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Updated: 10 min 31 sec ago

New Ice Tea offering Without Sugar…..but…..

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:00

I was happy to learn about a new offering of iced tea blends from Glucose Health. I do however have some concerns.

Although you can see what they’ve added to the mix, it fails to show the actual ingredient label so that one can’t see if there are any additives not mentioned. Also, although they note that stevia is used, again, I’d like to see the ingredient label required by all manufacturers. When it isn’t available for review, it makes me suspicious. The dietary fiber and soluble corn fiber could easily be from GMO crops. The other concern is that the ingredients are not organic. This brings unfortunate pesticides into the mix which can very well eliminate any of the otherwise healthy ingredients.

Is it a move in the right direction by eliminating sugar? Absolutely, but it might not really be a “healthy” beverage until we have more information. I have called the 800 number in the hopes of getting more information but at this point, no additional information is available. If I learn anything else, I’ll be sure to add it to the comments section. To be continued.

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5 Surprising Ways Matcha Boosts the Immune System

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 13:12

Matcha green tea powder is one of the healthiest beverages in the world- it’s rich with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Matcha green tea powder helps boost your immune system in five surprising ways, from helping you ward off the flu this Winter to reducing inflammation!

Immune System Boost 1: Matcha Green Tea Powder Fights the Flu

Matcha green tea powder’s high antioxidant content, particularly Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) assists your body’s production of T-Cells which reduce inflammation and fight pathogens. This makes matcha green tea powder a great immune system booster during the Winter flu season!

Immune System Boost 2: Matcha Naturally Detoxifies

Matcha is a powerhouse of chlorophyll (where the vibrant green comes from!) due to the unique shading process the tea plants undergo. As a result, matcha helps detoxify the body of harmful chemicals, toxins and heavy metals.

Immune System Boost 3: Matcha Kills Bacteria

Matcha contains a high level of both flavonoids and antioxidants which form a powerful anti-bacterial defense force! The flavonoids will eliminate bad breath, kill off bacteria from viruses/infections while the flavonoids are perfect for soothing a sore throat!

Immune System Boost 4: Matcha Reduces Inflammation  

Matcha green tea powder can help reduce inflammation and arthritis pain because of its active ingredient EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant that works to stop the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body. Matcha contains a much higher level of EGCG compared to standard green tea bags making it the perfect immune system boosting drink.

So where can you find matcha green tea powder? It’s critical that you buy high quality matcha green tea in order to gain the full health benefits. Zen Green Tea is my own company which sources premium quality Japanese matcha green tea powder with the full health benefits.

Starting to feel the flu? Try making this Matcha, Ginger Immunity Tea Recipe

Ingredients – Makes 4 cups


  1. In a medium sauce pan bring 6 cups of water and all ingredients excluding the matcha green tea powder to the boil.
  2. Cover with a lid and boil the tea for 15 minutes
  3. Strain the tea into a pot.
  4. Dissolve the matcha green tea powder into one tablespoon of hot water- ensuring you dissolve any lumps.
  5. Add the matcha green tea powder to the pot of tea, and stir.
  6. Serve immediately. You can keep any left over in the fridge to drink cold or heat up again.

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Premium bottled tea versus home brew

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:52

For years, bottled teas meant one thing – bad tea in a bottle. Traditionally, the lowest grades of tea were used for bottled or canned tea. These cheaper teas are mainly from low lying regions, which also have higher rates of contamination than their higher elevation counterparts. For years these were the only teas you could get on the go.  Eventually we saw the emergence of smaller boutique tea bottlers that upped the level of quality. Seeing the move to these brands, some companies followed the lead of craft beer. With beer, large breweries would acquire smaller companies. Another option was to create a new company with a new name that didn’t make its large company roots apparent.

 This tactic is also being used by the big tea companies. An example of this is PURE LEAF.

 To the unknowing customer, the name invokes a small specialty tea company. That is until you look at the back of the bottle and notice the little symbol:

 Unilever is the world’s largest consumer goods company measured by 2012 revenue. It owns over 400 brands, including Lipton. Many tea drinkers avoid Lipton because of its low quality. So it was no mistake that Unilever decided not to use the Lipton name when going for the higher end tea customer. They partnered with Pepsi to create the Pure Leaf brand.

True Leaf tea is advertised in high end magazines. Sexy bottles, lots of ‘tea leaves’ in the advertising…the words “tea house”, organic…the advertising and packaging are impressive.

 To give credit where credit is due – this is a better bottled tea than the previous generations. Pure Leaf follows in Honest Tea’s footsteps by upping the quality of the base tea and creating a drink that actually tastes like tea, not chemicals. Put it this way, if you had to choose between this and fountain iced tea, there is no debate: this tea is much better.


