TEA, HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Tea is fashionable worldwide for its healthy properties. Thus, there are more and more studies on the beneficial effects of the components of this plant on health, provided this infusion is included in the normal diet.
In particular, we highlight the following properties:
- Tea polyphenols are antioxidants that protect the body against cellular aging, helping to regulate cholesterol levels and helping the body absorb less fat.
- Its fluorine content prevents tooth decay.
- Theophylline exerts a diuretic and vasodilator effect.
- Theine is a ""mild stimulant"" of the central nervous system that helps clear the mind.
Types of tea and characteristics
Different varieties of tea are made from fresh 'Camellia Sinensis' leaves. Tea can be classified in five generic colours based on its colour, flavour and level of active ingredients, features that depend exclusively on the processing methods used.
To produce this variety the fresh Camellia Sinensis leaves undergo a full oxidation process that transforms the original green of the leaf into a dark brown, making the flavours become more complex. The resulting infusions are amber coloured with intense body and flavour. It is the most stimulating variety since the oxidation favours the release of theine in the infusion.
Also known as semi-oxidized tea or “Blue Tea”. It is made by rolling the leaves up to twenty times. This variety combines the characteristics of green and black tea, some of them are more pronounced than other depending on the degree of oxidation. The result is a balanced, slightly toasted taste, and orange ochre colours. It is known for its digestive properties.
Red Tea (Pu Erh)
Post-fermented Chinese tea from green tea leaves, with a special process of fermentation in cellars which is not revealed by its producers. Used since ancient times in Chinese medicine, it is known for its role in reducing weight and blood cholesterol level. Its infusion is dark with red shades and its character distinctly earthy.
The oxidation of the leaves is prevented by quick blanching to inactivate the enzyme, oxidase. The infusion is smooth and delicate, slightly herbal and with yellowish, greenish or golden shades. It is diuretic and rich in antioxidants.
It is made from the three terminal leaves of the plant, with the unopened bud with its layer of ""white fluff"", which is what gives the name to this variety. The unoxidized leaves wither and are dried by hand, preserving all the flavour and properties of the plant. This is the most select and distinguished category because of its high level of antioxidants.
Rooibos and Infusions
Our menu offers a wide selection of Rooibos and Infusions. Although not from the tea plant, they have many health benefits, including high vitamin and mineral content, digestive and relaxing properties and absence of stimulants. They are the perfect alternative to tea for moments of pure relaxation or as a healthy alternative for children and people sensitive to theine.
Various studies carried out in laboratories in different countries have found substances in tea that have traditionally shown their effectiveness in the prevention, control and reduction of some types of cancer or cancerous tumours.
Despite the caution of the researchers, the findings of several experiments carried out seem to support the theory that flavonoids, organic compounds found in tea with antioxidant properties, exert an inhibitory action over this disease in some cases.
The temperature at which the infusion is ingested may also tilt the balance one way or another. The antioxidant properties of flavonoids tend to disappear when the tea is consumed hot. Research in China in 1994 showed that in cancer of the oesophagus, in the prevention of which tea plays an important role, this relationship could be found. Thus, the positive effects of tea decreased as the temperature at which it was consumed increased.
The antioxidant properties of flavonoids also impinge on the most important organ of our body: the heart.
Research so far has established a link between the consumption of 4 or 5 cups of tea a day and decreased blood cholesterol and blood pressure regulation.
Tea has shown its effectiveness in reducing cholesterol and triglycerides (two types of fat in the blood) as shown by some studies carried out in Britain and Norway:
- In the first experiment, whose results were published in 1992, 4,317 men and 1,698 women showed evident signs that as tea intake increased blood cholesterol levels decreased.
- In the same year 9,856 Norwegian men and 10,233 Norwegian women aged from 35 to 49 years underwent an identical study also demonstrating a significant decrease in cholesterol. The influence of tea on blood pressure has also been analysed, finding that the consumption of 4 to 5 cups a day is able to reduce the maximum or systolic value thereof.
