Archive for February, 2009

Discover the power of a green tea antioxidant

Discover the Power of a Green Tea Antioxidant

If you are like me, you probably have seen so many advertisements for green tea that it makes your head spin. The difficulty for all of us is to discover what it actually does as opposed to the claims made for it.

I have seen websites that make claims of green tea benefits in 25 to 40 different health categories. One person even touted how much weight she had lost in one month by drinking green tea in addition to taking it in rather expensive extract pills. Later in the article we find that she was drinking her tea instead of soda pop.

As far as the weight loss goes, drinking plain water would have achieved similar results.

So, why have they been drinking tea in Asia for thousands of years?

A recent Japanese study of 40,000 people in Japan showed that green tea drinkers had a lower death rate from all causes including cardiovascular diseases [the world’s number one killer]. In fact, even after a heart attack they had a 28% lower death rate than non tea drinkers.

A similar study a few years earlier found that people who drank green tea at least once a week consistently for 6 to 10 years had significantly higher bone density.

Which tea is best?

There are three main varieties of tea — green, black, and oolong. Black and oolong have a stronger more robust flavor but the real difference is in the antioxidants.

Green tea contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. There are basically four of them in green tea which are collectively called catechins of which the most powerful is one called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG.

Black and oolong tea also contain EGCG but during the fermentation process much of it is lost through oxidation. Green teas are made from steamed unfermented leaves.

What do antioxidants do?

Antioxidants are enzymes that capture and neutralize free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable oxygen atoms naturally created by the body but are also imbibed from environmental toxins such as the sun’s ultraviolet rays, pesticides, air pollution or the natural chemicals found in our food. They can be thought of as the body’s version of car exhaust fumes.

If the free radical count gets high enough you will suffer cell damage that could lead to cancer and as many scientists believe, premature aging. On average each cell in our bodies is attacked by a free radical every 10 seconds. In the time it takes you to read this article all your cells will have been attacked 35-40 times.

It should be emphasized that there are other important antioxidants that are not present in green tea in notable amounts. Some of these are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotene, along with amino acids and nutrients like Lutein, L-Glutathione, Bilberry, L-Camosine and grape extract. To make sure you get all the antioxidants you need, consider a balanced multivitamin supplement that contains green tea extract in combination with other nutrients

Samovar staff speak out: how to spot your own sweet darjeeling

Samovar Staff Speak Out: How to Spot Your Own Sweet Darjeeling

You can learn so much about a person by what kind of tea they order. Don’t get me wrong – I was definitely a peppermint Stash kind of guy when I walked into Samovar for the first time on a man-date with one of my best friends. It was his secret date place, and, as it is for many people unaccustomed to camellia sinensis, the tea and herbal selection was quite intimidating to me at first. I knew I wanted to be adventurous, however, I had no idea how to even begin saying the word pu-erh, let alone know how to order or drink it (pooh-air, as it turns out).

My first hot sip at Samovar Tea Lounge was of the 8 Treasures, a sweet and refreshing mix of dates, berries, rock sugar and schizandra. It was served gong-fu style, which was handy to learn given I would begin my love affair with oolongs not long thereafter. Following that first experience I was hooked, and it was only a matter of time before I became interested in learning more about tea and joining the Samovar team.

I’ve learned loads about tea and the people who love it so much the past year that I’ve been working here. I’ve learned what I like to drink, what kind of tea should be paired with what kind of food, and how to make recommendations to people based on what they tell me they like. This last skill that I’ve acquired, however, has proved to be the most beneficial to me in my personal life, for reasons other than the soothing sedation or captivating charge that most turn to tea for.

Before working at Samovar, I had a job in a caf? where we served ice cream, and let me tell you, you can tell a lot about someone by what kind of ice cream they order (if they choose sorbet or non-fat yogurt – well, then, that says something, too.) As an active dater who has adopted my friend’s habit of taking prospective soul mates to Samovar for a calming brew, being a server at Samovar and knowing tea has made my dating life so much easier. Their fair trade tea choices reduce my work by half.

I once dated this guy who, upon telling him my place of work, proceeded to tell me how much tea he drank and how much he loved Samovar. It’s always nice to hear about fans, to hear about tea drinkers and their excitement, and on our second date I brought him to Samovar to have some organic tea before a movie. Now, there is nothing wrong with the Peppermint Lavender blend we serve at Samovar. I love it, it’s great to help me snooze at night, and it makes a really refreshing iced tea. But it’s safe and lacks risk, and after a failed relationship with someone who enjoyed a monotonous routine, I really felt like dating someone who played it safe all the time was not what I was looking for.

Needless to say, there was no third date.

A few months later I met someone who seemed to know all, about the world and about all things. It was nice, to hear him elaborate on things that I knew little to nothing about, because I love to learn and I have a great interest in someday knowing a little about everything. Upon our mandatory tea date, however, he ordered a pu-ehr tea (the Maiden’s Ecstasy), talking the talk and putting me under the impression that he was an old pro at sipping the aged tonic.