 You decide you like the tea and drink it regularly. While this tea doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup,  “organic cane sugar” is listed as the 2nd ingredient. This adds up to 20 grams of sugar per 14 ounce bottle. This is roughly the same as a 12 oz can of coca cola (23g).  There are much worse beverages out there, but the American Heart Association lists 36 grams as the ideal daily limit for a man, 25 grams for a woman. So if you are a woman, (which the magazine we were reading is clearly aimed at) you are taking in almost all your daily sugar intake in one bottle of this tea. It isn’t better with brands like Honest tea, with their larger bottles clocking in around 25 grams of sugar.


 There are some brands that do not sweeten their teas. If you are going to drink bottled tea on a regular basis, we would recommend these types. For example, Wegmans had a very nice Jasmine Green tea with no added sweeteners.


 We looked around and found that a typical bottle is going to cost somewhere in the $2 range.  We were able to find it on amazon for 20 cents an ounce.

 What is the difference if you brewed this tea at home? An easy direct comparison is to use a black berry sage loose tea as a direct comparison.  In our example cold brewer, which is 50 ounces, we used about 4 tablespoons of tea – maybe an ounce. Using a conservative calculation, we are probably looking at $2.25 of tea. When we put into the brewer, we probably net about 48 ounces of drinkable liquid. That’s about 5 cents an ounce, which is about 70 cents. Not bad eh? 

 So at the very basic level – you are paying 4 times the amount for bottled tea. If you are drinking this on a regular basis, you’ll quickly make back the cost of the brewer. 


 Now for a little trick….when you cold brew there are always going to be extra leaves. You can stretch your tea by adding more water when you have 1/2 or 1/3 of the tea left. We tried this trick and were able to get even more tea out of the brew while still maintaining a good flavor profile. So your real costs may go down to .03 cents an ounce when you finally exhaust the flavor.


 In our tests, most teas were drinkable within 30 minutes. A couple of hours were sufficient to get a nice dark color, as shown in our example above. By agitating the tea periodically, you also maximize the release of all the flavors and anti-oxidants. Of course, if you want tea instantly, you can use the traditional hot brew method – steep and then add ice. 


 The great thing about brewing tea yourself is you can adjust the sugar content. If you prefer sweetness, you’ll find not much sugar is required. For example, with our 50 ounce brew you can add 2 tablespoons of sugar, which comes out to about 24 grams of sugar total. If we were to convert to PURE TEA bottle size, that would be about 6 grams of sugar per serving. Another idea is to use lemonade. Lemonade is super sugary, with about 25 grams per EIGHT ounce serving. You could add the entire 8 ounces to the brew, but in our experiments, a 16 ounce tea glass just needs a splash of lemonade. So even adding 8 ounces of lemonade to a big batch will keep the added sugars within reasonable levels.

 Either way, sugar added to tea, especially in large saturated quantities, negates all the health benefits tea has to offer. Once you get the taste for good tea, there is no reason to cover it up with lots of sugar. Many good quality loose teas are fine on their own. There are many flavored teas that exhibit a naturally sweet flavor profile. The benefit with cold steeping is that you have no bitterness. 


 Sometimes there aren’t a lot of choices if you are on the go or traveling. Teas like Pure Leaf are a better choice than any soda or mass market tea such as Lipton. If you are suffering from weight issues, then added sugars should be avoided entirely. (flavored water is a better choice on the go). However, if you find yourself drinking bottled teas on a daily basis then it’s worth investing in making the brew yourself. Not only are you getting a better product, you also are also reducing waste AND saving money.

 Cold brewing requires no hot water and is very easy to make either at work or at home. You just need a fridge!


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Blast from the past: 3 steps to introducing tea to non-tea drinkers

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 12:55

This article was originally posted to T Ching in August of 2015.

When we encounter something new that we want to add to our lives, it is only normal that we also want to share it with others. It starts almost as an obsession sometimes, as if we are “spreading the gospel.”

Tea has that effect on us as well, especially good tea.

We tea drinkers have a way of getting so passionate about tea and have all the fancy utensils and methods that now we are just looking for some doors to start knocking on.

Before you become a Teahovah’s Witness, let’s go over some basics that make it more likely that they will listen, and hopefully start trying tea themselves as well.

Step 1: Find a great tea that is really worth sharing.

If you want to convince someone that traveling is great, don’t take them to Arizona in August. Giving tea a fair chance is important too. Arizona is great, but one may not think so when it is 115 degrees out. Pu’er Tea is great, but one may not think so when it is a poorly processed ripe version that tastes like Grandma’s basement.

