Posts By: Ladislav

Aug 20

August 20, 2019

Espresso maker in action

Giving Up Espresso On My Road To Healthy Living

Espresso maker in actionCoffee is not unhealthy.

But we often make it so. Either we add tons of sugar or some other sweetener or we simply drink far too much of it.

That was definitely the case for me. I used to drink several cups a day and I used to drink them all with several spoonfuls of sugar.

I even had one of these fancy Breville The Barista Espresso Machines, that I used every day to make myself a nice cup of espresso.

But despite having spent so much money on an espresso machine, I stopped drinking so much coffee. In fact, I stopped drinking coffee at all and switched over to tea altogether.

And it was actually pretty easy to do. But I have to be honest, it was easy for me, because I was also giving up other things at the time that were much harder to give up, so the coffee portion of my lifestyle change ended up being pretty simple.

How I Easily Gave Up My Espresso Habit

I wrote previously how I gave up soda and switched to tea. That was one of the harder things I had to give up, which made it easier for me to give up coffee.

At the same time, I also gave up smoking. That was the hardest of all. Because I was giving up other things that were somewhat harder, my espresso habit was an easy one to kick. In addition to tea, it was music that got me through. Listening to my favorite music on my favorite devices really helped take my mind off the cravings.

In fact, the hardest thing was not giving up the taste of coffee, or the habit of starting my day with a few cups of the good stuff. The hardest thing for me, was stopping the use of my wonderful Breville espresso machine.

Espresso machine brewing hot cup

I loved that thing and paid good money for it. It really hurt me to stop using it. The only way I got over that, was to give it to a friend who also had a pretty heavy coffee habit. He still has that habit.

That is why he was a good friend to give the machine to. I knew that he would not stop using it. He would make sure that machine got plenty of use for many years to come.

If you are an espresso drinker, you know how wonderful it is to have a hot, tasty cup of the stuff first thing in the morning. It is also such a nice relaxing thing to have later in the day.

My favorite of all, was to wake up late on the weekends and have a cup. That is just such a wonderful way to relax and to get into the day. I admit I still miss drinking espresso.

I know that if I hadn’t been giving up soda and cigarettes at the same time, I would’ve really struggled giving up my espresso.

Cup of coffee

In addition to the things I mentioned already, it was also really just a ritual. I would grind my own beans with the grinder that came with my espresso machine. These freshly ground beans made the cup even more wonderful. Naturally, I would only use high-quality coffee beans for my espresso. That made it so much better.

Now I only drink tea. It has replaced my espresso habit as well as my soda habit. I even look at it as having replaced my cigarette habit.

There are so many different kinds of teas, but my favorite for replacing espresso is the wonderful Lapsang Souchong. It is a smoky black tea, so it is a natural replacement for any coffee drink.

Naturally, it is not quite the same, but after a while I have come to love it even more than my espresso or a cup of coffee.

If you are trying to give up coffee in favor of tea, give this tea variety a try and I’m sure you will find the process of quitting much easier. You may not love it as much at first, but with time, you will come to love it just as much as your espresso.

Posted in health | By

Feb 16

February 16, 2018

tea farm in Japan

Touring A Tea Garden In Asia

I’ve always loved to travel but I’ve never gotten the opportunity to do much traveling in my life. I’ve taken a few smaller trips, but not too many longer trips and definitely not too many trips to faraway places. I would have loved to do some backpacking in my youth, but I just didn’t have the money or the time.

I did take one amazing trip in my life, though. That was a trip to Asia. Back then I was still a big coffee drinker, so I loved trying great coffees in Indonesia (the main island is actually called Java!) and in Vietnam, where I tried the weasel dropping coffee.

Since I got to see several of the main countries in Asia, that means I also got to tour the biggest tea producers. I spent a week each in India, China and Japan. I know those aren’t all the tea producing countries in Asia, but those are the biggest three.

huge tea garden in asiaMy favorite among those three tea growing nations was Japan. It is the smallest, but is by far the best to travel. It is clean, safe and everything just works. The people are also very friendly and not at all pushy. And that is one of the biggest drawbacks of the other two. The people in China and India are very pushy and even though you get some great tea there, the whole experience is marred a bit by the filth and the aggressiveness of the people.

