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Blast From the Past: Best teas for joint pain relief

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 13:00

Joint pain is quick to hinder our mobility as well as decrease our fervor in life. It manifests as inflammation, which is usually characterized by swollen joints, redness, loss of joint function and stiffness. Joint pain has many potential treatments. Some rely on conventional medicine, which can be found effective, but to some it may cause side effects due to over-dependence.

If you’ve found you’re not getting the relief you want through medications, you can substitute effective all-natural relief found in herbal remedies. Alternative herbs and spices, specifically various types of teas, have been associated with alleviating joint pain and inflammation that can cause rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis. Here are a few herbs that you can serve as a tea or mixed into teas to help get rid of inflammation as well as detoxify the body.

Nettle Tea

Stinging nettle is a prickly plant that has been found helpful in relieving discomfort, particularly in the joints. It contains active compounds that reduces inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are the messengers between the cells that causes inflammation due to immune response. The compound found in nettle leaves inhibits the protein that activates cytokines in the tissues lining the joints. Nettle tea may not sound like the most inviting remedy, but its cost efficient, easy to access and simple to use. Tea can be made with fresh or dried leaves from the nettle plant, and you can add honey or cinnamon for a better taste.

Green Tea

Green tea is known as an herb with the highest amount of polyphenols, an antioxidant that has an anti-inflammatory effect, and would be a great food to incorporate into a rheumatoid arthritis diet. These anti-inflammatory chemicals can also be found in decaffeinated green tea, so it can be an option if you don’t want the stimulant effect of regular green tea. Green tea also comes in tasty blends with added flavors so it’s easy to find one to your liking. Based on several studies, you need to take at least four to six cups daily to achieve the pain-relieving effects.

Burdock root tea

Burdock root has been used in many herbal remedies because of its numerous medicinal qualities. It contains fatty oils that are known to help with inflammation. You can take this as a tea by chopping up the dried root and mixing it into the boiling water. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes before straining. It is best to drink it while it’s still warm.

Echinacea tea

Echinacea plant is native to North America and was originally named as Snakeroot because of its restorative effects on snake bites. It is also known to be effective in easing arthritis and joint pain by activating chemicals in the body that decreases inflammation. An echinacea herbal tea consists of leaves, stems and flowers of Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea, including dried extract of its root.

Ginger Tea

Ginger has a stimulating pungent odor that makes into an excellent tea for warming the body as well as relieving fever. Ginger root also has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful in alleviating arthritis and joint pain. It is advisable to consult your doctor regarding taking ginger root since it can increase the risk of bleeding for those taking blood-thinning medications.

Celery Seed Tea

Celery seed has been widely used in India since ancient times. Many specialty tea producers mix celery seed in tea for arthritis treatment. Celery has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and joint pain. It also eases joint discomfort and reduces body joint degeneration. For a good celery tea concoction, you could mix one teaspoon of crushed celery seeds in a cup and add boiling water. Allow it to steep for 10-20 minutes before straining the tea and serving.

Alfalfa Tea

Alfalfa is a flowery plant from the pea family, which has been used to treat arthritis and inflammation, as well as diabetes and allergies. It is recommended to drink alfalfa leaf tea rather than supplements because the leaves contain important minerals but lesser L-canavanine, which is an amino acid that can cause severe side effects if taken in large amounts. It is best to consult with your doctor before taking alfalfa since it also has immune-boosting properties that may cause problems for those with autoimmune diseases. You can serve alfalfa tea by mixing half to one teaspoon in boiling water, taken after each meal. It can also be taken before a meal to stimulate digestion.

This article was originally posted in December 2013.

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10 years, 2 weeks and 10 days to make one teacup

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 13:00

I’m sure you would agree that a drink tastes better when it’s served in an appropriate cup or glass. Would you even think of drinking Dom Perignon from a plastic cup?!

Japanese tea in particular seems to come alive with taste and depth of character when it nestles up to Mother Earth in the form of clay that has been moulded by hand and fired in a kiln – and the Japanese have almost made pottery a religion.

Like their cuisine, a sushi chef doesn’t cook ramen, nor does a potter from Bizen craft a white pot with glaze. Bizen pottery is unique and not a single piece is the same nor can it ever be. Once you know how it is made, chances are that you too will join the vast number of devout worshippers.

