killing all chances of green tea turning beneficial for you altogether. This is why it is recommended that you undertake a healthy diet and indulge in physical activity when consuming green tea to optimize its effects on your health and body.

Green Tea with Ginseng
Photo By: Gary Soup

You can consume green tea at any time of the day and in the form of a beverage, and if you want to take the most advantage of its effects, then it is recommended that you consume it right before you go to sleep at night. While the entire idea of drinking tea at night before you sleep might sound kind of weird, and it might scare you since it might cause bowls and certain strange effects on your stomach in the initial phase of consumption, but at the same time, this feeling would only occur during the first few days only. You will start experiencing the health benefits of green tea soon after, and your body’s metabolic rate would be enhanced and you will burning much more calories than ever before. Moreover, your body will be cleansing more toxins, so you will be feeling much healthier and fresher whenever you wake up in the morning. Ginseng root extracts have been mixed with green tea since ancient times in China and Tibet, and the combination of both herbs has been proven to have been very effective. Ginseng as a herb has been used for thousands of years and contains several vitamins and minerals which helps to enhance the detoxification process in your body.

Therefore consuming both Ginseng and Green Tea together can have a powerful effect on the health of your body, since both herbs will enhance the detoxification process in your body and help to further stimulate your metabolic system. Moreover, both ingredients have no harmful side effects, so you can consume them without any worry.

Green Tea During Pregnancy?

October 17th, 2011

There has been a lot of debate regarding whether it is safe for pregnant women to consume green tea altogether, and most people usually have the belief that if a pregnant woman drinks green tea anytime during the period, the process of production of folates inside her body would be interrupted. Therefore, if a woman who drinks green tea during her pregnancy in higher amounts, her body will lack the ability to absorb and utilize the folates that she consumes as part of her diet. However, this fact is completely untrue, and studies and clinical researches have proven otherwise.

The researches conducted produced results in favour of green tea, and that it does not pose any harm to a woman if she drinks it during pregnancy, if it is consumed in a limited quantity. The reason it should be consumed in a limited quantity is that it would be easy for your body to digest the tea if it is taken in the prescribed quantity. The only major risk that green tea might pose during pregnancy is that it does contain a certain amount of caffeine in it, and this is why doctors advise pregnant women to limit their consumption of green tea during the entire period. However, doctors never recommend to limit or completely stop the intake of green tea during the period since it does no harm of any kind.

Morning Green Tea

Photo By: Kanko*

It is always recommended that during the pregnancy phase, a woman should do everything to take care of her diet, not only for the health of the baby but also for her own well being. Caffeine does have certain side effects, and this is why it is recommended that you limit your consumption of products containing caffeine and that includes green tea.

As a first step, you should contact your gynaecologist at the first opportunity since he will be in a better position to give the best advise to you. Moreover, ask him whether you would need any supplements to maintain your health during pregnancy. Furthermore, ask him whether you would need to impose certain restrictions or limitations on your diet while you take the medications and supplements that he has prescribed. Also, ask him if it would be okay for you to consume food kinds which are composed of herbal ingredients, and to what limit are you allowed to consume such a product.

Food types which are composed of herbal ingredients also include green tea. Green tea would always turn out as the idea solution and is a great alternative to coffee and tea during pregnancy. Green tea contains minimal caffeine, so it is a much healthier option especially for pregnant women. It is a great source of antioxidants, which are quite beneficial for your health. The presence of antioxidants catalyses the digestion of iron and calcium by your body, both elements being very important during your pregnancy. Therefore, green tea because of its properties can be very beneficial if you consume it in the right quantity.

Therefore, you can safely consume green tea brewed at your own home without any risks to your pregnancy. However it is recommended that you do consult your physician for more details.

The Benefits of Iced Tea

August 30th, 2011

Iced tea is a great afternoon cooler, during hot weather it is nice to just be able to sit down and drink ice-cold tea to quench the thirst and keep the heat at bay. Many people enjoy making their own tea while some would rather buy powder formulas, liquid concentrates, and tea bags. These different kinds of teas can be made or mixed and then popped into the refrigerator overnight or served with ice to make it ice cold and perfect for the hot weather.

Drinking iced tea has many different benefits especially if you prepare and brew fresh ingredients yourself. It is rich in anti-oxidants such as Vitamins E and C, which are necessary nutrients that our body needs. Vitamin E, for example prevents the damages done by free radicals in our cells. Specifically, they prevent premature aging of the cells which may result in many different age related macular degeneration like cataract and they even prevent serious health diseases like heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C, on the other hand is known to increase our immune system. It fights off many bacteria and viruses that cause common colds and many others. They are also known to prevent hypertension and battle different kinds of infections.

Photo By: Ayelie

Iced tea also contains amino acids. They are the building blocks of protein and are very critical in the bio structuring of the body. Protein makes up the muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, hair, many body fluids, and even our bones. However, they cannot be readily absorbed by the body. Instead, they have to be processed and broken down into amino acids in order for our body to take in.

Iced tea may be used as a slimming agent too. This is because drinking iced tea, especially lemon iced tea, burns calories in the body so many people drink iced tea instead of lemon juice when they want to shed some weight to become thinner.  It is certainly a healthier alternative than other popular flavored drinks such as sodas, and can be sugar free if you choose to drink unsweetened iced tea.

