Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tea 101: The Benefits of Tea at Tea Lounge

Drinking tea in the Philippines isn't what you'd call a way of life. The English have it with their breakfast and then late in the afternoon for tea time, the Chinese always take it after every meal, and the Indians and Arabs like to take theirs with a ton of sugar to help them relax and unwind. Why didn't Filipinos develop this habit? If we drank as much tea as we did beer, we'd all be in much better shape.

I like spending my afternoons at Tea Lounge whenever I get the chance, and just chat about tea with Renée Sebastian, the owner and Certified Tea Master. Renée always takes some time out of her year to travel, looking independent tea farmers and hand-blending her teas. All of the teas at have her stamp of approval and have been blended by her, for you to enjoy. The teas aren't at all expensive either, so feel free to buy a packet of your favorite blend.

If you're not familiar with the types of teas and their benefits, here's a rundown of what you can choose from at Tea Lounge:

Green Tea has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Originating in China but widely used throughout Asia, this beverage has a multitude of uses, from lowering blood pressure to preventing cancer. Drinking green tea can also help with weight loss (it increases the metabolism), prevent diabetes (it helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating), reduce bad cholesterol, and even help with depression (Theanine is an amino acid that helps provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect).

Green teas at include Kijani Screws, Fatima Sola, and Dragonwell.

Oolong Tea (loosely translates into "black dragon" in Chinese), also known as wu long tea, is believed to first begin to be produced about 400 years ago. Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea, integrating the best qualities of un-oxidized green tea and fully oxidized black tea. It has the richest taste among all kinds of teas. It is as strong and refreshing as black tea and also as clear and fragrant as green tea.

Make drinking oolong tea a habit and combat skin aging, prevent heart disease and cancer, and help alleviate skin problems like eczema and rashes.

Oolong teas at include Taiwanese Oolong, Afrikaan Oolong, Roasted Tie Guan Yin, and Wuyi Oolong.

Black Tea has been getting a lot of flak with studies suggesting that it isn't as beneficial as green tea. Nevertheless, black tea has a lot of benefits like strengthening the immune system (tea is full of "tannins" which have the ability to fight off viruses such as influenza, dysentery  and hepatitis), keeping the digestive tract healthy, and increasing your energy (since black tea has a low amount of caffeine).

Black teas at include Afrikaan Black Rose, Dallah, and Kape.

Rooibos Tea (pronounced "roy-boss") is a traditional medicinal tea made from the leaves of the African bush plant that is quickly gaining popularity around the world. It is in demand because of all of its purported health benefits, most of which are backed up by centuries of use in the villages of South Africa.

Available in oxidized and non-oxidized versions, Rooibos has a plethora of benefits that include aiding to help alleviate gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, lower blood pressure, and help stop the brain from aging, preventing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Rooibos teas at include Lemonada, Papaya Kamille, and Minty Chocolate.

Chai Tea has many inherently beneficial properties. The black tea in chai is rich in antioxidants and the spices in chai have been used for thousands of years to promote general health and well-being, as well as to treat various ailments.The cinnamon in chai helps to lower blood sugar and helps with gastrointestinal problems, the ginger is good for digestion and helps with nausea, cloves are a great digestive aid, and cardamom contains anti-cancer compounds.

Chai teas at include Aphriki Masala, Pink Chai, and Spice and Everything Nice.

White Tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels that protects the body from damage from free radicals, has profound power against cancer-causing cells, and helps keep your blood pressure in check. It may just be the supreme Drink of Health.

White teas at include Antlers, Bouquet Blanc, Pistacia, and Silver Needle.

Herbal Tea is a vague term used to describe any type of tea that is made from natural herbs and other materials. There are a number of different benefits to drinking herbal tea in general. Many people prefer to drink these teas immediately after eating.

One of the most obvious reasons to drink tea is to help the digestive process along, which means you'll be a lot more regular when going to the loo. Herbal teas also help reduce flatulence, relieve stomach cramps, and help with bloating.

Herbal teas at include Seffarine, Egyptian Chamomile, and Wild Persimmon.

Mate Tea is a South American beverage made by steeping the ground leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant. Yerba mate is a central nervous system stimulant containing caffeine, but it also contains a number of other nutrients, including antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.

There are a lot of benefits of drinking mate tea as it enhances your ability to focus, rich in antioxidants (it's got about 90% more antioxidants than green tea!), enhances your physical endurance (it affects your metabolism and forces your body to use carbs more effectively), and aids in digestion.

Mate teas at include Hexie, Cacao Cimmaron, and Energy Mate.

And lastly, Fruit Tea has a number of unique and powerful benefits that make it popular among all types of people. Here are a few reasons why fruit tea is in such high demand around the world. It can act as a sugary-drink replacement, it is high in Vitamin C, and can give you an energy boost.

Fruit teas at include Skala, Mangga, and Goji Melon.

So, what's your favorite tea so far? When mucking around BGC, drop by Tea Lounge at BGC (you can find them right behind Wildflour Cafe + Bakery) and keep experimenting with teas until you find your favorite. If Renée is around, she can probably help you choose a tea based on your personality and preferences.

Just mucking around Manila,
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+ 63 2 478-3579
G/F Net Lima Building,
4th Ave. & 26th st.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open Daily: 10am - 11pm