Q - What is Fair Trade?
A - Fair Trade is an innovative, market-based approach to sustainable development. Fair Trade helps family farmers in developing countries gain direct access to international markets, as well as to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace. By learning how to market their own harvests, Fair Trade farmers are able to bootstrap their own businesses and receive a fair price for their products. This leads to higher family living standards, thriving communities and more sustainable farming practices. Fair Trade empowers farming families to take care of themselves - without developing dependency on foreign aid.
Q - What is Certified Organic?
A - Organic is defined as "an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological activity." Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all of the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.
Q - How many cups of tea will one ounce of tea make?
A - One ounce of tea will provide approximately 8-14, 8oz cups. This variation is due to the fact that some teas are lighter in weight than others. The lighter the tea the greater the number of cups.
Q - Does a lime wedge work well as an alternative garnish?
A - No, lime juice clouds iced tea. If you are looking for an alternative garnish, try an orange slice or a strawberry or a wedge of exotic fruit such as mango, pineapple or even star fruit.
Q - What is Stevia?
A - Stevia is a small perennial shrub that belongs to the Chrysanthemum family of plants and is native to Paraguay. Stevia's inordinate ability to sweeten, offers a safe, all natural, alternative to artificial sweeteners. In it's natural herb form Stevia is approximately 10 to 15 times sweeter than common table sugar. Because the human body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides from the leaf, it does not adversely affect blood glucose levels. For people with blood sugar, blood pressure or weight problems, Stevia is the ideal sweetener.
Q - Which tea has more caffeine, green or black?
A - Largely, this is dependent on the steeping process you employ. All teas are lower in caffeine than coffee or soft drinks. Green tea is widely thought to have less caffeine than black, though brewing methods certainly affect the amount of caffeine that ends up in the finished product. If you steep green tea 1-3 minutes It will have less caffeine than black tea however if you steep it more or add more than a teaspoon when steeping it is stronger and will have more caffeine.
Q - What is the flavor used to make Earl Grey tea?
A - It is Oil of Bergamot.- an essential oil that comes from the rind of a fruit called Citrus Bergamia. The tree is cultivated in southern Calabria (Italy), where the entire supply of bergamot oil is made.
Q - Does herbal tea have caffeine?
A - Herbal teas are not tea in the traditional sense, because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal teas, or tisanes, are made from herbs, flowers, spices, seeds, etc. Because they are not made from a tea leaf, they do not have caffeine.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF TEA
As scientific research continues to accumulate, people are discovering that tea is among the healthiest beverages. From black to green, tea has been touted for it's favorable results in overall health- lowering blood pressure, promoting weight loss, aiding dental hygiene and reducing the risk of stroke, certain cancers and heart disease.
Q-What are antioxidants?
A - Antioxidants are a classification of several organic substances. Some of the more commonly recognized antioxidants are vitamins C and E, the mineral Selenium and catechins (pronounced cat e kins). One catechin we hear a lot about in relationship to green tea is EGCG.
Q- Antioxidants are thought to be vital for maintaining good health, but why?
A- Antioxidants deactivate the free radicals in our system by attaching themselves to these cell scavengers before they can do any harm. Free radicals are the by-product of natural cell processes, but they can also be caused by exposure to various environmental factors like smoking, diet and radiation. These free radicals damage the DNA in cells which leads to diseases such as cancer. They can also oxidize cholesterol which leads to clogged arteries, heart attacks and stroke.
Q- So what are polyphenols and what is their relationship with antioxidants?
A - Some antioxidants are called polyphenols because they contain a phenolic ring in their chemical make up.
Q- How do flavonoids play a part?
A - Flavonoids are a sub-group, or the off spring of polyphenols and they too are antioxidants.
