Rooibos – is it really better than tea?

Rooibos – a powerhouse beverage for your health!

Rooibos (pronounced “Roy-boss”), is a plant grown solely in South Africa and is not related to the traditional tea plant (Camellia sinensis), yet we brew it just like tea. Known in Afrikaans as “red-bush” it is widely consumed in South Africa and has become increasingly popular in Australia.

The naturally caffeine-free plant Aspalathus linearis, is packed with many antioxidants and some specific ones that have been shown in studies to fight cancer, be anti-inflammatory, and protect blood cells from radiation.

Rooibos is very low in tannins and no oxalic acid, which in turn is easier on the gut than traditional tea and is suitable for people prone to kidney stones. Tannins in black tea have been shown to prevent the absorption of iron, especially non-heme iron from plant sources. Rooibos is therefore a better choice of drink if a person has an iron deficiency.

Micro-nutrients iron, zinc, copper and manganese are part of the rooibos leaf and studies have shown that low levels of these minerals are associated with anxiety and depression.  Calcium and magnesium are well known to increase bone strength, both of which are also found in rooibos.

Rooibos is well reported to the super-rich in a group of polyphenols called flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants have been reported as providing many significant health benefits. The types of polyphenols in rooibos are different from those found in abundance in green and black tea, so their health benefits would differ.

Quercetin and Luteolin flavonoids found in rooibos are really potent antioxidants. Lab studies indicate these antioxidants can force cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death. They may also act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents.

Another 2 flavonoids in rooibos Orientin and Rutin — were shown to protect human blood cells exposed to radiation from cancer-associated changes. In animal studies, orientin prevented oxidative damage to the liver and reduced damage to the bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract. Rutin may also help strengthen capillary walls.

Specifically, and only found in rooibos is Aspalathin. This makes up between 4-12% of the plant! Aspalathin has been shown to possess biological activity that imparts it with multiple health beneficial effects. These include antioxidant, antidiabetic, cardioprotective, antihypertensive and antimutagenic effects. Given its multiplicity of biological effects, aspalathin is a natural phytochemical and  drinking rooibos should be promoted.

In summary, rooibos is a plant that we brew like tea, yet is packed beyond its humble appearance, with many potential benefits. We stock organic rooibos and also a range of flavours, including the addition of berries or chai spices. Try this naturally caffeine free beverage and be comforted knowing that it’s truly helping you in your quest for improved health and wellbeing.

To buy our Rooibos – click here   Rooibos

To Brew :

  1. Scoop one teaspoon of dry rooibos leaves, per standard (250ml) cup, into an infuser*.
  2. Place the infuser into the cup
  3. Pour in freshly boiled hot water
  4. Allow to brew for  3 – 5 minutes to get a full flavour (adjust the time according to your preferred strength)
  5. Lift out the infuser from the cup
  6. Enjoy your freshly brewed rooibos!

Tips:

If you use a large cup or mug, adjust the “1 teaspoon per 250ml” guide accordingly.  A bigger infuser is better for larger mugs or travel cups.

Try not to overfill the infuser, as the water needs to be able to circulate around the leaves

If you choose to add milk, or mylk, to your rooibos– we suggest you add it in after it has been brewed, to ensure you only add as much milk as you like. Cups these days are robust enough not to need to add milk first to stop the china cracking from the heat of the water.

Rooibos makes an excellent iced tea and is fantastic for hydration. Try our Rooberry blend. Rooberry

Our favourite infuser for rooibos is a fine mesh style that fits over most cups and mugs and has a lid to keep the tea warm whilst brewing and a drip saucer to sit in between making cuppas. You can also re-brew rooibos leaves

*Our best-selling infuser is: Mug Infuser Stainless Steel with lid/saucer 

How do I make loose leaf tea in a cup?

