Hibiscus Tea is very popular in Thailand particularly, there it is more commonly found for ice tea than our typical black tea with lemon ice tea. It is used for wedding toasts in Egypt and is the national drink of Senegal, but its popularity hasn’t quiet caught on in the US and Canada. It is steeped with ginger in Jamaica and spices and rum are added for a traditional Christmas drink. In English speaking Carribean they make a drink called Sorrel Shandy which is the tea combined with beer and is also a traditional Christmas drink. Those aren’t the only examples of Hibiscus tea being combined with alcohol that I found, there are so many in fact that I could write a blog entry just about alcoholic mixtures and Hibiscus! It is even made into wine in Asia! Because of its tart cranberry like flavor it is a tea favorite for pairing with many types of liquors also including vodka and gin.
Because Hibiscus is so internationally popular it goes by many different names some examples are the South American agua de flor de Jamaica, the Egyptian karkady, the Australian rosella, or the Jamaican sorrel. It is theorized that one of the reasons it isn’t so popular in the US and Canada is because we call it Hibiscus and people associate that word with phlegm and other such gross things.
Hibiscus is said to have a power to reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points, Some other benefits it has are cholesterol reduction, aiding in digestive system ailments since it is a natural diuretic, is also a natural anti-inflammatory, immune system booster, reduces risk of cancer and helps cure liver disease. It is said to help raise your metabolism so can aid in weight loss, and helps the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.
There are some side effect warnings that go along with Hibiscus, such as it is advised that pregnant women do not drink it because of the emmenagogue effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region, for the same reason people who are on hormone treatments or birth control pills should consult their doctor before drinking it. A strange side effect hibiscus can have is hallucinatory effects and feelings of intoxication, so it is a good idea to drink it for the first time when you don’t have to operate a vehicle or do anything dangerous anytime soon.
Hibiscus is commonly served both hot and cold, often sweetened with sugar and frequently mixed with spices and as previously mentioned alcohol. When over steeped it gets a very sour and bitter flavor so it is one I make special effort to not leave and forget about as I have a strong tendency to do particularly when I make tea at work.
Notable resources used for this article:
Chamomile or; if you want to know it by its botanical name Matricaria; is we well known herbal remedy most famous for assistance in sleep or stomach soothing. However upon researching it, I have learned this pretty flower is good for much more than just that! But first, I will discuss the different types of Chamomile.
There are two most commonly found types German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile.) What we sell at Tundra Coffee Co. is Egyptian Chamomile harvested from the Nile River Delta. Egyptian Chamomile is the best quality Chamomile, though variations of the chamomile plant grow almost everywhere.
the phytochemical constituents in chamomile also include flavonoids, coumarins, plant acids, fatty acids, cyanogenic glycosides, choline, tannin, and salicylate derivatives.
Medicinal uses for chamomile include calming, treatment for digestive and stomach ailments, relive tooth ailments, immune system boosting, menstrual cramp soothing, hemorrhoid relief, antiinflammation, Diabetes treating, cancer prevention and when applied externally as a poultice it is said to be wound healing. It also has antidepressant properties.
I like to drink a blend of Chamomile, peppermint, lavender and rooibos when I have a headache and I find it to be quite effective relief. I also include it in my Happy, anti nausea and Bedtime tea blends.
I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried our loose Egyptian Chamomile for the first time, Chamomile tea has been something I have drank my entire life but always from teabags; Loose Egyptian Chamomile is a game changer. With a mildly sweet earthy flavor it has a bit of a creamy buttery quality to it when you steep it long and strong. And of course, Chamomile is a caffeine free infusion making it perfect for evenings or general relaxing!
Green tea is a very common tea in Canada, it is well known for its fat burning properties and high antioxidant levels. But its nutritional benefits go far beyond just those two benedictions!
Green tea records go as far back as the 3rd century or AD 220, at first it was exclusively a luxury item, but closer to the 6th century or AD 589 it became more readily available to the public. It wasn’t until the 17th century (1601) That green tea became readily available in the west. Green tea (as well as black and oolong tea;) was frequently traded in brick form because the bricks were easy to transport and less susceptible to physical damage. Some binding agents for tea bricks included blood, flour and manure so that they could withstand the physical use of currency.
Medicinal benefits of green tea include:
Next weeks blog will be a mystery herb!
Rooibos (which is also commonly referred to as Red tea,) is a super interesting tea, it is classified as a herbal infusion since it does not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Defiantly a personal favorite of mine, it is harvested from the Spalathus Linearis bush plant that is only found in Cedarberg region near Cape Town, South Africa. it steeps to a beautiful vivid red color and is packed with health benefits!
