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Tea Health Benefits

Effects of Caffeine on The Human Body 

May 24, 2022

Caffeine is what so many of us use to get through our day…but do you really know what it’s doing to your body? Studies have shown that caffeine is neutral, or even beneficial in small doses. However, drinking it in excess can lead to serious health complications. Below, we’re covering the effects of caffeine on the human body by each system, and calling awareness to foods that have hidden caffeine — and that should be consumed in moderation. 

What is caffeine? 

Caffeine can be found either naturally, such as in tea, or artificially — such as in energy drinks or other beverages like soft drinks. In the body, it directly affects the brain’s uptake of a compound called adenosine. Adenosine works actively to make us feel drowsy, and will be secreted naturally at the end of the day, and rises in concentrations until we eventually fall asleep. By blocking the receptors that accept adenosine, caffeine is very effective at keeping you awake. 

What are the effects of caffeine on the human body? 

Beyond what we have discussed, there are many other effects that caffeine has on the human body. We’ve explained them systematically below: 

The cardiovascular system

Caffeine’s effects on heart rates are well known. In excess, you can experience palpitations, hypertension, and other complications from caffeine, either natural or artificial. The reason why caffeine has a direct effect on your heart is due to its ability to stimulate the “fight or flight” compounds in the body: noradrenaline and norepinephrine. This can be dangerous if you build up a tolerance over time, and begin boosting your intake to feel the same effects that you once did. 

The digestive system 

Caffeine is known to stimulate your digestive system and can aid in motility-related problems. The result of this is that food and beverages will move much quicker through the digestive tract, and can result in loose stool passing quickly through your colon. This only happens in some people, as others may not be as sensitive to its effects, or may have built up a tolerance over time. 

The neurological system 

What many may not know about caffeine is its direct effects on the neurological system. Overall, caffeine intake can reduce blood flow to the brain, but boost the amount of energy that it expends. It also triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. This stimulates the reward centers and pleasure centers, making you feel satisfied. It’s no wonder that so many people are dependent on their first cup of morning coffee! 

The skeletal system 

Caffeine consumption can block the absorption of calcium in your bones, which can put you at risk for conditions such as osteoporosis, or recurring fracture. It also actively lowers your bone mineral density, which makes your bones more porous over time. There are also ongoing studies that point to the potential correlation of caffeine consumption and obesity rates, as it may inhibit the body’s natural weight regulation processes. 

Is caffeine bad for you? 

Caffeine isn’t inherently bad for you, especially when consumed in moderation. The risk of caffeine comes with overconsumption, as with anything else. In fact, caffeine actually has some benefits that you can enjoy with your daily cup, including: 

  • Memory: You can get a hearty memory boost when you enjoy caffeine, and also get a powerful jolt of energy. That’s why so many people enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, as it can help you to feel energized, alert, and ready to take on your day. 
  • Preventative wellness: Enjoying caffeine regularly through tea or coffee is linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research continues to be ongoing to discover additional effects. 

If you’re looking to cut down your consumption of caffeine, you’re likely wondering how much caffeine your daily cup of tea has. Caffeination levels in tea aren’t generally calculated with exacting formulas and science. They are estimated and rounded to get you the most accurate level possible. It also depends entirely on your blend of tea. If you’re drinking a cup of loose leaf black tea, you’re likely averaging 47mg of caffeine per cup.

What foods have naturally occurring caffeine in them? 

There are a variety of food and beverages that have naturally occurring caffeine in them, including: 

  • Chocolate 
  • Black tea
  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Guarana 
  • Coffee

If you’re looking to avoid caffeine, you can opt for caffeine-free versions of these foods, or avoid them entirely. There are plenty of loose leaf herbal tea options online and or decaf teas you can find too. Ultimately, it’s finding what works for you in your journey of a full caffeine or free of caffeine lifestyle, but likely you’re somewhere in the middle!

Tea Guides

Teas to Boost Your Focus Naturally 

May 16, 2022

Are you looking for an extra boost of focus and adrenaline ahead of your busy day? Using tea to help you reach new heights in productivity and focus is a strategy used for years. The teas in this list offer unique, plant-powered, and natural ways to give you heightened awareness and focus without coffee’s buzz and crash. Below, we’ve listed the top focus boosting teas to help you get through your next “busy period” — finals, a work project, or your next Monday morning. 

What teas are best for productivity? 