Even the tea, although it can be amazing, is not always that great. There are a lot of scammers who will sell you very low quality tea and try to get a very high price for it. That is a big problem. You can never really trust a label or a store in China or India. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can easily end up drinking bad tea. Luckily, I know how to recognize good quality tea leaves, so I could catch it when they tried to sell me crap. Many people can’t and end up drinking bad tea.

tea farm in JapanIn Japan you do not have this problem that is why it was my favorite country for traveling and also for drinking tea. It was also the best place for touring tea plantations. I took tea plantation tours in all the countries, but only in Japan did I feel like they actually enjoyed having me there, apart from just wanting my money.

The other countries just wanted me to pay and they gave me a standard tour and then tried to sell me souvenirs and overpriced, low quality tea. In Japan they took the time to explain everything and really show me around their tea gardens. They even took me indoors and showed me their tea growing operation there and they also showed me their outdoor operation.

They even showed me some areas where they were using grow lights, which, as you know, is something I’m very interested in, at the moment. I’ve gotten into growing tea with grow lights indoors myself, so I really enjoyed seeing that in Japan. They really only do it to start seedlings. In this case they were using fluorescent grow lights, but I’ve heard of other farms using LED grow lights as well. Either way, just the fact that they did this was highly interesting to me. It’s another reason why really loved touring the Japanese tea gardens most of all.

I really wish I could’ve done more traveling, but this one trip was pretty amazing. I know a lot of people don’t ever get to take even one trip like this, so I do feel very lucky. I got to try some of the best coffee and some of the best tea in the world. I do still hope to make it to Africa someday, mainly for the music, but they also grow a ton of tea in Kenya.

If you are one of the other lucky people that get to take trips, and you ever find yourself in one of these Asian countries, definitely take a tour of a tea growing region. Even in China and India, the tours are pretty good and very informative. They just pale in comparison to the ones in Japan, that is all.

Posted in growing tea, travel | By

Feb 4

February 4, 2017

a fluorescent light bulb

How I’ve Outfitted My Tea Growing Tent

In my previous post I mentioned that I had set up a grow tent in which I was going to start growing tea. I also mentioned I would follow up with a post on my lighting system and the rest of the equipment I got to pursue this endeavor. That was over a year ago.

a fluorescent light bulb

It’s been a really long time, but better late than never, right? I’m finally getting around to writing the promised post. I’m really sorry for the long long delay, but it’s here now and hopefully it will help you.

So after I got my small grow tent in the mail, I first just put a couple of regular light bulbs in it. I wanted to get started growing right away and I didn’t really want to bother with researching, and then getting, real grow lights. Tea doesn’t flower, so most lights can actually grow this plant.

If you don’t know what flowering means, most plants have several stages of growth, the main ones being vegging and flowering. During vegging the plant simply grows up. During this time they need a lot of light with a bluish tint. Sunlight during the daytime has exactly this. A lot of artificial lighting has this to.

Fluorescent lights are especially good for this growth stage. Of course you can also use lighting such as metal halide or LED. These are much more expensive, though. That is why, if you have a plan that does not flower, you’re probably best off just going with fluorescent lighting.

Flowering refers to the final stages of growth, when the plants actually sprout buds and flowers, and in many cases fruits. In this stage they need much more red light. This is the light you get when the sun is lower on the horizon, during autumn, for example. This is why most plants flower during this time of the year.

With artificial lighting, fluorescent lights do have red spectrum light, but they aren’t very powerful. Most plants don’t flower as efficiently as they could under fluorescent lighting. That is why most growers use high-pressure sodium bulbs or powerful LED lights.

Since I’m growing tea though, I obviously do not need to worry about the flowering stage. For this reason I decided to go with fluorescent lights. I considered LED lighting at first, but soon realized how expensive a quality LED light is. And I didn’t want to get a cheap one that was made in China, because I had read a lot of horror stories about those.

In the end I decided on a line of fluorescent lights called AgroBrite. It is made by a company called Hydro farm. These fluorescent lights don’t cost much at all and are very well rated on sites like Amazon.

My light arrived after about a week and it was incredibly easy to install in my little grow tent. I use the supplied hangers to hang it from the ceiling and popped the bulbs into place. Then I plugged it in and that was it. Setting it up couldn’t get any easier.

