Many people enjoy sipping a cup of tea. And when you think about its extreme health benefits, it’s more likely you’ll be convinced to make a warm cup of your own! You see, teas offer good-for-you compounds and nutrients that help promote overall wellness.
From enhancing brain performance and burning fats quickly to promoting heart health and preventing your risk of diabetes and cancer, tea proves to be a worthy addition to a diet, especially if you have fitness and health goals!
These wellness perks all sound lovely, but how can you maximize these health benefits in your daily cup (or cups) of tea? Well, have we got some great news!
We’ve made rounded up in a handy list some super helpful tips on how you can drink your tea for an optimum experience -- both for your palate and wellness!
What’s Your Cup of Tea?
Tea comes in three common variants: green, oolong, and black. All these teas, however, came from the leaves of the same plant called Camellia sinensis. So, how do they differ? Well, allow us to explain:
Mainly produced in China and Japan, green tea is thought to contain the highest amounts of polyphenols since they are made from unfermented leaves.
Unlike oolong and black tea, green tea doesn’t go through the process of oxidation. Its flavor is a bit subtler compared with the two other variants. Green tea also contains the least amount of caffeine per cup, ranging from 25 to 30 milligrams.
Oolong is commonly described as a partially oxidized tea. It also undergoes an artisanal shaping technique by means of rolling, twisting or curling.
This process can alter not just the form but the aroma and color of the tea leaves as well. Oolong tea typically contains 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine per serving cup.
Made from fully oxidized tea leaves, black tea commonly comes with a strong, sometimes slightly bitter taste. And while it contains the highest amount of caffeine per cup among the other tea variants at 40 to 60 milligrams, it still has less compared with coffee.
How to Boost Your Cup of Tea
No matter what tea variant you choose to enjoy, you must look for ways to maximize its perks! Here are some tips on how you can optimize your tea and its health benefits:
Buy loose tea as much as possible
If you want to savor your tea’s ultimate flavor and aroma potential, opt for the loose-leaf variety as much as possible. Most tea bags don’t provide enough room for the tea leaves to expand their full potential, compromising their quality.
But if you find tea bags more convenient, it’s ideal to pick tea leaves enclosed in pyramid sachets. Large tea bags give the leaves better room to bloom.
Choose fresh tea with a high turnover
When scouting for fresh tea, take home the one that has a high turnover! The oils contained in teas break down over time, which may affect its taste.
Green tea is best consumed before it turns a year, while black tea can remain relatively fresh for up to two years. But while it’s less likely to make you sick when you consume it before its expiration date, it’s best to enjoy your tea within six months from purchase!
Stick to the proper amounts of tea
A good cup of tea has just the right amounts. For white tea and oolong, you can use two to three teaspoons of tea per cup. For Chinese (pan-fried) green tea, two teaspoons are the ideal amount.
Meantime, one to two teaspoons of Japanese green tea and black tea can already make a great fix!
Mind your infusion time, too
It’s also important to steep your tea for the proper length of time. Over-steeping may cause your tea to taste bitter, compromising its flavor.
Infuse green tea and oolong for two to three minutes, and black tea for three to five minutes. If you’re looking to enhance your tea’s flavor, though, add more tea and not steeping time.
Nix the milk
While milk makes any tea taste so much better, it can also purge its amazing health perks. Sadly, milk proteins bind with polyphenols present in the drinks and foods we enjoy.
Regardless if it’s whole, skim or low-fat, adding milk to the equation may weaken the antioxidant powers of tea, especially the black variant. And yes, even the non-dairy soy milk can reduce your tea’s health-promoting effects.
Drink your tea in between meals
When you consume your tea matters, too. Drinks that have tannin content like tea, wine, and apple juice may play a role in iron deficiency, especially if they are consumed with a vegetable-based diet.
While some researchers claim that tea doesn’t greatly affect iron absorption, it would be best if you drink your tea in between meals. For the same safety reason, you can also enjoy it at least an hour after taking your meals.
Skip bottled teas
Teas usually lose 20 percent of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the most abundant catechin in tea, during the bottling process.
This important compound was found to be the most effective cancer chemopreventive polyphenol, specifically in green tea.
But if you can’t skip the bottle totally because of the convenience it provides, opt for the varieties that have citric acid or lemon juice. These acid contents help to stabilize EGCG levels.
Opt for a home-made iced tea
What’s great about tea is you can enjoy it anytime regardless of the season. So, whether it’s raining cats and dogs or scorching hot outside, a warm cup or a glass of iced tea can save the day!
When it comes to iced tea, though, it’s advisable to increase the amount of tea you normally use. This is because the ice can dilute your drink. Or you can opt for tea frozen in ice cube trays.
Just remember to enjoy homemade iced tea, and not the powdered stuff to still enjoy its antioxidant powers!
Use filtered water
Filtered water usually tastes and smells better because filters help to remove chemicals, chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and bacterial contaminants that may be present in tap water.
Since water is a major component in your tea fix, opting for spring or filtered water is a great idea! It will not only enhance your tea’s taste and smell but will also rid your drink of potentially harmful compounds.
Tip: Use a high-quality water filter to ensure that your drinking water is safe and free of any toxic compounds.
Add some citrus
Aside from helping to stabilize the EGCG levels of tea, citrus juice from lemon, grapefruit, orange, and lime can enhance its antioxidant powers, too!
Vitamin C boosts your body’s acidic conditions for catechins, improving their absorption properties. Not only that but citrus juice also helps to make your tea better-tasting!
Enjoying more than a cup of tea per day doesn’t sound a bad idea at all – it actually sounds great! If you want to reap its maximum health benefits, enjoy as much as three to five cups per day.
You’re sure to savor the perks that come with it like weight loss and reduced risk of diabetes!
More Tips on Enjoying a Terrific Tea
But wait, there’s more! We’ve included more tricks on how you can take your tea time to the next level:
Skip the microwave
Yes, microwaves provide so much convenience, but they don’t give you the control for the right water temperature you need for your tea. A perfect cup is brewed at the proper temperature, so skip the microwave and use a kettle!
Get the best brewing gear
Sure, you can make a nice cup of tea even with a basic kettle, but a special tea-brewing set may come in handy. Most specialized tea kettles have settings for temperature and even the removal of tea bags!
The brewing baskets, mugs, and other accessories can also give you a better tea-sipping experience. So, you might want to consider this a worthy investment.
Pick a nice cup
Aside from the aesthetic aspect, a nice cup also contributes to terrific tea time! Porcelain cups are highly recommended as they are not porous, which means they won’t affect the tea’s taste in any way.
A nice cup must also have a good handle, one that can provide a good grip for your fingers, and isn’t too fragile for daily use.
Choose quality tea leaves
What’s a great gear without quality tea leaves? The most important element in a terrific cup of tea is the quality of the tea itself! So, when scouting for tea, pick the one that has the best quality!
High-quality tea leaves feel smooth and sturdy. They also have a distinct smell. For example, high-quality green tea leaves smell fresh, grassy, and light, while black tea leaves smell sweet and earthy.
Experts suggest enjoying three to five cups of tea a day to reap its maximum health potential. In fact, some health practitioners consider this a healthy lifestyle strategy.
With its favorable effects on health such as enhanced brain performance, weight loss, reduced risk of infections and illnesses, tea proves to be a worthy addition to a healthy diet. So, what are you waiting for? Do these tricks for your next tea time!