Bizen is the oldest of the “Six Famous Kiln Towns” in Japan. It’s located on Honshu in the Okayama Prefecture. The other five famous areas are Tokoname, Tanba, Echizen, Shigaraki, and Seto. You will also hear about places like Arita, Mino, Hagi, Mashiko and others but they are not the famous “Six”.

Bizen pottery evolved from the ancient unglazed earthenware called Sueyaki and the same techniques have been preserved generation to generation, continuing without a break for over 1000 years.

The key word here is unglazed. It’s almost hard to imagine that a coating of some kind isn’t applied prior to the piece being put into to the kiln. The mysterious power of fire and clay work together to create these incredible pieces of art that are as utilitarian as they are beautiful. By the time you get to the end of this article, you will understand why the pieces are so revered!

Now the fun part…let’s go through the entire process!!

The clay comes from the Bizen area and is dug up from two meters below the rice fields in wintertime. Fresh clay is susceptible to cracking during the firing process so once it’s dug up, it has to mature for several years, with a maximum of 10 years, before being used to make pottery. After the clay has matured, it’s then pounded, dried, “washed” a few times, leached and then the good stuff is reserved for later use, and stored.

The longer the clay is stored, the better it is for making pottery. It’s cut into seat cushion-sized pieces and kneaded rigorously by hand or foot. The clay is then cut into smaller pieces, stones removed, and formed into a chrysanthemum shape. Finally, after long last, it’s now ready to form and fire!

Most of the ceramists fire in a “climbing kiln” (as in up a hill) that uses red pine for the firing process. Around 4000 pieces of firewood help maintain a temperature between 1200 – 1300 degrees. Next, during the reduction process, about 150 bags of charcoal are used and it’s here where embers fall onto the wares and a chemical reaction takes place between the iron in the clay and the carbon from the embers. When the firing is finished, the kiln is cooled down for 10 days and the pieces are removed.

The remarkable beauty that Bizen pottery is famous for comes from the firing process where natural ash and heat transform and adhere to the clay. The artists don’t know what the pieces will look like until they are removed from the kiln. Bizen pottery is so distinctive in color compared to other unglazed pottery like Tokoname for instance.

The pottery has 5 color classifications:

San-giri: (gunmetal grey, dark gray, blue, white). This is caused by the aforementioned reaction between iron in the clay and carbon in the embers.

Goma: (brown with black specs) This is caused by red pine ash sticking to the clay and melting

Hidasuki: (sienna, brown and red) This is caused by rice straw that has been pounded until soft and wrapped onto the piece before being placed into a saggar (special clay box) and put in the kiln. Here the alkali in the rice straw has a reaction with the iron in the clay. The final appearance resembles the flames in the kiln.

Ao-Bizen: (“Bizen” blue, either light or dark) This is similar in process to Hidasuki above but in the final stages, charcoal is placed on top of the saggar, completely covering it. The charcoal consumes the oxygen in the kiln and this is what turns it blue as opposed to red in Hidasuki. It’s challenging to get this blue hue and is a trophy for the connoisseur.

Hai Kaburi: while not so much a color, this is known for the dynamic appearance that develops. This is the most rare of all Bizen ware. It is only from pieces placed at the fire mouth and from being struck by firewood and buried in embers. The ash melts and creates striking marks but this melting ash often causes the pieces to stick to the kiln so only a very few are in perfect condition.

Now you know the process and how the colors came to be, but the real magic happens when you use it! The colors and gloss deepen just like leather does when used over the years through making contact with the oils from your hands. The taste of your beverage, however, you will notice right away!

Through the unglazed surface, the iron in the clay makes water and spirits taste at their finest, flowers in a vase stay fresher, and bubbles in your beer last longer.  I picked up a few “Bizen Balls” to put in my water bottle to give it that sweeeeet “Bizen taste”…but I’ll be drinking my tea from a Bizen cup, that’s for sure…

On my last drive-by, I scooped up 8 incredible cups, made by three Bizen master potters, and they are available on the chikitea.com website. First come, first served as they say!

Images provided by author.