Since my tent is small, I only put two tea plants underneath the fluorescent light. So far they’re growing really well, and I think I will actually be able to harvest some tea leaves in another month or two. I’m really excited about that.

Currently I’m reading up on how to dry tea leaves and also how long to ferment them for the different types of tea. Actually, I shouldn’t say ferment. People use that word a lot, but actually you’re just oxidizing the leaves. This is what creates the different types of tea, from white tea to green tea to yellow to oolong tea to black tea to pu-erh tea.

Personally, I want to start making just green tea and black tea and maybe some oolong tea since it’s right in the middle. The others are a bit difficult to make, though I am toying with the idea of harvesting the leaves when they’re very young and making some high-quality white tea or black tea, similar to golden monkey tea. We’ll see about that.

I’m really looking forward to this first harvest and I hope it is a success. If it is, I’m seriously considering getting another grow tent and expanding my operation. Maybe I can even sell the tea and make the money back that I spent on the tent and the florescent light. We’ll see.

Posted in growing tea | By

Oct 17

October 17, 2016

small electric tea kettle in my kitchen

Going Small With My Tea and My Indoor Garden

It’s been a while since I posted and a lot has changed. I both started my own indoor garden and I started traveling more. Those two don’t really seem compatible, but they are both things I wanted to do. So I did them.

I’ve also decided to minimize my life. I’ve decided to go small. Much of this is due to travel. I simply don’t want to lug around as much weight. So I looked for smaller versions of everything I usually carry with me. And as an avid tea drinker, my tea obsession always took up a large portion of my suitcase. It still does, but it takes up less than before.

small electric tea kettle in my kitchen

A small electric tea kettle on my kitchen countertop

The biggest part of that was my electric tea kettle. It took up a lot of space and weighed quite a bit, but I absolutely love that thing. I still have it, but I keep it at home. I’ve since bought a new small tea kettle specifically for travel.

I actually had quite a hard time finding one, but luckily I found this post that reviewed a bunch of different small travel kettles. It really helped me narrow down my choices and pick the best one. If you’re looking for a tiny electric tea kettle for your travels, definitely check this post out. It will help you.

I’m also trying to make things smaller at home. I mentioned that I started gardening indoors, but I was actually using up a huge room in my basement for it. I decided to separate my gardens out.

I’ve created several smaller gardens for different types of plants. For example my herbs are in one corner. Some of these plans I can just grow regularly in the basement, but others do better in their own self-contained environment. For these plants, I decided to buy a grow tent.

Again, I wanted a small one. And again, it was really hard to find a small grow tent. I did more research, much of it on Amazon and much of it useless. But eventually I stumbled across a site that reviews the best small indoor grow tents on the market. It’s great to find them all in one place and it made it very easy for me to choose.

I ended up buying the gorilla grow tent. It was a lot more expensive than the others, but I love my garden and I don’t mind paying more for it. I kinda feel about it the same way I do about my tea.

And that last sentence actually brings me to my last topic. I recently read another post, I can’t remember where I saw it, that discussed growing your own tea in a garden. It even had a section that discussed growing indoors, so naturally that was perfect for my new indoor gardening endeavor.

I’ve been doing more research on this and unfortunately I haven’t found all that much information. But what I have gleaned is that it is definitely possible. And I’m going to give it a try.

That’s right, I’m going to start growing my own tea. No I don’t expect to compete with the best teas in the world, but I hope it’s at least drinkable. I think just the fact that I grow it myself will make it taste that much better than it would if I just bought it in the store.

I actually had this plan years earlier, but then it was going to be coffee. I used to drink a ton of espresso and had this crazy idea that I could grow my own coffee beans. That never materialized, but now that I drink tea, I resurrected the idea, since tea is easier to grow.

I’m actually going to get a grow tent for this, although it probably won’t be as tiny a grow tent as I use for my herbs. I’m sure I will also use artificial lighting again, because you kind of have to in a grow tent. I’ll probably stick to standard fluorescent grow lights, which is what I’m using for my current gardening, but I am considering LED grow lights as well. More on that in a later post though.

For now, the point is just welcome back. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written, because I’ve been very lazy. But I’ve actually been doing a lot. And this minimizing my life and making everything smaller is part of that, as is my new gardening endeavor. Thanks for sticking with me.

