How to Use Tea for A Better Night’s Sleep

By August 8, 2016 Health & Lifestyle

When it comes to sleep, it’s no secret that many of us struggle to get a restful night — nine million Americans rely on some form of prescription aid to help them get quality rest. It’s gotten so bad that chronic sleep deprivation has been called “the new smoking” since so many of us sleep far less than the recommended seven to eight hours.

But if you ever struggle with falling or staying asleep, you might be surprised to know that a soothing cup of delicious tea can provide many restful benefits and can help you wake up feeling more refreshed.

Sleep

The Science Behind It

No matter the time of day, there’s something soothing about curling up with a nice hot cup of tea. Of course, we don’t need scientific evidence to support this… but it’s nice when there’s hard data to back it up!

A poll in the UK found that the equation to a perfect night’s sleep included a warm cup of tea as part of a calming bedtime ritual to help destress and signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down.

So… Which Tea Is Best?

Double check that your drink is 100% caffeine free because even the smallest amounts of caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours and cause a restless night.

Herbal varieties such as Peppermint or chamomile are likely always decaf, but double check before brewing. Chamomile, in particular, long heralded as the “sleep tea,” comes from a flower and contains compounds like apigenin and flavonoids that helps to slow down locomotor activity. Cultures around the world have enjoyed it for this purpose for generations.

Also, lavender acts as a gentle aid to relax the nervous system. If you’re feeling stressed at the end of a long day of work or are worrying about different responsibilities and issues, try a cup of our Welcome Tea to calm your nerves and have you dozing off in no time.

Finally, you might choose green tea when you need a gentle boost of energy, but the decaf version is a powerful sleep-aid as well. Why? Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which can calm and relax you to ease you into a peaceful slumber.

Brew yourself your favorite variety tonight, and enjoy a quality night’s sleep with one of nature’s most soothing sleep remedies.

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How To Store Your Tea For The Best Flavor

By August 5, 2016 Brewing Tea

Sipping tea is one of life’s most enjoyable simple pleasures. And if you want to make it even better, it’s important to understand how to properly store your tea leaves. This is especially true if you like to indulge in higher-quality teas. Why? Because the nuances in taste tend to be more varied when it comes to finer teas.

Proper tea storage ensures your tea leaves never spoil before you have a chance to enjoy them. Storage also protects your tea from mixing with impurities that alter the aroma and flavor. Remember: Tea leaves tend to soak up everything they are exposed to — thus, to brew the best possible cup, you want only the tea leaves and the purified water coming together to create the perfect blend.

Teas for Guys

What’s Important in Tea Storage?

Here are the five factors put your tea at the greatest risk:

  • Air
  • Light
  • Heat
  • Moisture
  • Odor

The great news is that it really doesn’t take much time or effort to preserve your tea’s flavor. For example, just by moving your tea from your kitchen countertop to a cool, dark location can help without having to invest in any special containers.

How to Choose the Best Tea Storage

When choosing a storage container for your tea, avoid glass jars because they allow the UV rays in light to hit your tea, which can harm it. If you must use glass, move your tea collection into a dark pantry or drawer and make sure the temperature stays on the cooler side.

Also, make sure any container you choose is airtight — this prevents moisture from reaching your tea leaves and ensures the leaves don’t absorb unpleasant odors. Porous containers, however, allow leaves to soak up everything in its vicinity including the aromas of other teas! Worse, aromas are linked with flavor and you’ll never know how your tea might end up tasting.

Next, keep your tea leaves away from heat, which could completely alter its flavor notes. Store your tea away from warm spots in your kitchen like near your oven or stove.

Finally, avoid moisture. (This could be the worst enemy of tea.) Obviously you don’t want to get the leaves wet, but even exposing your tea to the moisture in the air can promote mold. Use a container that locks humidity out.

