Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tea Types: The Healing Touch

Cool Tea Pic: Wagh Bakri
The antioxidants in green tea help us inside-out. We tend to glow more and get rid of dark circles around the eye. We even feel more relaxed on the outside while the cholesterol levels, cardiac systems and the organs are all getting a touch of healing on the inside! Green tea can be combined with other healthy beverages or food to add a twist in the flavor and also treat common illnesses naturally.

Know Tea Types

Genmaicha is Japan’s famous combination of green tea and toasted or roasted brown rice. ‘Genmai’ means roasted brown rice. It is commonly referred to as ‘popcorn tea’ because of the quantity of puffed rice it contains. There is no corn in it at all.

Processing and serving
The flavor of the Genmaicha tea depends on the ratio of the green tea and brown rice. For better aroma the brown rice content is higher. About a tablespoon of brown rice is roasted dry making sure each grain gets roasted. It is then kept aside to cool. The tea is carefully infused with hot almost-boiling water for just 30 seconds. About 5g of tea leaves is put in about 1/10th of a liter of hot water. Then it is poured into a cup through a tea strainer that already has freshly roasted brown rice in it. The strainer is kept in the cup for about 2 minutes to make a strong Genmaicha.


Genmaicha has calming properties due to which it is recommended to have a cup when you return home after a hectic day or an hour before going to bed to help with sleeping disorders. It is also recommended after a heavy meal because it helps in quick digestion. It is also rich in vitamin B1 and has a very low caffeine content.

Jasmine Tea

The flowers of jasmine that is usually planted to add to the beauty of the garden can be put in green tea to get a sweet aroma. It is also said to double the anti-carcinogenic properties of regular green tea.

Processing and serving

The buds are plucked early in the morning and stored in a cool place. They start blooming in the evening. The flowers are the green tea are made to ‘mate’ for four hours. Longer the ‘mating’ time better the grade of the tea. By the time the tea is served the flowers are dry and devoid of the moisture and aroma but they are allowed to sit in the cup anyway to add to the aesthetic appeal.

Kukicha Tea

This is also called twig tea because it’s made from twigs and stalks. It is made by adding the stalks and stems of Camellia and has a creamy, nutty flavor.

Processing and serving

The stalks and stems of Camellia are steeped in water at 75 degree C for two minutes and the green tea powder is added to it and steeped for another 45 seconds or so. One or two stalks are left in the cup to add to the beauty.

Tea Basics: What’s in a Blend?

Most tea retailers create their own blend to make their tea taste and smell unique so that a particular group of target customers are hooked to only that variety of tea. However, there are no maxims regarding the right blend or anything. There are some regular blends and you can make your own blend by mixing two or three of these regular blends to suit your taste.

Here are some blends that you can take a look at to get an idea about the usual blends. You can try some of them and then make your own by mixing them or adding a few herbs or spices of your choice to experiment.

Earl Gray

This is only black tea with Bergamot citrus oil added for the aroma. The light citrus flavor is refreshing and strong and you can make it to smooth the aroma if you want with a few jasmine or holy basil leaves.

English Breakfast

Yes, this is the name of a blend of tea or to be precise, a Chinese Keemun famous in India, Africa and Ceylon. This is one of the commonest types of tea.

Irish Breakfast

Similar to the English breakfast, the Irish breakfast is a blend grown in Assam and Ceylon in large quantities. It is dark in color and malty in texture.

Afternoon Blend

This is a light tea unlike the English and Irish breakfast. The blend is made from the best Darjeeling tea, Oolong tea and light Ceylon tea. Since it promotes digestion it is recommended after heavy meals which we usually tend to eat during lunch and hence the name.

Russian Style

This is black tea or oolong tea teamed with Lapsang Souchong for the smoky effect. The blend is generally made by mixing Keemun tea, Assam tea and green tea from China. Some other blends include different types of black tea only.

Spiced Tea

Spices like cloves, cardamom, anise and cinnamon are added to superior quality Ceylon tea and your spiced tea blend is ready. The base is black tea because black tea has a strong aroma base to be able to stand out even in the flavor of these spices. To add to the refreshing property dried orange or lemon peel can be grated into the tea and left for some time before straining and consuming.

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea, just like spiced tea is not a blend of tea in itself but tea with added herbs for the aroma and health factors. Green tea is preferred over black tea in the case of herbal tea but you can use either or even a blend of green and black tea. You can add peppermint, holy basil, spearmint and other light herbs to make the blend of your choice.