If you want to explore the joys of drinking loose leaf tea but feel a little apprehensive on HOW to make a good cuppa, don’t fear, this is what you need to do:
Simply:
  1. Scoop one teaspoon of dry tea leaves, per standard (250ml) cup, into an infuser*.
  2. Place the infuser into the cup
  3. Pour in freshly boiled hot water (for black tea and herbals) or (ideally) 80-90oC  for green tea,
  4. Allow to brew for  3 – 5 minutes to get a full flavour (adjust the time according to your preferred strength)
  5. Lift out the infuser from the cup
  6. Enjoy your freshly brewed tea!

Tips:

If you use a large cup or mug, adjust the “1 teaspoon per 250ml” guide accordingly.  A bigger infuser is better for larger mugs or travel cups.

Try not to overfill the infuser, as the water needs to be able to circulate around the leaves and most leaves will swell.

If you choose to add milk, or mylk, to your black tea – we suggest you add it in after the tea has been brewed, to ensure you only add as much milk as you like. Cups these days are robust enough not to need to add milk first to stop the china cracking from the heat of the water.

 

Our favourite infuser is the style that fits over most cups and mugs and has a lid to keep the tea warm whilst brewing and a drip saucer to sit in between making cuppas. It’s often fine to reuse leaves – especially good quality tea like from the Art of Tea!

*Our best-selling infuser is: Mug Infuser Stainless Steel with lid/saucer 

 

Tasmanian Grown Tea

People ask us all the time – Does tea grow in Tasmania? The answer is Yes!

The Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub that grows slowly but surely in our Tasmanian climate.

Where does tea grow in Tasmania? At 43 degrees latitude, the most southerly tea plantation in the world is 25km southwest of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.

This small commercial plantation, at Allen’s Rivulet, is at an altitude of 200m above sea level and receives an annual rainfall of about 1350mm. The half-hectare crop can be harvested up to 4 times a year, between November and February. The plantation was established in the mid 1990’s as a trial to see if and where the tea plants would grow in Tasmania, lucky for us they do, and locally, even if it is only a small yield per year.

Tasmania does not have a warm and humid climate, better known in the Northern hemisphere tea growing regions, and we also get our fair share of winter frosts, hence the lower yield, but the Camellia sinensis does grow successfully on our island State. These slow-growing plants are hardy like most Camellias. In fact, Camellias are one of the most popular flowering plants grown in people’s gardens in our State, so it makes sense that the tea variety “Camellia sinensis” will also grow. But if you live in the State and want your own tea crop dont expect a big bounty from your own tea plants, nor quickly.

Fortunately, the art of tea stocks the Tasmanian grown tea. We have the straight green tea and black tea, plus two blends made from the green tea – one with Tasmanian grown raspberries and the other with Tasmanian grown lavender.

These locally grown teas from the only commercial tea plantation in Tasmania are enjoyed by people who prefer a lighter brew.

Try the Tasmanian Grown teas here:

https://www.artoftea.com.au/product-category/tasmanian-grown/

Read about the growers here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-03/tasmanian-tea-farm-viable-rival-wine-industry/7216322?nw=0

 

Can tea help weight loss?

Tea is well known, researched and documented regarding its range of health benefits. But can it help with weight loss? With our “COVID Curves” and “COVID Kilos” on our lips, or should I say hips, we are looking now to shed the extra weight gained in the last 6 months.

The art of tea has always had a range of green teas, including the latest limited release Spring Sencha, blended with your health and enjoyment in the forefront of our minds. https://www.artoftea.com.au/product/green-tea/spring-sencha/

We also have, now 100% organic Slimming Aid that includes a blend of oolong, dandelion root, alfalfa, lemon balm, nettle and Australian Lemon Myrtle. https://www.artoftea.com.au/product/herbal/slimming-aid/

But does any of these ingredients help weight loss? We checked out some articles for you to read to outline why oolong, green tea and these  herbs can help you :

Can oolong help with weight loss: https://rb.gy/njg4wx

Oolong versus green tea in weight loss? https://rb.gy/9mkkqr

Green Tea and Weight loss: https://rb.gy/ypvcba

How dandelion, ginger, licorice, ginger also help weight loss! https://rb.gy/r3saai

These ingredients are in our Organic Licorice and Peppermint, Organic Lemongrass and Ginger, Energy Boost and Dandelion Chai blends, to name a few!