Finding The Right Way To Store Your Tea

There are plenty of great tea containers that make it easy to store your tea and protect its quality. When you purchase tea at Art of Tea, for example, our packaging helps ensure the freshness and stability of the leaves.

You can also try investing in general storage containers that are specifically designed to be airtight and prevent exposure to the elements. If you buy tea in bulk, it might be a good idea to stock up on these containers to prevent tea from spoiling.

Ultimately, if you love the delicious taste of tea and use it to relax and enjoy life, it’s vital to take proper care of your favorite teas — the leaves you protect today will ensure an amazing experience tomorrow.

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What Are You Really Adding to Your Tea?

By August 3, 2016 Health & Lifestyle

Tea offers fantastic flexibility: there are thousands of different types and tasty blends possible that can be customized in so many different ways. With a flavorful, high-quality tea blend, there’s usually little need to add anything to your drink so you can delight in the true taste of each flavor note — but it’s common for tea drinkers to add an extra element to their favorite beverage.

(And that’s another cool thing about tea: while coffee usually lends itself to only cream and sugar, tea has a huge variety of potential add-ons.)

What are you adding?

Some of those extras, however, aren’t as good as you think. We’ll list a few of the most common tea add-ons and what they contain that you should know about:

Sugar

Sugar is one of the most common things people add to their tea. While it might make your tea taste sweeter and more enjoyable, too much isn’t very good for your health. Sugar is high in fructose and and some studies suggest a variety of negative effects associated with sugar consumption.

Also, keep in mind that one teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories and 4.2g of carbohydrates. Thus, a pinch isn’t a big deal, but avoid putting several teaspoons in your tea, especially if you’re counting your carbs.

Honey

Honey has been around for ages and many people like to add it to their tea for a natural way to sweeten it (since honey already has a great flavor by itself).

But honey actually has more calories than sugar and about 40% of it is fructose. One cup of honey contains 278 grams of sugar and has 279 grams of carbohydrates. (Sure, you probably won’t put an entire cup of honey in your tea, but it does give you an idea of what’s in it.) Honey, however, does offers a few antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals — just make sure to use it sparingly and use less of it than sugar.

Vanilla Extract

Although not as common as sugar or honey, some people add vanilla extract to their tea for extra flavor. One teaspoon has 12 calories and 0.5 grams of sugar, which isn’t bad if you only use a moderate amount. Natural vanilla extract also includes numerous antioxidants like vanillic acid and vanillin that could defend your body from free radicals and toxins.

If you like vanilla, try a tea blend that naturally includes it like our delightful Vanilla Berry Truffle tea, which infuses sweet and tangy flavors with the smoothness of fresh cream for a perfect dessert drink.

Milk

Milk is another popular add-on for tea that gives your drink a creamy, velvety texture. (It’s also a staple of traditional tea drinking in places like the United Kingdom.) When it comes to nutrition facts, two tablespoons of whole milk contains about 19 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.

Milk also comes with a variety of benefits including healthy fats, calcium, and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Just don’t put too much (which could also overpower the flavors of your tea) and you’ll be fine.

Lemon

Adding a few drops of lemon is a popular way to include more tart and citrusy notes into your tea. And of potential add-ons, they’re also the healthiest choice: one entire lemon contains 17 calories, 5 grams of carbs, and 1.5 grams of sugar (and one wedges is only about an eighth of the entire fruit.)

Lemons also include a lot of vitamin C, health-packed polyphenols, and limonoids, which some studies suggest could have anti-cancer properties.

If you love a lemony finish to your drink, try a tea blend that contains a perfect balance citrus flavors like our organic Meyer Lemon, which won the “Best Blended Green Iced Tea” at the World Tea Expo.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you reach for your favorite add-on. You can also try exploring more teas to find the RIGHT one that naturally gives you the flavor you’re looking for.

For cool suggestions, check out our easy-to-use Tea Wizard: with just a few quick questions about your lifestyle and your tea drinking preferences, you’ll find teas that match your palate sans add-ons.

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