Its low sodium content and the presence of potassium, both of which are traditionally associated with blood pressure control, explain the regulatory role of the infusion (2 other studies among large groups of people seem to support the thesis that the regular consumption of tea reduces the risk of cardiovascular events).
The action of flavonoids, verified in a number of laboratory experiments, would be responsible for this beneficial effect. However, as in the case of the tests carried out to determine the positive effect of tea on cancer prevention, there are difficulties in isolating the role of the drink from the whole of the diet followed by the people tested. It is known, however, that the human body needs flavonoids for their antioxidant properties and that tea is, in many countries, the main source of supply of this important organic compound.
*Oxidation: chemical reaction caused by the contact of a substance with oxygen, leading to changes in the original components of the oxidized material.
*Fermentation: degradation of organic substances by the action of microbial enzymes (bacteria).
*The information we have just given is GENERIC and can show substantial differences according to the source from which it proceeds.
*As tea experts, our philosophy is to provide our sales professionals with all the information that has a reliable source without thereby excluding the various opinions concerning tea and its major beneficial properties.
Always smell it for a while before touching it with your lips. It is essential to bring the nose to the surface and learn to spin the cup briefly but effectively so that the movement of the liquid causes the evaporation of its aromatic elements.
These are subdivided into a collection of 'series' which experience and tasting with experts will help you master.
According to classical guidelines, the aromas are subdivided into these series:
- animal (leather, butter, …)
- floral (orchid, rose, jasmine, …)
- woodland (undergrowth, damp earth, mushroom, ...)
- vegetable (vegetables, asparagus, spinach, peas, ...)
- herbal (grass, hay, fresh plants, ...)
- fruit (apple, grape, peach, berries, exotic fruits, ...)
- balsamic (eucalyptus, liquorice, ...)
- wood (sandalwood, cedar, pine, resin, ...)
- spicy (pepper, cinnamon, ...)
- roasted (tobacco, caramel, cocoa, roasted, ...)
- marine (seawater, seaweed, iodine, ...)
The taste depends on the stimulation of our so called ""taste buds"", which are situated preferably on our tongue, though some are situated on the palate; its sensitivity is variable.
Nerves (mainly facial) connected with the taste buds transmit impulses to the nerve centre located in the medulla (continuation of the marrow where the spine begins); from here, the impulses are transmitted to the upper and inner faces of the parietal lobe, closely related to the area of the brain associated with smell.
The nearly 10,000 taste buds that humans have are unevenly distributed over the upper side of the tongue, where they form spots sensitive to certain classes of chemical compounds that induce the sensations of taste. Generally speaking, the taste buds sensitive to sweet and salty flavours are concentrated at the tip of the tongue, those sensitive to acidity at the sides and those sensitive to bitterness at the back.
Food chemicals are dissolved in the moisture in the mouth and penetrate the taste buds through the pores in the surface of the tongue, where they come into contact with sensory cells. When a receptor is stimulated by one of the dissolved substances, it sends nerve impulses to the brain. The repeat frequency of the impulses indicates the intensity of the flavour.
What we commonly call ""taste"" is actually the ""flavour"", which results from the interaction of the senses of taste and smell. Other sensations we get from food, the pungent taste of a strong mint or the fizz of sparkling drinks, as well as the texture, temperature and presentation, are also part of the taste experience.
80% of what we perceive as taste is actually smell. Humans are able to distinguish about 20,000 different smells, each with 10 or more different degrees of intensity. The sense of smell is activated when smells reach the olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity via two pathways: inhalation through the nostrils and through the inner part of the mouth, when chewing and swallowing.