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Christmas Tea Blend 2017

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:00

I’ve been meaning to get back to making a masala chai and a Christmas tea blend, so to clear through both I combined the themes.  This also contains a touch of bitter orange marmalade to fill in the spice range with a little fruit but the title seemed wordy adding it.

I’ve done Christmas tea blends before, and talked through what that’s all about quite a bit.  Two years ago I did a fruit and spice blend, and last year’s version went a bit further from the basics (black tea, orange citrus, and cinnamon) to include vanilla, cacao nibs, and black cherry jam, so based on chocolate covered cherries.  It was nice, just a bit removed from a typical dry tea and spice blend.  

This year I didn’t put the advance thought in and prep was mostly limited to what I had around.  That actually came up as both a positive and negative factor in the outcome.

Ingredients
-Thai organic CTC black tea
-ginger, clove, cardamom, touch of salt and black pepper
-bitter orange marmalade
-white chocolate
-palm sugar, milk

I did have to buy the black tea for this; funny there was no CTC tea in the house.  I think my wife picked up a couple of free tea bags in a hotel stay once but I went ahead and bought some loose black tea anyway.

I used all dry spices; spice-rack versions.  If the spices are relatively fresh that’s fine (not on the old side, I mean, anything in jars isn’t fresh in the other sense), since spices have a pretty good life-span.  Flavor dropping off is one thing but after a couple of years they really can pick up a mustiness.  Ginger is typically easy to use fresh, since we cook with the root here, and it’s even easy to find back in the US, but we seemed to be out.  I think the powdered ginger was the oldest of the spices and did contribute a slight mustiness.  Luckily the proportion of ginger was quite low in this version, something I’ll get into more in the next section.

I would expect that black cherry would be nice for the fruit balance, or orange peel for citrus, but bitter orange marmalade was the closest thing on hand.  I considered squeezing in a bit of fresh pomelo juice (Asian grapefruit), since that was on hand around, but didn’t expect it to work as well.

White chocolate was sort of a gamble.  I wasn’t sure the texture would work, but then using real vanilla bean (in the past) does contribute a really thick, creamy texture to spice and tea blends, which is still ok.  Adding a touch of salt gives blends balance.  I’m not sure it changed much but I went with a dash of black pepper for this version, which isn’t atypical for masala chai, I just don’t like peppery chai.  Palm sugar isn’t that different than a natural brown sugar; it was really just what was around.

Proportions, process

The blend was mostly black tea.  Clove was heaviest after that, with this version light on ginger.  There was a good bit of chocolate, nearly as much as in a Hershey bar, but not enough to make the drink into a tea flavored hot chocolate instead of a chocolate flavored tea.  I didn’t measure those, which leads into an aside I’ve been meaning to mention, and probably have already covered, about not sticking to well-determined proportions or parameters.

It comes from an approach to cooking.  I taught myself to cook in my 20s, based on my mother’s cooking (which is quite good, mainly traditional foods back in Pennyslvania), and on a partial study in making dorm food in college.  Part of my approach was to never, ever use recipes, except maybe for something like chocolate chip cookies–those are touchy.  It was about the process as much as the outcome.  Funny that just came up in talking about making tea; you can probably imagine why.  People get into the ceremonial aspects of that, or see it as some sort of Zen practice, with the Japanese tea ceremony based on that sort of thinking.  I could be more careful about using ideal parameters (I am an engineer too; I get it), but then it becomes about optimization, not the experience.  For me winging it is part of an organic process, and experience limited natural variation is too. 

So back to that blend.  I mixed the ingredients and simmered for around 15 minutes.  For more whole spices I’d probably go with at least 20 minutes, but that’s fine for finer processed versions.  Whenever you taste such a mix without milk it seems like you’ve completely ruined it, but adding the milk swings it all into a reasonable balance.  It’s probably more typical to simmer along with the milk, and it’s my impression that the milk does actually cook a little, changing the flavor, but this time I didn’t.

