The Boston Tea Party and revolution

It can be said that tea is highly relevant, on every imaginable level. Economically, countries all over the world use profits gained from selling the plant to further their own national development. In the entertainment industry, television thrives due to commercials by popular tea brands, including Lipton. It has also made cameos in many songs, books, and films, including the much-loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Perhaps most importantly, tea is incredibly relative on a historical level, particularly when referring to the United States of America during the late 1700’s – or, more specifically, to the Boston Tea Party.

As commercial trade increased during the seventeenth century, tea soon found its way to the studies of the European elite, before trickling down to the middle and lower class. Around this same time, the East India Company was given a monopoly by Parliament over tea importation. As the plant became increasingly more popular, to further their profits, Parliament required the British colonists to import their tea solely from Great Britain. As can be expected, this did not go over well. Nevertheless, this tea was auctioned off in England and sold to colonists by merchants. A series of Parliamentary acts which increased the taxes upon teas resulted in British colonists withholding a ship (the Dartmouth) of taxed British tea, and debating whether to keep it or return it to England.

On November 29, a meeting was held at the Old South Meeting House in Boston. Samuel Adams wanted the captain of the Dartmouth to return the ship. Regardless, the Colonists were given twenty days to make a decision, or the cargo would be confiscated. As the deadline approached, Governor Hutchinson remained resolute in his decision to not allow the ships to leave. As Samuel Adams tried to maintain control of the December 17th meeting, colonists began to leave, and head in the direction of Boston Harbor. While the amount of men is debated (between fifteen and one hundred-forty, depending upon the source), they boarded the now three ships (The Beaver and The Eleanor had been sent after the Dartmouth) and dumped an overwhelming total of three hundred and forty-two chests of tea into the harbor.

Today, this event symbolizes the American colonists setting their collective food down regarding independence. In 1775, these taxes were eventually repealed, and a set of requirements were added, however, which increased tensions between the two nations. The Taxation of Colonies act in 1778 furthered sentiments of independence.

How to Make a Perfect Martini

A Martini is one of those fabulously simple foodie things that despite having only two main ingredients, demands utmost respect at all times.  There are near countless variations on the Martini recipe.  These range from classic twists on a traditional Dry Martini such as a Perfect, a tasty novelty twist such as the Appletini and semi-disgusting variants such as the Mantini (made with British Ale and garnished with olive and bacon). 

To make a great Martini is to understand the subtle idiosyncrasies of the drink; that it is quality over quantity, and that because there are so many ways to customise the drink (i.e. shaken or stirred?) there are plenty of opinions as to what makes the perfect Martini.

Let’s put all of these out of our minds for a while and concentrate on the original (and arguably the best), a Dry Martini, made the traditional way.  This drink – mixed and served well – is the sign of a great bartender or discerning drinker. 

♦ Ingredients

To make a Dry Martini the following ingredients are needed:

– 2.5 shots Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

– 0.75 shots Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

– 1 dash Angostura Bitters (optional, to taste)

– Olives / Lemon zest twist  / Onion to garnish

Quality ingredients make a great Martini.  Bombay Sapphire is one of the best gins to use; its use of 10 botanical ingredients (such as juniper berries, coriander and almond) give the gin a more floral taste which works really well with Vermouth.  An alternative to Bombay is Tanqueray Gin.  Both brands are widely available.

The choice of vermouth depends on the drinker; Noilly Prat is a good all-rounder – superbly dry and a clean, refreshing taste.  Another great tasting option is Martini & Rossi’s dry vermouth.  As vermouth is variation of wine, to find the best is a matter of taste, so enjoy finding out which maker you prefer!

♦ Method

Take a good sized Martini (V-shaped) glass and chill it well in advance of preparation; keep it in the freezer for an hour beforehand.  Failing this, fill the glass with crushed ice and leave to stand.

Take a Boston can or tumbler glass and half-fill with ice cubes.  Pour the vermouth over the ice and stir until all the ice cubes are covered in vermouth.  Discard the excess vermouth, leaving just the vermouth-covered cubes in the can/glass.