Note the clarity and colour (intensity, hue, transparency). The appearance of the tea tells you much about it; its colour is the first contact, and its appearance should invite us to drink it. The colour intensity gives a more accurate picture of the body of the tea and its tannic structure. If the colour is strong, deep and concentrated, there is every chance that the tea is also strong and rich in tannic substances; on the other hand, if the colour is weak, the tea will probably have a light body and be shorter on the palate, which in no way rules out that it can be pleasant, rich, flawless and a perfect example of a specific typology.
Colour has many nuances that indicate the degree of oxidation of the tea or speak of production processes. The yellow-green colour of Japanese green teas is a result of their steaming process. However, Chinese greens that have undergone roasting acquire coppery shades and we talk about old gold, copper or pale yellow.
Limpidity measures the presence of suspended particles in a tea. Not to be confused with turbidity, this is a result of poor preservation, or of using old and broken leaves. If we analyse limpidity we determine whether a tea is bright, clean, transparent, matte, opaque, dirty, dull, cloudy, etc. Limpidity, transparency and brilliance are suitable qualities for white teas, green teas and oolongs. In the case of black and red teas we can find limpid teas that are not excessively transparent, because transparency depends on the intensity of their colour.
The colors of the tea
Below, you will find detailed definitions of the tasting descriptors used in this manual.
- Bitterness: unpleasant roughness due to excess acids.
- Fruity: Tea containing the scent of ripe, fresh grapes. Also applies to the discovery of other fruits.
- Exhausted: has lost its aromatic characteristics, its finesse, its fruity tones; feels flat and depressed.
- Sour: very pronounced acid taste combined with bitterness, characteristic of certain citrus fruit such as grapefruit.
- Woody: aromatic nuance referring to the odorous trees of some forests. (cedar, sandalwood, etc.)
- Bitter: the bitter tasting substances belonging to the family of phenolic compounds or polyphenols. Its bitter taste is generally accompanied by astringency and it is difficult to separate these two sensations.
- Dull: dull, insipid, lacking liveliness.
- Aromatic: fragrant tea, rich in aromas and tastes.
- Rough: Tea with a strong presence of tannins, which produces a tactile sensation in the mouth.
- Astringent: dry feeling not to be confused with bitterness. Perceived mainly in the gums (giving the impression that the mucosa contracts)
- Velvety: silky, smooth, mellow, caressing the palate.
- Vinegary: acetic, spoiled.
- Balsamic: pungent flavour characteristic of many medicinal plants (eucalyptus, peppermint, liquorice, etc.)
- Soft: term used to define weak tea, without personality or lacking character.
- Bright: visual impression produced by a tea of perfect clarity with crystalline reflections.
- Caramelized: name for the smells and flavours of the caramelization of sugar.
- Fleshy: dense, thick Tea that fills your mouth.
- Cedar: term used to describe the somewhat scented aroma of this softwood.
- Short: remaining very little time on the palate. Not necessarily poor quality.
- Raw: lacking ripeness and with pronounced acidity.
- Body: weight and volume of the tea in the mouth. Set of tactile sensations.
- Weak: badly defined Tea, poor.
- Thin: description of a tea which lacks flavour. Lacking body.
- Delicate: lacking robustness, but pleasant.
- Dense: Tea with a robust, thick body and great consistency. Voluminous.
- Unbalanced: lacking harmony in flavour and aroma.
- Hard: description of a tea squeezed between its components, with excess tannin or acidity.
- Balanced: description applied to harmonious teas, with a balance between all its components.
- Spicy: aroma and flavour of spices, spicy sensations.
- Thick: full-bodied, strong, with a powerful, dense colour.
- Floral: with the scent of flowers. Can be of flowers in general or specific flowers: rose, jasmine etc.
- Fresh: young tea retaining its vitality and acidity.
- Gross: a somewhat vulgar tea. Robust and with high colour.
- Herbal: sensation perceived in the nose and mouth; tea reminiscent of freshly cut grass.
- Young: term used to describe teas from spring harvests.
- Long: that makes an impression that lingers in the mouth. Positive feature.
- Light: that does not weigh in the mouth. Lightweight.