Images provided by author

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Holiday Cooking with Tea: Scallops in Keemun

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 13:00

Are you ready to add a new cooking with tea tradition to the holiday table this year? Here’s an idea for a delicious and festive use of Chinese black tea which features fresh scallops, seasonal citrus juice and the elusive subtle flavor of a favorite tea from Anhui province, mainland China, with their characteristic thin tightly rolled leaves. With a quick flash in a hot pan, the delicate marine morsels add gloss and intrigue to any menu. Sweet tasting, scallops absorb flavors from the liquids surrounding them. Here’s how to get the most out of a short list of ingredients:

The down and dirty:

Brew up some of your favorite Keemun to normal drinking strength (3 grams per 8 ounces of 212° F. water) and set aside. Squeeze a few tangerines and sieve the juice. Finely mince a medium sized garlic clove. Lightly coat the bottom of a heavy skillet. If you like, you can add finely minced fresh ginger to add a little zing and heat to the dish.  

The Recipe:

To serve 4-6  as a festive appetizer

1 lb. fresh medium-sized scallops, well dried on absorbent paper towels
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil to sauté the scallops (canola, grapeseed or light olive would work here)
1 medium-sized garlic clove, smashed and then finely minced
1 piece measuring about 1” in length of fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely minced
¼ c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 c. freshly squeezed sweet citrus juice of your choice (orange, tangerine, clementine, pomelo)
1 c. brewed Keemun tea
1 T. sweet butter
Garnish: Scallion greens, finely sliced

Ingredients may be gathered and measured out early in the day when you are serving the dish. Refrigerator and cover.

When ready to prepare the dish, which should be just before serving, heat the skillet with a film of oil in it. Carefully place the scallops in the pan and over high heat, sear both sides. Quickly remove them from the pan and place on a plate, covered to keep warm. With the heat turned down to medium, add the garlic (and ginger, if using) and sauté until fragrant. Do not brown. Add the soy, citrus juice, and tea and bring to a boil to reduce by half. When reduced, return the scallops and any juices that have collected in the plate where you stored the scallops and cook for another minute or so to reduce the pan sauce to coating consistency. Off heat, add butter and stir to melt and blend. Serve immediately on warmed plates over Chinese egg noodles or other pasta. Shower the dish with thinly sliced bits of scallion greens.

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International Tea Day – December 15th, 2017

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 13:00

According to Wikipedia, International Tea Day has been celebrated for the last 12 years all around the globe. “International Tea Day aims to draw global attention of governments and citizens to the impact of the global tea trade on workers and growers, and has been linked to requests for price supports and Fair Trade.”

So what can we do here in America to celebrate this auspicious occasion? If you have a favorite tea shop in your community, go there alone or meet some friends to share a pot of your favorite tea. Supporting our local tea merchants will help to ensure that the establishment will continue to thrive and provide the best tea selections that are available.

A more time-consuming effort would be to invite some non-tea drinkers over and put on a great show for them. Bring out your favorite pots and cups, and demonstrate how to brew a delicious cup of tea. You can coordinate a holiday gift of some tea-related items to encourage them to get excited about tea. A large mug with stainless strainer and lid are ideal for newbies who can use them at home or take them to work. Although this one is most suitable for women, there are so many options to choose from:

Ceramic Tea Brewing Cup with Infuser Basket and Lid, Lotus Print

A simpler. and less expensive option could be just the strainer with lid that would easily fit into their existing favorite mugs:

Brew-in-Mug Extra-Fine Tea Infuser with Lid

For those relying on internet tea shops, be sure to have your kitchen stocked with delicious teas to offer your friends and neighbors when they stop by to celebrate the holidays. A hot cup of tea will always be welcome.

Finally, let’s send along some light and blessings to all the countless tea pickers around the world whose job is underpaid and overworked, but without whose efforts we wouldn’t have the exquisite pleasure of making a delicious cup of tea each and every day from the comfort of our own home.

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Blast From the Past: What would jesus, moses, allah, and buddha say?

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:00

(I chose this article because today is Bodhi Day, a sacred day for Buddhists. This was originally posted in December 2007. ~Jaelithe, T Ching Editor)

As we find ourselves in the throes of the holiday season, it’s easy also to find ourselves rushed and stressed out. I was at the post office this week and had to wait 30 minutes in line for my turn. Everyone was grumbling, frustrated and angry.

