Learn about various macrobiotic teas, what they are and what they are good for. Learn the ideal way to make the ideal cup of tea and how to drink it.
Teas have been used in all cultures as the primary traditional method of natural healing. It may be that as we are mostly water, the water of the tea interacts with the water in our body easily. The warmth of the tea helps us relax and accept the beneficial nutrients of the tea.
The act of drinking tea can be very relaxing and a form of meditation. This theme was developed in the Japanese tea ceremony. The teas were considered to be an aid to meditation.
Teas tend to be alkaline forming and very low in the GI making them ideal for improving our immune system and losing weight.
what are macrobiotic teas?
Macrobiotic teas are a range of teas that contribute to health and healing. Each tea has particular qualities that may be more useful, depending on our situation. Some macrobiotic teas will be stimulating, others relaxing and other have particular healing qualities. Most macrobiotic teas are commonly available and ones that you may already be drinking. A few are teas that you specially make at home.
Teas can help us feel full and satisfied for longer as they fill our stomachs and we hold the liquid there for longer than water, to break down the nutrients. They can be a substitute for snacks or drunk during a meal. It is thought that green, jasmine and oolong teas have properties that help us lose weight.
Teas like green tea have useful phyto-nutrients like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea has been shown to reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, help prevent cancer.
tea meditation and sensitivity training for cooks
Tea have been used for meditation in Japan from the 1200s. The tea ceremony engages all five senses. We can listen to the sound of pouring the tea. Watch the rising stream and look at the colour of the tea. Feel the cup and warmth of the tea with our hands. Smell the tea and taste it. The more detail we describe each part of the process the more sensitive we become to subtle differences.
There are 3 important variables to experiment in terms of making tea. The temperature of the water, the quantity of tea and the time you leave the tea to brew. These will determine the taste of the tea.
Useful equipment for making tea are a tea pot with internal sieve, thermometer, timer, dish to rest the sieve and cup.
Heat the water to between 60 and 80 degrees centigrade. Put about one teaspoon per cup of loss tea in a sieve. Put the sieve into the hot water and time for between 2 and 8 minutes depending on the tea. See the packet for instructions. The longer the tea brews the stronger and more bitter the flavour.
By making small alterations in the preparation of a tea, we can describe the small differences in taste to develop our taste sensitivity.
Interestingly the taste of the tea will appear to subtly change with each sip as our taste buds adapt to the very faint taste, rather like our eye adjusting to a dark room. The first sip might taste like water, and then by the 3rd sip we start to taste the tea.
Here are some of my favourite teas. There are so many more to try and you can apply the same illustrated preparation method to most teas. Personally I prefer loose teas. It is claimed that the bigger leaves and premium teas are sold loose. You can test your tea by unrolling the leaves and seeing how large the leaf is after brewing. In theory the larger the leaf the better the tea. I have included so special macrobiotic tea recipes.
There is a wealth of research suggesting that regular consumption of green tea aids better health. This includes research on preventing cancer, reducing heart disease risks, lowing cholesterol, reducing fat in the body, preventing strokes and reducing dementia.
There are many green teas to explore. Varieties commonly come from China, Japan and Korea. They may be steamed or roasted and have different seasons from which they have been picked. Even being picked in the morning or afternoon is claimed to make a difference to the taste.
The green tea leaves are roasted to make a darker version of green tea. It can taste milder, smoother and richer. It is an appealing tea during or after eating and has a relaxing influence on the stomach.
This is a variation of hojicha where the twigs from the green tea bush are roasted to create mild tasting tea with minimal caffeine. For many this is the favourite macrobiotic tea with its mild, soothing influence.
Green tea is mixed with roasted rice to create a more nutty, roasted flavour.
Green or white tea leaves are mixed with jasmine flowers to create a tea with a distinctive perfumed fragrance. Jasmine tea can be bought as loose tea or as Jasmine pearls where the leaves are rolled into small balls. The tastes are sweeter than green tea and the jasmine pearls have a distinct pleasant after taste. Jasmine tea has similar benefits to green tea.
Oolong tea is essentially green tea leaves allow to oxidize in the sun or under strict temperature control so they ferment. This changes the structure and taste of the tea. Oolong tea typically has less caffeine but a greater concentration of polymerized polyphenols, which tell the body to convert fat into energy, and reduce absorption of fats. This makes oolong a popular choice for weight loss, lowering cholesterol and minimising the risk of heart disease.
There are many varieties of oolong tea, depending on the region, variety of leaves, season, and length of fermentation.
black tea / earl grey
Black teas are fully fermented. There are many health benefits to drinking black teas. They are high in anti-oxidants and flavonoids. This is thought to be the reason research has shown that regular consumption of black tea reduces cholesterol and the risk of stroke and heart disease. In addition new research suggests that black tea has many similar benefits to green tea. In addition it is thought to help prevent kidney stones, Parkinson’s disease and ovarian cancer.
There are many varieties of black tea including; Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling, Keemun and Yunnan. The names donate the region the tea comes from. Black teas can be flavoured. For example early grey is flavoured with bergamot oil. There are many black tea blends.
You can use fresh mint leaves to create a tea with fresh, living chi and energy. This can be very refreshing. Try with honey and or lemon. This version is popular for healing sore throats.
Verbena tea was featured in Nicholas Culpepper’s 1650s book on Herbal Medicine and is claimed to help mothers produce milk and the production of sex steroids.
The tea has a light uplifting taste. Another variant is lemon verbena, which has a stronger refreshing taste.
This is considered an ideal tea for good sleep. It has been shown to have useful anti-inflammatory properties.
This tea originated from South Africa and has become popular for its health benefits and lack of caffeine. It is claimed to help with nervous tension, digestion and allergies. The flavonoids in this tea are thought to reduce the risk of cancer. It has also been used to reduce colic in babies.
A popular blend for Rooibos is to add vanilla, giving it a distinctive taste.
lemon and ginger
The ginger provides strong anti-inflammatory properties and the lemon is highly alkaline forming, making this a helpful tea for headaches, arthritis and rashes. Ginger on its own is a traditional Chinese remedy for nausea.
lemon and honey
This is a classic drink for colds and flu. The lemon provides an abundance of vitamin C (as long as it is not overheated).
lemon, ginger and honey
This combination has the influence of being anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and alkaline forming, making it ideal for sore throats. The honey helps the liquid stick to the throat providing a soothing coating.
This traditional macrobiotic tea is highly alkaline forming and soothing to the stomach. Use for stomach pains and cramps. For more details go to ume kuzu recipe. Add grated ginger to reduce nausea and sooth stomach inflammation.
being creative with your macrobiotic tea
You can play with the tastes of your teas and adjust them with natural flavourings. Try adding cinnamon, vanilla, honey or lemon to create different healthy tastes.
cups and teapots
To make the experience of drinking more pleasurable look for teapots and cups that you will enjoy. Be aware of the shapes, colours and textures that will enhance the sensory experience of drinking tea and help keep you in the moment. For more ideas read about wabi sabi.
becoming a connoisseur
Your enjoyment of a tea can be greatly increased by becoming a connoisseur and learning all about the tea and different ways to choose and prepare the tea.
learn more about macrobiotic teas with Simon Brown
Simon can help you with macrobiotic cooking classes and an online or in person macrobiotic consultation so you can learn new skills and ways to create your own macrobiotic diet. Call 07543663227 or email to discuss learning more.