July 10th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
As promised in yesterday’s post on chai, we’re featuring a cool summer beverage recipe from Dana Jacobi, author of The Essential Best Foods Cookbook: 225 Irresistible Recipes Featuring the Healthiest and Most Delicious Foods and a contributor to the New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
“As the weather warmed and drinking hot tea all day became less comfortable, I began to think about how to make it into a good cold drink,” she says. “Experimenting revealed interesting options.”
Step 1: Brew chai from teabags, and freeze it into ice cubes—“a great way to avoid ice diluting the flavor in your glass,” Jacobi explains. “These cubes keep for several days—longer when, once frozen, they are stored in a resealable plastic bag.”
Step 2: Brew a batch of chai using spices plus tea. It will “keep for several days in the refrigerator,” Jacobi says.
Step 3: Add almond milk, a “flavor that marries beautifully with the spices,” she says. In lieu of sugar, sweeten this beverage with agave, a natural syrup that’s available in mainstream supermarkets and organic food stores.
Iced Almond Chai
Makes 4 one-cup servings
3 green cardamom pods, cracked
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 cups cold water
3 black teabags
3 chai teabags with black tea
3 cups boiling water
1-1/3 cups unsweetened almond milk, chilled
8–10 teaspoons agave syrup, preferably dark
For the chai, combine the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, anise and peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Add the water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Off the heat, add the black teabags, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the teabags, squeezing them well.
Pour the chai into a heat-proof jar, and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Strain the chai when ready to use, and discard the spices.
For ice cubes: In a heatproof measuring cup, pour the boiling water over the 3 chai tea bags, and steep for 10 minutes. Divide the tea between two ice cube trays, and cool to room temperature; then freeze into cubes.
To serve, place 6 chai ice cubes in each of four 12-ounce glasses. Pour in 1/2 cup of the strained, chilled chai. Add 1/3 cup almond milk and sweeten to taste, using 2 to 3 teaspoons of agave syrup per serving.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research
Read More:Iced Almond Chai
July 9th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Chai is my favorite tea blend, and I generally prefer an herbal variety to its black-tea cousin.
The traditional spices in a well-made cup—cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, star anise, cloves and peppercorns—explode in your mouth, yet provide the ultimate in comfort.
One of my favorite chai recipes is a simple Cardamom Tea, as presented in Diana Rosen’s superb book Chai: The Spice Tea of India. Rosen’s recipes go beyond the teacup, with her unique takes on chai scones, cookies and cakes.
“Indians focus on the health properties of chai,” says Dana Jacobi, author of The Essential Best Foods Cookbook: 225 Irresistible Recipes Featuring the Healthiest and Most Delicious Foods and a contributor to the New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life, published by the American Institute for Cancer Research.
“Each spice has its benefits, from easing digestion to stimulating the body’s circulation with a warming effect,” she says. “I focus more on how chai tastes, finding it a great way to consume quantities of tea for its antioxidant benefits.”
Jacobi, in fact, has collected more than 20 different chai brands and flavors.
“In some, the bite of clove dominates over the mellow flavor of cinnamon and dry taste of cardamom,” she says. “In others, the heat from ginger, black pepper or both takes over. Some chai teas include fennel or anise seed because they add a sweet flavor. For added variety, some also include vanilla, chocolate or orange zest.”
If you’re looking for a great chai blend, check out Rishi Tea Masala Chai, available at OrganicAuthority’s Online Store, Amazon, and natural and organic food stores. It’s USDA Organic-, Fair Trade- and kosher-certified.
Jacobi prefers to brew her own chai instead of using preblended tea bags. Tune in tomorrow for her delicious recipe for Iced Almond Chai—a divine summer treat!
Read More:Chai Me Up, Chai Me Down
April 10th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure, but drinking tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the April 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Current guidelines advise individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure) to eat more fruits and vegetables, according to background information in the article. Compounds known as polyphenols or flavonoids in fruits and vegetables are thought to contribute to their beneficial effects on blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.
“Tea and cocoa products account for the major proportion of total polyphenol intake in Western countries,” the authors write. “However, cocoa and tea are currently not implemented in cardioprotective or antihypertensive dietary advice, although both have been associated with lower incidences of cardiovascular events.”
Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany, conducted a meta-analysis of 10 previously published trials: five of cocoa’s effects on blood pressure and five involving tea. Four of the five cocoa studies showed a reduction in both systolic (the top number, when the heart contracts) and diastolic (the bottom number, when the heart relaxes) blood pressure.
Drinking tea was not associated with a reduction in blood pressure in any of the trials. While tea and cocoa are both rich in polyphenols, cocoa contains a polyphenol called “procyanids.” According to the researchers, “this suggests that the different plant phenols must be differentiated with respect to their blood pressure-lowering potential and thus cardiovascular disease prevention, supposing that the tea phenols are less active than cocoa phenols.”