Don’t reach for the coffee if you’re looking for a drink with a bit of kick to get you through your day. Read on to learn which teas you should drink to hack your mindset and boost your productivity: 

Jasmine tea 

Jasmine tea is known for its fruity-floral taste and light, crisp mouthfeel. Experts believe that you may be able to enjoy higher levels of brain function and health with every cup, leaving you feeling refreshed, focused, and ready to take on your day. Besides promoting emotional resilience, jasmine blends can also have 15-60 milligrams of caffeine per cup, depending on the brew cycle. You don’t have to worry about a crash, though, as jasmine also has high levels of L-Theanine. This is a chemical that soothes the brain and can put you in a more calm and focused state. 

This tea isn’t just a great tea to enjoy hot or iced. Instead, try spicing up your next meat rub by adding dried jasmine leaves and petals for a more herbaceous, sweet, and clean finish. You can view other uncommon tea-based rubs here for some dinner inspiration. 

Black tea 

Black tea has been well-known for its ability to wake you up, competing actively with coffee when it comes to the caffeine content and potential for productivity with each cup. Black tea can also give your body a powerful antioxidant boost, perfect for keeping you healthy throughout the cold and flu season. An additional perk of using black loose leaf tea is its consistent, clean, and earthy taste, offering you a reliable “blank palate” for you to personalize with your favorite infusions or sweeteners. You can also personalize the overall caffeine content in your brew using these strategies for a more tailored-to-you tea experience. 

Considering going back to coffee on those extra-busy days? We recommend against it.  Enjoying black tea instead of coffee also offers the added benefit of lowered cortisol levels and higher resiliency over time, helping to manage your physiological system well under stress. You can enjoy black tea brewed or infused into this amazing black tea oatmeal recipe if you’re in a rush. We know that you’ll love it as much as we do! 

Peppermint tea 

Peppermint tea is a great choice for you if you struggle with remaining alert and awake throughout your day. This type of tea has a minty-fresh taste that can also offer an added therapeutic benefit through its aroma and help frame your mind in a more work-ready way. The elements in peppermint tea stimulate and process in the areas of your brain that control productivity and alertness, making this the perfect tea to reach for on early mornings or late nights at work. 

This herbal tea doesn’t contain caffeine, which is ideal for tea drinkers who are sensitive to caffeine or simply want to avoid the buzz and crash. If you’re looking for a more mild tea experience, you may want to stir in a few spoons of honey or sweetener of choice. The delicious and fresh notes of peppermint tea mixed with the sweetness can give you an experience similar to dessert. 

Make tea a part of your productivity ritual 

Making tea a part of your productivity process and habit can help you to prepare your brain for periods of intensive, deep work and focus. It doesn’t just have to be a black tea to give you a productivity boost, it can other types of teas, giving you all the benefits you need to get a little extra energy and a little extra focus so you can get through any task.

We pride ourselves on sourcing the highest quality tea leaves and blends from all corners of the world — and creating unique and delicious blends to suit every unique palate. Browse loose leaf tea you can buy on our shop.

Tea Health Benefits Types of Tea

Ditch Your Energy Drink for This Healthier Alternative

April 18, 2022
Yerba-Mate

Energy drinks can generate side effects such as insomnia, nervousness and tachycardia; while the energizing effect from Yerba Mate is 100% natural and its many benefits come from nature itself. Yerba mate is a natural drink that increases your energy levels; but it’s far from being a commercial energy drink. This ancient, natural beverage is made from the leaves of the Yerba Mate tree. Although it also contains caffeine and other substances that act on the central nervous system; this energizing effect comes from nature itself, not from artificial manufacturing. Yerba mate can also be a great alternative to coffee, too!

What is Yerba Mate?

There are only a handful of plants in the world that produce caffeine and yerba mate is one of them! Along with tea, coffee, cacao, kola (or cola) and guarana, the yerba mate herb is used to produce a caffeinated beverage. While prepared as an infusion to create a tea-like beverage, yerba mate contains no actual tea leaves. Yerba mate is an herb native to South America and is used to make the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay, Uraguay and Southern Brazil. In fact, yerba mate is consumed 6 to 1 over coffee in these countries. Yerba mate is often described as earthy, vegetal, herbaceous and bittersweet. Imagine a fresh rainforest floor and you can likely picture the flavor of yerba mate.

What is Yerba Mate Made Of?

The yerba mate tea is brewed at home by adding hot water to the dried leaves from the Ilex Paraguariensis tree, which only grows in South America. It does not contain fat or sugar; and has very little calories, carbs and sodium. Beyond that, Yerba Mate is a wonderful source of vitamins (especially in the B group) minerals (potassium, magnesium, iron) and antioxidants (polyphenols, saponins, caffeoyl). Yerba mate also naturally contains stimulant agents like caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline; this is why it is a great source of natural energy.