I don’t think this is what our most holy of figures would like to see. Hallmark tells us that the holidays are magical times with Santa and festive holiday meals. Hollywood portrays a similar misrepresentation of happy families and joyous reunions. For many, holidays can be quite a different reality. The stress of family gatherings and the financial expenditures that are required for travel and gift giving are certainly enough to make us crabby. So what can we realistically do to put us on a kinder, gentler, holier path?

No big surprise here. I’m talking TEA.

Yes, tea: If everyone would commit to taking a few precious moments each day to brew up some tea, then sit down in a quiet place to relax, we would be on our way to a much kinder and gentler holiday season! It’s not too much to take twenty minutes. This little time to yourself can be most helpful when you’re feeling pulled in too many different directions. Think about what the holidays are really all about. Think about what’s really important in your life. I think the BIG guys would approve. Amen.

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Colds and Flus and Tea

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:00

Winter brings with it the festivities and holidays, but also can be a dreaded time of year for some because of colds, flu or other associated sicknesses.

With a little planning, you can get through the season with barely more than a sniffle,  even while people around you are dropping like flies. Some of this is based on science, but also my experience working in several restaurants which involve handling cash, touching keyboards, interaction with staff and the public. In other words, a landmine of potential ways to catch something. The tactics discussed within this article has worked for me for several years, even those where I did not get a flu shot. While not scientific, there is also clinical evidence which leads me to the overall conclusion that regular tea drinkers simply do not get sick as often.

Part One – The physical defense

In the 1980’s and 1990’s there was a product called “The Club” for automobiles. Cities like New York, where I grew up had a big problem with car theft at the time. The club was nothing more than a metal bracket that hooked to your steering wheel making it impossible to steer the car. The club wasn’t foolproof and eventually, thieves developed workarounds. But the main purpose of the club was to make your vehicle a less inviting target. A thief, when given the choice, would choose a non-club equipped vehicle over yours.

The same thought process applies with the avoiding colds. And the first part is simply making yourself a less inviting target.

To reduce the physical chances of coming in contact with the cold or flu means frequent hand washing and proper humidification. At the very least, keeping your bedroom at proper humidification levels while you sleep will allow your nose and sinus passages from becoming dried out overnight, which will reduce the chances of a virus getting a foothold when you are around sick people.

Frequent hand washing is also important especially if you are in public spaces.  However, anti-bacterial gels have been shown to have potential long-term negative health consequences. The FDA has already banned certain ingredients found in hand sanitizers. But even some of the non-banned ingredients – the alcohols and ethanols – may have side effects. While sometimes there is no choice, it is better to use soap and water where possible.

One little trick to FORCE you to wash with soap and water is a side effect of drinking tea. If you sip on tea throughout the day, you will inevitably have pretty regular bathroom trips. Therefore by default, you will need to use a restroom and use soap and water! 

Part Two – The immune defense

Assuming something gets through, your immune system in the next line of defense. The flu shot, while not 100% effective is going to reduce your chances of contracting the flu, and at the very least reduce the intensity if you should get it. Beyond that, your overall immune system condition is very important. A diet full of sugar, processed foods and inactivity will result in an immune system that is not at full strength. All this intertwines with your gut bacteria. As Dr. Steven Gundry describes in his book ‘The plant paradox’ – consider your body a condominium for microbes. If you do not give them good living conditions, they will not perform their functions efficiently. Therefore having a good overall ‘gut’ is vital for a strong immune system.

Eating well and physical activity will keep your immune system up to snuff during the vulnerable season. Even a little exercise daily is better than nothing, and there are numerous apps that follow the seven-minute scientific workout that allow you to get moving without needing expensive equipment and requires just a little time each day.

One of the main reasons that hand sanitizers might be negative is because they destroy good bacteria as well as bad. They also do not carry away dirt like soap does. So while they may in short-term kill everything on your hands, they will also dry out your hands and introduce chemicals that may not be ideal for your micro floura as a whole.

Part Three – Boosting the immune system

The supplement industry makes billions off various pills. Do they in fact work? Some supplements contain immune boosting ingredients, but there is not much in the way of studies that confirms lower incidents of flu or colds by taking them versus what you get in everyday foods. Vitamin C may help to avoid colds but does not really seem to do so. Plus, there are side effects from overdosing. Your best bet is to get as much vitamin C from foods such as greens and citrus. 