Posted in travel | By

Jul 13

July 13, 2015

tea plantation in Kerala India

Tea – A Very Brief History of This Healthiest of Drinks

Picture the scene: you’ve had a really rough day. You’re cradling a just-made cup of tea and your mind wanders. What will you feed the kids for dinner? When is that college deadline? Why is your co-worker so frustrating? All normal stuff. But I bet you don’t think about your cup in hand. Yes, tea is grown in far off, exotic locations and you probably picked yours up in the supermarket. But, how did it get here?

All tea initially came from China. Yes, believe it or not, this British-adopted beverage has been drank in the East for centuries. And so, technically, it’s only a relatively new product on British shores. There is a beautiful legend that tea was first discovered by an Emperor, around 200BC, when a leaf from the Camellia sinensis plant (that’s the tea plant to you and I) dropped into his hot water and he decided to drink it anyway. Whether this is true or not, one thing is for certain, tea was the national drink over 2,000 years before it arrived on British shores.

tea plantation in Kerala India

A tea plantation in Kerala, India

It was first exported to Japan, where monks had tried and enjoyed the tea during educational and religious visits to China. Europe really only got a hold on tea in the 16/17th centuries and it was Portugal and Holland that first started exporting to Europe. Both countries had missionaries and traded with the East long before the UK. Due to the high prices of exporting, though, tea was very firmly only for the wealthy.

Tea was initially brought to Britain in small amounts, not as a trading item, but rather as gifts for friends
and family from the merchants and traders returning from China who had seen its popularity there. Most people didn’t really know what to do with it and it didn’t really take off. However, a Royal wedding towards the end of the 1600s saw a British monarch marry a Portuguese princess who was practically obsessed with the stuff. She’d only be able to cope with the rubbish weather and food if she had her beloved brew.

Thanks to the monopoly created by the East India Company, tea was a valuable commodity, but still too expensive for a lot of people to afford due to a whopping tax on the plant. This led to some sneaky pirating and smuggling.

Fast forward to mid 18th Century and not only was the tax on tea slashed, but the East India Company was losing its grip on the trade. As they were the sole importers of tea, there wasn’t a great rush to get it from China to England and boats were often laden with other cargo. Other companies wanted to benefit from this popular product, and so the famous tea clipper was born. These ships were solely for the export of tea and could get the leaves home much quicker than the bulky old cargo ships.

This had a massive knock-on effect, and as the East India Company was about to close its doors for the last time due to lack of revenue, someone had a genius idea. Instead of bartering, trading and essentially depending on China for tea, why don’t we grow our own? This was a seriously dangerous task – foreigners were only allowed in port cities in China and the tea plants were closely guarded. After all, they wouldn’t want to loose their most valuable source of income.

Seeds and plants were stolen and smuggled out from China to be planted in India, the Company’s main headquarters. Early crops failed, due to their location and inexperienced workers who didn’t know how to deal with tea. Chinese nationals were lured to India on the promise of big responsibility and even bigger salaries to help kick-start the tea empire outside China. By the end of the 1800s most of the tea drunk in Britain was from India.

Today, British owned companies and brands are still at the forefront of tea production and exporting.

For more on the history of tea, head to this webpage.

Posted in Uncategorized | By

Jan 6

January 6, 2015

healthy longjing green tea

Not Everyone Who Drinks Tea Is Healthy

We all have them, don’t we? Those friends who are constantly talking about their new healthy lifestyle and how they feel so much better all of a sudden. They try to convince you to take up the same stupid fad diet they’re on, because we won’t believe just how good we’ll feel once we’ve done it. Everything that was ever wrong with them is due to the food that we are still eating and we’re idiots for not following in their footsteps.

healthy longjing green tea

A tin of healthy Longjing green tea from China

There’s one problem: these friends are invariably huge. That’s right, they’re fat slobs. Or they’re ultra skinny. Point is, they’re unhealthy. They follow some fad diet and five months ago they were following some other fad diet. A few months from now it will be something new. They think they are living a healthy lifestyle, but they are not. They’re cutting out foods that our body needs because some idiot somewhere told them these foods are unhealthy. They’re replacing them with who knows what.

