Archive for the ‘Tea Tips’ Category

  • Holiday Road Trip With Ella

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    EllaDuring the holidays, our family had the rare occasion when we could all take time off from our jobs and busy schedules to make the 11-hour drive to visit my husband’s family. We packed up the car and tucked Ella, our 3-month-old puppy, into some blankets on the back seat with our son. Ten hours into the trip, Ella got carsick. We’re not too sure why she got sick, though she was watching a DVD with Ryan when it happened. I got everyone cleaned up without too much trouble, and we got to Gramma’s without any other delays. The whole incident, though, brought up a lengthy discussion on the uses and benefits of teas for dogs. When we got back home I did some research and was surprised with the results.

    Tea and coffee are dangerous to dogs because it affects their heart and nervous system. Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant that can cause all kinds of problems. Small amounts of caffeine can cause vomiting and diarrhea, whereas large amounts will increase heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to seizures and death. That means black, green and oolong teas should never be given to your pet. The question arises, is decaffeinated tea ok? It seems that I could not get a clear answer. While some studies say decaffeinated tea is all right in moderation, other studies say that even decaffeinated tea still has some residual caffeine, and a greater concern would be the dog’s reaction to the chemicals used in the decaffeinating process.

    I then researched herbal teas for dogs. There were even more pros and cons on this subject, but I found a few that seemed safe enough for dogs.

    Chamomile tea was safe in most cases. One caution, animals with allergies to goldenrod or ragweed should not consume teas containing chamomile. Also, never give chamomile tea to a pregnant animal since it can cause uterine problems. Chamomile tea is used to calm an animal; place a little in their water dish or soak a treat in it.

    Ginger tea seemed to be generally accepted for pets. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat a myriad of aliments such as gas, nausea, arthritis and heart problems. It can also be used as an antiviral and fever reducer. There are some cautions when using ginger. It can decrease blood sugar levels, increase absorption of oral medications and might cause uterine problems in pregnant dogs. Too much ginger on an empty stomach can actually cause a dog to become nauseated.

    Rooibos tea was the one herbal tea that I couldn’t find any negative side affects. It’s packed with over thirty powerful antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and doesn’t contain caffeine. With its natural sweet taste, dogs seem to love it.

    The best way to use tea for pets is topical. Here’s a few interesting ways to use teas.

    Brush your dog’s teeth with green tea. Green tea is great for oral health and helps kill the bacteria that cause plaque build up, cavities and gum disease

    Use green tea as an astringent for healing minor open sores. The antibacterial properties of green tea are great for drying out and healing hot spots.

    Spray your dog’s coat with Chamomile tea. It makes your dog smell great and, since Chamomile kills bacteria, it can sooth and relieve itchy skin

    Here are a few tea recipes that will help make your doggie more comfortable.

    Ginger Tummy Tea

    Pour a cup of boiling water over several slices of peeled fresh ginger root and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove ginger slices and cool. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Ginger Tummy Tea to your pet’s water about a ½ hour before leaving the house. This tea can be administered every 2 to 3 hours while traveling. Keep tea in the refrigerator or cooler and discard after 48 hours.

    Coat Deodorizer

    Brew a couple of cups of chamomile tea, cool and place in a plastic spray bottle. To use, lightly spray your dog before brushing. Keep tea in the refrigerator and discard after 48 hours. If your dog has itchy skin, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the tea.

    Remember, I’m not a veterinarian and am only sharing what I learned. Only your veterinarian knows what’s best for your particular pet, so before trying any natural or herbal treatments, always consult with him or her first. Please be a good pet parent and keep your pet safe.

  • Tea In The Garden

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    The title of this blog might be a bit misleading. I’m not talking garden parties or afternoon tea; I’m talking gardening with tea and tea leaves.

    Tea is high in nitrogen and contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and even fluoride that are needed for healthy plants.

    Tea leaves make a great organic fertilizer. When added to soil, they add bulk and acidity and help absorb and hold moisture. The recommended tea leaves for fertilizer are black, green, oolong, and Rooibos (also known as redbush).

    True teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant are highly acidic and are the most beneficial for acid-loving plants. Try sprinkling your used black, oolong, green and/or white tea leaves around the base of azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns, hollies and roses. Vegetables plants that benefit from tea leaves include tomato, pepper, and eggplant.

    Got leftover tea? Add it to your watering can and use it to water your indoor and outdoor potted plants. This will add nutrients and, in the case of green tea, may even discourage insects.

    Another added benefit of adding tea leaves to your soil is the possibility of warding off slugs and snails. Some studies have shown that as little as a 1 to 2 percent solution of caffeine can kill these pests.

    This sounds great, but does it really work?

    I scared my husband a bit when I surrounded his tomato and pepper plants with a generous amount of used tea leaves. After a few waterings, he had deep green, healthy plants that almost doubled in height. It was amazing. Even the little runt of a tomato plant greened-up and started growing. So after the vegetable garden, I moved on to the roses which are now blooming like crazy. When we potted up some flowers, I added tea leaves to the potting soil. So far, I have nice healthy plants that seem to be withstanding the heat.

    Just remember that too much of a good thing can kill you plants. It’s recommended that you only add tea leaves or water your plants with tea no more than every two weeks.

    Happy Gardening!

  • Which Tea Do You Drink With Dinner? Part III

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    Some feel that Oolong tea has such a complex flavor and aroma that it should be consumed on its own. Pairing foods with Oolong teas is a little trickier since Oolong’s character tends to fall somewhere between a black tea and a green tea. Lightly oxidized Oolongs tend to go very well with foods that would be paired with white wines. On the other hand, full and medium oxidized Oolongs would go with foods that are normally paired with red wines.