Pour the gin over the ice, stir and fine strain into the Martini glass.

♦ Garnish

Olives are the traditional garnish (doesn’t really matter if they are stuffed or not).  A ‘Franklyn Martini’ has two olives.  A ‘Gibson’ is a Martini garnished with onion and of course, there is the ever popular lemon twist.  A ‘Dickens’ is a Martini without a twist.

♦ Popular Variants

The following are made in a very similar fashion; essentially a good Martini is well chilled and made with superb ingredients.  The ‘Vesper’ is named after the James Bond character (remember *that* scene in Casino Royale?) and is made with gin and vodka.  A Wet Martini is made with lots of vermouth, a Dirty Martini is made with brine from an olive jar and a Vodkatini or Vodka Martini is… well guess.

However you or your guests like their Martinis, remember to serve them ice cold, use quality ingredients and use a quality glass.  Tuxedo and a Scottish lisp are optional.

Teatypes of Teahealth Benefits of Tea

Camellia sinensis, the plant from which the leaves, buds, and internodes are dried and cured to create the agricultural product known as tea. Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage throughout the world, second only to water. Tea comes in at least 6 major varieties of tea, they are;

White
Yellow
Green
Oolong
Black

Pu-erh(post fermentation process homeopathic medicinal tea)

There are numerous combinations, variations, and differences in processing and curing methods. Then for variation or variety many manufacturers use additions of infusions of fruit or fruit flavorings and other types of herbs, flowers, and medicinal plants. Different methods of drying, curing, and preserving both virgin tea and blends of different leaves are used to make different varieties or types of teas. Some blends of processes are proprietary and they are produced only by one company or the particular blend is sold under a proprietary trade name like “Earl Grey” or “English Breakfast Tea”

A lot has been made of green tea in recent years because of the fact that green tea can help people to lose weight. Tea has several essential vitamins and is a rich source for minerals that are body soluble or easily absorbed and used by the body. Tea is also rich in antioxidants (polyphenols)

Vitamins Minerals

B1 (Thiamin) Manganese

B2 (Riboflavin) Potassium

B6 Zinc

C Fluorine

K

Carotene(precursor of vitaminA)

Folic Acid

Once it is picked tea leaves are fragile and extremely perishable as soon as they are picked, they immediately begin to wilt and oxidize simultaneously if it is not cured and processed immediately after it is picked. Freshly picked tea leaves will undergo a process of enzymatic oxidation (fermentation), as the chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released the leaves will get darker in stages. Allowing the process to continue is what gives us the different varieties of tea. After the tea is dried , the next step in the curing process is to stop the oxidation of the leaves at a preset stage. This is done by heating the leaves. Heat stops the enzymatic process that ferments the leaves.

When processing tea, careful control of temperature and humidity is an absolute necessity throughout all stages of the manufacture from the drying process to the packaging process. If the temperature or humidity are not carefully controlled tea can promote and incubate fungus which is toxic and in some cases the fungi can even be carcinogenic, in addition to that wilted ad oxidized leaves cause off-flavoring , which makes the tea unfit for consumption. The way that they classify tea traditionally is based on the process by which it is produced and processed. White tea at one end of the scale is wilted but unoxidized while black tea at the other end of the spectrum is wilted, sometimes it is crushed, and it is allowed to fully oxidize.

Tea contains a type of antioxidant called catechins. In freshly picked tea leaved catechins can be up to 30% of the dry weight of the leaf. In white tea you will find the highest concentration of these beneficial antioxidants while in black there is a significantly lower number of them due to the oxidative preperation that makes it black tea.