Tea – the way to boost your health and weight goals.

Can I decaffeinate tea myself?

YES. It is possible to prepare ordinary tea so as to remove most of the caffeine from the finished product. Caffeine is very water-soluble, more so than many of the flavour components in tea. So a very brief infusion can remove much of the caffeine while preserving flavor.

Here’s how to do it: boil enough water for twice as many cups as you intend to drink. Pour the normal amount of water over the leaves, then infuse for twenty to thirty seconds. Pour off the resulting brew and discard, retaining the leaves. Bring the water to a boil again and pour it over the same leaves, this time infusing for the normal three to five minutes. This infusion should be caffeine free.

Can I buy decaffeinated tea?

Tea is available that has been decaffeinated but unfortunately the quality is compromised. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to remove caffeine from tea without degrading its quality.

Does drinking tea during pregnancy affect the baby?

Questions surrounding caffeine intake and risk of miscarriage and health of the fetus continue to be raised by pregnant women.

A study published in the journal of American Medical Association found no evidence that moderate caffeine use increases the risk of spontaneous abortions, growth retention or account for other factors. Another seven-year epidemiological study on 1,500 women examined the effect of caffeine, during pregnancy as well as on subsequent child development.

Caffeine consumption equivalent to approximately 3 ½ to 5 cups of tea per day had no effect on birth weight, birth length and head circumference of the baby. A follow-up examinations at age’s eight months, four and seven years also revealed no effect of caffeine consumption on the child’s motor development or intelligence.

A number of factors influence the metabolism of caffeine and the individual’s response to caffeine indigestion. These include pregnancy, age, sex, body weight, diet, exercise, and stress smoking and alcohol consumption.

Pregnancy hampers caffeine metabolism. For example, in non pregnant women the break-down of half of the caffeine takes an average of 2.5 – 4.5 hours, 7 hours during mid-pregnancy and 10.5 during the last few weeks of pregnancy. As caffeine retention is longer during pregnancy, women sensitive to caffeine may be affected. As a result a moderate consumption of approximately 3-4 cups a day, is recommended for women during pregnancy.

Does green tea have the same caffeine level as black tea?

Green tea, as well as oolong, white tea, & black tea, are the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. Caffeine is naturally occuring in the Camellia sinensis, however the caffeine (or theine in tea) is a third to a half the amount found in a standard coffee. Black tea has more caffeine than green tea, and green tea has more than white tea varieties. White tea has minimal caffeine. Oolong has between green and black teas in caffeine content.

Unlike the rush and crash from caffeine in coffee, it is claimed that 80% of the caffeine in tea remains unabsorbed by the human body, yet it can have a number of benefits such as stimulating the nervous system & improving circulation.

Theanine  in high quaity green teas can also improve mental cognition, lift the mood, and increase brain seratonin and dopamine levels.

How much caffeine is there in tea?

Caffeine from natural sources has been consumed and enjoyed by humans throughout the world for centuries. The widespread natural occurrence of caffeine in a variety of plants undoubtedly played a major role in the long-standing popularity of caffeine incorporated products, especially the beverages.

The human body requires a certain amount of caffeine and research indicates that up to 8 cups of tea daily will not have any detrimental effect on the body. The species or the variety of the tea plant determines content of caffeine in tea, as it is a genetic feature. Camellia sinensis has caffeine levels of approximately 2.5 % to 4%. However the distribution of caffeine in the plant depends on the part of the plant it is derived from and the conditions that the plant is grown in.

The quantity of caffeine in tea, on dry solids basis, is more than the quantity of caffeine in an equal weight of dried coffee beans. However, as a result of getting more cups of tea from a unit quantity of black tea than from an equal quantity of ground coffee beans, the quantity of caffeine per cup of tea is less than the caffeine in an equal cup of coffee.

