Top 5 Reasons to Drink Tea

Why do we love tea? Let us count the ways!

December 13, 2016

Around New Year, there are always dozens of commitments and resolutions that could make life better, healthier and happier, but they are often hard to keep up. They usually require a dramatic change in lifestyle, breaking habits with resolute willpower. We find that the biggest changes that stick come from the little things, and tea is a beautiful little thing that can make an incredibly big difference in your life.

Falling in love with tea is as simple as finding one that tastes good. Making tea is a daily ritual is as simple as finding a way to brew it that makes you comfortable and works with your life. The rewards are great: a healthier body, a more peaceful and mindful daily life, a greater awareness and appreciation of all the fine things the world has to offer, and furthering economic development and environmental protection around the world as a bonus.

We want to this be your year for tea, so we’re celebrating with our top five reasons to drink tea!

 

Tea
tastes
incredible!

New Year resolutions are hard to keep if you have to do something unpleasant. Luckily, our top reason for drinking tea is just how ridiculously good it tastes.

Pro-tip from Niu Niu - tea tastes delicious!

Pro-tip from Niu Niu – tea tastes delicious!

It’s even more lucky that, among all those delicious teas,
you have hundreds of varieties to pick from.

Even if you aren’t in the mood for one tea, we guarantee that there is a tea out there waiting for you. The tremendous variety of flavors makes tea a big, rewarding, and thrilling world to explore.

So many teas - so little time!

If you want to go full throttle and geek out on tasting tea, tea makes that easy.

That’s because tea
has deep, natural complexity.

Beyond simple taste, tea has mouthfeel (texture), aroma, aftertaste, and is influenced by pairings. The culture of appreciating tea is as deep as wine culture. You can keep your own tasting notes and build you own vocabulary. When we drink tea, we look for common notes like saffron, cream, orchid, cedar, sandalwood, clove, malt or even chocolate. The pleasure of identifying a familiar flavor in a new tea, of discovering what flavors are most interesting to you and in what combination- this is exciting stuff!

Tieguanyin tea leaves and flowers

Go even further- tea is there for you.

More than any other beverage, the sense experience of tea
evokes deep memories and emotions.

Its flavors are quieter and more introspective, so they leave space for a smell or an aftertaste to evoke a moment in childhood, a day on the beach, a morning in the forest. The way that tea can transport you from the present to something almost sublime is unparalleled.

Tea kettle in the woods

remember when? tea evokes memories of childhood, camping and more

Tea is flexible.

Of course, tea is happy to be enjoyed on any level. Tea meets you where you are. That is what makes it so beautiful and unique. You can sip it while working, while eating, or carve out the time for a full blown gong fu session depending on your schedule. No matter what, once you zero in on your top teas, you’ll be having a great time with every rewarding sip.

 

Tea Time = Better Social Life

In China, tea is first and foremost a social beverage. Meeting with friends is a ritual marked across the world by sipping on a beverage together, whether it’s beer, wine, spirits, coffee, yerba mate, or tea. It is the glue that holds together conversation. It gives you and those closest to you a way to simply sit and occupy an hour or so without the pretense of an elaborate activity.

Tea is uniquely suited to being a social drink
because it is more interactive than other drinks.

It can be prepared in front of guests, with cups topped off throughout a conversation.  This keeps you with your friends and loved ones as a host on equal footing, rather than keeping you away in the kitchen over the stove, at the sink or behind the bar.

teacup_party_loft

In our experience,
tea makes friends out of strangers.

The unique chemical composition of tea is built to encourage social interaction.

Alcohol may loosen inhibition, but at the end of the day it is a depressant, and makes you tired or worse in excess. Coffee’s intense caffeine limits consumption. Tea’s caffeine is balanced by L-Theanine, giving it the unique effect of greater mental clarity and alertness from caffeine, but none of the racing heart, muscle twitching etc associated with coffee. After several hours of drinking tea with friends, the effects can lead to truly deep and engaging conversation.

Making tea your social drink of choice is a rewarding decision. The chemical composition, the ritual of drinking tea, and the complex taste, and stories of each tea to inspires conversation and connections.