There is some disagreement amongst the medical and scientific communities over whether or not there are health benefits derived from drinking tea regularly. Consumption of the vitamins (C,E, and K) flavanoids, amino acids, and polysaccharides, found in tea leaves in high levels has been shown to fight cancer and cardiovascular diseases in animal testing but scientists argue that there is not enough of the vitamins and minerals to be beneficial to humans. A 14 year study for cognitive decline over time between drinkers and non drinkers of tea conducted by UCLA PhD Lenore Arab found that; “tea drinking has recently proven to be associated with cell-mediated immune function of the human body” the study also found that tea can play an important role in nurturing intestinal microflora, and also provides immunity against intestinal illnesses. Tea is also said to be beneficial to humans in that it protects the body’s cell membranes from damage from oxidative processes. It is also said to help prevent dental cavities because tea contains fluorine.

Not at issue for debate is that tea normalizes blood pressure, it has lipid depressing properties, has been said to prevent both diabetes and coronary heart disorders because tea reduces the Blood-glucose activity in the body. Tea is also found to have germicidal and germistatic properties that fight both gram positive and gram negative pathogenic bacterium. Green and black tea have the largest number of catechins which are anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, and anti-tumoric antioxidants, though all teas made with real Camellia sinensis leaves, buds, and intermodes, has the vitamins and minerals discussed above.(Herbal teas often contain no “tea” leaves at all.)

Though the PhD’s and MD’s may debate the issue until the end of time and none of them exist anymore, I believe that in the end there will be incontrovertible proof that the health and prevention properties that are present in tea are not a myth or some old wives tale, that tea really can help to prevent cancer, heart disease, loss of cognition as you age, and many other health benefits. Adding a cup of tea to your day or a cup of tea every other day is not such a strenuous nor unpleasant addition to your regular health and wellness regimen as to actually be a chore instead of simply being a nice cup of relaxing tea. Tea is versatile and can be drunk either hot or cold, there are numerous blends and plants that can enhance and change the flavor of tea, there is a blend or a flavoring to please any palate. Tea is also a sugar free, low calorie, and all-natural, not to mention hydrating beverage that can be enjoyed anytime.

Iced tea recipes Southern

To my mind, few things are as refreshing on a hot summer day as a glass of iced tea. Of course, I’m not referring to the powdered products to which you just add water. Iced tea simply must be made with real tea leaves sweetened with sugar or honey. What’s more, I think traditional Southern iced tea might be my favorite way to prepare this refreshing summer beverage. I think there’s something about the flavor of orange pekoe or breakfast blend that lends itself to being chilled and served with slices of lemon.

Traditionally, Southern iced tea uses one of the black teas associated with the British. You can use teas like Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe, Darjeeling or whatever strikes your fancy. Personally, I prefer using Earl Grey. I think Earl Grey’s dry finish and flavors of orange and bergamot make it an ideal match for the refreshing flavor of lemon. Add something sweet to take the edge off Earl Grey’s dry finish and boy, howdy do you have a great summer drink.

To brew your iced tea you’ll need the following:

9 cups water
4 slices lemon
14 tsp loose leaf tea
4 Tbsp honey

In a saucepan or tea kettle bring 9 cups water to a slow rolling boil.

Once the water comes to a boil remove from the heat, add the tea leaves and steep 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place lemon slices and honey in a large pitcher along with a half a cup of cold water.

Once the tea is ready, strain out the tea leaves and add the tea to the pitcher. Reserve leaves for another use or discard.

Place the tea in the fridge and chill. When chilled, add ice and serve.

Finally, I have just a couple final notes and variations and you’ll be ready to go.

First of all, I can’t say enough good things about using loose leaf tea versus tea bags. As with all cooking, your final product only tastes as good as the ingredients used. Tea bags just don’t provide as much flavor.

Second, you’ll probably notice I’ve called for almost double the amount of tea leaves used to make tea. The reason for this is once you add ice to your pitcher and it starts to melt, your tea will become diluted and weaker tasting. Using extra tea leaves compensates for this.

Finally, I’ve suggested using Earl Grey because it’s my favorite tea to use. If you prefer Orange Pekoe or some other tea, by all means use it.