Excessive caffeine is said to have adverse effects on the human system and brewed tea has only half the caffeine levels in brewed coffee. However, it is important to note that research proves that the presence of caffeine in tea does not produce unhealthy results due to its combination with tea polyphenols.

What are the effects of caffeine?

Since it is a stimulant, caffeine increases alertness and quickness of response, and often briefly improves mood. It is a mild diuretic. In large doses, it can produce jitters, anxiety, and insomnia. As with any stimulant, the period of enhanced alertness and heightened mood is generally followed by a period of depressed mood and ability.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant drug found in tea as well as in many other natural substances. Coffee is better known as a dietary source of caffeine (and the source of the name ‘caffeine’), but tea contains a significant amount of the drug.

How do I make iced tea?

Iced tea is a staple of American Southern life; it is very popular throughout much of the United States , enough so that it is now being marketed in cans and bottles.

Good iced tea uses a decent brand of black tea which is then cooled (either in a refrigerator or by being poured over ice). Some people add sugar others don’t. Some people also like to add lemon.

Iced tea is very easy to make. Infuse a strong concentrate of tea (i.e. much less water than you would use for that amount of leaves) and add it to cold water to the right proportions. The better the quality of the tea, the better the iced tea will taste. It’s probably a good idea to use a strong-tasting tea that can stand up to the cold. Assam , for example, makes terrific iced tea.

Should I put milk in my tea?

If you like!

The classic additions to black tea are honey, milk, sugar and lemon.

You should NOT add anything to green or oolong tea; they are meant to be consumed as is.

How do I use a tea ball or infuser?

Put one teaspoon of dry tea leaves, per standard cup (250ml), into the infuser.

Place the infuser in a cup and add freshly boiled hot water (for black tea and herbals) or (ideally) 80-90oC  for green tea .

You will see colour in the cup almost straight away but you should continue to infuse for 3 – 5 minutes to get a full flavour.

If you use a large cup or mug, adjust the “1 teaspoon per 250ml” guide accordingly.  A bigger infuser is better for larger mugs or travel cups.

Tip: Try not to overfill the infuser, as the water needs to be able to circulate around the leaves and most leaves will swell.

Our favourite infuser is the style that fits over most cups and mugs and has a lid to keep the tea warm whilst brewing and a drip saucer to sit in between making cuppas. It’s often fine to reuse leaves – especially good quality tea like from the Art of Tea!

Our favourite infuser is: Mug Infuser Stainless Steel with lid/saucer

How much tea should I use?

For black, green and oolong tea use one teaspoon of tea per cup. No need to add “one for the pot”

For white and herbal teas start with one teaspoon and increase to two teaspoons according to taste.

How do I make tea in a teapot?

How is tea produced?

The first step in tea production is the harvest. Most harvesting is still done by hand, which is very labor-intensive but a better result is achieved as the picker can choose the high-quality tip leaves and leave the coarser leaves toward the bottom of the branch.

The harvested leaves can be processed in two ways: CTC or orthodox.

CTC, which stands for “crush, tear, curl,” is used primarily for lower-quality leaves. CTC processing is done by machine; its name is actually fairly descriptive. The machines rapidly compress withered tea leaves, forcing out most of their sap; they then tear the leaves and curl them tightly into balls that look something like instant coffee crystals. The leaves are then “fired,” or dehydrated.

Most tea connoisseurs are not very interested in CTC tea, since this process does not allow for the careful treatment that high-quality leaves merit. But CTC has an important and legitimate role in the tea industry: since it is a mechanized process, it allows for the rapid processing of a high volume of leaves which otherwise would go to waste. It is also good for producing a strong, robust flavour from leaves of lesser quality; in fact, for many varieties of leaf CTC is the preferred processing method.

The orthodox method is a bit more complex, and is usually done mostly by hand. The process differs for black, green, and oolong teas. The basic steps in the production of black tea are withering, rolling, oxidation, and firing.