    Lightly oxidized Oolongs tend to have a sweetness that pairs nicely with sweet, rich seafood dishes, such as scallops and lobster.

    The toastiness and full flavor of medium and dark Oolongs matches well with stronger flavored foods. Dark Oolongs are excellent with grilled foods, spicy or tangy dishes, and Chinese or Thai foods.

    For a wonderful ending to a meal, try pairing an Oolong with a sweet dessert like crepes or Pecan pie.

  • Which Tea Do You Drink With Dinner? Part II

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    When you want food combinations that go well with Green teas think about the foods you consume with white wines. Green teas have a fresh, light flavor that is well suited to mild flavored foods.

    Green teas are superb with seafood. Other foods that would be paired with Green teas would be salads; rice, chicken, vegetable, and fruit dishes.

    Surprisingly, Green tea is great to drink with fried foods. It “cuts” through the greasiness of fried food and reduces the chance of indigestion.

    Fruity desserts and white chocolate are excellent with Green teas.

  • Which Tea Do You Drink With Dinner? Part I

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    Black Tea and Food

    The other day, a friend asked me if, like wine, do you pair certain teas with certain foods. He thought he was making a joke and was surprised to find out that there is a correlation between food and tea.

    Black teas have robust flavors and aromas, and are rich and full-bodied with strong finishes. Think of Black teas in the same manner as red wines.

    Black tea would be paired with full flavored foods such as red meats, curries, and desserts. They are compatible with foods that have high oil or fat content and for that reason they work well with most breakfast foods, cream based pastas, egg dishes, sweet, creamy desserts, and anything containing chocolate.

    Black tea goes excellent with any spicy dish and would be a great accompaniment to Mexican, Italian, or Indian foods.

    For a special treat, try a Black tea when indulging in a box of fine chocolates!

  • Green Tea for Puffy Eyes And Dark Circles

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    Here’s a quick tip to reduce puffy eyes and lighten dark circles. All you need is green tea and one small cucumber.

    Brew two cups of green tea and allow it to come to room temperature. While the tea is cooling, thinly slice the cucumber. Put the cucumber slices in a glass dish, pour the tea over the slices, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. To use, gently blot excess tea from cucumber slices and place slices on puffy areas for about 10 minutes.

    It’s amazing how this works. Cucumbers have astringent properties that cause blood vessels to constrict, plus their cooling affects helps ease painful inflammation.

    It’s the tannin in tea that also works as an astringent. You could use black or oolong, but green tea contains considerably more tannin. The caffeine in tea also helps to constrict blood vessels, reduce swelling, and tighten the skin around the eyes.

    Cucumber and green tea will help lighten dark circles. because of their ability to constrict the blood vessels and tiny capillaries under the eye.

    To turn your next eye treatment into a spa experience, try adding a teaspoon of honey to the tea and mix well before adding the cucumber slices. The honey will help erase small wrinkles from around the eye.

    Always be careful when putting anything on or around the eyes. I recommend that you first test this on your wrist to check for redness or irritation, if so, do not place on the eyes. Of course, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients you should not use this procedure.

  • Stop! Don’t Squeeze That Tea Bag.

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    I got an early start today, running errands, and decided to stop at a local restaurant for my favorite breakfast. While I was waiting for my order to arrive, I gazed around the restaurant and an elderly couple caught my attention. They too were waiting for their food to be served. He was reading the morning paper and obviously drinking coffee. She was sloshing a tea bag up and down in her cup. When she was done, she wrapped the tea bag around the spoon and to my utter dismay, squeezed it to get out every last drop of liquid. As I sat watching her, I wondered how many people have really experienced a great cup of tea?

    Pages could be written on how this woman took a so-so cup of tea and turned it into a drink that needed to be poured down the drain. I could discuss the quality of tea bags, or the way the tea bag was stored, or even the water temperature that her cup of tea was made with, but I want to focus today on what happened when she squeezed the tea bag dry.

    It’s tempting to squeeze a tea bag. Who wants it dripping all over the place? Plus, with the cost of things today, shouldn’t we squeeze every last drop out instead of wasting it? Makes sense, but what are you really doing to that cup of tea?

    When you squeeze out that last bit of liquid from your tea bag you release tannins and oils that make the tea bitter. Also, if you squeeze too hard, you run the risk of breaking the bag and releasing all of the fannings into your drink.

    So the next time you use a tea bag, resist the temptation to squeeze it. You’ll end up with a more drinkable cup of tea.

    (Evanor Teas)

  • Protecting Your Tea Investment

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    Today I would like to give you some tips on how to protect your tea investment.

    Did you know that tea has a shelf life? Generally speaking, under ideal conditions, Black and Oolong teas could remain fresh up to 3 years, and the lesser-oxidized teas, such as the Greens and Whites, could last up to 2 years if stored right. Also, loose teas have a longer shelf life than bag teas.

    The secret to prolonging a tea’s freshness is to properly store it. The five things that will destroy a tea’s flavor and aroma are air, heat, light, moisture, and odor.

    Store your tea in air tight, opaque tin or ceramic containers. Never store tea in plastic containers. If you store your tea in a glass jar, make sure the jar is kept in a dark cabinet and away from light.

    Tight fitting lids are a must to keep air, moisture, and odors out.

    Avoid storing tea in humid areas of your kitchen.

    Keep your tea away from heat sources. Store your tea in cool, dry places, but never freeze or refrigerate it.

    Tea will absorb odors so do not store it along side strong smelling food items like herbs, spices, or other strongly scented teas.

    Following these few simple steps should ensure a fresh tasting cup of tea every time!

    Tea Tins