Mindful Tea and Slowing Down

Not so long ago I visited New York. More specifically, Time Square, and it was nothing short of overwhelming. Everything vied for my attention – the people handing out flyers on the street, the cars laying on their horns, the flashing advertisement signs, the aromas, the buildings, and the endless crowds of people hurrying down sidewalks in massive clusters. There was always something to eat, something new to see, something strange to experience. I had fun but, by the end of my stay, I found I wanted nothing more than to wake up in my quiet apartment, in a sunny room where all I could hear were the birds and I could infuse my morning with the enveloping fragrance of jasmine flowers.

The city may be an exaggerated version of a society taught to rush headlong into hard work, but even if you don’t live smack in the middle of the Big Apple, there’s still much to be distracted by. Our phones are a constant buzz of entertainment; everything from the news to the weather to the daily lives of everyone else. We move tirelessly from one task to the next until finally collapsing at the end of the day. It leaves little time to enjoy the calmer parts of our lives. The little things like having the time for a good breakfast or taking a moment to breathe in the air and shake the stress off your shoulders.Croissant jam coffee orange jice at white wooden table.

Studies have shown that listening to the sounds of nature for five minutes a day can drastically reduce stress levels. (I’m sure I don’t have to mention that stress is known to be the leading cause of a long list of ailments.) This understanding isn’t even a new one.

Think about the culture of tea. Many societies around the world see tea making not only as a healthy beverage but a work of art. Everything from plucking and drying the leaves, to brewing and drinking of the tea, asks for patience, grace, and internalized harmony. It’s a process that asks those participating to put aside the worries of the past and future and delve completely into the elegant and beautiful task at hand.

Every morning I set time aside to brew my favorite tea, to make myself a light breakfast, and to savor every sip. It’s not only greatly improves my focus throughout the day, but it gives me that quiet moment I need to go about my day in a calmer state of mind.

Since this is the month of love, why not dedicate a good portion of it to self-love. Put your phone away on lunch breaks and savor your meal. Go for a short walk after dinner. Or, like me, take some time in the morning to be still and enjoy the simple pleasures your life has to offer.

As always stay healthy, and drink tea.

~ Melissa, Tea Barista.

Ti Kuan Yin – The Legend

It was some years ago, during the start of my budding tea enthusiasm, when I took a journey to visit family in Montana. We were driving through the snowy mountains on our way to Yellowstone in Wyoming when we rolled our rickety old truck into a small village. The streets were cobbled and the roofs were snow dusted. Among shops selling trinkets and the cafes offering black coffee, there was a gem.

I found myself wandering into a home for tea tradition, celebrating not only the unique qualities and flavors but the history as well. The story that captivated me most, was the story of an oolong tea, Ti Kuan Yin.

In Fujian’s Shaxian province, during a time of great poverty, there stood a neglected stone temple on the outskirts of a small village. An old farmer frequently visited the temple. He swept away debris, lit incense, and prayed to the goddess of compassion, Guanyin. One day, in a time of great despair, he went to the temple as usual. He finished his sweeping but, when he went to light the incense, the statue of Guanyin sprung to life. The old farmer fell to his knees, at which point the goddess, in her kind manner, whispered, “The key for your future is just outside this temple. Nourish it with tenderness and it will support you and yours for generations to come.”

She reverted to stone once more.Eastern turquoise Ti Kuan Yin tea

True to the goddess’s word, there was a shriveled bush outside the temple doors. From that point onward, the farmer swept the floor as always, lit and incense, and also watered the bush. When the leaves grew plump and healthy the farmer discovered that, when steeped in hot water, it made a refreshing drink. He clipped some branches and brought it to the village where his neighbors could plant it too. After a time the farmer experimented by drying the leaves in a stone wok until they became the dark, iron color. It reminded him so much of the Goddess, he named the tea, Ti Kuan Yin, Tea of the Iron Goddess of Mercy.

To this day, Ti Kuan Yin continues to be the most beloved olong grown in the Fujian province.

I don’t think the man who told me this story, would know how closely I held it over the years. Safe to say, I purchased the tea and it remains one of my favorites.

Oolong tea is typically served with meals since it may aid in improving digestion.  Other studies indicate that, due to high amounts of flavonoids, oolong may aid in improving bone and skin health, lower risk of heart disease, and prevent diabetes. It’s also delicious.

The Green Teahouse has many wonderful oolongs to choose from, including Ti Kuan Yin, which features in our Strawberry Rose blend. Come in to try a cup, or purchase a bag in store or online as www.thegreenteahousecom.