Best Holiday Hot Toddy Recipes

Nothing may ruin a holiday celebration faster than a cold or the flu.  Many people drink homemade hot toddies to ease the symptoms of an illness but during the holidays it may be fun to put a spin on a traditional hot toddy when you are preparing a concoction to ease the symptoms of an illness of a loved one. 

Hot toddies succeed in relaxing an ill person not because they contain medicine but because they contain alcohol.  Traditional hot toddies are made with rum or whiskey.  But for the holidays why not try adding some holiday flavor?  Often when a person is ill he or she won’t feel like eating or drinking.  So why not make a hot toddy with traditional Christmas flavors such as cinnamon or eggnog so that your loved one may enjoy a part of the holidays?

Here are some ideas for putting a twist on a traditional hot toddy recipe:

Eggnog Hot Toddy

If it’s the alcohol that makes a hot toddy so effective by relaxing an ill person why not try and make a hot toddy with eggnog?  Eggnog is usually enjoyed chilled but eggnog is delicious when it is enjoyed warm and may be added to a hot toddy for a holiday spin.  Here is a delicious recipe for eggnog hot toddy:

1 oz of rum
1 C of eggnog
Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Directions

Pour rum into the bottom of a mug or glass. Heat eggnog on stovetop until the eggnog is warm and starts to froth. Pour eggnog in mug or glass over top of rum and stir. Garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg by sprinkling over top. Serve warm. 

Chai Tea Hot Toddy

Chai tea is a popular drink in winter months and its unique blend of spices are a perfect  blend of spices for the holiday season.  Many people make hot toddies with tea bags.  Why not try using a chai tea bag instead of a traditional tea bag when making a hot toddy during the holiday season?

Ingredients

1 tea bag
1 lemon wedge
1 oz of rum or whiskey
1 tablespoon of dark honey
1 C water

Directions

Using water and chai tea brew tea according to directions. Set aside for one minute after brewing is complete. Pour honey into the bottom of a mug or glass Add alcohol to the honey. Squeeze juice from lemon wedge into the glass. Add hot tea and stir. Serve piping hot. 

Many people enjoy hot toddies only when they are ill.  But after drinking a holiday hot toddy you may discover that hot toddies are delicious at any time during the year.

Health Benefits of Labrador Tea

*IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER NOTICE*

The data presented in this article is intended for general informational and research purposes only. The Author in no manner condones or recommends experimentation with any substance, without the guidance and evaluation of your health care provider or personal physician. Only by working together can you and your health care provider make the best decisions regarding your own health. As always, consult with your health care provider BEFORE trying ANY new medicinal product, procedure, or advice.

 In the Modern Age that we find ourselves living in, it has become rather widely accepted that herbal teas may offer several health benefits to tea connoisseurs. Two of the more commonly known varieties are Green Tea and Chamomile Tea. Green Tea has been shown to have numerous anti-oxidant properties (1), and Chamomile Tea has long been used for its calming properties. (2)

 A lesser known tea is Labrador Tea. This tea comes from the leaves of the shrub Ledum groenlandicum. During the American Revolution, and the historically famous “Boston Tea Party”, Labrador tea was found to be an acceptable substitute for the overly taxed, imported British variety of tea. It was often served in the finest parlors in Boston by the city’s hostesses. Some more adventurous would even occasionally used it to brew beer.(3)

 Traditionally, Native Americans have used this tea as a medicinal treatment for such things as Asthma, stomachaches, colds, ulcers, itching, and even as a treatment to get rid of Lice. Other treatment claims include: Arthritis, burns, dizziness, use as a blood purifier, and as a treatment for Tuberculosis. Due to the plant’s narcotic properties, some Native women even use it during childbirth to alleviate pain. (5)

 In the interest of responsible journalism, it should be noted that questions have arisen, and been debated, about Labrador tea’s beneficial effects. In the publication “Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest” (Gray’s 1976), Lewis J. Clark was quoted as saying: “Ledol, a toxic compound that can induce cramps and paralysis, has been isolated from the leaves of all of the Ledum species. Possibly in the low concentrations of the pioneers brew, this substance may have produced restorative effects similar to those resulting from the caffeine in tea.” (3)

