Herbal Teas: When we think of a typical ‘Brit’, there are several ‘British’ topics that spring to mind — tea, crumpets, and the Beatles. But there are knee quivering rumours spreading recently that could put the concept of Britishness at dire risk. It brings no joy to announce that Brits are apparently drinking a lot less tea than we used to. To be exact, 870 million cups less. How terrifying!
Is it true, and if so, what is to blame for this foundation-shaking horror? Brexit? iPhones? Millennials?
If this isn’t some intricate scare tactic to scare us, what on earth could have caused this? Brexit? The environment? The youth of today?
Luckily, Britain isn’t experiencing some sort of national tea emergency. While research shows traditional tea consumption in 2017 had the steepest decline in four years, the value of tea rose 0.6%. The market is far from floundering; so, what is happening to the British cup of tea?
The reason for this mind-boggling phenomenon is that there are now more different types of tea than ever! And with this new rainbow range of teas available, we’re tapping into a wealth of potential health benefits.
What type of tea-drinker are you?
A study by the Modern Tea Trends 2019 found that around half of tea brands’ largest demographic is 24–35 year olds. Perhaps because of this, the view of tea has changed. It’s no longer a milky, warm beverage that sits on a table while people discuss problems, though it is still the go-to makeshift remedy for everything from a bad day at work to a broken leg. Now, tea has a swathe of health benefits to its name. It’s more than murky brown leaf-water; it’s a bright and colourful variety of health and wellness beverages. Unsurprisingly, 80 per cent of brands are watching the wellness trend as a key asset for tea.
National Tea Day acknowledges two types of tea-drinkers, so find out which you are with our quick quiz:
1. Your perfect cup of tea would be…
Answer with more as? You are a Traditionalist. You care about your tea being a healing drink, but not necessarily in the sense of it carrying antioxidants or being hydrating. It’s just about comfort for you, a means to relax and calm down with a soothing cup of milky tea.
Answer with more bs? You are a Modernist. Times are changing, and so is your go-to tea. Your tea isn’t always designed to make you fall into a milk-and-sugar-wrapped blanket of cosy warmth. Sure, camomile tea will relax you when you need it, but you have tea for every occasion. For energy, for a cold, for digestion, for preserving health, for anxiety, you name it, you’ve got a type of tea to wind around all the senses and sort it right out.
Tea is an experience to be experienced
Tea is more than a drink. It’s an experience. This ties in with the rise of herbal teas over standard black leaf tea — herbal teas come in so many varieties, from all over the world, and often have intricate ceremonies or stories attached to them. Theseaspects are as much of the ‘sensual’ experience as the tea itself. Cafés and tea rooms have been using this to their benefit too, offering tea experiences for their customers, such as offering food created to complement the flavour of different herbal teas. Have your tea leaves brewed in a beautiful antique silver teapot, available from AC Silver who also have a range of beautiful antique jewellery, in order to achieve a higher brewing temperature than a normal teapot, and making use of silver’s neutrality, protecting the pure taste of the tea. The whole experience is catered for the customer’s enjoyment.
Tea is also versatile, it can be enjoyed at home with full control over your personal taste, or out enjoying an aforementioned experience and story. Here are some of the main health benefits behind a rainbow of different types of tea…
Red: hibiscus tea
With no calories of caffeine, this bright red tea is certainly aesthetically pleasing. It has a sweet and tart taste and is popular in North Africa and Southeast Asia. Particularly in Africa, hibiscus tea is touted as having many benefits, including helping with a sore throat and high blood pressure. Indeed, one study has noted that hibiscus tea contributed to the reduction of the systolic blood pressure of its participants.
Orange: barley tea
Particularly popular in Japan, Korea and China, barley tea has many health benefits including relieving cold symptoms, soothing a sore tummy, clearing complexion and even losing weight! Served hot or cold depending on the season, this go-to Korean drink is made from whole grain roasted barley and has a mild nutty taste. Like hibiscus tea, it is caffeine-free.
Yellow: lemon and honey tea
This little gem is precious to many cold and flu sufferers. Lemon and honey tea is uniquely soothing. This golden-coloured tea has the main claim to fame for fighting cold symptoms, but it’s also been said to help with everything from weight loss to acne.
Whilst lemon is an excellent source of Vitamin C and honey acough-suppressant, this is a drink with scientific evidencesupporting that it helps with a cough and general sniffles. Butsadly, the claims of clearing acne and weight loss are as yetunconfirmed by scientific study. Still, it is definitely one to reach for next time cold season comes around.
Green: green tea
Maybe a list of what green tea doesn’t do would be better. You’d be forgiven for thinking green tea was brewed from the Fountain of Youth, for all the attention it has gained in the wellness industry. But are any of the stories true?
Fortunately for us, yes. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and catechins, the latter of which could slow down bacterial growth. The green brew has also been claimed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and boost metabolic rate.
Blue: butterfly pea flower tea
Here’s an eye-catching tea. This blue brew changes colour depending on the pH level of ingredients added to it — for example, a little lemon will turn it purple! Butterfly pea flower tea sounds fancy, looks fancy, but does it bring anything fancy to the table of health benefits?
This beautifully coloured tea has been popular for centuries in Asia, but it’s only started fluttering into the western world of tea in recent years. The tea, like green tea, carries a lot of antioxidants, and has been tied to claims of protecting the skin. There are studies that support butterfly pea flower tea’s ability to help reduce internal inflammation.
Indigo: blackcurrant tea
Nope, not Ribena and boiling water. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you fancy. We’re talking about herbal blackcurrant tea. Although it doesn’t brew a purple hue, the purple berries bring some great potential benefits to your tea cup, such as a high vitamin C level, antibacterial properties, and reducing inflammation.
Violet: purple tea
A violet-hued drink, also known as ‘ox-blood’, could compete with green tea for the crown of most purported health benefits such as claims to help protect against cardiovascular diseases. There are even stories of it improving vision.
Alongside a copious amount of health benefits, tea also counts towards your daily water intake. Staying hydrated is one of the most important health needs, so it’s a win-win situation! Drink tea, it’s good for you!