Health Concerns with Commercial Energy Drinks

Energy drinks often contain five times the amount of caffeine as soft drinks. This amount of caffeine can cause nervousness, anxiety, headaches, stomachaches, hyperactivity, insomnia, dehydration, accelerated heart rates, and in extreme cases seizures and strokes. Most energy drinks contain an amount of sugar that exceeds the recommended daily allowance and potentially contributes to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity in sedentary individuals.

How to Prepare Yerba Mate

Mate is a versatile drink and there are many ways of preparing it, depending on the type of yerba mate and liquid you use. There is a huge variety of yerba: with or without stems, finely ground or roughly cut, flavored, sweetened, blended with other herbs. Mate can be drunk with water (hot or cold), milk or even juice. However, the most popular and traditional way of preparing mate is plain, with hot water. Here’s how to prepare yerba mate.

Yerba with stems: If you are a beginner or if you prefer a more mild flavor, yerba with stems is the way to go.
Yerba without stems: If you want a strong and more bitter flavor, this must be your choice. It holds the flavor longer and is the most popular type of yerba in Uruguay and South of Brazil.

What you need:

  1. Yerba Mate
  2. Bombilla (metal straw)
  3. Mate gourd (or mug)
  4. Lukewarm water and hot water
  5. Thermometer for accuracy

Instructions:

The traditional way:

  1. Fill gourd with yerba – Fill 2/3 to 3/4 of the gourd with yerba and slant it at 45-degree angle. If you are using yerba without stems, cover the top of the gourd and shake it up and down, to remove the small particles of the yerba before slanting it (45 degrees angle)
  2. Add lukewarm water – Pour lukewarm water as close as the wall of the gourd on the lower half of the slant of yerba. Looking at the mate from above, you will see a half-filled with water, and half dry. Wait until the water is absorbed by the yerba (1 minute).
  3. Repeat but with hot water – Repeat this process but this time with hot water – around 176 Fahrenheit or lower. It is not recommended to use water at a higher temperature than that because it could burn the yerba, affecting its taste and performance.
  4. Put the bombilla –Put the bombilla (covering the top with thumb) on the same lower side of the yerba, on a digging motion, and pressing until you reach the bottom of the gourd.
  5. Press the yerba with the bombilla – Press the yerba with the bombilla, creating two differentiated levels: one higher and dry, and other lower and wet.
  6. Add hot water to the lower side – Add hot water to the lower side, aiming as close as possible to the bombilla to avoid the higher (and dry) part of the yerba slant to get wet.
  7. Your mate is ready – Just drink it using the bombilla and repeat step 6 as many times as you want.

No gourd or bombilla? No problem!

First you will need a tea strainer, tea infuser, or teapot. If you have one at home, you can prepare yerba mate just like you would any other tea by filling it up with looseleaf yerba and steeping it in hot water (1 tablespoon per 8 ounces of water).

Tips:

  • Never use boiling water. Temperatures of around 140-170ºF work best
  • For every 8 ounces of fluid, use 1 tablespoon of yerba (add less or more to adjust to your own liking)
Tea Health Benefits

Best Energizing Teas for Summer 2022 

April 15, 2022

Looking for a natural way to get a plant-powered boost? Our list of energizing teas will be just the thing you need to keep yourself ready for adventure all summer long. Teas have been hailed as one of the best ways to boost your health naturally, as well as reap the additional benefits of caffeination and a fantastic tasting summer drink…but with so many options available, you might not know where to start. Below, we’re going through the top list of energizing teas for the summer, and how you can best enjoy each one. 

What makes tea energizing? 

Teas feature naturally energizing properties and may have naturally occurring caffeine in their blends. Additionally, there are other compounds and amino acids that can contribute to a naturally awake and alert feeling, such as L-Theanine. These can occur in tandem with caffeinated teas, or in teas that are not caffeinated, and can enhance your drink experience. Sometimes, simply drinking a cool and refreshing beverage in the hot summer months can give you the boost of resiliency that you need to get through the rest of your day more easily. 

Below, we’ve listed some of the top energizing teas of the summer, giving you a great starting point to make your own delicious blends and drinks. 