All the while, they continue to eat all kinds of junk food and drink the unhealthiest possible drinks. You know what I’m talking about. They’re sipping on sodas and putting sugar in fruit juices and smoothies and so on. And of course, there is tea. We’ve all heard that tea is a major part of a healthy lifestyle. The type of tea differs from online health blog guru to online health blog guru. Some will tell you green tea is the healthiest, others will tell you, you should absolutely be drinking white tea. I’ve seen ones pushing oolong tea a lot recently. Then there are the ones pushing pu’er tea for whatever reason.

The reality is, all teas are healthy. It doesn’t matter which variety of tea you drink, it is good for your health. The problem with this fat slob of a friend of yours who is pushing his latest fad diet and telling you how great he feels and how he started drinking tea, is that he is not really drinking tea. He’s probably buying some bottled sugar water with a slight tea flavor. Or maybe he is actually brewing the tea himself at home with a tea bag full of cheap, crappy leaves. Actually, leaves is the wrong word. You can’t really call the left-over dust and stems found inside most teabags tea leaves.

Anyway, your fat friend is using these teabags, putting them in hot water for a minute or two, then pouring in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Maybe they’re adding milk, maybe not. It doesn’t really matter, since the sugar ruins at all. And when you spend the rest of the day drinking 15 Cokes, a few cups of tea-flavored sugar water are not going to make you skinny. These people will always remain fat and you really shouldn’t listen to them when it comes to health advice. But, you already knew that, didn’t you?

If you want to be healthier, the best thing you can do is stick to unprocessed foods. Of course, some natural foods are less healthy than others. Red meat for example is not the healthiest thing around. Definitely eat some, though. It taste great and it’s actually good for you. But as they say, everything in moderation. Take it from me, I can tell you that even eating too many vegetables can be bad for you. If you eat gigantic portions of only vegetables, you will end up with diarrhea. You diet needs to be balanced.

So, eat unprocessed foods and drink natural drinks. I spend most of my day drinking water and tea. I’ll switch it around and have a green tea one day, an oolong tea the next day, and a lovely black tea the third day. I’ll have some white tea, too. I won’t have flavored tea, because it’s really pointless and usually there are additives in it as well. Tea and water. That’s all you really need and if that’s all you drink, you are drinking very healthy. Just don’t put any sugar in any of that.

If you are looking for a healthy green tea, try Dragon Well tea from China.

Posted in health | By

Apr 18

April 18, 2014

A healthy glass of peppermint tea

Tea’s good for you, have a cup!

I’ll be honest, I’m exhausted trying to keep up with the latest food fads in terms of health benefits. I feel bad that I’m not making a chia seed smoothie or spooning coconut oil on everything I eat. That’s not to say I don’t like to take care of myself, though, because I do. Like many people, I have a busy life where, for five days a week, it’s a miracle I get my five cups of tea a day.

A healthy glass of peppermint tea

A healthy glass of peppermint tea

I’ve heard people talk about the virtues of green tea, and how it can do wonders for your health. But how much of that is actually true? And what about plain old black tea? I drink buckets of the stuff!

Well for a start, in the Western world, we average four cups of tea a day. And if you have it with milk, then you’re getting around 15% of your daily calcium intake. Add to that, though, potassium, zinc, manganese and a few B vitamins (2,6, and 12) and you’ve got between 5-20% of your RDA for these nutrients. The amounts vary depending on number of cups and if you take it with or without milk.

While that may sound impressive, is it? Umm, yes, actually. Getting enough of the above nutrients is essential for growth. And I’m not just talking height. We all know calcium is important for healthy bones, but so is manganese as it also helps with cartilage formation. Zinc and B12 are central to tissue repair and nerve health, while potassium is also good for regulating fluid in the body. (Ladies, take note).

Tea is also chock-full of little health bombs called antioxidants. These protect us from nasties such as heart disease, cancers and strokes. They work in a mysterious way that has something to do with free radicals roaming your body trying to do harm. Antioxidants keep them in check. This means they help fight inflammation, boost your immune system and help counter-balance your cholesterol after a massive cheeseburger.