Extreme care should be exercised when preparing Labrador tea. If brewed in too high of a concentration, it may cause some nasty, and/or downright lethal side effects, such as: intoxication, slow pulse, low blood pressure, confusion, convulsions, and even paralysis or death. (4) (6)

Informational Sources:

(1) http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/antioxidants-in-green-and-black-tea

(2) http://sleepdisorderstalk.com/sleep-aids/chamomile-tea-as-sleep-aid

(3) http://www.herbcompanion.com/Health/LABRADOR-TEA.aspx

(4) http://www.health-care-clinic.org/alternative-medicines/labrador-tea.html

(5) http://www.healthline.com/natstandardcontent/labrador-tea

(6) http://www.drugs.com/npp/labrador-tea.html

About Masala chai tea

Masala chai or chai tea has a history as rich and flavorful as the tea itself. What North Americans commonly refer to as chai is actually referred to in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet as masala chai. Masala chai is a sweetened milky tea enhanced with a variety of spices.

The history of this creamy beverage dates back five thousand years to the ancient courts of India. It is believed that masala chai was a beverage used for Ayurvedic purposes by a royal Indian king for its natural healing properties. The tea was believed to be a cleansing system for various illnesses and ailments and was consumed on a regular basis for robust health and well being. As a result, masala chai grew in popularity throughout India eventually becoming a staple beverage served across the country on a daily basis.

Masala chai was considered a natural remedy for a variety of medical conditions and depending upon the seasonal and regional availability of various spices and sweeteners the preparation of masala chai would frequently change and vary across the countryside. In fact, masala chai was consumed hot or cold, milky and sweet with a variety of unique and flavorful spice mixtures.

Traditional spices added to the milky tea include peppermint, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, peppercorn and cloves. Other spices that are often used in western chai drinks include cocoa, almonds, licorice and vanilla.

There also a variety of sweeteners that can be used including honey, cane sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar and molasses. The various sugar and spice mixtures create unique robust flavors and add a subtle golden hue to the milky masala chai.

In 1885, during British colonization, several tea plantations were erected in Assam, India to grow, cultivate and produce fine black tea. The resulting Assam tea quickly became the main tea type used in masala chai recipes and is still used in masala chai and chai tea recipes around the globe today.

In 1960 a new processing method referred to as Cut, Tear and Curl was implemented in Assam, India to process black tea. The cut, tear and curl method is an inexpensive process that results in a stronger and even more flavorful black tea. When the CTC method was implemented the popularity of masala chai grew eventually skyrocketing in popularity around the globe for its eclectic and spicy spin on the world’s favorite beverage . . . tea.

Many families have their own special masala chai recipes that have been passed down through generations. One of the most common methods for making masala Chai begins with the boiling of loose black tea leaves, milk, freshly ground spices and a sweetener. Once the tea has been boiled, steeped and simmered the chai mixture is poured over a strainer to filter out the tea leaves and spice residue.

Masala chai is a wonderfully palatable drink with a unique sweet and savory taste. The milky tea is usually served warm, fresh off the stove, but it can also be served over ice as a cool and refreshing drink.

Mulled Wine Recipes for Christmas

Mulled wine for many people is a drink inextricably linked with the Christmas season. It comprises a number of flavorsome and scented spices, particularly cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a popular drink at German Christmas markets but is very quick and easy to make at home. This article features three recipes for making homemade mulled wine, all in quantities designed to serve four people. Why not try serving it to your Christmas guests as they arrive, both to help ward off the Winter chill and provide a delicious taste of the season?

Glasses of many different types, cups and even mugs are all perfect for serving mulled wine. You may, however, wish to try and pick up some Christmas designed mugs at a local store, or even online, to add that little final touch of authenticity to your creation.

It is best to use a fairly medium bodied red when making mulled wine. Cabernet sauvignon and merlot are both excellent choices.  

