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“TEA”RRIFICALLY Healthy Winter Gifts of Warmth
Whether you’re looking for comforting warmth or healthy hydration, there are many varieties of tea that can support your
well-being this fall and winter!
Tea has come a long way from your grandmother’s cuppa. These days tea is hot. And cold. And frothed and bubbled and fermented and lattéed, oh my! But with so many teas on the market to choose from, deciding which ones are right for you and your lifestyle can feel overwhelming. So, here’s a quick overview of a few of the most popular types of tea to hopefully make the selection process a little easier.
Get to Know Your Tea
All true tea comes from the leaves of one plant – Camellia Senensis – and it produces several types of tea including white, green, black oolong and pu’erh. The differentiating factor between each is the level of oxidation the leaf is exposed to after it’s plucked. White and green teas are subject to low oxidation, have lighter flavour profiles and are known for their antioxidant content. Oolong is medium oxidation with a smooth, complex flavour. Black and pu’erh, on the other hand are highly oxidized with a more robust and earthy flavour profile. Traditionally, Pu’erh is used to aid in digestion after a large meal.
Matcha, gaining in popularity recently and renowned for its powerful health benefits, is another category altogether. In this tea type, the entire green tea leaf is stone ground to a fine powder and whisked in hot or cold liquid. Because the entire leaf is consumed, its antioxidant properties are exponentially higher than regular green tea. It also provides a sustained energy release with no exhausting “coffee crash”. Because of its powder form, matcha can be enjoyed in many creative ways: in smoothies, baking, oatmeal, puddings, pancakes and salad dressings.
Mixing it Up
These days we apply the term “tea” to a variety of things. Whether you’re steeping fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, barks, if its steeped in hot water and the resulting liquid is consumed, it pretty much passes the “tea test”. Tea leaves are now even being blended with these components to create flavour profiles which run the gamut from sweet to spicy and everywhere in between.
With so many choices available, how do you know you’re getting a quality tea? To make it easier, here are a few things to look for:
1) No artificial flavours
2) No artificial colours
3) Not irradiated
4) No added sugar
5) No MSG
6) For medicinal teas, look for a Health Canada Natural Product number
If you are looking to elevate your tea drinking experience, choose loose leaf tea over bagged. Bagged tea is made with fannings, also known as “tea dust”. It’s what’s left in the barrel after the finer leaves have been selected. Whole leaves also retain their essential oils and have less surface area which results in a better flavour and is less likely to taste bitter or metallic. With matcha, it’s also important to ensure that it is free of lead and radiation.
We all want to be good stewards of the earth, so look for a tea company that’s part of the Ethical Tea Partnership to ensure that your tea is sustainably sourced and its farmers are fairly compensated.
Feeling a Little Adventurous
Two hot trends in the tea world right now are kombucha and bubble tea. Kombucha is sweet tea fermented with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The resulting beverage is probiotic rich and can be flavoured with a variety of teas or fruit.
Home kombucha fermentation is fun and can save significant money over store bought. Bubble tea is traditionally made with tapioca and can be full of sugar and artificial flavours so be sure to look for a bubble tea made with all natural ingredients and save money by making it at home!
Whether you’re taking up running and need energy and hydration from matcha, or you’re looking for a warm cuppa to curl up with by the fire, tea is a TEArrific option for healthy hydration in the fall – and all year round!
Cozy Pumpkin Swirl Chai Matcha Latte for Two!
• Steep 3 tsp. Sipology Cozy Pumpkin Swirl Chai black tea in 2 cups hot water for 3 minutes
• Sweeten to taste with maple syrup or honey
• Warm 1 cup 1% milk or almond milk in a saucepan or microwave. Whisk in ½ tsp Sipology Pumpkin Spice Matcha or froth in if you have a frother.
• Pour steeped tea to halfway mark in 2 cups.
• Top with warm matcha milk and froth.
• Sprinkle top with Sipology Masala Chai Spice blend.