The particular type of antioxidants found in tea are called flavonoids. You can also find them in apples, onions and parsley. Personally though, I’d rather go for wine, tea and chocolate where they can also be found. The tea plant has the highest amount of flavonoids though and so counts for more than half the flavonoid consumption in tea-drinking Europe.

That doesn’t mean we can shun the fruits and vegetables however. The amount of flavonoids in your cup depends a lot on the quality of your tea—fresh loose leaf over tea bag is best. And also whether it’s black or green tea you’re drinking. Green tea has more of the so-called ‘simple antioxidants’ due to early picking, while black tea gets more oxygen and so has more ‘complex’ antioxidants.


Some recent studies have even gone on to suggest that around three cups of tea a day can help prevent against crippling long-term diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. There have been more concrete cases for tea helping with arthritis and preventing cancer.

For general, everyday health though, tea, green in particular, helps fight against plaque, wards off the flu and helps calm you down after a stressful meeting with your boss/mother-in-law/college professor thanks to its ability to help lower blood pressure. Plus, contrary to old wives tales, there is less caffeine in tea. Meaning you get that refreshed feeling without the mid-afternoon crash or not being able to sleep at night.

Of course, all of this goes out the window if you accompany your cup with a massive slice of cake. But everything in moderation. After all what is it they say about the 80/20 rule?

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Jan 15

January 15, 2014

green tea plant

Drinking Green Tea or White Tea and Weight Loss

Drinking tea can lead to weight loss. You’ve heard this before, I’m sure. In fact, if you search for those very words, you will get back thousands of results with articles about the weight loss benefits of tea, green tea and white tea especially. Many of those articles are trying to sell you something and that is why they are so excited about explaining how tea can help you lose weight. Sadly, the truth is that drinking tea does not directly lead to weight loss.

green tea plant

That is not to say that tea is not healthy and that it does not help you lose weight. It just doesn’t do so directly. What this means is that starting to drink tea one day will not result in the pounds melting off the next. In fact, if the only change you make in your life is drinking tea and everything else stays the same, you will not lose a single pound.

How can people say that drinking green tea or white tea leads to weight loss then?

Well, first of all, when people begin drinking tea, they drink less of something else. We only need so much liquid per day, so every cup of tea replaces a cup of some other liquid and usually that other liquid is much less healthy than tea.

The type of people who are trying to lose weight generally drink a lot of unhealthy drinks, like sodas and other drinks with a ton of sugar. Coffee counts among them, if tons of sugar or other sweeteners are added.

When they start drinking tea, they will drink fewer of these unhealthy drinks and that will help them lose weight. The weight loss does not result directly from the tea intake, but from what was given up for that tea.

Beyond that, drinking tea functions as a type of signal. By this I mean it is a signal to yourself, to your mind, that you will now begin to live healthier. It is an easy first step on the road to a healthier lifestyle. In order to actually lose weight, you will need to change your diet and it would not hurt to exercise as well. The steps are fairly hard, but just adding tea to your daily routine is relatively simple. Because of this, many people begin with the tea and then take on incrementally more difficult tasks that can result in weight loss. In this way, a daily tea habit is a great beginning to a healthier lifestyle.

For this article I have mentioned green tea and white tea, but any other tea made from the actual tea plant is just as healthy. Herbal teas do not enter into the equation here. They come from different plants and as such have very different properties from real tea. Some of them are very healthy and some of them don’t do much at all. They are beyond the scope of this article and you’ll have to look elsewhere to find out about herbal teas.

As far as actual teas go, we have the two I have already mentioned plus oolong tea, black tea, yellow tea and pu erh tea. You will find a ton of articles on each of these, many of them claiming that whatever tea they are talking about is the healthiest and that you should buy their pills or supplements or whatever, but the truth is the health benefits of every one of these teas is about the same. The type of tea does not have as much effect on this as other factors, like the type of plant the tea leaves cam from or the location where the plant was grown or the manner in which it was processed.

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Jan 14

January 14, 2014

matcha green tea with dessert

Which Tea is the Healthiest?