When it was served, however, he did a very skillful job at hiding the displeasure he felt when it met his lips, and, being a professional discomfort detector, I knew he had never sipped a pu-ehr tea in his life. It was fine with me if he had only told me, but his deviance in an attempt to impress made me only question all the other things he had talked his way through, me too ignorant to know the difference.

That date was short-lived, as well. In looking back, and seeing that I am still alone, and that I made what would seem like hasty decisions based on what to most people would seem relatively bogus techniques, I don’t regret anything. Everyone has their ways of spotting red flags and making decisions based on what they realize, and my technique is no different. I’ll just work and write and learn until the day I meet my own sweet Darjeeling.

How to make matcha tea to perfection

How To Make Matcha Tea To Perfection

Matcha Tea is powdered Gyokuro tea, a Japanese green tea. Mainly served with great elegance in the Japanese tea ceremony, this tea is also used for other purposes, such as green tea ice-cream or green tea cake. With high antioxidant content, matcha tea is an interesting alternative to conventional tea.

When you drink a tea made with matcha powder, you are consuming the whole leaf, rather than just the water extract. All the health benefits in the tea leaf will transfer to you.

There are two types of Matcha: Koicha and Usucha, thick and thin tea respectively, and each has its own way of brewing. So come on this adventure, step by step, and learn how to make Matcha Tea.


To make Matcha tea you will need these tools:

–         a bamboo whisk

–         a cup or matcha bowl

–         a measuring spoon or a bamboo scoop

–         a sifter

–         a thermometer


Follow these steps to make your tea:


Step 1 – Your water:

Always prefer spring water to brew your tea. This way, you are sure not to alter its flavour.

Now heat your water to approximately 75?C to 80?C (165?F / 180? F), under boiling point and use it to preheat your bowl.

Discard this water and dry the bowl very carefully. Make sure you keep, in a separate bowl, about 70ml of the hot water if you are preparing Usucha or 40ml for Koicha. Less water for a thicker tea.

Step 2 – Measuring your tea:

Take your scoop and measure ? to 2 scoops of matcha powder for Usucha and 3 to 4 scoops for Koicha and add it to your bowl. Use a strainer to make sure it is as fine as possible.


Step 3 – Whisking:

Get you bamboo whisk ready. Pour hot water into your bowl and whisk it rapidly to dissolve the tea powder completely. This is key if you want to master how to make Matcha tea. Make sure the water temperature is between 70?C – 80?C. Green tea does not require water temperature to be at boiling point.


Step 4 – Usucha or Koicha?

Does your tea have a greenish  texture? Does it have an earthy fragrance? If yes, perfect! You are mastering the art.

If you are making Usucha, whisk the tea in W movements until a thick froth with several bubbles emerge. If you are brewing Koicha, try whisking it in circular movements to obtain a smoother mixture, with no froth.


Step 5 – Drinking:

And that’s it! You are ready to drink your matcha tea. To savour it at its best, drink it immediately.

Enjoy a relaxing tea with so many health benefits and a wonderful taste.



Preserving your Matcha Tea:

Here’s a tip to preserving matcha powder. Keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. In there. it will keep fresh, but you should consume it within 2 to 4 weeks after opening.

Want more tea?

After getting your powder from the refrigerator, make sure that you let your tea warm up to room temperature before starting.

Tea as a weight loss tool

Tea As a Weight Loss Tool

Tea as a weight loss tool is considered effective by many individuals who tried it. Though, it is quite funny how people will try to contradict with the facts presented. We learned already that tea has been used in Asia particularly in China and Japan for several centuries. Since tea is incorporated in their lifestyle, you can see how healthy and lean their body can be.

How can this be possible? Drinking tea allows your body to experience the thermogenesis reaction or effect. This is because the tea contains thermogenetic properties. What happens with thermogenesis? The body undergoes the process of heat production, thus the calories we got from the food we eat will be transformed into a useful energy.

Aside from the thermogenesis, another important advantage of drinking tea is the fact that it has also the capacity to boost your metabolism. Once your metabolism is intensified, your body will now be able to burn down the stored fats and convert it into energy because your body’s metabolic rate speeds up, which needs more energy to utilize.

If Thermogenesis and metabolism are both active in your system, then there will be no more room for body fats, and all calories ingested will be converted to energy right away. These are the two main keys why the individual is able to lose weight and burn fats, and of course eventually stay slim.

How can tea accelerates metabolic rate? This is because Camellia sinensis, the main ingredient of tea, contains polyphenols and caffeine that quicken your metabolism. Thus the rate of calories being burned also increases to cope up with the metabolism.

There are other benefits that you can get from drinking tea because it is jam-packed with antioxidants and other vital nutrients. Your body is also protected from diseases and other ailments like high blood pressure and diabetes. Obviously, this is because the tea ingredients have properties that are able to control the levels of cholesterols and blood sugar. So when you take tea as weight loss instrument, your overall health also benefits from it.

Now Pay Close Attention Here:

Do you want to be slim and wear sexy clothes again? Try this 100% natural weight loss tea which is a unique wellness blend of three powerful teas namely Sencha, Oolong, Puerh species and certified organically grown by both CERES and USDA. This unique blend of these three powerful teas is not available anywhere else, but only here –

February 2009
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