1. Black tea 

We had to put this classic drink as the first entry on the list. Black tea is packed with caffeine and a deep, clean, naturally full-bodied taste that can’t be beaten, this tea is energizing and can be enjoyed in just about every way possible. You can sip on black tea hot, iced, or cold-brewed, as well as in an infused blend with other types of tea. Black tea also has the added benefit of L-Theanine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid. It has been proven to increase brain activity, which can give you the feeling of being more alert than you otherwise would be. 

2. Ginseng tea 

Ginseng tea is actually not a traditional tea that is made of leaves, as you normally would find. This tea is made from the roots of the ginseng plant and was used originally as a medicinal tea in Eastern medicine. Beyond its energizing boost and anti-aging properties, you can also enjoy an increased resilience toward physical and emotional stress, giving you a more balanced experience overall. 

Ginseng features an initially sharp, herby taste, which fades to a slight bitterness on the tongue. You’ll likely enjoy this tea best brewed over ice, and sweetened with honey or your favorite add-in. 

3. Yerba Mate 

Yerba Mate is very popular in South America and is an herbal tea that walks the line between tea and coffee. Its caffeination level is more than that of tea and less than traditionally brewed coffee, giving you a pleasant burst of energy without the buzz and jitters you’ll find in more heavily caffeinated drinks. It’s also rich with antioxidants and nutrients, and has even been shown to give drinkers a pleasant mood boost thanks to compounds such as theobromine and theophylline. 

Yerba Mate features a strong, earthen taste that is a deeper and more intense experience than green tea. It’s best enjoyed with a splash of your favorite creamer or milk, and a touch of sweetener of your choice. You can also make your own infusion by loose brewing the tea and adding dried fruit or additions, such as an orange peel for extra flavor. 

4. Peppermint 

Peppermint tea offers a deliciously crisp experience with every drink and is the perfect way to refresh yourself after a day in the summer heat. This type of tea is not considered to be a stimulant, as it is completely free of caffeine. But, you can still get a significant boost of energy thanks to the naturally occurring compounds and oils in the leaves. You’ll love sipping on this beverage to beat the heat, especially served over ice with a squeeze of lemon and sugar to taste. This delicious treat tastes like a peppermint pattie in a glass and can be enjoyed any time you need a boost. 

5. Green tea 

Green tea has grown increasingly popular over the past few years, becoming available in a variety of forms. It’s no wonder, as this tea is incredibly naturally energizing and offers a variety of other health benefits, including weight loss benefits, antioxidant boosts, and heart health support. This type of tea offers a uniquely herbaceous taste with grassy-sweet notes and can be enjoyed hot or iced. You may also choose to add your favorite creamer, sweetener, or splash of lemon to neutralize some of the deeper-flavored notes. 

Tea Health Benefits

Caffeine Content in Tea and How It’s Determined

March 21, 2022
how much caffeine is in tea

Each day, billions of people rely on caffeine to wake up, or to get through a work shift or that dreaded 3 pm afternoon slump. In fact, this natural stimulant is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the world. Eighty percent of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day, and this number goes up to 90% for adults in North America. So what is caffeine and how does caffeine in tea effect us?

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. When you consume caffeine, it blocks the effects of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain and makes you feel tired. Adenosine levels build up throughout the day, making you increasingly more tired and causing you to want to go to sleep. Caffeine helps you stay awake by connecting to adenosine receptors in the brain without activating them. This blocks the effects of adenosine, leading to reduced tiredness.

What is the difference in tea and coffee?

Put simply, the caffeine in tea and coffee are digested differently. The caffeine in tea binds with an amino acid called L-theanine. This bond is what makes tea caffeine act in a slower, more controlled way. Instead of a relatively short, intense burst of energy like you would get from coffee, you get a prolonged, slow-release form of energy. You won’t notice a burst of energy, sweaty palms or jitters. But you’ll become much calmer, and focused.

The way coffee works is that it gives you a nice jolt of energy a couple of minutes after ingesting it, and you will almost suddenly feel awake. You’ll notice the coffee is working if you’re starting to get a bit jittery, possibly a bit sweaty, and feel like you have to do everything at once. This is because the caffeine from coffee passes right into the bloodstream, and has a very powerful direct effect. There is no gentleness, just a direct need to get up and do something.

What determines the caffeine content in tea?

There are a handful of factors that determine how much caffeine is in each cup of tea you make. They range from steep time, water temperature, the amount of tea leaf used, harvest time and type of leaf used. Any tea that is a true tea that comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant will have some level of caffeine in it. Additionally, the shorter time you steep your tea, the less caffeine you will have in that cup.

Which teas have the highest and lowest levels of caffeine?