- Limpid: transparent.
- Clean: no strange or unpleasant odours.
- Ripe: Teas belonging to harvests following the spring. Evolved flavours.
- Malty: with aromas like roasted barley (malt), used in the manufacture of beer and whiskey.
- Mellow: mild, pleasant, without sharp edges or stridency.
- Metallic: defective property in which the taste of the tea is reminiscent of metal. May or may not be caused by undesirable contact with metal elements.
- Mineral: flavour coming to tea from the mineral content of the farmland. Not to be confused with earthy.
- Mould: undesirable flavour caused by leaf defects or poor storage.
- Opaque: expression exemplifying a dull tea. In nose and mouth, weak, lacking interest.
- Rusty: that due to contact with oxygen, has lost its taste qualities and changed colour.
- Pasty: which adheres to the palate.
- Penetrating: powerful, with strong aromas.
- Round: well balanced, ripe, harmonious, palatable, without sharp edges.
- Refreshing: with pleasant, thirst-quenching acidity.
- Resinous: aroma derived from wood, with higher alcohol content.
- Robust: term used to describe a tea with consistency. With force, body, roundness.
- Dry: sharp. Lacking force and freshness.
- Silky: with a firm texture, but soft on the palate.
- Smooth: silky, velvety, mellow, with a nice touch.
- Tannic: astringent due to excessive presence of tannins.
- Tannins: natural substance in tea with a tanning action.
- Earthy: reminiscent of earth. Aroma between newly wet earth and dust.
- Roasted: the sensation between sweet and toasted of caramelized sugar.
- Cloudy: opaque appearance of tea.
- Veiled: not clean.
- Green: describes black tea which has had insufficient oxidation.
- Old: overripe. Lacking freshness.
How to prepare the perfect cup of tea
To achieve the perfect infusion, you just have to follow these simple steps.
- The water should be clean and it should never let boil. This way, the infusion will be more aromatic.
- It is also important to take into account the temperature of the water and the minutes of infusion for each variety.
- Watch out and your tea will not be bitter.
To make it easier, see the table below.
Decorate your infusions
Follow our tips for each variety in order to achieve the best results:
- To make your favorite varieties more appetizing, you can add sugar, honey or other sweeteners.
- For black tea, use milk to contrast its astringency improving its taste.
- You can also add vegetable drinks to lighter infusions as green tea and herbal teas.
- Other ingredient that adds flavor to many infusions is lemon, refreshing and softening its flavor.
Preprare your natural ICE TEA in a fast & easy way.
To make 1.5l of ICE TEA you will need:
- 25g (12 measures) of your favourite tea.
- 6-8g of white sugar or any other sweetener of your choice.
- 0,5l of mineral water at 90ºC
- 1 Kg of ice
Preparation ICA TEA
- 1.- Put 25g of tea in a mug with filter to make a concentrated tea.
- 2.- Add sugar
- 3.- Pour hot water.
- 4.- Let it brew during the amount of minutes recommended for your tea.
- 5.- Remove filter and pour tea concentrate into a jar with 1 Kg of ice.
- 6.- Stir and your ICE TEA is ready.
Tips and recommendations for making a perfect ICE TEA
- Use good quality tea.It contains more antioxidants and it’s more aromatic than traditional tea bags. This guarantees healthy and tasty infusions.
- Use always mineral water. This way you ensure that your tea has a delicious taste, without defects due to quality of water.
- Add citrus fruits and maximize antioxidant action. Add citric juice to the tea once it is prepared to improve antioxidant absorption. Besides that, it makes tea much more refreshing.
- Prepare big jars. Natural ICE TEA keeps good during 24h/48h. If it is always available in your fridge you’ll drink less industrial sodas.
- Prepare ice with your infusions. If you have tea left which you are not going to drink, put it in an ice mould and you will have flavoured ice cubes. Put them in your next Ice Tea or any other of your favourite drinks.