But did you know that simply drinking tea on a daily basis will help boost your immune system? It turns out there are studies that show certain components found in tea – specifically EGCG and L-theantine that help strengthen the immune system by priming T cell activity. Tea in general is anti-bacterial/anti-fungal, which is why tea drinkers also get less cavities.

Part Four – Breakthrough!

No matter how much you wash your hands, or how many precautions you take, there will be a time where the enemy slips through your defenses and attempts a beachhead. The key is to wipe this beachhead out as quickly as possible before the germs can grab more than a toe hold. Normally we can sense something wrong – a headache, post nasal drip, or some imbalance that says something is not right. Here is where you need to add some weapons to the arsenal.

But before we move forward, if you caught the flu you will know it. The flu is highly contagious during this initial phase. If you feel like you got hit by a truck – STAY HOME. 

Certain herbs like ginger, lemon balm, sage, or lemon verbena serve as antiviral sore-throat soothers. Also Echineccia has been shown in clinical trials to be as effective as tamiflu – with fewer side effects and much lower cost. If you happen to have a sore throat, honey will also work to soothe. 

There has been some evidence that zinc lozenges will reduce the length and severity of a cold. But should you decide to go this route, there are side effects from over dosing and usage is not recommended except when you are actually sick.

Echinecea is another common supplement. You could in theory take tablets, but drinking a tea with echinecea in it is probably a better bet, because it will contain more than just the one ingredient and more side benefits, plus the hot fluids which are recommended.  It also lowers the chances of overdosing. Using this rapid response method has worked for me personally, as well as other people I’ve advised. Whenever I feel any imbalance, I immediately switch to a mostly herbal tea regimen, including blends formulated with Echinecea. That, coupled with going to bed early has allowed me to wake up the next day refreshed and germ free.

From a cost perspective tea is also superior. Firstly, you can drink the tea all the time – not just when you are not feeling well. Most herbal teas can be consumed on a regular basis without overdosing or negative side effects. Just be aware if you are any medications, and look up the ingredients that are not familiar to you. WebMD is a great resource for this. Common ingredients like sage or ginger can be consumed moderately on an every day basis. Plus there are other benefits, such as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Conclusion

If you are drinking tea now, you are already boosting your immune system naturally. Keeping some herbal varieties with some of the ingredients mentioned, eating right and keeping fit will greatly increase your chances of avoiding sickness. Does tea help prevent colds and reduce the symptoms of a cold – YES!

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Tea Traveler

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 13:00

Ever since time immemorial people traveled from the orient to occidental lands along trade routes to carry the stories of Tea for various causes of business, religion, and personal gains. Horses, camels, and boats were used to carry tea but the storyteller was always constant – the human beings.

One such man is Jeff Fuchs, who traveled over the Himalayas from Xishuangbanna to Kalimpong and mostly walked it. Tibetans on the roof of the world helped this chapter of history to be written most romantically because the terrain was tough and challenging which needed a higher degree of courage and not many found it possible. His book and film are a very inspiring search and research in tea growing areas of Yunnan which extends to Sichuan, Guizhou, and further tea growing areas around Yangtze up to Taiwan around the 30-degree latitude which has sweet green teas. Now to push back is Darjeeling which crystallized around Kalimpong and has the right lands for isolating the most favourite strains of Tea. Traditional Dian Hong is the sweet base of this aromatic tea which waits to remove the astringency to become an ultimate of Jin Jun Mei. Right minds enamoured in the art of Tea have roamed in these lands like Dan Robertson and Austin Hodge or have settled there to study the subtleties of puer like Olivier Snider and Brian. Robert Fortune has left the work unfinished which I take morally to do as the service to this crop which provided employment to millions and has existed for millions of years. Image provided by author.