Black tea typically has the most caffeine of all the tea types. One of the reasons for this is a longer infusion time versus green along with higher steeping temperatures, typically boiling. Because black tea is oxidized, it allows more caffeine to be extracted from the leaf versus other types of tea. Matcha is another tea that is high up on the list of most caffeinated tea drinks due to the fact that you consume the entire leaf. Herbal teas (which are teas that are not from the Camellia Sinesis plant) will have little to no caffeine in them.

Daily caffeine consumption.

Daily recommended caffeine should be about 400 milligrams, which is 4 “cups” of coffee, but cups being 8 ounces, it really means 2 large cups to a lot of people. With black tea coming in around half the caffeine as coffee (45 per cup versus 90 for coffee) you can enjoy a lot more tea throughout the day.

Tea Health Benefits

Can Tea Help You Lose Weight?

August 30, 2021

According to an online survey, over 50% of Americans list weight loss as one of their top New Year’s Resolutions. It is no secret that obesity is a prevalent issue in America with over 40% of our population fitting into that description. But when it comes to losing weight, there are thousands of unsustainable “fad diets” out there that people subscribe to. People all over the world are always looking for the next best “quick fix” to reach their goal weight or shed a couple pounds. But the truth is, there is no quick fix. Everyone’s body reacts different to different things, which makes it impossible to have a single solution to help you lose weight. One thing people have looked at to aid in their weight loss journey is tea, but does it really help you lose weight? Let’s break it down.

While one cup of tea is not going to instantly make you lose weight, researchers have suggested that pairing tea with a sustainable diet and exercise can help you to shed a couple pounds. Although tea will not directly lead you to weight loss, there are weight loss properties that can assist. Tea contains specific compounds that can aid in weight loss, but it is not the end-all be-all answer to losing weight. It is important to remember that losing weight is an independent journey that requires individuals to find what works best for your body, so don’t be discouraged if something that works for a friend does not work for you.

According to WebMD, the caffeine and flavonoids found in tea have been proven to boost your metabolism, improve insulin activity, and increase fat oxidation. This means your body can break down fat at a faster pace. There are also polyphenols found in tea that are plant compounds that can help block fat absorption, which can prevent you from gaining weight.

Appetite Suppression

Tea is a natural appetite suppressant that can help you lose weight. Herbal teas have been proven effective in suppressing one’s appetite because of the plant compounds and antioxidants found in tea. The hormones found in tea can also activate the sympathetic nervous system which results in a decreased desire to consume food. Caffeine is also an active ingredient in tea that is a known stimulant and appetite suppressant.

Metabolism Booster

Although it is at a much lesser scale than other stimulants or supplements, tea can serve as a metabolism booster. It contains specific flavonoids called catechins that when paired with the caffeine compounds found in tea, can speed up one’s metabolism.  (via Medical News Today)

Improves Insulin Activity

According to a study found in the National Library of Medicine performed by Richard A. Anderson and Marilyn M. Polansky, black, green, and oolong teas were all shown to increase insulin activity, but not herbal teas. Insulin activity matters in association with weight loss because it plays a key role in your metabolic health. When someone loses weight, it can improve insulin sensitivity which is an added benefit to someone who might be at risk for developing diabetes. Balanced insulin levels are also something that can stem from a balanced diet and routine exercise/activity.

Increases Fat Burning

With the help of caffeine and a fast metabolism, tea can help your body to break down fat at a quicker pace. According to Healthline.com, one study showed that “men who took green tea extract before exercise burned 17% more fat than men who didn’t take the supplement. The study suggests that green tea can boost the fat-burning effects of exercise…. Several other studies confirm these findings, indicating that EGCG boosts the burning of fat — which may lead to reduced body fat in the long term.”

Different types of tea contain different amounts of compounds and properties that may be associated with weight loss. Some examples of how to include tea to potentially supplement weight loss include drinking a cup before working out to increase fat burning and drinking a cup of tea at the beginning of the day or before a meal to avoid overeating. However, it should be noted that a healthy diet and moderate exercise are recommended to experience weight loss. There are weight loss properties associated with tea-drinking, but it is not a simple solution.

The moral of the story is that drinking tea while maintain a healthy diet and exercise can lead to weight loss, but it is a time-consuming process that requires you to figure out what works best for your body. Whether you decide to opt for a green tea that contains high caffeine amounts to see the above results or a different type of tea for a different reason, we recommend conducting your own research to figure out which tea will benefit you the most in regard to weight loss and check out our online collection to start your journey today.  Consult a doctor before making any extreme lifestyle changes.