How To Choose a Better Flavored Tea

By August 29, 2016 Brewing Tea

During summertime, there’s nothing quite like a cold glass of sweet, flavored tea to help quench your thirst on a sweltering hot day. The problem is, however, that many of the store-bought versions are often packed with added ingredients, sugars, and artificial flavors.

But fear not because there are plenty of ways to enjoy flavored tea without these unwanted extras. Here is a simple three-step process to make the most of your tea-drinking experience.

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Step 1: Start By Choosing A Tea

Green Tea

Green tea has been touted as a wonder drink for centuries because has the highest level of antioxidants and maintains some of the chlorophyll from the plant leaves. This popular tea is also believed to help control your blood sugar and boost your metabolism — both of which can help you lose weight.

You can drink green tea with leaves or matcha (where the leaves are ground to make a powder that has a potent concentration of the green tea). Both offer a wonderful flavor that can invigorate your mind and body.

Oolong Tea

Are you trying to keep your caffeine intake low? If so, then consider a delicious oolong tea, which is known for having a moderate amount of caffeine. Also, despite its caffeine content, oolong tea offers relaxing properties that can help take the edge off of a crazy day.

Like green tea, oolong tea also contains antioxidants that can help fight free radicals in your body.

Black Tea

Of all of the teas, black tea typically contains the highest amount of caffeine, which can help boost energy levels without the buzz from with other caffeinated drinks.

Black tea is also the base for one of the world’s most popular tea drinks: Chai. Chai tea is made by mixing black tea with various spices to create an aromatic and flavorful tea that can be enjoyed both hot and cold.

White Tea

White tea is produced from the young leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant that all tea is derived from and has a mild fruity flavor.

This tea is the sweetest of the teas listed, as the leaves have not had a chance to mature fully. White tea also contains the least amount of caffeine.

Herbal Blends

Herbal blends don’t come from the same plant that green, white, black, and oolong teas do — they’re actually made from all kinds of herbs, roots, and other plants.

Ginger, peppermint, and chamomile, for example, are all varieties that have been known to help soothe the stomach and assist with various ailments.

Step 2: Choose a Sweetener

Once you’ve chosen a tea, it’s time to choose a sweetener. Not all teas need a sweetener — like our award-winning collections — but if you are looking for ways to add some spice, choose a few options that are healthier than sugar, sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup (like what you find in bottled or canned teas).

Raw Honey

If you’re looking a pure, natural way to sweeten your tea — and add antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties — raw honey is a fantastic choice.

Real Maple Syrup

There is huge difference between real maple syrup and manufactured brands with caricatures on them. Real maple syrup — made of sap from trees that has been boiled down — is far better and does not affect your blood sugar the same way. (Also, if you’re on a vegan diet, real maple syrup is the perfect swap for honey.)

Stevia

If you’re looking for a zero calorie option to sweeten your teas, give stevia a try. Unlike other sugar substitutes, stevia is made from a plant of the same name, not in a lab.

Step 3: Hot or Cold?

Finally, decide how you want to enjoy your tea — they can be enjoyed year round by drinking them hot in a mug under a blanket or iced in a tumbler on the beach. Choose the style that works for you and enjoy all the delicious benefits.

One more thing: at Art of Tea, all of the tea varieties in this list have so many different infusions. For example, there are green teas infused with pomegranate, oolong teas with a peach flavor, black teas that taste like lychees, and white teas mixed with tropical fruits that make for a delicious mocktail.

When you think about all the teas and sweeteners you can choose from, there’s almost an endless supply of wonderful and satisfying options — there really is no reason to limit yourself to an unhealthy flavored tea.

Which one will you enjoy first?

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How To Get Your Kids To Drink and Enjoy Tea

By August 26, 2016 Health & Lifestyle

Ever looked closely at a kid’s daily diet? It seems like sugar has found its way into everything — but it’s not just the usual suspects like desserts and soda. For example, if you thought fruit juice was healthy alternative, the truth is that it still has more sugar than experts and doctors recommend.

According to the American Heart Association, children should consume no more than three to four teaspoons a day. (For reference, a 12-ounce can of soda contains 10 teaspoons and a 12-ounce serving of apple juice contains almost as much with 9.8 teaspoons.) Meanwhile, the average American now consumes around 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is a whopping 70 pounds of sugar each year!

Excessive sugar wreaks havoc on our health, potentially increasing our rates of diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers. For children, sugar can increase digestion problems, tooth decay, and create energy spikes and crashes. Sugar is also addictive: the more they have it, the more they’ll crave it.