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How To Make a Tasty Green Tea Latte

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:00

There are different ways to make a green tea latte, but all of them involve matcha, which is the fine powder made from grinding a special variety of green tea. It has two unique characteristics in its farming and processing: The first is that it’s shade-grown for three weeks before it is harvested, and then when processed the stems and veins of the plant are removed. In other words, matcha is not simply ground green tea leaves of any variety. (See my other article “25 Matcha Trivia You (Probably) Didn’t Know” for more information about Matcha) So if you want to make a delicious green tea latte, you will need real matcha.

How To Make A Traditional Hot Green Tea Latte

This method takes the most time, but will generally yield the best flavor. Start with a wide mug that’s at least eight ounces in size. Using a fine sifter, sift about one teaspoon of matcha into the mug. The sifter helps break up clumps that may happen in storage. It’s important to use wide mugs as the tools to make the latte work better with more room.

The next step is to heat some water. You can use either a tea kettle or a saucepan for this step, but the important thing is not to use boiling water in your latte. Remove 1/4 cup of water before it reaches a boil, or let the water stand after boiling for about a minute to reach the correct temperature. Boiling water will negatively affect the taste of the matcha and may make it taste harsh.

Pour the hot water into the mug with the matcha and then combine it into a paste. You can use either a whisk or a handheld frother for this step. Bamboo whisks are traditional and work the best, but the other methods will work as well. Make sure the end result is a smooth paste with no lumps.

At this point, you can heat up 3/4 cup of milk and one teaspoon of sweetener such as sugar or honey. Use more or less sweetener as desired. Any type of milk can be used, including non-dairy and low-fat milks. However, take note that low-fat milks will produce less foam and have a less rich taste. Full-fat cow’s milk, coconut, or almond milk tend to work the best.

As with the water, do not let the milk boil. The best way to do this is to use a thermometer and only let it reach about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to produce foam, you have a couple of options. If you have a handheld frother, you can run it for 30 seconds just below the surface of the warm milk. If you don’t have a frother, you can whisk the milk after you pour it into your mug.

Speed It Up – A Hot Green Tea Latte Fast

If you have less time, you might want to consider the following faster method of making a green tea latte. In this method, you’ll combine the 3/4 cup of milk with the 1/4 cup of water in a microwave-safe jar. Place it in the microwave uncovered and cook it for two minutes. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil.

When the milk and water mixture is hot, sift in one teaspoon of matcha and your desired amount of sweetener. In the quick method, it’s better to use powdered sweetener such as sugar or a sugar alternative.

Seal and cover the jar, then shake it for a full minute. Make sure to use a towel or potholder to protect your hands. You can also use an immersion blender if the jar doesn’t have a lid. You’ll only need about 20 seconds on this method.

This method doesn’t look as pretty as the long way, but it should have a similar taste.

Cool It Down – Making An Iced Green Tea Latte

In the summer, an iced green tea latte is just the thing to cool down and still get the same calming energy of matcha. In this method, you’ll need a cocktail shaker, a jar with a lid or a wide glass. Cocktail shakers work the best for creating froth and making your latte nice and cold.

Put one cup of ice into the cocktail shaker and then sift two teaspoons of matcha into the shaker. Add half a cup of water and half a cup of milk along with desired sweetener. Again, higher fat milks will produce more froth. Close the cocktail shaker and shake it for a full minute.

If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can combine the above ingredients except for the ice and either whisk or use an immersion blender to mix.

Once the mixture is combined, you can use it to create two smaller lattes or one large one. Add ice to serving glasses and strain the mixture from the cocktail shaker into the glass. If you used one of the other methods, then simply pour it in. If the mixture isn’t cold enough, try chilling it for a few minutes in the freezer first.

Iced green tea lattes are perfect with a small amount of whip cream to finish.

Coffee House Green Tea Latte

Making a green tea latte similar to those found at coffee houses such as Starbucks differs only slightly from the above methods. One difference is that vanilla syrup is often used as a sweetener. In the case of an iced green tea latte, you add about four teaspoons of matcha powder to one cup of milk and blend with a frother or electric whisk. Then add one cup of ice and mix in your desired amount of vanilla syrup. Starbucks uses a premade blend of matcha powder and sugar that goes into the cup first and is followed by steamed milk. Some coffee houses also use premade matcha and milk bases that can be added to ice, blended with ice or heated up.

If you like this article, you may also enjoy following articles written by me for green tea recipes:

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