Stay healthy, and drink lots of tea.

-Melissa~ tea barista

Gluten Free Tea

In recent years, troubles with gluten have become a very real concern and a very real source of pain for hundreds. For those who don’t know, gluten is a protein found in various wheat products, spelt and rye included. In some cases, the smallest amount can cause those with intolerance a great deal of discomfort.  Since the unveiling of the autoimmune disease known as Celiac, studies have been conducted to show that consuming too much wheat isn’t only unwise for those afflicted by this disease, but for others as well.

Gluten is addictive. Not only for that doughy texture, but because it’s easily broken down as sugar in the body which gives us a boost of energy. The thing is, sugar doesn’t last longgreentea12 as far as energy goes. Gluten may also be linked to leaky gut, depressed moods, insomnia, fatigue, and bloating.

Some with gluten intolerance may have noticed a certain amount of irritation after sipping a cup of their favorite bag tea. Fear not. This is due the glue they use to bind the tea bags and not the tea itself; One more reason to change over to loose tea.

At The Green Teahouse, most of our teas are gluten-free and every leafe is handled and processed with care from the time they are plucked until they reach us at our new location. This is especially true when it comes to our premium teas such as our signature Snow Jasmine and the flavorful and exotic Red Jade black tea. Come in to try a cup. While you’re at it, delight in one of our gluten-free treats from Dee’s One Smart Cookie or shop online at http://www.thegreenteahouse.com.

 

Stay healthy, and drink lots of tea.

Amazing Green Tea Benefits

Throughout the years, green tea has been used to relieve headaches, aid in digestion, and boost alertness. Since then, the benefits have become widely known. Where it was once the drink of Emperors and Kings, now you’d be hard-pressed to find a weight loss supplement without some kind of tea extract on the ingredient label.

It’s been well known for a while that green tea has a bounty of antioxidants to help the body fend off free radicals and thus a variety of diseases. The one getting the most attention from health experts and nutrition-conscious folk alike, is a little something called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG for short.)

One of the more exciting things, and something that may give a little insight into the whole, green tea may help prevent some forms of cancer, is that EGCG specializes in interfering with oxidization. That means it may reduce oxidative damage in cells. In case you didn’t know, cell oxidation is a potential contributor to many illnesses, including some forms of cancer. Some even suggest that this antioxidant may protect newly developed neurons in the brain, enhance memory function.

It’s worth noting that the caffeine in tea is a bit gentler then what you get in coffee. Coffee has a tendency to lift you high and crash you hard. Counter that, the caffeine in tea gives more of an alert feeling that can help in focusing during those arduous finals and deadlines.photo 1

Other studies suggest that green tea may help break down fat into our bloodstream to be better used as energy during workouts. Next time you reach for that pre-workout drink, you might want to consider something a bit more natural. Something that may aid in multiple functions while trimming away all the winter pounds.

The Green Teahouse has a variety of green tea to choose from, including matcha, which is everything that green tea is multiplied. It’s also a great way to get some of that EGCG without drinking the tea since it’s easy to toss into some baked goods and smoothies.

One of our customer favorites is the Matcha smoothie. All you need is one banana, 1/4 a tsp of matcha whisked into 4oz of hot water with desired sweetness and a full cup of ice. (Ideally a 16oz cup.) Throw it all into a blender and flip the switch.

Green tea has come a long way from its birth home in China, and we still have a lot to uncover about this ancient beverage. As always, consult your doctor, eat well, and exercise daily.

Matcha Coconut Ice Cream

Green tea matcha ice cream scoop in white bowl. Copy space. Top view

Light, refreshing, and packed with antioxidants & fat-burning properties!

It’s impossible to imagine summer without ICE CREAM! We have an easy & healthy DIY ice cream recipe to share with you…Matcha Coconut Ice Cream. Try it with either Original Matcha or Raspberry Matcha.


Ingredients

  • 2 15oz cans of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated over night
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Matcha
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
    • chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, cacao nibs, & shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix together with an electric mixer or food processor until thoroughly combined.
  3. Line a freezer safe pan with parchment paper (we recommend a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan).
  4. Pour ice cream mixture into pan and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Place in the freezer overnight to allow ice cream to fully freeze.
  6. Allow to sit on the counter for about 10 minutes to soften before serving. Enjoy!

Green tea matcha ice cream scoop in white bowl on a grey stone background

Try this recipe at home? Tag us on Instagram, @thegreenteahouseus