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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This Is Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Tea

By August 1, 2016 Brewing Tea

There’s nothing like starting your morning or ending your day with a cup of tea. The aroma, warmth, and comfort will make everyone feel great.

But what if we told you that it’s possible to make the experience even better?

The key is in the preparation — brewing your tea properly instead of rushing through the experience enhances the flavor and ensures you obtain all the benefits. And that’s why you should avoid rushing the prep work by using a microwave.

“Haste Makes Waste”

Microwaves make preparing things so much easier and quicker, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get a good cup of tea. Each type of tea has its own preparation instructions with specific water temperatures and steeping times.

When leaves come into contact with hot water, the compounds that create flavor and aroma begin to dissolve. Under the proper conditions, the leaves are suspended in the water, creating the perfect combination of water and leaf extracts. The water also cooks some of the compounds in the tea, providing the best possible taste and unlocking the numerous potential health benefits.

But when you use the microwave, you lower the accuracy that’s so important to a great cup of tea. For the perfect cup of black tea, for example, you should heat your water to 206 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, using a heat source from the bottom (like on a stove) will heat the water evenly because heated water rises and the cooler water falls. Tea kettles and pots are even better at this due to their slightly curved shape.

When you pop a teacup into the microwave, however, water doesn’t heat evenly and boiling is hard to control. (Imagine all the times you heat leftovers in the microwave and there are hot and cool spots.)

To eliminate any cool spots in microwaved water, you must overheat it. And if you add tea leaves into water that’s too hot, you can destroy the aromatic compounds and create bitter flavor notes.

Never Microwave

What If You Don’t Have Access to a Kettle or Stove Top?

If you have no choice but to microwave your tea (like at work), you could invest in a thermometer to check the temperature of the water before adding your tea leaves. Your results won’t be perfect, but you’ll brew a better cup than if you added the leaves without checking the temperature first.

Reheating Your Tea in a Microwave Also Isn’t a Good Idea

Unfortunately, the microwave doesn’t help you here because it can damage the flavor. Instead of sticking an already brewed cup of tea in the microwave, invest in a covered container that keeps tea warm for long periods of time like our stainless steel tea tumbler.

When you take the time to make or reheat your tea correctly, you’ll notice a huge difference in taste. And those extra few moments it takes to make a great cup of tea will help you get some space and clarity from the stresses of your everyday routine.

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Learn How To Make 3 Classic Tea Cocktails

By July 29, 2016 Cocktails, Mocktails & More

Everyone knows how important tea is to living a healthy life: a great diet with some tantalizing tea can make you feel great with every sip. But tea isn’t just a health powerhouse that tastes incredible. It can actually be a significant part of some of the best cocktails you’ll ever try.

Because of its many flavor notes and varieties, tea has become a staple in lounges serving unforgettable classic cocktails and flavor-packed fusions. The best part is that you don’t have to be a mixologist to make any of these drinks. Just follow these three quick and easy recipes to get started on making your own amazing tea-based cocktails:

1. Iced Green Gin Tea

Ingredients:
Method:
  • Brew green tea for 3-5 min
  • Add honey
  • Chill in refrigerator for 20 min
  • Add ice and gin

Note: Remember to add the honey while the tea is still hot to ensure that it is fully mixed into the tea. In this recipe, no lime is required because Fresh Greens already has a perfect blend of organic lemongrass and organic lemon verbena for a refreshing citrusy finish.

2. Iced Bourbon Peach Tea

Ingredients:
Method:
  • Brew tea for 3-5 min
  • Add sweetener
  • Chill in refrigerator for 20 min
  • Add ice and Bourbon
  • Garnish with orange

Note: If you want to sweeten your tea, do it while it’s still hot unless you are using simple syrup. This drink is perfect for summer during a picnic or barbecue.

Tea Cocktails

3. Hot Toddy

Ingredients:
  • 1.5oz Bourbon
  • 4-6oz Egyptian Chamomile tea
  • 1 slice orange
  • 1 tsp honey or simple syrup (to taste)
Method:
  • Brew chamomile tea for 3-5 min
  • Add sweetener
  • Add Bourbon
  • Garnish with orange

Note: You can substitute any tea for the chamomile depending on how much caffeine content you want. Bourbon can also be substituted with any kind of whisky. The Hot Toddy is a classic during winter and is even sometimes used as a remedy for a mild cold or cough.

To spice up your cocktail, you can find liquors and liqueurs that are infused with flavors OR you can make infused liquors yourself with a simple cold brew method — simply steep the tea in the liquor at room temperature for approximately 1 – 2 hours.

The possibilities are endless. Feel free to embrace your creativity and make something to suit any occasion and season. (You can even create your own name for your drink!) Keep mixing and, as always, enjoy responsibly.

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