The findings do not indicate a widespread recommendation for higher cocoa intake to decrease blood pressure, but it appears reasonable to substitute phenol-rich cocoa products like dark chocolate for other high-calorie or high-fat desserts or dairy products, the researchers note.
“We believe that any dietary advice must account for the high sugar, fat and calorie intake with most cocoa products,” they conclude. “Rationally applied, cocoa products might be considered part of dietary approaches to lower hypertension risk.”
Book Pick of the Day: High Blood Pressure for Dummies
Note: OrganicAuthority.com publishes health news so organic consumers have access to the latest research. You can view similar posts by visiting the Health Section of our blog.
Read More:Cocoa, Tea and Blood Pressure
January 31st, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
As January comes to a close, how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?
In England, consumers are turning to—what else?—tea for a health boost in 2007.
Last January, UK sales of green teas rose by about 40%, with fruit and herbal tea sales increasing by almost 15%, according to Tetley, the country’s leading manufacturer and distributor of tea.
“At this time of year, people are thinking about their health and wanting to choose a resolution which is easy to stick to and packed full of health benefits,” says Ray Duffin, the company’s marketing controller. “Consumers in the UK are beginning to recognize the important health benefits of green tea.”
Green tea is “as hydrating as water, naturally rich in antioxidants and a natural source of Theanine,” Duffin adds. “Early research suggests that antioxidants may help maintain the body’s defense systems and suggests that Theanine may create a feeling of relaxation and alertness at the same time.”
You can find Tetley green teas, made from premium organic leaves, at natural and organic food stores in the United States.
And be sure to check out the OrganicAuthority Boutique for two wonderful Rishi green teas.
Book Pick of the Day: Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers, and Sweet and Savory Treats
Read More:Tea Trend
November 20th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
The countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun. Start the week by relaxing with a cup of this aromatic Cardamom Tea, a recipe that appears in Chai: The Spice Tea of India by Diana Rosen.
“Cardamom is an essential spice in masala chai, but chai also tastes great when cardamom is its sole spice,” Rosen writes. “Try this recipe with a delicately aromatic Darjeeling. I’ve added a touch of orange for fragrance, but you can omit it.”
Makes 4 servings
- 6¾ cups water
- 1 3-inch strip fresh orange peel
- 12 crushed whole green cardamom pods
- 3 tablespoons black Darjeeling tea leaves
- Boil the water with the orange peel and cardamom pods. Infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tea, and infuse for 4 to 6 minutes more.
- Strain and serve with hot milk and sugar, as desired.
Recipe reprinted with permission of the publisher from Chai: The Spice Tea of India, copyright ©1999 by Diana Rosen, Storey Publishing.
Note: Because you’re dedicated to organic living, OrganicAuthority.com recommends using certified organic ingredients, when available, in all recipes to maximize flavor, while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Read More:Cardamom Tea
September 29th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Move over, coffee! Premium teas are edging out java for status in brewed beverages.
“Tea is exceedingly powerful, representing authenticity, beauty and design to discriminating consumers,” says Judy Ramberg, a consumer strategist focused on food and beverages for Iconoculture, a leading consumer research firm. “Today’s consumer is hungry for lifestyle experiences that are premium and yet accessible—little luxuries that can be savored every day. The elegant simplicity of tea represents a lifestyle choice.”
Hot & Spicy Chocolate Tea
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 black tea bags
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
- In 2-quart saucepan, bring milk and water just to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Cover and brew 1½ minutes.
- Remove tea bags. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired, with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Note: Because you are committed to organic living, OrganicAuthority.com recommends using certified organic foods, when available, in all recipes to maximize flavor and nutrition, while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Book of the Day
Eat Tea: Savory and Sweet Dishes Flavored with the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient
Recipe and photo courtesy of Lipton
Read More:Hot & Spicy Chocolate Tea
December 9th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Organic Authority’s popular Jasmine Pearl tea
“A cup of tea awakens your senses. Be present in the moment. Observe the beautiful colors and unfolding shapes of the leaves as they steep. Appearance is very much a part of the experience. Inhale the tea’s unique aroma as it rises from your steaming cup. Be mindful of all the many flavors swirling in your cup. Relish your tea to the last sip!”
These words of advice come from Nancy Raimondo and Andres Ranz, the wizards behind the Health Tea Wand. They believe that making tea should be a sensory experience: “Savor the smell of your tea leaves as the infusion cultivates,” they urge. “Drinking tea is a vacation from the tensions of life…an escape to your inner sanctuary! Tea reflects the present moment—your preferences, tastes and mood. Be creative.”