Some health benefits include treatment for headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, relief of stress, hypertension, respiratory ailments, reduced blood pressure, improves circulation, assists to break down kidney stones and it prevent diarrhea and other digestive tract issues. it is also said to reduce risk of cancer, diabetes, premature aging and heart disease. This tea is pretty much a magical herbal cure all when you look at the list of things it helps!
Rooibos tea is high in many vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, quercetin, zinc, magnesium and alpha hydroxy acid, fluoride minerals which makes it good for strong bones and teeth. The alpha hydroxy acid and zinc content of Rooibos are very good for the skin.
Rooibos teas medicinal benefits were discovered in South Africa by women who used it for their colicky infants and to relive stomach ailments in children around the 1700’s, from that people started using it for pretty much every type of medicinal problem and found that it yields positive results. However, it didn’t become commercially available around the world until the 1900’s.
It seems like there’s nothing Rooibos tea can’t do! Although there are words of caution to be found about it, like any other powerful healing herb you should always consult your Doctor before using it if you are on any treatments such as chemotherapy.
Rooibos is awesome because it pairs well with so many flavors! For example, some of my favorite Rooibos blend are Ginger Bounce, Bourbon Street Vanilla and Crème Caramel. I put Rooibos in many of my favorite homemade tea blends as well because it has so many powerful properties and enhances the overall flavor. Since Rooibos is naturally sweet, it doesn’t require sweetener but a little bit of honey, raw sugar or maple syrup is very nice in it. Because of its low tannin levels, it does not become bitter when its steeped for a long time, and since it is naturally caffeine free anyone can enjoy this beverage! Variations of coffee drinks like lattes and other tea drinks like London fogs are becoming more commonly available in coffee shops made with rooibos tea, although right now that is just in South Africa, in Canada we must make our own! I really enjoy making lattes with the Crème Caramel rooibos and frothed milk.
When I first started working at Tundra, and my awesome manager Jeremy introduced me to loose leaf teas, he also showed me the wonders of Rooibos tea. I did a little bit of reading about it at that point, but I didn’t realize just how many amazing properties it has! Researching for this blog entry has really opened my eyes to the power of amazing red tea!
Next week I will write about the far more common but still very interesting and nutritious, green tea.
Tea Bombs have many different names, from the traditional gong yi hua cha that literally translates to “art flower tea” to many different English variations such as: Blooming tea, Flowering tea, Blossoming tea and what we call them at Tundra Transfer: Blooming Tea Bombs.
Finding history on blooming tea has been more of a challenge than I expect- considering how in our modern day and age it is usually relatively easy to find information. One thing seems to agreed on though, that they originated in China in the Yunnan province.
There is controversy on when exactly this beautiful tea product came into being, some resources state that there are drawing of them in dating back hundreds of years, others claim that they are a relatively new product. After reading several different articles, it seems most likely that they were first created hundreds of years ago, but originally were just a decoration made of low quality tea and set in glass jars as a display center piece. Watching them bloom is a tranquil relaxing experience so it makes sense for that to have been an entertainment in China way back when.
One of the pages I found in my research that claims blooming tea is a modern invention had a couple interesting stories about their origin:
“There are two people who are well-known tea masters and played major roles in blooming tea invention. The first person is from An Hui. He grew up in a tea farm and both his father and grandfather were advanced tea farmers. When he was young, he saw his mom making sun dried vegetables. In Chinese tradition, moms use a special local leaf to buddle the sun-dried vegetables together then store it for winter. Inspired by what his mom did, he applied the same techniques in dried tea leaves-buddle tea leaves together to create a artful shape. That's the original Green Peony (or Lu Mu Dan, 绿牡丹 in Chinese)!! After years of testing and research, he finally created a special tea category-blooming tea, a tea that is purely hand crafted, leaf by leaf, from plucking to final sewing, and unfolds in hot water, even though there's no flower attached. He immediately shared the techniques with all local tea farmers. That was in mid 80s.
There's another family who planted and sold tea for decades in Southern China, but their business was dying. In 90s, the most popular teas in China were green teas, but they were specialized in white and Oolong teas. The family barely made living for years. Until one day, the brother who was a sales rep for the father, came back with a question-he noticed the issues at tea house-In Chinese tradition, men always drink loose leaf teas only (because they believe they are strong), while women love flowers, such as rose buds, Jasmine. When few friends, male and female, go to a tea house, they have to order two separate pots of tea-whole leaf tea for men and herbal tea for women. The solution was to combine the two together-true Blooming tea was born!! The sister started working on the idea. She was inspired by the the natural flower blossoming and eventually created a truly beautiful blooming tea, with real flowers in the center of tea leaves!!!”
