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Loose Leaf Tea

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.

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!

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.

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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