But with so many choices available, shopping for organic tea can be confusing. Which type of “delivery system” should you buy? Here are some guidelines from Nancy and Andres:
- Choose loose teas over tea bags. “Different teas have different weights,” they explain. “With lighter-weight teas, add enough leaf. Use about 4 grams of tea per 8 ounces of water.” Tea bags, upon which most Americans rely, brew the weakest cup of tea. The richness of the tea has a hard time penetrating the bag.
- Tea balls—the equivalent of strainers—are better, but we often pack leaves too tightly in them. This doesn’t allow the leaves to expand, which weakens your tea’s flavor.
- French coffee pots properly brew tea and prevent leaves from reaching your cup. You’ll enjoy flavorful tea, but everyone must settle for the same blend if you’re entertaining.
- Teapots are the best way to brew tea, note Nancy and Andres, “but you will need a filter to stop the leaves from going into your cup.” Once again, everyone must drink the same brew if you’re making tea for two (or more). This is why the “tea wizards” invented the Health Tea Wand, which allows each person to select a custom blend.
As for Nancy’s and Andres’ favorite tea combination, they enjoy a mélange of Jasmine pearls, rose petals, cinnamon, anise and green tea.
Don’t forget to visit the Organic Authority Boutique for Publisher Laura Klein’s divine line of organic teas, which make perfect holiday gifts.
Read More:“An Escape to Your Inner Sanctuary”
December 8th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
On Nov. 28, I wrote about the Health Tea Wand, a unique glass straw that allows you to enjoy your organic teas and herbal infusions to their fullest. I also wanted to let everyone know that Organic Authority Publisher Laura Klein is offering a wonderful line of special organic teas that make great holiday gifts. Grab ’em while they’re hot!
No one ever taught me how to make the “perfect” cup of tea. (Alas, I wasn’t born in London.) But Nancy Raimondo and Andres Ranz, the wizards behind the Health Tea Wand, have been kind enough to offer the following advice to Organic Authority readers.
Every Tea Is Different
“Until you are familiar with a particular tea,” they note, “steep for a minute or two, then sip. When the tea tastes appetizing to you, sip and enjoy. Be mindful of taste, rather than color. Most teas are meant to be infused several times. Add additional hot water, as needed. You may want to increase steeping time for subsequent infusions.”
Practice Makes Perfect
“Feel free to experiment with water temperature, brewing time and proportion of tea to water,” Nancy and Andres explain. “There is no right or wrong way to make tea. Trust your instincts, and let your individual palate be your tea guide.”
“Start with good-tasting water,” advise Nancy and Andres. “Tap water contains chemicals that affect the taste of the tea. Try different spring waters or filtered tap water. Don’t reboil water because oxygen disappears, giving you a flat brew. Don’t use boiling water when brewing white or green tea. Overheated water cooks the leaves and destroys their flavor.”
Tune in tomorrow to learn more about brewing a flavorful cup of organic tea.
Read More:Test Your Organic Tea I.Q.
November 28th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Organic Authority’s 100% organic Tangerine Ginger tea
Organic Authority sells a versatile variety of organic teas that are perfect for holiday gift-giving—from spicy Masala Chai and fruity Tangerine Ginger to rare white Snow Buds and best-selling Jasmine Pearl. We’ve also discovered a unique new device that will help you enjoy your favorite organic teas even more: the Health Tea Wand from Miami-based Wisdom Wands, which was inspired by an ancient South American tradition.
The wand is a handcrafted, heatproof glass straw that boosts flavor by filtering and brewing loose tea right in your cup through specially designed strainer holes. Simply add hot water to the tea leaves in your mug, allow the tea to steep, stir with the wand, and sip to the last drop.
The designers of the Health Tea Wand are tea connoisseurs with strong opinions about the quality of today’s teas.
The Health Tea Wand
“The optimal health benefits and superior taste of brewing whole, loose tea leaves has been sacrificed in recent years to the relative convenience of prepackaged tea bags,” they note. “High-priced, supermarket-grade tea bags generally contain poorer-quality leaves that have been chopped up to infuse more quickly and strain through the bag, which can cause a bitter brew. Brewing loose tea provides greater contact between the leaf surface and hot water, allowing for the release of more subtle flavors. Known for its potent antioxidant properties, high-quality, fresh, whole-leaf tea is up to 300% healthier than low-grade teabags and significantly more economical, with superior taste.”
The Health Tea Wand comes with a convenient carry case, with a compartment to transport loose tea. It is dishwasher-safe, and the company offers a money-back guarantee. Wisdom Wands will donate 10% of profits to Oprah’s Angel Network.
Read More:A Clever Brewing Alternative for Organic Tea Aficionados