Turmeric Tea, Anyone?

turmeric teaRead an article today online regarding the health benefits of turmeric and it reminded me of an article I once wrote about turmeric tea.  I have been aware of turmeric tea for quite some time.  It is very popular in certain parts of Japan where it is regularly brewed and served though it is a little difficult to find here in Australia, even online!

Studies cited in the article mentioned that elderly people in India have a far less chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease because of the active ingredient, curcumin, present in turmeric.  Indian Ayurvedic medicines often use turmeric in the preparations they make, where it is reputed to not only be beneficial for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease but it is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent, and it is said to be helpful as an anti-depressant and alleviates anxiety as well.  There are some cautions when it comes to turmeric though: drinking excessive amounts of turmeric tea is not recommended for anyone with liver problems, circulatory problems or those taking blood thinning medication.

turmeric rootAs mentioned above, people from Okinawa, Japan have been apparently imbibing turmeric tea for centuries.  While it is readily available in Japan, it can be difficult to find here (though there are quite a few capsules and supplements available.)   Not to worry, you can actually make tea using the dried turmeric you buy from the spice section of the supermarket.  

Here are some different recipes that I have tried:

  • Measure 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric into three cups of water.  Simmer gently for 7-10 minutes and it’s ready to drink.  You may want to add a little honey and even a squeeze of lemon to make it more palatable.
  • You can also make a tea using milk instead of water, although in this case you should heat up the milk gently, making sure it does not actually boil.
  • Make a paste out of turmeric and honey – this can be kept in the fridge for a few days without spoiling.  Use 1/3 cup of honey and 3 teaspoons of dried turmeric powder.  Then, when you want a cup of turmeric tea just put a teaspoon of the mixture into a cup and pour boiling water onto it.
  • If you are prepared to spend a bit more time on your tea you can actually buy fresh turmeric root, grate it and use that as the base for your tea.

Spice up your tea:  As well as adding honey you can also spice up the tea by adding a touch of freshly ground black pepper , squeezing a lemon or lime into it, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, or some grated ginger to the cup.  Adding a cinnamon stick to the brewing tea also makes for a nice variation–especially if you are making it with a milk base.

Incidentally, apparently a paste made from turmeric and honey works wonders when applied as a face mask 🙂

Rooibos Tea Secrets

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Rooibos Flowering Plant — Native to South Africa

Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) is a broom like flowering plant which is found growing in South Africa.

For generations, those living in South Africa have made a tea is from the thin, needle like leaves of the plant.   While its introduction to the rest of the world is fairly recent, for years in South Africa the tea was used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from colic and respiratory problems to skin problems.

The tea is prepared from the leaves in a very similar manner to how regular tea is processed – giving the final product a reddish color.  Unoxidised Rooibos leaves produce a “Green Rooibos” however the most common tea exported is the reddish, oxidised Rooibos.  Higher grade Rooibos teas, those with a higher leaf to stem proportion, are usually what are exported.

Natural Rooibos Tea

Natural Rooibos Tea

Today you will find a wide range of Rooibos teas available, ranging from the standard Rooibos tea to flavoured Rooibos teas.  It can be served with milk, sugar or honey may be added.  Some prefer it without any milk – preparation often depends on what additives accompany the Rooibos and whether milk would blend well with the overall flavour.  You can also find Rooibos iced teas on many supermarket shelves.  Lemon slices are a nice accompaniment to black Rooibos.

Studies from South Africa as well as other locations worldwide have shown that, similarly to green and oolong teas, there are high levels of antioxidants in Rooibos tea.  It is caffeine free and has very low tannin levels.  Because of this it is easy to see why it is becoming a healthy alternative as a hot beverage.  Flavonoid compounds also found in the tea are said to help steady the nerves.

Who Should Drink Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea should be considered by anyone concerned about health and nutrition.  It is safe for children, pregnant and nursing mums to consume – so is ideal in situations where caffeinated drinks are not recommended.

What Does it Taste Like?

Rooibos tea is a full-bodied tea, with some suggestions of it having an earthy or slightly nutty flavour.  Some teas may be considered an acquired taste (Pu-erh tea, in my case) and it seems that Rooibos is a little similar. In other words, some people fall in love with the taste immediately while others take a while to learn to enjoy it.

Taste differs depending on how long the tea is steeped, though unlike regular tea it does not become bitter the longer it brews – just stronger.

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Spicey Rooibos

For starters, you may want to try unflavoured Rooibos before deciding whether you do or do not enjoy the taste.  Some customers have mentioned that they thought they did not enjoy the taste when in fact they did not like the particular blend of Rooibos they were trying.   There are plenty of blends available, with fruit and nut blends being some of the more popular.

Rooibos Tea Preparation

Most Rooibos teas are better if steeped for at least five to six minutes in boiling water, using one teaspoon per cup of tea.  As mentioned above, it does not oversteep as regular tea does even if you leave it longer

Traditionally, in South Africa, some will have a kettle of Rooibos simmering on the stove all day long!  Once the tea is depleted, more water and Rooibos leaves are added to the kettle—apparently the brew improves as the day goes by.

