Posted in Kafevend Blog

Tea off to a good start

A happy new year to anyone reading the blog today. Fresh starts are always welcome, especially after all that over indulgence during the festive period. If you're feeling distinctly flabby around the edges and in need of a detox, then what more refreshing drink to turn to than tea.

Green tea

Green tea, in particular, has gained a lot of ground in recent years as far as health and well being are concerned. All tea is produced from the same plant- the camellia sinensis. However, depending on the way it's processed, we get the full range of black, white, green, yellow and oolong teas. Green tea is one of the least processed types; the leaves are not oxidised which means that it contains a higher level of antioxidants than the black tea with which we're all so familiar.

Many claims have been made about the health benefits of drinking green tea, including cholesterol reduction, lowering of blood pressure, protection against cancer and help with weight loss. While these benefits remain somewhat inconclusive, it's certainly true that drinking green tea is a more healthy option than quaffing wine, whisky or whatever your Christmas tipple of choice was this year! If you're new to green tea it will also have the added benefit of reminding you of your new healthy eating regime whenever you have a cup, helping to reinforce those good intentions.

Super tea

Another step on from green tea is matcha. This powdered green tea has its roots in Japan and is the drink at the heart of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Matcha is whisked up with hot water and so you drink the plant itself, not just an infusion. These days its status as a super food has secured it a growing fan base in the West. Its special qualities begin with its cultivation. The tea plants are covered for the final two to four weeks before harvest, slowing growth and causing the leaves to manufacture high levels of chlorophyll. The bud and most tender leaves at the top of the plant are hand picked and then steamed to prevent oxidisation. The stems and veins are carefully removed prior to the grinding of the leaves, a process that gradually transforms them into a fine green powder and there you have it- matcha. It's no ordinary process and as you might expect matcha certainly isn't a tea to buy on a tight budget. Like standard green tea, matcha is high in antioxidants, but it also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that aids concentration and induces a feeling of calm. No wonder Buddhist monks and Japanese students alike drink matcha.

If you're beginning to think it could be just the ticket for the new you in the new year, there are plenty of companies offering this finest of green teas. You could go down the health food route and try some from Holland and Barrett. Alternatively, specialist tea companies such as Teapigs have some great teas and top tips on how to prepare them. Best of luck with the new calm and streamlined you!

Green tea

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