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Green Tea

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Green Tea + Gin = Beefeater24

Beefeater 24

Beefeater, the well know Gin Distiller, has recently released a new blend that reaches back to the tea merchant history of it’s founder, James Burrough.

As Beefeater describes its inspiration; “When Desmond Payne, our Master Distiller, stumbled across a fragment of one of his [James Burrough’s] early Victorian [tea] price lists, inspiration struck”.

The new blend entitled Beefeater 24, references the 24 hour period in which the gin’s botanicals which include Japanese Sencha, and Chinese Green Tea, are steeped together to flavor the Gin.

While I can’t speak to the flavor, I certainly find it exciting to see the depths to which Tea is penetrating into our products and culture in the United States. I never would have thought I’d see tea in a nightclub.

Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?


I had someone ask me the other day, “Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?”. In answering this question, we got into a conversation about caffeine in general and the relative caffeine contents for various teas, in comparison to each other, and inevitably to coffee. What I realized is that there seems to be good amount of confusion when it comes to this topic.

To get a good answer, we need to step back and look at caffeine for a minute.

What is Caffeine? Caffeine, was discovered in 1819 by a German chemist, as a natural compound found in coffee. Later, around 1827, it was determined that tea contained a substance strikingly similar, while initially named “Theine”, it was later determined to be the same compound found in coffee and so the Caffeine name stuck and “Theine” was dropped.[1] Caffeine can be found in varying quantities in the leaves and fruits of many different plants.

What is the role of Caffeine? Caffeine in plants acts as a natural pesticide killing off specific insects that attempt to feed off of the plants. In humans, as we know, it’s a central nervous system stimulant that can give us energy or the jitters depending on when we take it and how much.

What factors determine Caffeine content? There are many factors that determine caffeine content, most notably in tea and coffee, the factors include: variety, growing conditions, processing, preparation. Some studies have even shown that in tea the location of the leaf on the plant can affect caffeine level.[2]

So how does tea stack up in the ranks for caffeine content Well, it depends.
Tea actually contains more caffeine than coffee, when measured in it’s dried form. Does this go against everything you thought? You’re not alone, fortunately for us, we don’t generally consume tea in it’s dry state.
Once prepared, tea in contrast to coffee, has about 1/2 to 1/3 the caffeine.

So now that we’ve got that straightened out, “Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?
Yes, but not as much as you might think.

Caffeine content varies by sample, but in general, this is how tea stacks up.
Black tea contains the most caffeine, while white tea comes in with the least. Below are the types of tea ranked in order by average caffeine content.[3]
Black Tea – About 40mg per 8oz.
Oolong Tea – About 30mg per 8oz.
Green Tea – About 20mg per 8oz.
White Tea – About 15mg per 8oz.

What about decaffeinated tea?
Decaffeination is the process by which the caffeine is removed from tea. This can be green tea, black tea, oolong, whatever; any type of tea can be decaffeinated, though green tea and black tea are by far the most commonly seen decaffeinated.
There are two primary methods of decaffeinating tea, the first involves soaking the beans in a solvent, the second, water.
Water extraction is the most common, and involves soaking the leaves for a short period of time. To maintain flavor, the water can then be run through charcoal filter and then re-added to the leaves, where through the process of evaporation, the flavor can be maintained.

Decaffeinate your own tea
Because the majority of caffeine is released in the first 30-40 seconds of steeping, you can decaffeinate, or at least partially decaffeinate, your tea at home by steeping your leaves briefly, tossing the water and then steeping the tea.

I hope this has cleared up some of the confusion about caffeine and tea, and at the very least, you’ve learned more about caffeine than you ever wanted to know.

Happy Steeping!

1. The World of Caffeine by Routledge
2. Caffeine by The Institute of Food Technologists’ Expert Panel on Food Safety & Nutrition, All About Tea by William H. Ukers
3. Internation Food Information Council, All About Tea by William H. Ukers

Green Tea Shown to Decrease Depression in Breast Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors are at a high risk for depression which can pose a major health risk even after the cancer is in remission.
A recent study evaluating depression symptoms in Chinese women who were treated for breast cancer, showed regular consumption of green tea may be beneficial to fighting depression.

The women in the study (1,399 of them) with an average age in the mid 50’s were found to have a much lower risk of depression if they consumed Green Tea regularly. The reduction in risk for depression equated to about 36% less likelihood of developing depression than their non-tea-drinking counterparts.

While this study focused solely on breast cancer survivors, it is likely that the benefits for depression can be applied to other groups at higher depression risks.

Yet another of the many Green Tea Benefits, as if the joy of drinking it wasn’t enough.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, online January 4, 2010

It’s Not Loose Leaf Tea, but Starbucks is Taking a Step in the Right Direction

World Tea News reported that on Jan 12 Starbucks officially announced that they would be replacing it’s current line of Tazo teas with a whole-leaf version.

Starbucks will now carry a total of 10 whole leaf teas; adding a Vanilla Rooibos herbal tea and an Orange Blossom Green Tea to their current selection of teas. The new whole-leaf teas will be packaged in a three-dimensional sachet to allow more room for tea movement during steeping.

