Whether you are a tea snob who prizes only most authentic blends and best tea leaves in the world, or a tea aficionado who is most adventurous with innovative and creative cocktails for tea, you will definitely benefit from drinking tea.
Full of antioxidants and healing properties, tea is an age-old remedy for the mind, body and soul " yes that is right " but it has to be done right!
We asked two tea producers, German company Tafelgut, which has opened a Hong Kong shop in Cityplaza, Tai Koo Shing, and Inari Tea, with an office in Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, for their expert advice.
Herbal teas in general can be great for unwinding and camomile has long been enjoyed for the sedative properties held in the camomile flower's leaves, which serve to soothe and relaxMaitland Murray, Inari Tea
Maitland Murray, of Inari Tea, said: "Tea has a plethora of benefits and so many teas will have positive effects on your body."
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While German tea producer Tafelgut creates some of the most whimsical blends available will suit any occasion or season " think Cheesecake Cherry Tea and Yoga Tea, with pepper as one of its ingredients " Inari's focus is more on sourcing the most authentic teas from around the world " think mainland China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and Taiwan " which produce the world's best tea leaves.
Staff from these two tea brands suggested what we should drink when we face different concerns " from insomnia to indigestion " to find classic, tried and tested remedies using some of the best tea leaves.
Even if you are not a tea connoisseur, you could still benefit from avant-garde blends, such as those produced by Tafelgut.
The tea producers have served up their best recommendations so you can have your tea and drink it " and feel its amazing benefits.
1. Experiencing insomnia or having trouble sleeping in general?
Murray says: "When most people think of the perfect tea before bedtime, camomile springs to mind, and for good reason. Herbal teas in general can be great for unwinding and camomile has long been enjoyed for the sedative properties held in the camomile flower's leaves, which serve to soothe and relax.
Green rooibos, which is free of stimulating agents such as caffeine, is considered a home remedy for stomach and intestinal complaints, even in babiesSusanne Kaumanns and Michael Holzschuh, Tafelgut
Susanne Kaumanns and Michael Holzschuh, founders of the Tafelgut brand, say: "Melissa leaves, silver linden blossoms, and peppermint (will) help to calm you down " this blend helps especially with anxiety and inner restlessness, and is often used as a mild sedative and sleep aid."
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Did you know? Murray says; "Research has shown that camomile does effectively reduce sleep deficiency too, as its components connect with your body's GABA receptors (the part of the brain responsible for inducing relaxation and sleep), bringing about a calming effect and allowing you to gently drift off to sleep."
2. Poor digestion?
Murray: White tea is very high in polyphenols, which are great for digestion in terms of increasing good bacteria, helping the body to absorb antioxidants and improving gut health in general.
Kaumanns and Holzschuh: Green rooibos, which is rich in potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc, low in tannins and free of stimulating agents such as caffeine, is considered a home remedy for stomach and intestinal complaints, even in babies.
Did you know? Murray says: "White teas are traditionally associated with China's Fujian region so if you want to give it a try, Bai Hao Yinzhen is always a safe bet. However, you can also find great white teas all across Asia, so why not push the boat out and go for something a bit different like Baiye Dan Cong. It's sure to impress even the most knowledgeable tea connoisseurs."
3. For a better complexion
Murray: It's impossible to talk about the health benefits of tea without mentioning, of course, green tea. Green tea done right is very pure " this means no fermentation throughout the process and no additives: the leaves are simply picked and lightly heated, either in a pan or by steaming.
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Green tea can be an asset to your complexion in several ways thanks to a group of polyphenol compounds called catechin, which also have fantastic health properties. These catechins have chemo-preventive traits that can safeguard against disease and reduce UV exposure. Green tea also has natural healing properties, and even serves as a great anti-ageing force.
Studies have shown that you can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine (6 to 8 cups of tea!) each day before your hydration levels start to go into the red zone
Kaumanns and Holzschuh: The leaves of the Moringa plant are considered a true panacea in many countries of the world. Moringa tea revitalises, prevents diseases, and detoxifies the body, making it a great choice for those seeking to lose weight. Those who drink this tea regularly, feel fitter, the immune system is boosted and the skin appears nicer and younger, as it is a natural anti-ageing product.