For your own sake and the sake of your friends, buy great tea and drink great tea. Give yourself a little cooling off period when you sit with each tea. If you are still crazy about it after a few days, then it’s a good tea to present to a friend. And try to present a tea that they may like as well. If you know they love sweet drinks but have never tried tea, maybe its best to offer them a sweeter tea from the beginning. If they like the tea, give them a baggy to take home and enjoy and maybe study on their own.

Step 2: Educate without intimidating.

So you know the exact altitude of the mountain and the annual rainfall of the region? Great. When sitting with anything new, however, we want it to be accessible and not overwhelming. Sure, let them know that the world of tea is so much bigger than this cup or this variety, but also bring it to a level that they can relate to. Show them what tea can do for them. Pour them a great raw Pu’er tea and ask them how they feel now versus a few minutes ago. Calmer? Stir up a matcha tea and ask them if they feel like they have more energy.

Once we see tea as more than just a beverage, it starts to sink in. “Wow, this whole tea thing is more than I thought it was.” That’s a great place to start. Plant the seed and be there to water it along the way. They will definitely have questions, and it will be fun when they start making tea purchases on their own to share with you later too.

Step 3: Enhance the moment with tea.

Tea is so much more than a beverage, it is truly a lifestyle. It is a moment of calmness in the afternoon. It is a breath before a big meeting or a wind-down after a long day.

Tea has been poured billions of times for strangers meeting strangers or fathers meeting sons. Showing your friend that tea is actually an event is huge.

They will find a new beverage that is so much more honest than any other. It’s more exciting than water, more humble than coffee, and more honest than liquor. Sharing tea with someone is unlike any experience. Share this moment with your friend and watch what comes out, and maybe point it out to them so that they see the beauty in conversation and the clarity of mind that came from this moment.

Remember, the key is to find great tea first and make sure it is clean and worth sharing. In sharing tea, you will have a beautiful new connection with someone who you may not have otherwise. All this and you are paying it forward for whomever first introduced you to tea.


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How to cook with tea

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 12:48

Nothing makes you feel better on a cold winter night more than a soothing cup of tea, but about those hot summer days? Not a lot of people are fans of warm beverages when the temperatures are rising, yet most of them don’t realize how much they can do with just a couple of tea leaves in their kitchen. Cooking with tea isn’t that common in some parts of the world, but it’s quite usual in others, so you might want to think outside the box for a change and consider incorporated leaves into your cooking. Here are a couple of ideas you should try and how to get the best results every single time.

Why is tea an important cooking ingredient?

Everyone knows that tea is comforting and pleasant, but it’s even better when prepared with care – after all, handling those delicate tea leaves properly can sometimes be quite tricky. However, if you manage to approach them with the utmost precision and take what’s the best in them, you’ll certainly get extraordinary results. The reason for this are the natural benefits of tea and all the ways it enhances your health. It’s full of antioxidants and positively affects your immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems, and helps you control your stress and anxiety level.

There are lots of flavors that tea leaves introduce into your life – from woodsy and fruity, to astringent and sweet – and bringing some of these into your kitchen will significantly elevate your cooking skills and turn you into a master chef. Tea leaves will add a new layer to your meals and make them exotic, exciting, soothing and unusual at the same time. But, how can you incorporate tea into your menu and what are some of the combinations you might want to explore? Here are two great recipes you could try today.

Tea and pasta

Pasta is the ultimate comfort food and no matter how tired after a long day at the office you are, preparing it is an easy and quite straight-forward process. However, if you add just a small dose of tea leaves into the mix, your dish will become something entirely different and much more exciting than it used to be. Traditional pasta dough is usually based on a recipe passed on from one generation to the next and not everyone likes changing it, yet adding some green tea to it results in a nice pale green color, a new texture, and flavor.

This way, your pasta will attract the attention of your guests in a matter of seconds and help your noodle soup or spaghetti Bolognese become the talk of the neighborhood. Of course, you can easily find these kinds of pasta in a supermarket, but preparing it on your own is a much better idea.

Tea cookies

Whenever you’re down, eating a batch of freshly-baked cookies will instantly make you feel much better. However, while dipping your cookies in tea is great, not everyone likes the idea of preparing cookies with tea leaves. Luckily, this idea will make you want to eat the entire batch on your own and will surely satisfy the needs of everyone with a sweet tooth for cookies. And with such a simple and fast idea, you’re going to want to bake these cookies every single week.

