When the Weather Outside is Frightful…

Green Tea

Keep warm through the rest of this winter with loose leaf green tea. Clockwise from far left: Tea forte’s Bombay Chai, their Kati Tea Brewing System cups in Cherry Blossom, Spring Grass, and Birdsong, Teavana’s White Ayurvedic Chai and Jasmine Dragon Pearls loose leaf teas

I’m not exactly breaking new ground in telling you that adding two or three cups of green tea each day to your diet is beneficial to your health (especially if you can cut out our coffee intake completely). Green tea is loaded with antioxidants which have been shown to have a world of health benefits whether it’s in helping you burn fat through helping your liver to function more efficiently, protecting against heart disease by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL (the bad kind of) cholesterol in your arteries, lowering blood pressure, protecting against diabetes, supporting your immune system, and more. But the one complaint I hear again and again from my friends when it comes to their experience in trying to drink green tea is “It’s so bitter!”

It doesn’t have to be – and here’s how to joyfully sip down all those health benefits:

1. Don’t burn it.

Green tea is best prepared with water heated to about 175 degrees – that means, don’t let that kettle whistle! Or, if you do, let it cool a bit before pouring the water over your loose leaf tea. Once the tea is steeping, don’t let it sit more than TWO minutes. Any more, and you will be drinking (or pouring out) bitter tea.

Product tip? Try the individual “brew-in-cup” tea system from Tea Forte. Not only are the cups beautiful (see above), but the little mesh basket is perfect for brewing loose leaf tea. Fill the cup with hot water (remember, not TOO hot!), set the mesh basket with your tea of choice inside, brew two minutes, remove basket, and voila! The perfect cup of tea. They also produce a range of interesting loose leaf teas including a black chai – yum!

2. Invest in a good tea.

I know, I know. Lipton was good enough for mom and dad, it’s good enough for you, right? Wrong! Bag-teas (even the better varieties from say, Starbucks’ Tazo Tea brand) don’t carry the same strength and efficacy (much less flavor) as a high-quality loose leaf tea. And while it seems like a lot to pay for tea, remember a little goes a long way – generally you only use about 1 teaspoon of tea to 8-10 ounces warm water, and you can reuse those leaves once (that’s two, TWO cups for the price of ONE), so a few ounces of loose leaf tea will last quite awhile.

Product tip? Try Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls from Teavana – close your eyes while you sip and breathe in the warm, sweet smell of jasmine. Pretend you’re sitting in a tropical garden somewhere – preferably on Hawaii. Instant cure to the winter blahs. Only be sure to buy ONLINE – the Teavana stores are manned by killer attack salesman who work on commission, and before you know it you will be ushered from the store glassy-eyed, loaded down with tins of tea and tea-brewing paraphenalia, wondering how you reached the limit on your credit card so fast. You’ll need a drink when you’re through, and I’m not talking green tea. Buy online, trust me.

3. Blend your green tea with a white, a black or even a rooibos loose leaf.

There are no tea rules beyond “Do not burn the green tea” (No, seriously. Stand up, place your hand over your heart, and say it with me right now, “I will start a two minute timer every time I pour water over my green tea leaves. I will not remember when the time is up no matter how many times I tell myself I know how long two minutes is without a clock.” Good, now stick to that). Fool around with different combinations until you find the perfect blend for you.

Product tip? I like to mix my Jasmine Pearls with Teavana’s White Ayurvedic Chai (like green tea, white tea supports a healthy immune system, and helps keep your complexion glowing and youthful).

So sip up, stay warm, and do all kinds of healthy, cleansing things for your body in the process!

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Author:Dory Diaz Photography

Dory is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and social media addict.

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