While there are many benefits to be had in drinking brewed tea, many people are arguing about whether the same can be had in pre-processed tea like the bottled tea, tea bags, and tea concentrates that are sold in grocery stores and other markets. There are many studies conducted to find out whether these types of easy to make and convenient teas have the same health benefits, and while the results show that there are more antioxidants and amino acids in brewed teas with fresh ingredients, surprisingly, the pre-processed teas are able to retain the same nutrients too albeit in smaller amounts.

Tea – whether in the iced form favored in hot climates, or served more traditionally as a hot drink – has a lot of benefits for your body. Whatever your flavor or brand preferences, adding plentiful servings of iced tea to your dietary fluid intake is a great way to keep hydrated while improving your health.

How To Make A Cappuccino With An Espresso Machine

August 14th, 2011

It is really quite easy to make a cappuccino with an espresso machine — I do it all the time!  Of course, it is most helpful if your espresso machine has an attachment that allows you to foam milk. It is possible to make a nice cup of cappuccino without that but it does take a little longer; I’ll give  the instructions for that a little further on. Not only can you make cappuccino but if you are wondering how to make a latte with an espresso machine it’s just as simple.

Step By Step: Making Cappuccino With An Espresso Machine

First of all you will want to steam the milk till it is nice and frothy.  Most espresso machine steam wands have a covering over a metal tube. This makes the milk very frothy which is what you want if you’re making a cappuccino. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of milk into a container (I usually froth the milk in my coffee mug but if you are making several cups at once you may want to pour the milk into a Coffee Milk Frothing Pitcher and froth it up in that.)  Turn on the steaming function and let the wand go to work.  To get the milk to froth up more it helps if you move the cup or container around while the  milk is frothing. You can even pull it out of the milk and quickly place it back in for even more foam.

Photo By: Pocius

I hold the mug (or pitcher) on the base so I can gauge how hot the milk is getting. For a great tasting cappuccino you do not want the milk to overheat. You can buy coffee thermometers that give you a much more precise reading of how warm the milk is — optimum heat is around 150 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit or 65-75 degrees C. I do not always use one though as I can tell from holding the base of the cup or pitcher how hot the milk inside is.  The coffee thermometers are pretty cheap and easy to find online though, and they are a worthwhile investment if you drink a lot of coffee.

If I am making a mug of coffee I then place the mug with warm milk under the espresso maker and simply brew a nice strong cup of coffee that pours directly into the mug. Presto, my cappuccino is ready. Finally sprinkle chocolate or nutmeg on top. If you have sugar in your coffee a neat trick is to place the sugar into the milk before frothing it up.  Otherwise, you can put it in later.

When making a few cups at a time it is easiest to make your milk in a pitcher, make your espresso in a cup and then top it up with the frothy milk.

Making a Latte Instead

There is very little difference between a cappuccino or latte when it comes to how to make them. Basically, follow the same directions only do not let the milk become as foamy — simply heat it up with the steam wand without jiggling it around very much. If your milk ends up still being quite foamy another neat trick is to simply take the covering off the wand leaving the metal part exposed. Warm your milk with the metal wand and you will find that it gets a lot less foamy.

For flavored cappuccinos or lattes you will want to add the flavoring to the coffee before pouring the foaming milk in. Now, that can make it a bit difficult if you are making your coffee one mug at a time and placing the already foaming milk directly under the espresso coffee part.  Depending on the type of flavoring used, you may want to add it (along with sugar if you want some in your coffee) to the milk and foam it all up together. It works quite well and you will still end up with a nicely flavored cup of cappuccino.

Making Cappuccino Without A Steam Wand Attachment

As mentioned above, you can quite easily make a foaming mug of cappuccino even if you only have a simple drip coffee machine. I did it for years before I finally invested in an espresso machine.  The secret is getting the  milk nice and foamy.  One quick way to do this is to set some milk in a small saucepan on the stove and heat it up slowly. While heating whisk it fairly vigorously with a regular milk whisk.  If you do that while it is heating up you should be able to come up with a nice foamy milk that you can either pour or ladle into your coffee made using a drip coffee machine.  It works almost as well as the steam wand, takes about the same amount of time but needs a little more energy expenditure on your part (though, not much really.)

The Best Cappuccino Machine

It is really difficult to come up with one cappuccino machine that is the best as there are simply so many available on the market these days. There are quite a few small home models on the market that sell for between $70 to $90, such as the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. If you are not a copious coffee drinker and you like a variety of different types of coffee a machine like this is great.

Not all cappuccino makers are made equal so before buying take some time to read over different cappuccino maker reviews — there are plenty on Amazon for example.  When looking at cappuccino makers for home use you will want to keep in mind the following points.

  • Match the size of the cappuccino coffee maker to your available counter space.
  • Go for one with as little waiting time between steaming and brewing as possible.
  • Better machines warm up quickly, meaning less waiting time before you can  have your first cup of coffee.
  • Check the guarantee — longer is always better.
  • Make sure all the parts fit well together. Some can look great but you find the trays are flimsy and awkward to take in and out when full.