Golden rum mulled wine ingredients

1 bottle of red wine
½ cup brown sugar
1 whole orange
10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp grated ginger root
½ cup golden rum

Method

Wash the orange but do not peel it. Stick the cloves in to the orange at regular intervals, as you would pins in a pincushion. Add all the ingredients except the rum to a large saucepan and put on a medium heat until the liquid only just begins to simmer. It is imperative not to let it boil. Reduce the heat to maintain the gentlest of simmers for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the orange and cinnamon sticks. Add the rum and stir. Transfer to glasses or mugs and serve immediately.

Brandy mulled wine ingredients

1 bottle of red wine
½ cup orange blossom honey
Peel and juice of one fresh lemon
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup brandy

Method

Carefully grate the peel from the lemon, ensuring not to incorporate any of the bitter white pith. Halve the peeled lemon and squeeze out the juice in to your saucepan. Add the remainder of the ingredients bar the brandy and heat as before, remembering to achieve only a gentle simmer for the quarter hour and not a boil.

Strain the mulled wine in this instance in to a clean bowl before adding the brandy and stir prior to service.

Schnapps mulled wine ingredients

1 bottle of red wine
1 orange
½ cup superfine sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup authentic German schnapps

Method

Wash the orange and slice a quarter inch off the top and bottom, discarding what will be pieces comprised largely of pith. Slice the remaining orange to a quarter inch thickness and add to a saucepan with all other ingredients except the schnapps. Bring to the gentlest of simmers for fifteen minutes before removing from the heat and stirring in the schnapps. Serve with a slice or two of orange in each mug or glass.

Whatever recipe you choose and use for preparing mulled wine, it is important to taste it prior to service, as you would with any food dish. This allows you to amend the seasoning as required. You may wish to add more spice, or achieve less spiciness by adding more wine, or to simply get a slightly greater kick with the careful addition of a little more spirit.

The Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea

Kombucha Tea, what is it?  Why drink it?  What does it do for you?  Basically, it is a sweetened black or green tea or cider with a fermented culture, bacteria and yeast from the Kombucha mushroom.  The fungus is a pancake type of structure that forms on top of the tea like a mushroom cap, not actually a mushroom.  It’s full of immune-boosting anti-oxidants and is wonderful for detoxifying the body.  Common names for this are: Kargasok tea, Manchurian tea, and tea fungus.

Kombucha tea, used in East Asia in the Tsin dynasty, 221 B.C. and brought to Japan from Korea and eventually found its’ way to Germany and Russia around the 19th century, was promoted as an immune-boosting tea that would strengthen the body to help fight off disease.  It can be grown easily in the United States and has become very popular with the victims of cancer, HIV, aids and the elderly who take advantage of its age-reversing effects.

Although there have not been any formal studies, most of the evidence of Kombucha’s health benefits have come from the personal testimonies of its’ users.  Kombucha is helpful for a host of conditions such as: baldness and hair loss, insomnia, improving skin conditions, promoting good bowel bacteria, for arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, the prevention of heart attacks, for stabilizing blood pressure and blood glucose levels, softening veins, stimulating glands, helping with digestion, the circulatory system, cleansing the gall bladder, for intestinal disorders, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and many types of cancers. It can improve liver function and aid with digestion.

Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and possibly even reverse some of the aging process. Kombucha tea contains many antioxidants, which can help to block the action of free radicals; activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells.  

There is considerable evidence to suggest that the tea can improve the body’s defenses by detoxifying and enhancing the immune system.  The tea is believed to help repair and balance the body and to fight off disease.

It is not without its negative effects, however, some report side effects like stomach upset, allergic reactions, possibly to molds in the tea, severe acidosis or an increase of the acid levels in the bodily fluids that included high levels of lactic acid and occasional jaundice related to liver damage.  so it should not be used if you are allergic to lactose.  So far, there have been about 2 cases of heart-related difficulties resulting in only 1 death, but there was no evidence to support that it was caused by the use of Kombucha.  Like Digitalis or Foxglove, a little can help the heart and a lot may kill you, so be very careful with its’ use.

