Some years ago the global marketing man decided he needed a new superfood and after much deliberation he rolled up his sleeves and made himself a cuppa. However, this wasn’t any ordinary cuppa. This was a health packed super-cup of delicious Green Tea. He counted the antioxidants, made note of the polyphenol and other scientific sounding stuff, and convinced us that this little cup of goodness was the answer to our 21st century health issues. Before you start wailing into your teapot, I’m not about to disagree! On the contrary, oolong tea, white tea and the humble morning cuppa, black tea, are all packed full of the same superfood antioxidants that help build healthy minds and bodies.
There is nothing finer in life than a delicious pot of piping hot teaCamellia sinensis – commonly known as the tea plant – is the only source of tea on the planet and those free-radical-busting components are almost
exactly the same regardless of how you choose to drink them. It is the oxidation process - drying, rolling, withering and heat treating the leaves - that matters. The green tea process is shorter than that for oolong, which in turn is shorter than that for black. The shorter the process, the more antioxidants are retained, however the difference is truly minimal; you’d need to be drinking gallons of green tea each and every day for there to be any additional benefit to your health.
Apart from the superior cuppa that loose leaf tea produces, there is a significant benefit to the environment. We use about 55 billion teabags in the UK each year – that’s 370,000 tonnes of waste ending up in landfill.
Purists will tell you that when it comes to a perfect cup of tea, water should never reach boiling point – apparently you need a kettle with different settings! If that seems a bit too much, read on for some practical advice in the art of loose leaf. Loose leaf Tea in all varieties can be purchased from The Bean Shop in George Street, Perth.
Using a pot with a strainer or a cup-sized infuser, measure out roughly a teaspoon of tea for each person, with one for the pot if you like it strong. For green or oolong, fill about one quarter with cold water before pouring boiling water from the kettle. This will stop the leaves from scalding and help prevent that lingering bitter taste you sometimes experience with green tea.
Remember, leaf teas need a little longer to infuse than teabags so do wait for around three minutes for a delicious brew. If it’s not strong enough, then add extra tea next time – don’t leave it to brew further.
It’s not the colour of the tea that matters, rather it is the quality of the leaves, and the brewing method you apply. Mainstream bagged teas often include stems and seeds that can make the tea taste bitter; throw in the compulsion to drown our tea in milk and sugar and you will see why black tea was an unlikely candidate to promote as a superfood.
The truth is all fresh brewed tea is 100% natural, antioxidant rich, fat-free, calorie-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and preservative-free. And it tastes heavenly. From the lightest of Darjeelings to an earthy, bold Oolong, the very British Earl Grey to a delicate green jasmine, there is nothing finer in life than a delicious pot of piping hot tea.
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