If there was any doubt about the ancient wisdom that tea is good for human health, they were dispelled by the findings of the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health. Yet, like those that persist in smoking cigarettes in the face of overwhelming research advising against it, there are some who still do not favour the healthy and delicious herb. If the promise of protective benefits against every chronic disease does not lure, nor the prospect of reduced stress, greater alertness and less chance of Alzheimer’s Disease, then it must be left to the taste of tea.
Taste buds battered by more provincial beverages than tea, or as likely its commoditised version, often fail to appreciate the sophistication in tea. The harmony of flavours that makes a good tea, can easily be misunderstood, especially where it is a good and fresh tea. Too often have I heard the astringency in a fresh, properly stored high grown Ceylon tea being mistaken for ‘bitterness’ and the richness and character in a low elevation tea being labelled ‘too strong’. It is not that the tasters in each case were incapable of appreciating tea, but that their palates simply were not ready.
In the same way that a swig of cherry flavoured cola followed by a sip of Villa Maria Private Bin Pinor Noir 2005 is sure to disappoint, someone unaccustomed to tea is likely to find its taste unappealing, and also unlikely to appreciate the flavour, aroma or the appearance of the tea. It is a good idea therefore to enter the world of tea in a deliberate manner allowing the palate to adapt, and more comfortably ease into the utterly different hues, aromas, tastes, textures and flavours that real tea offers.
Green and black tea are very significantly different – generally – in their strength, characters and taste. Each must have its own ‘entry point’ therefore. Oolongs are in between and my suggestion is that light Oolongs (Tie Guan Yin) could be introduced through the same path as green tea while the heavier Oolongs in the same manner as black tea.
Taking Green Tea first, the entry point has to be that delicious combination of tea and herbs, Moroccan Mint. Our Dilmah Moroccan Mint combines natural green tea with peppermint and spearmint leaves to produce a gentle and aromatic beverage with a revitalizing minty sparkle in its finish. The combination of green tea and mint reflects the ancient Moroccan tradition of showing hospitality to guests by offering tea with mint in small glasses. Moroccan Mint is all natural and has a delicious and lively character; it is the perfect accompaniment to lunch or dinner.
The green tea aids digestion with its cholesterol reducing effect whilst also offering the numerous health benefits in tea. Scientific research on green and black tea suggests that regular consumption of 5 cups of tea daily can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, whilst also controlling blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels.
The natural mint leaves that are combined with the tea further aid digestion through the action of the menthol in easing the stomach muscles. Mint leaves are a natural herbal remedy for indigestion, colic, and is also said to work well in treating colds, sore throat, heartburn, stomach ache and headache.
Dilmah Moroccan Mint green tea is the perfect introduction to Green tea, especially for someone who is new to tea. It is ideally enjoyed straight although sugar can be added to taste if sweetness is desired. Honey is a better alternative to keep the beverage natural. Milk should not be added to green tea. For a spicy twist, add a few slivers of fresh ginger, and a teaspoonful of light honey to the brewed Moroccan Mint. Serve in heat resistant glasses with a fresh mint leaf garnish or a wedge of orange.
To prepare, use freshly boiled water, ideally a spring water if you live in a hard water area. Pour the boiled water directly onto the teabag, using 2200-225 ml per bag. For Moroccan Mint in loose leaf form, use 2.5g (roughly equivalent to a heaped teaspoonful) per serving of 200-225ml. Iced Moroccan Mint Tea is a refreshing alternative on a hot day; to make a litre of Iced Tea, pout half a litre of freshly boiled water into a clean and dry, heat resistant jug containing 3 Moroccan Mint teabags. Stir or agitate the bags to start the brewing, then cover the a saucer and leave to brew for 2 minutes. Stir and brew for a further minute. Remove the teabags and top up with chilled water. Allow the iced tea to cool and chill. Serve in tall glasses with a Mint Leaf or orange garnish. For a fizzy difference, follow the same guidelines and instead of topping up the brewed tea with chilled water, use chilled, sparkling lemonade.