Posts Tagged With: loose leaf

Why I cut back on the cheap tea

Hamilton city council, with all its infinite wisdom has decided to discontinue the addition of fluoride to the town water supply. Regardless of your personal views on this topic, the district health board/dental associations “Emperical’ evidence, or any other number of crackpot, tinfoilhat wearing conspiracy nutjob thoughts, there are some important points to remember about fluoride.

  • It artificially hardens your teeth (fluoride is not a required substance for life)
  • Fluoride is really, really good at killing bacteria (including those in your gut, hence we do not swallow our mouthwash/toothpaste)
  • Fluoride also accumulates in all areas where calcium does such as; bones, teeth, brain tissue, milk glands, tendons, sperm…

This is why there are limits placed on the quantity of fluoride in the water supply (1.0ppm in NZ, 2.0ppm in the US). Too much can lead to fluorosis of your bones and teeth making them brittle. This is not so much of an issue if you are an adult as there is lots of body mass for fluoride to disperse on. Not so good for children, even worse for babies. A good way to explain this is with another form of drug taken on a nearly daily basis, Paracetamol. The recommended dosage is ½ a pill for the kiddies and up to 2 for an adult, this is to prevent overdose and the same applies to fluoride. The NZ Ministry of health recommendation is that baby formula is manufactured with pure water, and that baby formula should not be made up with tap water. Otherwise baby’s teeth come out moulted, when grown children become prone to bone breakages, and at worst your kids baby teeth come out looking like three year crack addicts.

The tea plant, Camellia sinensis is
a known fluoride accumulator. Fluoride particles are taken up by the root system and distributed into the leaves, accumulating over time. As such the older the leaves are the more fluoride is within them. Generally, tea leaves are supposed to be picked in a very particular way (the bud, and the 4 or 6 leaves below it on the stalk). So with any high quality tea you can expect that there is a minimal amount of fluoride accumulated in the leaves in comparison to the older ones on the bush. It has been recently suggested that tea quality can be determined by examining fluoride levels in the prepared tea.

Some large corporations employ machines to pick the leaves, and just get ‘expert leaf sorters’, a loose term which translates to underemployed temporary labour hires in third world countries.( If you were earning 5c an hour, how hard would you be willing to check the right leaves were picked?). Teabag tea is also mulched to produce a quicker brew. This also allows the Fluoride to steep out faster too. As such the better the younger the leaf, the less chopped the leaf, the higher the quality of the tea.

This is one of the main reasons I cut back on my cheap tea exploits. I like my teeth, bones, and brain (not so fussed if my swimmers malfunction right now) and as such I decided to investigate deeper into the area before potentially advising people to drink rubbish tea. If you haven’t already guessed, ITS NOT GOOD FOR YOU.

As a result of these finds I have for the past few months drunk a considerable amount of loose leaf tea of varying quality and grades. A new fave of mine is the Zealong tea produced here in New Zealand. Organically certified and having been to the gardens several times and done the tour I can verify with my own eyes that these guys produce a stellar oolong tea, and to boot, the fluoride is likely to be very minuscule. I cannot say the same for the cheaper teas on the market.

Jury is still out on whether the HCC done goof removing the fluoride, I’m taking it as a sign to re-engage with dubious quality tea on a sample size basis, after all, I’m quite ok with crippled swimmers right now.


Categories: Basics of Tea | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lapsang souchong: Breath of the Dragon

Twining’s have done a loose leaf series called ‘Origins’ and this one, being labelled as 5 out of 5 in their strength scale… seemed like the obvious place to start. It is a pine smoked black tea from Fujian province in china.

When I first saw this tea, I was expecting something extraordinary, the box with its red hues seemed to ooze a fiery expectation. On opening the strong smokey aroma reminded me of the fish smoker and brought back fond memories of the peatiest of peaty scotches.

Lapsang Souchong Tea and my new pot and teawarmer stand

Lapsang Souchong Tea and my new pot and teawarmer stand

The dark amber colour under the new tea pot I received recently made it glow angrily and the aromas released in vapour, threatened to set off the smoke alarms, the teapot clearly sweating under the heat…

The dark fires of mordor reflected in the potstand... signs of the flavour to come

The dark fires of Mordor reflected in the potstand… signs of the flavour to come

Sipping it back brought back fond memories in my childhood of playing with e embers in the fire and staining the ceiling with soot… or sitting downwind of the campfire… it is warming and invigorating. as you can see.

Protip: Rinse the tea first with hot water to ‘release the dragon’, this removes some of the bitterness and also reduces the caffeine content so your not running around like your pants are on fire.

This is a tea well worth the experience, you may not like it, but Id recommend you try it anyway if the option were to present itself… It really is an experience that has proven itself to bring back all sorts of fond memories…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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