You’ll hear a lot of different answers to this question and they’re mostly all right and all wrong. Others make it simple: the healthiest tea is matcha. This is a high quality powdered green tea from Japan. It is made by grinding the tea leaves from the highest-quality teas into a fine powder. Because of this the whole leaves are consumed, not just the brewed essence, which means the health benefits are multiplied by a factor of at least 10. For more on matcha green tea powder, go here.

matcha green tea with dessert

A cup of Matcha green tea with a sweet called mochi

Apart from matcha, it gets a little bit complicated. Mostly you’ll hear that white tea is the next healthiest, but that isn’t really true. It often gets credit for having less caffeine and more nutrients, but none of those things really depend on the type of the tea. They depend on the tea plant itself and the area and manner in which it is grown. This means that a white tea from a less healthy plant is less healthy than a white tea from a healthier plant. Similarly the less healthy white tea is less healthy than a black tea from a healthier plant. Does that make sense? If not, check out this page on white tea.

Because of this, I wouldn’t worry too much about what type of tea you’re drinking. It’s hard to know what kind of plant it came from and where it came from and how it was grown. You’re best off just drinking whatever you prefer and whatever one tastes best to you, as the differences in the health benefits are not generally all that great anyway.

The one thing you might want to look out for are human pollutants. By that I mean chemicals, pesticides, etc. You want to be especially wary of these in teas from China and even more in teas from India. Regulation is somewhat lax in these countries and enforcement is virtually nonexistent due to ridiculous levels of corruption. It’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an Indian or a Chinese tea. That said, you could say the same thing for any food we buy. Personally, I tend not to even worry about it, since there is nothing I can do. If I like the taste of the tea, I’ll drink it.

So what was my conclusion exactly? Well, I guess I didn’t really have one. Basically, if you’re drinking tea especially for the health benefits, you’ll want to go with matcha. The main problem with this green tea powder is that it is very difficult to brew. Luckily, you don’t have to brew it. As a powder it can easily be added to all kinds of foods and there are hundreds of recipes to be found online. After that, I’d go for whatever you like. Personally, I enjoy green teas like sencha from Japan or, if you prefer milder tea, a Dragon well from China. White teas are also incredibly delicious. Here I’d recommend the highest-quality white hair silver needle, or the second highest-quality white peony. Whatever you choose, make sure to follow the brewing instructions carefully, so that you get a cup you’ll actually enjoy. Here’s to your new healthy lifestyle.

For more on white tea, try the white tea guide from Wikipedia.

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Jan 14

January 14, 2014

tea farm in kagoshima japan

Where does tea come from?

I suppose most people know tea originated in Asia, but do you know which country? And you know where all it is produced today? The answer to the first question is China. The answer to the second is pretty much everywhere. Okay, not quite, but it is produced in a lot more countries than you might think.

tea farm in kagoshima japan

Tea plantation in Kagoshima, Japan

Originally, tea was grown in China. From there it spread to Japan and I suppose also to Korea (travel guide found here), although the Koreans don’t really drink tea the way the Japanese and the Chinese do. Eventually, tea was brought to India from China by the British. They were tired of having to trade with the Chinese for their tea and was looking to create a source of their own.

China Japan and India (head here for a guide) are probably the top three tea drinking countries in the world today. They are also three of the top suppliers. Japan produces almost only green tea, while India produces mostly black, although their Darjeeling tea, while considered a black, is actually an oolong tea. China produces every kind of tea. It is the biggest tea producer on earth.

Other countries that produce large amounts of tea are Sri Lanka which produces mostly black and some green and Kenya (I bet you thought Kenya only produced coffee; ok, maybe you didn’t, but I did). Even the US produces tea, with Hawaii beginning to grow more and more oolong tea. On top of these countries, there are hundreds of others that produce their own teas, but most of them are not well known yet. And they will probably never be all that well known.

The most famous and highest-quality teas come from four countries: China (travel guide for China found here), Japan, India, and Sri Lanka. Japan produces the highest quality overall, with China coming in second. China loses a lot of points because, although they produce some of the best teas on earth, they also produce a lot of really low quality crap. India is the same but to an even higher degree. Darjeeling is famous as one of the best teas on earth and it is a good tea, but there is just too much horrible tea being passed off as Darjeeling.

If you want to try the highest-quality teas on earth, try a gyokuro from Japan for the best green tea. For the best white tea, you want a white hair silver needle from China. For the best oolong, you’ll want a big red rope from China. For the best black tea you what a Golden Monkey tea from China or perhaps a Darjeeling from India.

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