The driving factor behind this as stated by Starbucks is that they want to bring a whole-leaf tea experience to their customers to compliment their quality coffee experience. Along with these changes, the company has introduced new training for their baristas including sourcing and steeping information, however, it does not appear that this will include temperature changes and will largely leave steep times up to the consumer.

I think that bringing better tea to the masses is always a step in the right direction, and am glad to see Starbucks make this change.

The full article from World Tea News including the interview can be found here.

Customs Confiscates 13,500 Kg of Green Tea in Islamabad

Green Tea smuggling
Customs officials intercepted two trucks in Islamabad Pakistan carrying over 13,500 Kg of fine quality Green Tea.
The tea was reportedly being smuggled from Islamabad to be sold into the Afghan transit trade. The Afghan Transit Trade is one of the main sources of illegal imports into Pakistan and neighboring countries.

Tea smuggling is nothing new in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the illegal importation of green tea is undermining the the genuine importers who follow the law and pay the appropriate import taxes. Customs reports that the yearly consumption of tea in Pakistan is around 175 Million Kg’s, with only 105 Million Kg’s of that being imported legally.

More information about tea smuggling in Pakistan can be found here.

Green Tea Steamed Rice


To Add Flavor and Antioxidants to your rice, try this simple steps.

Green Tea Steamed Rice

3 cups green tea
2 cups long grain rice

Following standard cooking directions for you preferred method of cooking, substitute the Green Tea for water.
Any form or rice can be used, but ensure you modify the tea quantities to accommodate the rice you choose.

Varying the type of tea will also vary the flavor. Genmaicha with Brown rice will add an earthy subtle flavor, while Sencha, or Gyokuro will bring a greener flavor.

Green Tea Poached Salmon

Another great Green Tea recipe.
This is a simple, low cost meal for two, and would pair perfectly with some Green Tea Steamed Rice.

Green Tea Poached Salmon
4 heaping teaspoons loose green tea ( could use 4 bags if needed )
2 cups boiling water
4 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 half-pound salmon steaks

1. Steep tea in 2 cups hot water for 4 minutes. Remove all tea leaves.
2. Add garlic, ginger, and sesame oil to tea and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add salmon to pan and sear for 1–2 minutes, on one side. Turn salmon over and add tea mixture to skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and poach for 7–10 minutes, until salmon flakes easily.

Serve with Braised Spinach or Green Tea Steamed Rice.

Green Tea Infused Chicken Soup

I love cooking and I love green tea, so when I come across a recipe that brings the two of these together, I just have to share.

Here is a great twist on a chicken soup recipe that infuses your soup stock with Green Tea adding a unique flavor and of course some of the many benefits from drinking Green Tea.

Green Tea-Scented Chicken Soup

1 1/2 pounds of boneless cubed skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
Salt and pepper
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 fennel bulb, cored, quartered and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 leeks, in 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup Green Tea leaves (sencha)
1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Directions
1. Trim your chicken removing any remaining fat and season with salt and pepper.

2. In a large saucepan, bring your chicken stock to a simmer. Add the carrots, fennel, leeks and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand until the chicken is just cooked, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a warm bowl.

3. Add the green tea to the stock and steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth and set over a saucepan. Add the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat, then return the vegetables and chicken to the broth. Ladle into bowls. Serves 4.
Adapted from “Aroma,” by Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson of Coi Restuarant. (excerpted from New York Times)

Bon Appetit!

What is Pre-Rain / Pre-Qingming Dragonwell Green Tea?

Pre-qingming longjing

We know Dragonwell by many names; Dragonwell, Long Jing, Longjing, Lung Ching, all of which refer to that light and delicious tea from the Zhejiang provence in China.

Around this time of year however, we hear (generally with much enthusiasm) about something called “Pre-Rain” or “Pre-Qingming” Longjing. This can be somewhat confusing to relative neophyte in the vast world of Tea.

Simply, pre-rain or pre-qingming dragonwell is the first picking of the youngest sprouts from the plant.

What makes this all the more unique is that this process takes place over a 10 day period. This begins when the leaves first sprout and must be completed before the Qingming festival that happens on the 5th of April.
The leaves that are picked before Qingming, are then expertly processed with the result being pre-Qingming Longjing.
This highly regarded first grade Longjing is prized among Dragonwell fans for a more subtle and grassy flavor with an excellent finish.

Pre-rain Dragonwell, technically, is the tea that is picked before the rainy season begins, though not necessarily before the qingming festival. Pre-rain is considered of a lower grade than the Pre-Qingming longjing, however more often you will see pre-rain referring to pre-qingming, so generally it is safe to regard these as the same thing.
It’s always a good idea to check out the information from the particular tea vendor first, as they will usually provide a good amount of information about that particular harvest.
An added bonus in many cases is that the tea buyer may maintain a blog detailing the trip that they’ve taken to the different plantations.
This can give you a great connection with the tea your drinking and reflect on the process it took from leaf to cup.

If you haven’t tried a 1st grade Longjing, I highly recommend it. You will soon find another reason to get excited about spring time!

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