After the fermentation process is complete, Kombucha tea may be highly acidic and contains ethyl acetate, alcohol, acetic acid, and lactate.  If you are allergic or intolerant of any of these, you should not use Kombucha tea.

It is not recommended that you use fruit juices in which to ferment Kombucha cultures because they are already acidic and this can cause toxic levels of acid to build up in your system.

Never drink excessive amounts of the tea; especially because it is medicinal.  If you take a vitamin supplement, be certain to keep a check on your body fluids to see that you are not getting an overdose or a toxic level of nutrients that are included in Kombucha teas.

Never brew your Kombucha tea in lead crystal, ceramic, or any painted or glazed containers; the acidity of the tea can cause it to absorb a number of harmful elements from such containers. Lead poisoning can occur when brewed in a ceramic pot where there is lead.   

Women who are breastfeeding should not use Kombucha tea.  People with various medical conditions or whom are on medication should consult their physicians before using Kombucha tea.

If you choose to use Kombucha tea for any ailment, you can purchase cultures at a number of online websites, get them from someone that you know who is using the tea or grow your own cultures.  Some cultures are very expensive to purchase, as are some of the ready-made drinks containing Kombucha.

Recently, Whole Foods, pulled all Kombucha tea from their shelves because of the alcohol content, but there are many other versions that can be purchased, ready-made.

Growing and brewing your own, can help to ensure that you are getting a pure and safe drink.  Because it is fermented, there may be some alcohol content, but it should not be harmful if you are not on any medications or have certain ailments.  Check with your physician before using any medicinal culture or herb in order to ensure further safety.

You do not want any hazardous interactions to occur as a result of Kombucha’s use if you can avoid them.  Safety should always be your priority, with any medications, natural or otherwise.

Sources:

http://www.kombucha.org/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kombucha-tea/AN01658

http://www.anahatabalance.com/teakombucha2.html

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/craftzine-kombucha-tea-184/

Proper tea storage

No matter the season or mood, there is never a ‘wrong time’ to enjoy a cup of tea. In spite of what its sell-by date may suggest, the plant boasts a substantial shelf life. Whether it be a loose-leaf variety, or a box of tea bags. Provided that these products are stored properly, it is possible to actually extend the expiration date of some of your favorite teas by at least one year. Here is everything you need to know about storing and preserving tea.

First and foremost, it is imperative to determine why you want to extend the life of your tea products. In other words, why do you drink tea? Is it to gain the benefits of anti-oxidants, the cancer-combating agents found especially in green tea? Or do you just enjoy the aroma, flavor, along with the occasional burst of caffeine?

If you hope to gain the nutritional properties associated with a particular tea blend, it is important to note that most teas, green tea in particular, begins to lose these qualities within nine months to one year of the initial harvest. This is definitely something to consider when determining how long to keep a tea.

Loose-leaf varieties

Loose-leaf tea, while more complex to brew, is actually the easiest to store, as it typically comes in a metal tin upon purchase. After that, the tea should simply be stored in a dry, dark area. However, if you have been given fresh tea by a friend which isn’t contained, place the tea within a metal tin of your own within three to five days of acquiring it.

If you do not have a metal tin, feel free to use an opaque plastic container with an airtight lid – just make sure that it is odorless! You would not want your tea to smell like last week’s lasagna.

Tea bags

When it comes to storage, tea bags are a bit trickier. This is simply because they often come in a vast variety of packaging, some which are not reliable for longtime storage. Bigelow, Stash, and Tazo tea bags are the best buys, hands down. In addition to a flavorful blend, they are also contained within opaque aluminum sleeves, doing the preservation work for you. All you have to do is store them in a cool, dry place.

However, if you are a fan of another brand of tea which comes in a cardboard box, and doesn’t have a protective aluminum casing, consider placing these tea bags in a tea tin similar to the aforementioned loose-leaf teas. Just make sure to store one variety per tin, so they will not absorb one another’s aromas.