You can also experiment with adding the tea leaves to boiling water versus boiling the leaves in a kettle on the stove.  Both of these options can tend to make a stronger brew, but you may find that’s just how you like it.

Perfect for Blending

Rooibos tea is a great tea for experimenting with if you enjoy making your own blends.  It blends well with green or black teas, with fruit teas and with other herbal teas.  There’s no end to the different flavours you can come up with if you use a little imagination and creativity.  A great tea to have on hand for those times you want a hot caffeine-free beverage yet also do not want to be tied down to only one or two flavours – simply create your own flavoured tea, using other tea blends or even herbs and spices from the kitchen.  Incidentally, you can even add it to regular Chai blends for something different.

Recommendations

  1.  Try the regular Rooibos tea first, just buy a sample pack to see if you enjoy the tea on its own. Then branch out into some of the flavoured teas.
  2. Experiment with brewing methods and times till you find what’s right for you – don’t worry, you won’t over steep it.
  3. Try a cup with milk and honey, and another ‘black’ tea with a slice of lemon.
  4. Brew some Rooibos and leave it in the fridge overnight for a refreshing iced-tea drink in the morning.
  5. Have some regular, unflavoured Rooibos tea on hand and come up with your own blends.  No need to buy larger packs of different blends when you can easily make your own flavoured teas.

5 Reasons I Use Glass Teapots

They Look Great!
They Keep Tea Warm
They are Easy to Clean
Perfect for Displaying Tea
Visual Guide to Brewed Tea

Not only do I sell glass tea ware but I also regularly use it at home, often in preference to using other teapots.  Yes, you do have to be somewhat careful with glass teapots — like any glassware it will break if dropped (then again, so will a ceramic teapot).  The other day, when asked what type of tea pot I used at home, without hesitation I answered, “a glass teapot.”  When asked why, I could not immediately answer–perhaps it is simply because it’s sitting there on my kitchen bench ready to use?  No, that wasn’t the reason, there are plenty of tea pots hanging around begging to be used.

 

Any given time you walk into my kitchen you will find quite a collection of teapots sitting around on benches, kitchen shelves and on the shelf above my sink–and that’s not counting the numerous other teapots patiently waiting their turn to be used in various kitchen cupboards. There are Ipots, clay Yixing teapots, stainless steel teapots (not many of those, though) and a Handybrew aside from an assortment of glass tea pots. Overall, in order of use, we probably use glass teapots the most. Next would be the Handybrew, then Yixing or other small, Chinese clay teapots.

 

1) They Look Great: Even as a decorative item, glass tea ware looks beautiful. Whether sparkling in sunlight streaming through a window, or reflecting soft candlelight glass ware is eye-catching. It looks crisp, clean and begs you to use it. I know some of my customers buy glass teapots purely to display.

 

2) Keeps Tea Warm: Paired with a glass candle warmer, they will keep tea warm for at least an hour.  If you are brewing tea for several people and intend on offering top-ups, a glass teapot sitting on top of a lit candle tea warmer will definitely keep tea drinkably warm for long enough to finish all your tea.  At our market stall we prepare a blooming tea in a tall Jewel teapot and set it on a lit warmer. It is still very warm to the touch even a couple of hours later, although the tea may be a bit too lukewarm and over steeped by then to enjoy.

 

3) Easy to Clean: Glass can be a bit delicate to care for.  No, you probably shouldn’t put it in the dishwasher with all of your other dishes and be particularly careful of spouts and handles if you have a ceramic sink.  Aside from that, though, they are fairly easy to clean. What I like is that it is very easy to see any stains or discolouration–the sooner you notice it and clean it off, the better shape your teapot will remain in. This is preferable to me, to ceramic or stainless steel teapots that hide stains until they’ve built up to where they are very difficult to clean.

 

4) Displays Teas:  Anyone who has watched tea brewing knows how fascinating this is. I’m not talking about the tea fannings that are often sold in supermarkets as “tea”, rather I am talking about whole loose leaf tea. It starts off small and slowly unfurls into whole tea leaves while the tea is brewing.  Additionally, flowering teas (blooming teas) are even more unique with the leaves hiding flower petals that both open to a magnificent display.  How better to watch this magical process than with a glass teapot.  That’s not to mention the vast variety there is when it comes to the colour of brewed tea — ranging from the dark black teas, to the golden oolongs and the light green teas.  You can see it all through a glass teapot.

 

5) Provides a Visual Guide to Brewing: Everyone has their own preference when it comes to tea strength.  Brewing tea in a glass tea pot gives you an instant view of how steeped your tea is. You will soon begin to realise the strength of the tea simply by watching the colour change as the tea brews.

 

I also like the fact that the glass teapots I sell and use are all individually hand blown, meaning each tea pot is unique in some way. They match well with any tea set or table setting. You can use them equally in a casual social setting or at a formal dinner.  There is no need to try to match them to other dinnerware you are using–glass blends with everything.

I could go on, but I imagine by now I have convinced you of the reason for my preference when it comes to brewing tea in glass teapots. Whether you merely want to display your glass teapot or put it to everyday use, you really can’t go wrong with choosing a glass teapot.