As a parent, you need to curb this problem… and tea might just be the answer.

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Making The Healthy Change

Tea can be a wonderful drink for children. Almost all herbal blends are fantastic options that are free of calories, sugar, and added dyes and chemicals. Also, because teas are available in many different kinds of flavors, strengths, and decaffeinated options, your child is bound to find one that he or she enjoys.

To make teas kid-friendly, serve the tea considerably cooler than you would for an adult — room temperature or slightly warmer is a safe bet (as well as iced).

Instead of drinking it plain, you could also add a tiny bit of honey, agave syrup, or milk for a smoother flavor. Over time, add less and less ingredients as their taste buds acclimate.

Finally, be mindful of the caffeine content. If your children are very young (or if they like to drink it before bedtime), the caffeine may be too much for them. Instead, offer them zingy, yummy, and fruity caffeine-free options like:

Extra Benefits of Tea for Kids

By swapping soda or juice for tea, you’ll also give your kids an array of extra health benefits. For example, if your child has an upset stomach, ginger or peppermint tea might help soothe their tummies. And for a cough or cold, a hot cup of tea has been used for centuries to help people feel better.

Experiment with teas at home and crank up the fun for your kids by throwing a tea party — use real teacups, set the table, and make an event out of it. Also, involve your kids by encouraging them to test different teas and see how they like the various temperatures, strengths, and flavors.

Soon, you’ll say goodbye to the excess sugar and know you’re teaching your children healthy hydration habits that will last a lifetime.

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Want The Perfect Tea? Use A Gaiwan

By August 24, 2016 Brewing Tea, History and Culture of Tea

Nowadays, with our increasingly busy and hectic schedules, it’s hard to find the time to focus on anything — even making our favorite cup of tea. That’s why tea is available in many convenient and easy forms. For example, you can simply microwave or boil water, add a tea bag, and enjoy. (There are even instant teas!)

But while these options offer convenience, they don’t always translate to flavor. Sure it’s nice to save time and effort, but K-Cup teas and bagged teas typically lack the quality, taste, and even health benefits of loose-leaf teas. (Worse, they can often be bitter and less enjoyable.)

Thankfully, you don’t have to abandon quality for the sake of time anymore. Why? Because there’s a nifty little tool called a gaiwan that’s been used for hundreds of years to provide a wonderful experience to even the most savvy of tea connoisseurs.

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About the Gaiwan

The ancient gaiwan (“gai” meaning lid and “wan” meaning bowl) has it all: elegance, ease, and practicality. In fact, there are only three parts — a lid, cup, and saucer, all of which are made from a variety of materials including glass, porcelain, and clay.

The gaiwan is also well suited for numerous teas, particularly Chinese black teas, oolong teas, white teas, and Chinese green teas.

How To Use The Gaiwan

Not only do gaiwans unleash a phenomenal flavor, but they are also very easy to use.

  1. Pre-warm the cup by adding hot water, gently swirling, and discarding the water
  2. Put about two or three tablespoons of tea leaves in the cup and then pour just a little water over the leaves so you can awaken them and enjoy their aroma
  3. Next, pour hot water to fill the cup and pour in a way that makes the tea leaves swirl — this can be done by letting the water fall over one side of the cup or by pouring the water in a circular motion.

As always, make sure to use the correct water temperature. Also, because white and green teas require less heat, leave a small opening through the lid to release more steam.

Then, steep the leaves for about 30 second and stir everything by gently gliding the lid over the top of the water. The tea can then be poured through a filtered saucer into small cups (a great idea if you’re enjoying tea with a friend) or you can even drink straight from the gaiwan.

If you want to drink from your gaiwan, don’t remove the cup from the saucer. Instead, hold the gaiwan by the saucer — as you sip, use the lid to hold the tea leaves in place as you let the liquid flow.

Another great benefit of the gaiwan is that you can get multiple steeps without needing a huge pot. Simply give the leaves an extra 10 to 30 seconds per additional steep. (Each tea steeping, however, will taste slightly different.)

Gaiwan: Why It’s A Cut Above The Rest

Tea bags and K-Cups offer on-the-go convenience, but it sacrifices the quality, taste, and experience. If you want to get more from your tea, arouse your senses, and turn tea into a meditative opportunity, enjoy the simple and elegant gaiwan.

Try our Traditional Porcelain Gaiwan Set to make your next drink — you’ll be glad you did. Combine it with our 8-minute digital detox and feel your stresses melt away as you get some much needed peace of mind.

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