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A Few Words About Green Tea …

October 20, 2009

istock green teaMy name is Marie and I’m a green tea addict. Seriously. That’s not meant to mock 12-step programs – I just want your full attention. Because I just read yet another article written by a person who tried green tea and could not stand the taste of it. My response? She did not have a good, high quality tea.

So here are two simple rules regarding green tea:

1.  Buy loose tea in a real tea shop or an online source (see list below), not tea bags from a major tea distributor whose name I won’t mention but it begins with an L and is found in most grocery stores. The contents of those tea bags is what’s known in the tea world as “tea dust,” and it is literally that … dust and bits of tea leaves swept up from the floor. (So is their black tea, for that matter, but let’s just focus on the green for now.)

2. Put a scant teaspoon of tea leaves (less is truly more with green tea) in a small strainer, put the strainer over the top of a cup so the tea leaves can soak in water and pour hot (not boiling) water over them. Let the leaves steep in hot water for NO more than two minutes. Green tea becomes bitter if it steeps for much longer than that.

If you want to decaffeinate your tea, let the leaves soak for 30 seconds, throw out that water and pour new hot water over the leaves. Nearly all the caffeine is removed from the leaves during the first 30 seconds.

Still not crazy about the taste of green tea? Check out the flavored greens — jasmine, Earl Grey, and the ones that incorporate fruit bits and/or flower petals. They are amaaaaaazing!

Why should you go to all the trouble to buy what appears to be over-priced (not really) tea that you’re not even sure you like? Time for another list!

  1. Green tea has profound health benefits, including the possibility of minimizing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), reducing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, cutting the risk of developing various types of cancer, easing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative and liver diseases. Your bones can benefit from green tea, too, according to recent research. Fewer symptoms and health concerns means less money spent on doctors and medicine.

2.   Green tea has been linked to weight loss. It’s no magic bullet, because there isn’t one. None. Nada. Period. But it    does help, plus there all those other health benefits listed above.

3.  The used tea leaves make an excellent mulch for your green plants.

If you don’t have a great tea shop nearby, the best place to buy green tea is online. I say that because those mall chain stores (like Teavana) are pretty much considered a joke among serious tea lovers. Here a couple suggestions:

1. My favorite — Le Palais Gourmet (http://www.lepalaisgourmet.com). Don’t be put off by the fancy name or the location. These people are devoted to tea. And price-wise, you can get a whole lot of great tea for the price of a few of those over-sugared, 500-calorie “coffee” drinks that end up on your hips and thighs.

2. Harney and Sons (www.harney.com) have a great website, beautiful catalog and extraordinary teas that are worth every single penny.

Time for some tea. See you later!

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