Drinking tea, 2 -3 cups per day, could add years to your life. A number of recent studies have shown that black, oolong and green tea (not herbals) can prevent digestive cancers, and may help to prevent heart disease. Tea's powerful polyphenols have potent antioxidant properties. Polyphenols deactivate potential cancer causing agents like the carcinogenic compounds found in charred red meat and neutralize tissue-damaging free radicals. Swedish scientist recently found that green tea significantly prevents new blood-vessel growth, an effect that may stop cancerous tumor onset.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have shown that consuming as little as a cup daily may reduce the risk of a heart attack by 44%. And if that was not reason enough to be drinking tea, polyphenols also fight plaque-causing bacteria and green and black tea contain cavity fighting fluoride. In order to gain the most polyphenols drink fresh tea not instant or bottled teas. Steep for 3 -5 minutes. The highest level of polyphenols will be present in your first cup (84%), although you will still benefit from reusing tea leaves the second infusion will yield 13% potency. So drink to your health, with a big smile!
TEA AND CAFFEINE
Q - How much caffeine is there in tea?
A - "According to the Food & Drug Administration of the United States, -a serving of tea (about 5.5 oz.) generally contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine (less than half as much caffeine as in coffee), but the actual levels vary depending on the specific blend and the strength of the brew."
Q - Is there a difference in the caffeine content of Black, Green, Oolong and White Teas?
A - The difference in caffeine content in each type depends on the specific blend, temperature of the water and steeping time. It is a generally held view in the tea industry that black tea contains the most caffeine followed in descending order by oolong, green and white teas. The differences down the scale are subtle, though it is generally held that green tea contains about a third less caffeine than black tea, though some green teas may have the same or more caffeine that some black teas. It is for this reason that the FDA and the Tea Council set general levels for all teas.
Cooking With Tea
When cooking this summer begin to explore the vast taste sensations that tea can bring to your meals. Perfect as an addition to creative main dishes, sauces and desserts, tea adds taste, flair and health benefit. One of the easiest ways to begin cooking with tea is by adding it to freshly made marinades and sauces for your summertime barbecues.
When planning your menu consider the balance of the meal. Yin and yang are symbolic of the perfect balance of cool and heat. Apply this to your meals and discover wonderful tasty combinations that feel just right. Use the cool of a Sesame Tea Sauce to balance the heat of barbequed meats, fish and even tofu. The cooling effect and delicious taste will delight guests and add a unique touch.
Some of the important elements to keep in mind when cooking with tea are:
- Experiment and use your imagination
- Brew tea as follows to ensure that it is not bitter or astringent
- Use 1 teaspoon of tea per 8 ounces of water
- Steep about 3 minutes in water that is under a boil (180-185?)
- Cold brewing is also a good method of preparation, start with 2 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces of cold water
and let it steep for 2 hours
- Citrus juices are also great vehicles for tea infusions and are complimented by black and oolong teas such as Earl Grey, Coconut Oolong.
Rubs are simple to make and add a nice flavorful crust. Hearty black teas like the Lapsang Souchong or Assam. Combine dry leaves with spices and herbs to create rubs for meats, poultry and fish adding an interesting, delicious twist.
Remember using a good quality loose tea will bring out the best in any meal. Whether cooking with, or drinking tea you cannot get good taste using low quality leaves.
Q - How was iced tea invented?
A - Ice tea was invented at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, in St Louis, Missouri. An Englishman by the name of Richard Blechynden was hired by an association of India tea growers to promote their teas. Unfortunately, the weather was so hot, that there was very little interest in hot teas. Frustrated, Mr. Blechynden poured the black tea over ice to induce people to try it and the rest is history.
Q - How much tea is consumed around the world?
A - After water, tea is the most-consumed beverage in the world.
Q - What countries consume the most tea?
A - Ireland has the highest per-capita consumption of tea in the world - about 3.83 cups per person per day. Kuwait is second, at 3.21 cups per person per day.
Q - Do Americans consume a lot of tea compared to the rest of the world?
A - Not really. The United States rates near the bottom of the list, consuming about a half cup per person per day. Eighty percent of the tea consumed in the US is served as iced tea.