New Year’s Tea

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January 1, 2012 by bethanjthomas

At this time of year, marketeers are in seventh heaven, trying to sell us new things, more of what we already have, extra gifts for our loved ones or their first born child (if the price is right).

Tea has not always been a part of this, but over the past few years as the speciality tea market has grown, so has the ambition and reach of retailers.  I’ve already received 4 emailed news letters telling me about which teas can help me see in the new year, which will help me lose weight, which will detox my body and which are half price.

Detox tea

Detox sales = gimmick sales

I have no argument with prices dropping on teas, but the gimmick of creating ‘detox blends’, ‘new year celebration teas’ and ‘weight loss teas’ grates on me.

Tea has numerous health benefits – all tea types contain anti-oxidants which are believed to be important as part of a balanced, healthy diet, but no tea is a miracle cure for ailments.  If the festive season has made you put on a little weight, there is little chance that a tea alone can help you lose the pounds.  Go for a walk, or even better a run.

If you do want to spend some Christmas cash on tea there are some less well known tea types that could rock your world and don’t need a cheap line to sell them.

I’ve therefore decided to put together a few recommendations.  Not branded, but just tea types which can be found with a little bit of a search.

White Darjeeling Tea

White Darjeeling Tea Infusion (photo courtesy of http://artandtea.files.wordpress.com/)

White Darjeeling Tea Infusion (photo courtesy of http://artandtea.files.wordpress.com/)

– whilst China has produced white teas for millenia, India is now beginning to produce some fantastic ‘silver needle’ teas using only buds.  By not using leaves and simply withering the tea, a delicate and refreshing cup is produced.  You can expect the tea to be sweet with hints of muscatel and light melon notes, a rich aftertaste reminiscent of black tea.  Fantastic.

Some people will try to sell you on the idea that this type of tea is anti-ageing or ‘better for you than green tea’.  I’ve also read many articles stating that it is almost caffeine free, but now from scientific tests that white tea is often as high in caffeine as a black tea.  So be careful of health promises and drink it purely because it is delicious and rare.

Li Shan Black Tea (梨山红茶)

Li Shan Black Tea (photo courtesy of http://thegreenteareview.blogspot.com/)

Li Shan Black Tea (photo courtesy of http://thegreenteareview.blogspot.com/)

– Li Shan (Pear mountain) in Taiwan is most famous for producing oolong tea, but for a price you can get black tea from this region.  It is rich, sweet and smooth.  You would never add milk but enjoy it alone and savour every sip.   As it is produced in extremely small quantities, it is a definite treat to enjoy like a fine whiskey on cold evenings or special occasions!

Dragon Well Green Tea (Long Jing, 龙井)

Dragon Well Green Tea (photo courtesy of http://smuggled-in.blogspot.com/)

Dragon Well Green Tea (photo courtesy of http://smuggled-in.blogspot.com/)

– ignore any one trying to sell you green tea as a detox tea.  There is no doubt that green tea is good to drink, so drink an outstanding cup rather than a cheap, dusty, bitter infusion.  Investing in dragon well green tea will ensure that you enjoy a smooth, complex and roasted green tea.  Hand pressed against a hot wok this tea is one of the most treasured teas in China.  There’s a great piece about Hangzhou, where the tea if from on CNN – http://bit.ly/tr2qBz.

Try any of these 3 teas and you will have spent money well, you will probably get some health benefits and you will certainly enjoy the experience.  But then, you could always just click on the link from a tea company and try an artificially flavoured and coloured ‘detox’ tea that is on offer instead…

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