The idea is quite simple – grind black tea into powder using a spice grinder, incorporate it into your favorite cookie dough and you’re good to go! And even if you’re not the world’s biggest fan of black tea, don’t worry, because you’ll only need a couple of tablespoons to get that amazing oriental flavor. Nevertheless, since black tea is quite dark and sometimes hard to wash away from your tea cups, the same might easily happen to your spice grinder too, so be sure to use a reliable and powerful dishwasher to wash all the fine powder away.

Other ideas

Some of the other ways to incorporate tea leaves into your cooking include tea-based cocktails, juices, soups and cakes, as well as chicken and smoked beef ribs seasoned with tea. As soon as you find out more about the perks of cooking with tea, you’re going to make them an essential part of your cooking ritual in no time.

The post How to cook with tea appeared first on T Ching.

What’s The First Tea Innovation in Thousands of Years?

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 12:57

Drum roll please……….The answer is Purple Tea. Not everyone has heard of purple tea. Rich in antioxidants, it has one particular flavonoid, anthocyanim malvidin, which you might recognize as being responsible for the vibrant color of blueberries, cabbage, grapes, acai berries and now purple tea. This strain of Camellia Sinensis is the real deal, offering health benefits beyond green and black teas.

Kenya is the largest grower of purple tea with hundreds of small family farms producing this unique varietal. As most of us have witnessed, it was the profound health benefits associated with green tea that set it up to be the popular tea for those concerned about their health and wellness. Move over green tea, you’ve got some competition.

World Tea News reporter Dan Bolton has interviewed the COO of International Tea Imports, which is the largest purple tea importer, Bhavain Shah.

“After decades of research by scientists in Kenya, we believe they have developed a completely new category of tea.  Purple tea is unlike any other type of tea in every aspect from its leaf structure and appearance to manufacture process to its distinctive health attributes.”

I was delighted to acquire some purple tea to try from Justea.

Simply opening the shipping box was a delight. The vibrantly colored tea tin has echoes of Africa providing a visual connection through its colorful fabric. As a lover of tea accessories, I’ve fallen in love with their wooden spoon which is graced with delicate beading below its scoop. If the tea lives up to the presentation, I think it’s going to be great.

Upon visual inspection, the dry leaves look like a twisted oolong to me.  Brewing it up, it looks a touch darker than most of my green teas but not as dark as oolongs and blacks. If you want to see a bit of magic, add a few drops of lemon and watch the color transformation. I have to admit that I enjoy the taste. It’s without the vegetal notes of traditional green teas, but the flavor is sufficiently strong to provide an enjoyable experience.

As one who began her journey into tea to kick the Coca Cola habit and find a beverage that provided health benefits, I’m drawn to purple tea for similar reasons. Anything I can drink and enjoy that packs a powerful health benefit is sure to make it into my cup regularly. It’s nice to add another delicious tea drink to my limited repertoire. Maybe this experience away from green tea will encourage me to try other types of tea. You never know what the next tea will taste like. It could become your favorite tea of the month.

images from the Justea website


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DunHuang Tea

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 13:15

The recent heat wave could have brought back memories of a few indelible summers, but it evoked most vividly the visit to last year’s Cave Temples of DunHuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road exhibition at the Getty Center.

The first MoGao Cave Temple, located in Gansu Province’s DunHuang City, was constructed in 366 AD. During a 1,000-year period, from the 4th to the 14th Century, ascetic Buddhists continued to carve out more grotto on cliffs, all 492 total. The temples’ interiors are adorned with elaborate ceiling-to-floor murals and statues, scrupulously painted and sculpted in different religious poses and postures.

One Chinese blogger recorded his decades-long stay in DunHuang and commented on the region’s inferior water quality, because of which he lost his tea-drinking habit. However, DunHuang’s most popular souvenir seems to be its eponymous brew DunHuang Tea, made from leaves of wild apocynum venetum, commonly known as the dogbane plant. Like other herbal concoctions, and based on corporate advertisement, DunHuang Tea offers myriad health benefits, most notably as deterrent to anxiety, hypertension, etc.

At first I thought little about seeing the exhibit; in a few years, I will embark on my own Silk Road adventure with DunHuang being a key destination. The exhibition turned out to be a fabulous treat. The three replica caves showcased the respective temples in their current deteriorating condition. Artists recreated the interiors by chipping the paint and staining the walls intentionally, all for visitors to ponder and examine in an air-conditioned space lit with simulated dim light. I imagined sitting on the floor and meditating, and be enlightened. My thoughts were interrupted by the museum personnel who reminded visitors to move forward.

After seeing the exhibit, I still yearn to trace the Silk Road, but that desire is no longer as strong as in the past.

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