I take these stories with a grain of salt since I believe that blooming tea dates back further than the 1980’s, but I found the theories interesting to read and ponder all the same, who knows perhaps that is how they were rediscovered!
These days blooming tea is a delight for more than just the visual sense, they are also designed to smell and taste lovely as well, and since high quality teas are now used they also have all the medicinal benefits of the teas they are made of.
The most common teas used are green, white and Oolong. Often flowers are also tied in most commonly chrysanthemum, lily, carnation, hibiscus, marigold, rose, globe amaranth and jasmine.
Tea bombs are all 100% hand made, which is why they are not the cheapest form of tea to buy. Teas are gathered and tied in the morning while they are fresh and wet so that the artisan designer can arrange the way that they will bloom, then tied with cotton thread and either steamed or dried in the sun.
Personally, my favorite way to enjoy them is with my large glass teapot on a weekend morning before I start doing some crafting. I play some music and watch my tea bomb bloom while I think about my project and work on designs, then I have a nice big pot of delicious green tea to drink while I craft.
That’s all for today, look for next weeks article that will feature Red Rooibos Tea.
On the left is the Blue Butterfly on its own, on the right is it with lemon juice added to adjust the PH.
Welcome to my first blog post. I will use this blog mainly to feature a different tea every week to help people learn about the magic of natural remedies. First, I’d like to provide a bit of basic information about tea.
All tea comes from one plant: The Camellia Sinensis plant which is in the evergreen species. Different teas are a result of different types of processing, for example white and green teas undergo far less processing than black tea. Any teas that don’t come from this plant are considered infusions, but as they are most commonly referred to as herbal tea, so that is the term I will use mostly for this blog.
Teas come in a few different forms, most commonly in teabags followed by loose leaf. Until I started working at Tundra Transfer I mostly drank tea from teabags, and only drank it once in awhile. When I started working at Tundra Transfer they had 61 different types of loose leaf tea’s (and infusions;) since at that point my body did not agree well with coffee I got very interested in these very fast and started trying them. After trying a few of our loose-leaf teas, I lost complete interest in teabags because the flavors from loose leaf are a whole other world of tea! I grew interested in learning more about them and discovered just how much good it does for health, both everyday wellness and for ailments like pain, depression and sickness. From that point I started making my own custom tea blends, one of which I call my “Happy Tea” and found that by drinking one cup of that a day my outlook has become a lot more positive.
One tea I got a lot of request for is Raspberry leaf because it is very useful for pregnant women, this made me realize that Yellowknife really doesn’t have any source of medicinal teas so I started our Wellness Tea line. Now we have 68 different types of loose leaf teas and 3 different types of Blooming Tea Bombs.
Without further ado, I bring you the first tea feature for this blog.
Blue Butterfly Pea Tea
I’ve picked Blue Butterfly Pea Tea for my first blog post because it is a particularly cool looking tea that not many people in Canada know about. However, in Thailand and Malaysia it is a common beverage, often sweetened with citrus, honey or palm sugar and is often paired with Lemongrass.
Blue Butterfly is a herbal tea, or infusion; It comes from the Clitoria ternatea flower which grows in tropical equatorial Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia), but has been introduced to Africa, Australia and America.
Some health benefits of Blue Butterfly Tea include memory enhancing, anti-stress, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing, reduces blurry vision, reduces hair loss and sedative properties, it is also said to increase fertility.
Despite its neon blue color that is more reminiscent of candy than tea, its has a very earthy vegetal sweet pea flavor, I like to drink it with just a tiny bit of raw sugar. It’s defiantly a different flavor than most Canadians are used to, but I really enjoy it.
One of the best attributes of this tea is its beautiful blue color, the longer you steep it the deeper blue it goes, and if you adjust the PH level by, for example adding lemon juice it turns purple.
That wraps up my first blog post, please feel free to comment with any questions about this tea or tea in general. Look for my tea posts every Tuesday! Next week will feature one of our Blooming Tea Bombs.
My name is Lily, I am the store supervisor at Tundra Transfer Ltd. I love my job because it gives me a great excuse to learn more about a topic I have a lot of personal interest in - tea. I have always enjoyed tea, growing up green tea was the only caffeinated beverage I was ever allowed to drink and from that start my interest has grown. Since my employment at Tundra Transfer I have made it part of my job to be a knowledgeable source of information on teas and started a line of Wellness teas- A fantastic line of natural herbal remedies for all kinds of ailments. A big function of this blog will be featuring different types of teas and the medicinal benefits you can get from them.
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