First, the leaves are spread out in the open (preferably in the shade) until they wither and become limp. This is so that they can be rolled without breaking.

Rolling is the next step. This is rarely done by hand any more; it is more often done by machine. Rolling helps mix together a variety of chemicals found naturally within the leaves, enhancing oxidation. After rolling, the clumped leaves are broken up and set to oxidize.

Oxidation, which starts during rolling, is allowed to proceed for an amount of time that depends on the variety of leaf. Longer oxidation usually produces a less flavorful but more pungent tea. Many texts refer to the oxidation process by the misleading term “fermentation.” However traditional and evocative the term may be, I think it is best avoided. Oxidation of tea leaves is a purely chemical process and has nothing to do with the yeast-based fermentation that produces bread or beer.

Finally, the leaves are heated, or “fired,” to end the oxidation process and dehydrate them so that they can be stored.

Oolong is produced just like black tea, except that the leaves are oxidized for less time.

Green tea is not oxidized at all. Some varieties are not even withered, but are simply harvested, sometimes steamed, fired and shipped out.

Tea seems to quench thirst, why is that?

A perhaps unexpected benefit of tea drinking is the resulting increase in water consumption, which protects against dehydration. Since caffeine is a mild diuretic, the benefit is not quite as great as drinking plain water; but it is real nonetheless. Two cups of tea are approximately equivalent to one cup of plain water in their hydrating effect.

Where does tea come from?

Tea was first cultivated and brewed in China , and many of the best varieties still come from China . Some of the finest oolongs in the world are grown in Taiwan. Japan also produces a considerable amount of green tea, most of which is consumed domestically.

After the British took up tea drinking, they began cultivating the plants native to India in order to have more control over the trade. India , Sri Lanka , and other South Asian countries produce a large portion of the world harvest.

Indonesia (primarily in Java and Sumatra ) produces a considerable harvest each year, most of which is exported for use in blends. Tea is also grown commercially in Turkey, Russia, Africa (notably Kenya ) and South America.

Can I grow tea plants myself?

As its botanical name suggests, the tea plant is a variety of camellia, and like other camellias it can be cultivated in a home garden. It is not well suited to indoor cultivation, though. It grows best outdoors in climates like its native ones: temperate, with warm summers and cool (not cold) winters

Large nurseries, particularly those that specialize in camellias, may be able to provide interested gardeners with tea plants ready for home growing.

How should I store tea?

Tea should be stored in an airtight, opaque container in a cool, dry place. Many tea retailers sell tea in metal tins that close tightly. Clear glass jars are acceptable only if you can keep them in a closed cupboard away from light. If you reuse containers, avoid using materials that retain odours, as the tea will pick them up.

The refrigerator is not a good place. The cold encourages water condensation, which can ruin the tea.

What are herbal teas?

Hundreds of different herbs have been used in beverages. These are sometimes called herbal teas. Tea professionals and connoisseurs usually prefer to restrict the name ‘tea’ to real tea, so you may see the following names used as well:

Herbal Infusion: means a drink made by steeping herbs in hot water.

Tisane: [pronounced tee-ZAHN], which in French means any herbal beverage.

Some common ingredients that are used as tisanes are peppermint, chamomile, rose hips, lemongrass and licorice root

What are the different kinds of tea?

The main categories of tea are green, black, and oolong. White tea is now becoming more popular and readily available. All are made from the same Camellia sinensis plant species. The processing methods that tea undergoes determines which category it will fit into. Black teas undergo several hours of oxidation in their preparation for market; oolongs receive less oxidation, and green teas are not oxidized at all.

Across the globe, more than 3000 different teas are made from different varieties of the Camella sinensis. Like wine, variation in flavour occurs due to the altitude, soil, and other environmental conditions. The variability in processing also leads to the many tea varieties.

What is Tea?

Tea is a drink made by infusing leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis or Thea sinensis in hot water.

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