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Green Tea

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 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!

And Were Back….

I’ve got everything moved over to the new host and things are looking pretty good right now. Still doing some tweaking on the site, but look forward to some good stuff this weekend.

Thanks for hanging in there.

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!

Storing Tea

Storing tea is a question that often comes up with new tea drinkers. Fortunately, it can be very simple if you just keep a few things in mind.

The National Tea Museum in Zhejiang Province notes Four factors that affect tea quality:

1. Temperature
Chemical changes of oxidation and polymerization are closely related to temperature, the higher the temperature the quicker the reactions. It was confirmed that rate of tea browning was increased by 3 to 5 times when temperature is raised by 10 ℃.
2. Moisture
Alimentary scientific theory revealed that components in absolutely dried foods were directly exposed to the air and easily be oxidized by oxygen in the air. When water molecules were aggregated with food components by hydrogen bonding, there formed a single molecular layer, the food seemed to be covered by a protection film. When tea moisture was about 3%, this single molecular protection film was formed. So the lipids in the tea were separated from oxygen in the air and prevented from oxidization by the film. On the contrary, when the moisture content was above this level, the water played a role of solvent instead of a protection film.
3.Oxygen
Oxygen can aggregate with almost every element and form an oxidized product. But oxygen in the air is most commonly found in molecular form and therefore not very active.
4. Illumination
Light itself is a kind of energy. Illumination can increase the energy level of the whole system illuminated and is detrimental to tea storage.

So knowing what affects tea, we can now make a few decisions about how we will store it
1st, we want an opaque container to keep out light.
2nd, we want something airtight that will keep out air, odors, and moisture.

The most important thing I’ve found is to keep your tea away from strong odor.
Tea if allowed exposure to strong smells will often absorb those odors and make for a less than pleasant experience.

Fortunately for us quite often the package that the tea comes in is more than adequate.
Tea package

For the ones that aren’t; my choice is tins, but even a plastic bag will suffice.

One trick I’ve found is to take my old tins from tea’s past and remove the labels and then refill them with new purchases.
tea tin

If using plastic bags, make sure that they are designed for food storage, and if clear, keep them out of the light.

So as you can see, tea storage can be quite simple and inexpensive.

What Tea do you keep on hand?

As I was digging through my personal assortment of Teas, two things happened:

My Tea

1st:  I realized that I have a Tea problem
2nd: I wondered whether other people keep a wide assortment of Tea on hand, or just a few that they really like.

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve got on hand right now:  Tell me what you drink.

1. Rishi Tea – Jasmine Silver Needle
2. Rishi Tea – Organic Earl Grey
3. TROT – Imperial republic Pu-erh
4. TROT – Mini Pu-Erh balls
5. TROT – Dragon Well (long jing)
6. SerindipiTea – Fiji
7. Teance – TiKuanyn (Monkey picked – medium roast)
8. TROT – Wuyi Oolong
9. SerindipiTea – Darjeeling First Flush
10. Rishi Tea – Kukicha
11. NM Tea Co. – Jasmine Pearl
12. TROT – Dancing Leaves Tea
13. TROT – Ti Kuan Yin
14. TROT – Big Green Hojicha
15. TROT – Organic Green Pearl
16. TROT – Republic Chai Tea
17. NM Tea Co. – Green Pu-erh packed in Mandarin Orange
18. NM Tea Co. – Guangnan Green Pu-erh (Tea patty)
19. Tazo – Awake
20. Two Leaves and a Bud – Tamayokucha
21. Lipton – Decaf black… (For my lady) 🙂

Coming soon… Daily news, reviews, education and information about Loose Leaf Tea

I hope to update this frequently with a wealth of information about all types of Loose Leaf Tea.

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