Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sip for a Healthier 'You'

If you are one of those whose day kick starts with a cup of regular chai (tea), which probably you love to sip slowly, or sometimes simply slurp while flipping through some dailies, chances are that this feature of ours will come as a shock. As the next few paras of our feature will tell you some interesting facts about chai, and why you must make a move to Tea, which might seem as a sophisticated version, and indeed it is.... rather a healthy version!
Please note that we are using Chai, as a generic term for the regular milk tea, and must not be considered derogatory or mockery. It's a word that most Indians can connect with, and understand easily... 
Wonders of Tea Leaves...
Tea, is an integral part of our lives, and therefore it's important to know what kind of tea is healthier for us. While most of us have been sipping this interesting hot beverage in the most traditional way, which is usually a blend of sugar, regular tea, water, and some milk, there are many who have actually explored the beauty of tea leaves, and realized that it's not just any regular drink, but comes with loaded benefits. And, that's one of the reasons why we decided to try some well-known brands, and types of teas, just to connect our readers with the treasures of tea leaves.

The first one that we tried was Goodricke Tea, (Castleton Vintage Darjeeling Tea), which is the original Darjeeling tea. This one, as you can see in the picture, is coming from single estate, which means the tea packed inside is from one garden, and not mixed with others. And, what's important to know is that the tea packed inside is not the granule version (which many common brands offer), but the original leaves plucked from the bush, which are either from the first flush or the second. This means, that what you sip is the pure aroma of the tea, minus any other ingredients. This one that we tried had really long leaves, which open up once you boil them. And, yes, not to forget, such teas are not to be mixed with milk, simply boil water, add some sugar, and this tea. We loved it, as it had a wonderful coffee flavour.
This second one is slightly on the stronger side, and you will have to be careful with the amount of the tea. With a hint of mint, sipping this tea is a sheer delight. It freshens you in a go, and you truly feel that you are in some tea garden, and breathing the aromas of the supple leaves.
We also managed to speak to Vikram Singh Gulia, General Manager, Marketing and Retail Tea Division of Goodricke Group Limited, who further helped us in understanding the brand, and what tea drinking culture is all about. " Queen of England sips Goodricke tea, so you can make out what this brand is all about. We were the one who supplied tea during Prince Charles wedding, just to add. On a serious note, it's important to know that Darjeeling tea is the original tea that comes from 85 recognized tea estates. Most of us have not been introduced to this culture, and also exploring the aromas of tea is a self-training process. No one can help you explore your own taste buds, it's a gradual learning. You must try your hand on the original tea. And, when I say original, it means, leaves plucked from the bush, and packed straight, with the minimal amount of processing. They are dried in such a way that the aromas, and flavours remain intact, and that's the charm of any tea," he said.
Well, we just couldn't disagree, as we know that this is exactly the tea that has health benefits. " When you feel thirsty during summers, you love to gulp a chilled glass of water, but again you feel thirsty.Try sipping a cup of tea, minus milk and you will feel hydrated like never before," added Gulia. 
First flush Leaves
Second Flush Leaves

These pictures will help you understand what original tea is all about. Look at the length of the leaves, which open up even more when they are boiled. The aroma can be felt during the boiling process itself!

Now, there is another thing that you might like to know about. The other big trend in market is of flavoured teas. Like, ginger tea, aloe vera tea, tulsi tea, etc. Now, do you really think that such teas come with real benefits, or they are just for fun? "Most of them are of no use, as the quality of tea that is used in such tea is the worst quality, and what the brands actually do is they make the other flavour pre-dominant, and subdue the tea flavours, and therefore you as a consumer can hardly make out what you are sipping," told Gulia. Shocking, isn't it?
But we know that there are many women out there who would want to have some flavours, especially this green tea fad that has picked up among women. And, that's why we felt like trying some original flavours that come with authentic tea leaves. Basilur Tea is another tea that would activate your taste buds, and you would just feel like sipping their stunning flavours every now and then!
The brand that is originally a Sri Lankan brand is fairly new to Indian market, but has come up in a big way. We tried two of their teas that had original flower and fruit flavours. So the first one that we tried was Spring time Green tea. This tea consists of 100% pure Ceylon black and green tea, which means that such tea has fuller body, it has that nutty flavour, and is richer in taste. No doubt, it stood true to it's features, and we could feel that we were having something that is of a different league all together.
Summer tea is one of the product lines of this brand, and falls under the Four Seasons range of teas from this brand. And, what's important to know is that this tea is meant for all four seasons.
We later spoke to Abhinav Gupta, Director, Basilur Tea India, to know more about this brand, and of course the benefits of green tea.

"There is no doubt that what you get in market in the name of flavours is of lower grade, as the focus is not on the quality of tea, but on the flavour. At Basilur, the focus is certainly on tea, and the whole experience of tea as a premium beverage. And, that's one of the reasons that we have tea lounges in metros where we make sure that women should experience and get aware about the tea types. We also tell our consumer about the preparations, what combinations to go for, and what are the advantages of green tea. On the personal front, Green tea with strawberry flavour is one of my favourites," said Gupta.
We were quite convinced with his opinion, and decided to try what he loves the most. This tea comes in the form of tea bags (it comes loose as well). It's Sencha tea, which is a Japanese tea and made without grinding tea leaves. Sencha is basically simmered tea, and this particular tea has a bit of grassy flavour, but the strawberry addition shifts your focus from grass to the yum fruit. For those who are still to experience such luxury teas, can easily start with this one. It has mild notes and doesn't hit you hard!

We hope by now you must have realized what you were sipping each morning and evening in the name of your daily boost. It's high time friends that you make a shift to 'Tea' from 'Chai'. As the later has just been a addiction, and has never actually benefited you, in literal sense.
Lastly, coming to the benefits, pure tea has endless benefits. From protecting bones, to saving skin, it has ample amount of hidden treasures. It has lighter caffeine amount, so way better than coffee. Such teas reduce the chances of heart attack and strokes. Tea also boosts your immune system, and is a strong protection against cancer. The only term and condition that applies to all this is sip tea, minus milk.... 

Price Range: 
Tea is undoubtly expensive as compared to Chai. But, then your health is precious too!! So, what's going to be your tea from tomorrow??

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