by Dan Moore, Prepared Foods Manager
Next to water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world. Both green and black teas contain polyphenols, which provide the tea with its antioxidants. Studies have shown that drinking tea regularly may help in the prevention of gastric, esophageal, and even ovarian cancer. It has also been shown to help prevent blood clotting and lower cholesterol levels.
The difference between green and black tea is the level of processing the tea undergoes. The more processed the tea, the darker the color. Green tea is usually just lightly steamed, whereas black teas can be dried, crushed, or fermented. Both types have about half the caffeine as a comparable sized cup of coffee, and both are derived from a warm weather evergreen (Camellia sinensis). The Juice Bar currently carries three green teas and two black.
The greens are Jasmine, Sencha, and Earl Green. Jasmine blends green tea with jasmine blossoms that infuses the tea with the essential oils of the jasmine. This supplies the sweet fragrance of the tea. Sencha is a “first flush” tea, meaning it is from the first full picking season of the year. It is a smooth and light tea with a fresh, grassy flavor and a toasted aroma. Earl Green is a blend of the naturally flowery Pouchong tea leaves of Taiwan and essential oils from a citrus fruit called bergamot. This combination gives a sweet and lingering aroma of citrus and lilac to this tea.
Our black teas are Earl Grey and Darjeeling. The Darjeeling is a second flush tea from the Himalayan Mountains. It has a strong floral aroma and the fruity flavor of a Muscatel wine. Earl Grey is the most popular tea in the western world. Like the Earl Green, the Earl Grey is infused with the oils of the bergamot fruit, but uses Yunnan Dian Hong tea leaves. The Rishi brand blend we serve is considered by many to be the best Earl Grey ever.
Herbal teas do not contain the polyphenols of green and black teas. As a matter of fact most herbal teas are not actually tea, per se, but “botanical blends”—they don’t have any tealeaves in them. They were intended to cleanse the palate before tea was served. Many were (and are) used for medicinal purposes as well. We serve three herbal teas in the Juice Bar: Serene, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Serene is a caffeine-free blend of chamomile, lavender, and jasmine that relaxes you and refreshes your body. Rooibos is a caffeine-free blend that is high in antioxidants and contains the highest level of anti-aging properties of any plant on earth. The Peppermint blend is made from peppermint leaves from Washington State. The strong flavor and aroma promote digestive health, focus, and clear thinking while also providing a calming effect.
In addition to the green, black, and herbal teas the Juice Bar serves four blends that don’t really fit in any one category. Foremost among these is the Pu-erh Ginger blend. Pu-erh tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is classified as both green and black. While most teas are meant to be used shortly after production, Pu-erh is often aged—and many now even classify the tea by age and region of production like wine. This particular blend combines orange and ginger flavors in a formula meant to emulate one used as a “beauty aid” or “slimming tea,” but also can help rid the body of toxins and help lower cholesterol. White Peony blend is a white tea that includes both leaves and buds from the evergreen. This results in a woody, toasty aroma and a smooth, sweet flavor. Masala Chai is an Indian-flavored tea blend. Chai begins with a black tea, but is boiled with milk. The Masala Chai adds traditional Indian flavors like cardamom, ginger, and clove to give this sweet drink a bold backstory. Our final blend is Yerba Mate. This is a member of the evergreen family but is actually a type of holly. A sustainable, shade-grown product of the Amazon basin, it is a potentially renewable resource and a part of the “market driven conservation” movement. Yerba Mate is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and caffeine—so it provides a good pick-me-up.
So stop by the Juice Bar and discover what the rest of the world already knows—tea is good for you, warms you, and comforts you. What more could you ask for during a Wisconsin November?
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