Tuesday, September 26, 2017

**Upcoming REVIEWS** Lapsang Souchong (and other) Tea

Bye Coffee Why

Long-time readers of this blog know that I love coffee. In the past few months, though, I've been loving it too much so I decided to cut back a lot. I'm having problems with anxiety and restlessness and drinking so much coffee doesn't help. Also, since I don't smoke like I used to, coffee is the enemy because drinking coffee makes me think of cigarettes!

Anyway, instead of coffee, coffee, coffee, I've switched almost completely over to black tea. I'm finding that, even though tea can be highly caffeinated, it doesn't trigger my nerves. It actually seems to calm me down a bit.

My all-time favorite tea is...

but not the kind with bergamot oil! Ugh!
I big-a-love my Bigelow! (Minus the bergamot. Not so crazy about that.)

I love this tea so much that I can sometimes drink it without any kind of sweetener. Sometimes. I do love to add my own creamer-sweetener (see below to recipe), but that's because I need my sugar! The thing is, Bigelow's can be out of my budget sometimes and I have to use a store brand. What I find is that store brand tea is usually weak and flavorless. Ugh.

I recently got the chance to try a new (to me) kind of tea called Lapsang Souchong. (Yeah, I had to copy/paste that one!)

So, what is Lapsang Souchong?

My brain is lazy today so...
There ya go

I will refer to this tea as L.S.

I read several stories about how this tea came to be. One is that while some warrior and his crew were  in the middle of a battle, they brewed tea one night around a campfire. The teas became flavore by the smoke from the fire and... voila. There a other stories I won't go into, but it's aslo said that this particular tea is the first black tea in history.

When I was told about this tea having a "smoky" flavor, I almost passed on it. Every Google search came up with that same general description. I just wasn't that tempted. I thought that saying that my tea would be "smoky" is like saying my coffee would be "buttery".

Wait a minute. I do LOVE buttery coffee, right? When I first heard of buttered coffee back when I learned about the Keto diet, I had the same reservations.

Once I decided I might try this tea variety, I still wanted to know more about it - especially whether or not it would be any better for me than regular black tea.

Possible health benefits...

I gathered these bits and pieces from around the web. Sorry for not tracking my sources.
  • Immune sytem booster This is one of the big draws for me. I've always heard about tea being good for you. This L.S. is supposed to be some kind of super booster. This could help you fight off colds and other nastiness. Hopefully. 
  • Caffeine alternative.  You get caffeine, like with coffee, but this tea has less and is supposed to release into your system all through the day instead of with one big bang. This is exactly what I was looking for.
  • Helps in weight loss I just heard cheers going up all over! I myself have quit banking on anything for weight loss except for calorie cut back. However, I know that some things can help suppress appetite. L.S. is supposed to help the metabolism work faster and better. 
  • High in antioxidants & heart healthy We have all heard about antioxidants protecting against cancer. This tea (and maybe most others) has a combo of antioxidants that can help (they say) protect your DNA from the damage of free radicals.The antioxidants also help with evening out blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. That sounds good to me!
  • Has nutrients and minerals that are good for lowering bad cholesterol. Yay.
  • Relaxing and energizing? L.S. good source of L-Theanine which helps reduce stress levels. Of course, there's also caffeine. Apparently, when the caffeine is combined with the Theanine, there is the effect of relaxation and mental alertness and energy. ~shrug~ Okay.
Because I got to try more than one brand, I decided to review them separately. The brands are:
  1. Twinings
  2. Taylors
  3. Choice Organic

By the way, I learned that some cooks like to use a smoked tea as a rub for the pot roasts and other meats.

Other Tea

Image result for teaFor those who aren't adventurous and just want to enjoy a plain, old, good cup of tea, there's black tea. I already pointed out that Bigelow is a favorite of mine. I also pointed out that it can be pricey. Still, I will do a single post review on black tea from Bigelow Earl Grey (with and without bergamot), Tetley, and PG Tips.

Benefits of Black (and green) Tea

I was surprised to read that black tea can be just as healthful as green tea. All this time, I've been hearing more about green tea benefits. I like green tea on occasion but, to paraphrase someone, I'm not a son of gun about it.
Image result for black tea vs green tea

Here is some of the info I scoured when looking at the benefits and other news about tea:

From Organic Facts:

    Image result for black tea vs green tea
  • Treats Diarrhea. Black tea has a healing effect on intestinal disorders due to the presence of tannins. It is advisable for all diarrhea patients to sip plain, black tea slowly for maximum benefits. (I actually remembered hearing this during my younger years when elders discussed natural remedies.)
  • Improves Digestion because black tea is rich in abundant tannins and other chemicals that have a positive and relaxing effect on the digestive system of human body. This anti-inflammatory quality of black tea is also helpful for curing digestive disorders. (This must be why my British former mother-in-law could eat so heartily and keep a nice figure.)
  • Prevents Breast Cancer. Drinking tea, either black or green (my emphasis) varieties, aids women in preventing cancerous growth in the breasts, especially women in the pre-menopausal phase. Tea assists in raising the level of globulin hormones during the female menstrual cycle periods. The presence of theaflavins in black tea destroys abnormal cells in the body before they cause any major damage or change into cancerous cells.
  • And more pros for plain black tea it is...  rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols and also has minimal contents of sodium, proteins, and carbohydrates. According to Boston’s School of Medicine, it reverses the abnormal functioning of blood vessels, which may lead to strokes and other cardiovascular conditions. (I haven't gotten to the stage of drinking my black tea "plain black" yet, so...)
  • Here is a warning about drinking too much tea: Black tea is also known to cause acidity issues in the stomach. Therefore, do not get addicted to black tea. Furthermore, avoid drinking tea after lunch or dinner, as it may lead to poor digestion, whereas at other points in the day, it can promote healthy digestion.

Info from WebMD:

  • I found this very interesting: Green tea, black tea, oolong tea -- they all come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves are simply processed differently, explains Weisburger (82-year-old John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, N.Y.) Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo a crushing and fermenting process.
  • "In my lab, we found that green and black tea had identical amounts of polyphenols," he (Weisburger)tells WebMD. "We found that both types of tea blocked DNA damage associated with tobacco and other toxic chemicals. In animal studies, tea-drinking rats have less cancer."
Bottom Line

Moderation really is the key - whether you are doing something that is either good or bad for your health. I hope that you stick around for the reviews I will be posting.