Did you know? Murray says: "From Sencha to Dragon Well, the relationship between green tea and skin health is widely documented, so it might be a great idea to add a cup or two into your weekly routine."
Tafelgut's founders, who point to Moringa for both great skin and figure, also say: "Positive effects are also noticeable on hair, nails and muscles and you can recharge your energy with this tea."
4. How about a quick energy boost?
Murray: Although coffee might be the go-to hot drink to boost your energy levels throughout the day, the right tea can also do just the trick. If you're looking for that morning pick-me-up, black teas can provide the perfect caffeine fix with around 61 milligrams on average, say, for a Darjeeling, although this will vary greatly depending on the region the leaves are from, the growing practices and species.
Alternatively, green teas such as Matcha can still be as high in caffeine, but the nature of the plant provides for a much slower energy release, meaning you can dodge the jitters and opt for a gradual lift instead.
If you want to stay away from the caffeine, you could try something a bit more niche in cistus Incanus, a relatively unknown herbal tea that is incredibly rich in bio-active compounds and can keep you staying fresh and alert all day.
To boost your energy levels, from the nerves, through the muscles to the metabolism, everything should work a bit faster, after enjoying green mate, which has a high concentration of caffeineSusanne Kaumanns and Michael Holzschuh
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Kaumanns and Holzschuh: First and foremost, green mate is great because it has a stimulating effect on our organs. From the nerves, through the muscles to the metabolism, everything should work a bit faster, after enjoying mate, which has a high concentration of caffeine. Lemongrass and goji berry, which are included in our blend of Morning Wake Up Tea, also have an invigorating and mood-enhancing effect.
Did you know? Murray says: "You might not know this, but tea actually contains more caffeine than coffee before brewing, before it is then diluted."
5. What if I am nursing jet lag or a hangover?
Murray: While not technically a tea, in the sense that it has no leaves, ginseng tea is worth mentioning for its scientifically recognised ability to relieve the effects of alcohol consumption and nurse those hangovers.
Ginseng is traditionally Korean, and the tea comprises a herbal infusion made from the root of the ginseng plant. Although it may not be your first choice of drink after a big night or a long flight, the antioxidant effects of red ginseng, in particular, holds an ability to significantly lower plasma-alcohol concentrations, which can improve your alcohol metabolism and in turn, relieve your hangover symptoms.
Kaumanns and Holzschuh: Rehydrate! Avoid caffeinated tea such as green or black tea blends. Whereas tea with ginger will help as the root contains vitamin C, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus " all of the nutrients that your body is craving for at this particular time. Cinnamon and cardamom are also good for promoting circulation and possess soothing and mood-enhancing effects.
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6. Is tea dehydrating?
Murray: Contrary to what a lot of people believe, tea is not dehydrating " in fact the opposite! Tea can provide a great source of hydration despite some concerns due to tea's caffeine content.
Studies have shown that you can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine (six to eight cups of tea) each day before your hydration levels start to go into the red zone.
Moreover, tea is rich in flavonoids, which are healthy compounds found in plants, and is additionally brewed with mainly water, so drinking tea can definitely play a part in keeping you hydrated.
If you want to drink tea and stay as hydrated possible, on a flight for example, we would recommend going for an Oolong tea, such as a Da Hong Pao or a Tsuifeng, which are low in caffeine and sure to keep you refreshed throughout.
Kaumanns and Holzschuh: Some research has already shown that the amount of caffeine in the tea is not enough to cause dehydration in the body, unless you drink five cups at a time.
Strictly speaking, tea is more beneficial than water in everyday life because it hydrates and comes with antioxidants. If you are still unconvinced though and feel the side effects, try to avoid tea blends with a green or black tea concentration and switch to a nice herbal tea blend instead, like the Moringa Lychee Tea.
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