News / tea tasting
Is tea good for your brain?
Recent studies have shown some of the effects of tea on brain function.
- A recent human study examined the effect of the unique tea amino acid L-theanine on attention related task performance. Task performance was measured by tracking electrical activity produced by the brain ( via EEG). The results suggest L-theanine plays a role in processing attention in synergy with caffeine. (1)
- A published randomized human clinical trial found that subjects given a daily supplement with green tea extract and L-theanine extracted from tea experienced improvements in mild cognitive impairments (MCI). (2)
- Caffeine and L-theanine in tea may offer cognitive benefits and improve mental clarity and work performance. A cross-sectional study showed that participants who consumed more tea felt less tired and reported higher levels of subjective work performance. (3)
- A double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study showed that the flavonoid EGCG (found in green tea) was associated with a significant increase in self-rated calmness and reduced self rated stress. This is in keeping with the widespread consumption of green tea for its purported relaxing/refreshing properties.
1. Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-Theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr 2008;138:1572S–7S.
2. De Bruin EA, Rowson MJ, Van Buren L, Rycroft, JA, Owen GN. Black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. 2011. Appetite, 56: 235-240.
3. Bryan J, Tuckey, M, Einöther S.J.L. et al. The relationship between tea and other beverage consumption, work performance and mood. Appetite, 2012. 58 (1), 339–346
4. Scholey A; Downey LA; Ciorciari J; Pipingas A; Nolidin K; Finn M; Wines M; Catchlove S; Terrens A; Barlow E; Gordon L; Stough C Acute neurocognitive effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Appetite. 58(2):767-70, 2012 Apr.
Pairing Tea with Food
Here are a few examples to get you started:
White tea is subtle so pair it with light tasting foods such as vegetables and white chocolate.
Green tea has a light vegetal/grassy taste so pair it with mild fish or chicken. Salads are also a good choice as is simple fruit like melon
Oolongs are more complex and cover a range from light (closer to green tea) to more oxidized (closer to black tea). Try a lighter oolong with seafood or cheese and crackers. Use a more oxidized oolong with grilled salmon or smoked meat
Black tea is more robust and can be paired with spicy foods. Flavored black teas also do well with a sweet dessert.
Follow link to a great chart from the Tea Association of Canada with even more ideas on how you can pair teas with food! Enjoy.
Cold Steeping, perfect for summer!
Energy efficient and simple, cold steeped teas have less bitterness and less caffeine. Unlike "sun tea", where you leave your tea in the sun to brew, there are no food safety concerns with cold steeping. Cold brewing also brings you a cleaner, less astringent cup. Any type of tea can be used but green , white and oolong teas produce the best cups. Herbal fruit teas also do well. Experiment with your own favorite and let us know!
To make cold steeped tea simply add one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup of fresh cold water, place in a suitable container and leave in your fridge overnight (at least 8 hours). Strain out the leaves and enjoy!
Tea Storage 101: Or how to make your quality loose leaf tea stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible!
Resist the temptation of storing your tea in a clear glass or plastic container, light will degrade your tea quickly.
Keep your tea in your pantry or cupboard and away from any heat source such as your stove or toaster. There is some evidence that storing tea in your refrigerator or freezer can extend the life of your tea, however, be sure to let the tea warm up to room temperature before opening as the cold leaves will attract moisture and degrade your tea. As with any other organic matter, tea, when wet, can create mold and ruin the taste of your cuppa!
Store your tea away from spices or other strong odors. Tea (especially green tea) will take on any odors that it is exposed to.
Keep these tips in mind when you store your tea and you will have the best tasting tea with ever cup!
How to brew the perfect cup of tea
Have you ever wondered why your tea may not live up to expectation? Here are a few tips to ensure that you always make terrific tasting tea!
2. Use only fresh cold water.3. Ensure that you steep your tea with the best temperature water (this is crucial!) for the type of tea you are brewing:
1. Start with one teaspoon (2 grams) of tea per cup (200ml). You may want to adjust the amount if you feel your tea is too weak or too strong.
• White tea and green tea: 70-80C
• Oolong tea: 80-90C
• Black and Herbal tea: 90-95C
4. Steeping time is just as crucial as the temperature of the water! Here is a simple steeping guide:
Don't have a thermometer? For white and green tea bring your water to a boil and wait 5 min before pouring over tea leaves. Boiling water may scorch the tea and give you a bitter astringent cup.
• White Tea 90 seconds - 2min
• Green Tea 2-3 minutes
• Oolong tea 90 secondes - 2 minutes
• Black tea 3-5 minutes
• Pu-erh tea 2- 5 minutes
• Always cover your tea when steeping, it really does improve the taste!
• Black teas should be steeped only once. All other teas can be steeped several times (makes your $ go further!).
Now sit back and enjoy the perfect cup of tea!
*Source: "The Story of Tea" by Mary Lou and Robert Heiss