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What’s the Deal Chamomile

By Julie Fink
Posted On Jan 05, 2016
What’s the Deal Chamomile

Health Benefits and Classification of Loose Leaf Tea

This is to the outsiders of the tea world who are curious about the little-leafed wonder. There are so many types and ways to make it that it could easily overwhelm a newcomer to the tea world. So, here are some little tidbits on loose leaf tea that everyone should know.

According to the U.S Tea Association, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.

So, why is tea so awesome?

ALL forms of tea are better than drinking soda or coffee. If you want to start drinking tea, the recommended way is loose leaf. The main reason why is that all the nutrients are in the leaves. When it’s crushed into a bag, a lot of the nutrients dissipate (not all but some). Also, because you are drinking using the actual tea leaf, there is a lot more flavor in your cup, rather than adding all the sugar, cream and whatever else to your bagged tea.

Tea is a soothing, nourishing drink that is bursting with antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, vitamins and alkaloids (caffeine). Here is a little more about the world’s favorite beverage:

HEALTH BENEFITS

Tea contains antioxidant compounds and epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG which is the main antioxidant component of tea. It is used therapeutically for treatments ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome to cancer prevention.

Tea is rich in amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids are the main element of the tea leaf. There are approximately 20 amino acids in tea; vitamins A, B, E and K (although water that is too hot will destroy these vitamins – try a kettle for better temperature control); close to 20 minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and magnesium; and essential oils.

All of these wonderfully nourishing components of tea aid in:

Cardiovascular health
Decreased hypertension
Detoxification
Digestion (by stimulating the elimination of fats)
Enhanced concentration
Increased immunity

TEA VARITIES & CLASSIFICATION

Tea Classification

WHITE

White tea is the purest and least processed of all loose leaf teas, contains the most antioxidant properties and the least amount of caffeine.
TRY: Rose Mint or White Tropical Tea

HERBAL

If you want something decaffeinated, then herbal is your cup of tea! Herbal teas can be broken into three categories: rooibos, mate and herbal infusions. Herbal infusions consist of pure herbs, flowers and fruits and are delicious!
TRY: Chamomile or Rooibos Chai

GREEN

One of the most popular loose teas, green tea, is partially oxidized and contains moderate caffeine. The flavor ranges from sweet and mellow to grassy and lemony.
TRY: Mystic Dragon or Jasmine Pearls

OOLONG

A little more oxidized with the most complex flavor, sweet aroma and moderate levels of caffeine; most commonly served at Chinese restaurants.
TRY: Coconut Oolong or Thai Oolong

BLACK

Fully oxidized black tea is the most common type of tea and is noted for it’s full, bold flavor, containing the most amount of caffeine (but still only half of the caffeine content of an espresso bean).
TRY: Darjeeling or Earl Grey

*What does oxidize mean? When something is oxidized, it’s like the browning of an apple after you’ve sliced it. Herbal, Green, Oolong and Black teas go through different levels of ‘browning’ in order to unlock the chemical components in each leaf.

The best place to find loose leaf tea is to locate a tea shop in your area or go to SpiceandTea.com to order it online.

And another awesome reason, because teacups are pretty…

Teacups

Photo Credits: Shutterstock