 

Tea is
one of the
healthiest drinks
on the planet

We know – everyone is talks about tea and health benefits.  Wild and unscientific claims get thrown around: tea will cure every disease; tea will make you live forever; tea will help you fly and find true love.

Despite this,
the legitimate and tangible health benefits of tea
make one of our top five reasons to drink.

_MG_5042_fresh_laoshan_leaf_flower

The origin myth of tea involves the rejuvenating effects of the leaves curing a dying emperor. Indeed, tea has been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. Traditionally, pu’er is used for digestion, and green tea for its effect on the metabolism. All tea has been used in the countryside of China for its antibacterial properties. Tea is loaded with antioxidants, all of which are indeed beneficial to the body.

mrsli_1stpicking_shifeng_dragonwell_spring2016-0783_largex2

More interesting
( and easier to prove! )
is why tea is healthy for what it isn’t.

We have already talked about tea being a delicious beverage and a great social activity. Consider all the soda, alcohol and coffee that you might drink in a given year. The sugar, acids, and artificial flavors in a can of soda can be solidly established as unhealthy. They can lead to major health problems down the road that make life difficult. Alcohol is no different. It is even more dangerous for its cumulative effect on the liver, short term effects on judgement and performance, and physical addiction. Coffee can expose the body to dangerous levels of caffeine, and all the problems that come along with it.

In comparison, tea is sugar free, alcohol free, chemical free, and has a much lower, more balanced amount of caffeine. The L-Theanine and polyphenols in fine tea counteract much of the physical effect of caffeine in tea, which is already at significantly lower levels than most coffee. For an in-depth look at caffeine in tea, check out this article.

When you fall in love with tea, it is easy to cut soda, coffee and alcohol, replacing them with tea. The health benefits of this switch are enormous. Tea is a vastly better choice for the body than any other major beverage you could find. Take out the extra sugar and alcohol from your diet, but enjoy the taste and social benefits. What could be better? Add to that the fact that tea has all kinds of positive health benefits still being studied in the labs, but confirmed in practice over years of use in Chinese medicine, and you can count on your body being happy when you choose to make the upcoming year your year for tea.

 

Tea is an
affordable
luxury

There are so many incredible beverages out there. Fine Scotch, wine, craft beer, artisanal coffees – all these drinks are rewarding in their tasting experience, but less rewarding in their effect on your wallet.

Drinking the finest looseleaf tea in the world is a luxury that is much easier to afford than others.

The most expensive teas we bring in come from thousand plus year wild forests, are hand picked and processed by masters in their field and get air shipped for freshness after harvest. While some teas can cost over $25 an ounce, our most expensive and unusual offerings average about $14 an ounce.

tea-of-the-month-club-xl1

Using 4-5 grams of leaf per pot of tea, you will be able to get 6 pots of tea from a single ounce of leaves. One pot can be split between four people, and re-steeped six to eight times. The whole pot costs $2.30 at the highest end of the spectrum, but comes in closer to 25 cents per cup when you account for re-steeping fine tea leaves and seeing how the flavor changes with each steeping. Fine coffee is about $20 a pound, and makes forty 5oz cups, or 20 more typical mugs, coming in at $1 per mug. Fine wine ranges dramatically, but $50 is likely to yield something quite good. At 5 glasses per bottle, relatively fine wine comes in at $10 a glass.

Four grams of Laoshan Green tea

Four grams of Laoshan Green tea

In many cases, fine looseleaf tea is not only better than tea bag tea, but also comes in cheaper per cup because it stays fresh longer and can be re-steeped so many times. Add to that the social benefits, taste benefits and health benefits, and fine looseleaf tea is an incredible bargain compared to any drink out there.

 

Good tea
is good
for people
and the planet

Fine tea is a true holdout industry where the very best product is coming from tiny 10-15 acre family-owned plots. Because tea demands careful and talented labor, mountainous and rugged terrain and perfect microclimates, the very best is grown by multi-generational farming family who have passed on their land for generations. Only these family farms are producing tea that is inspirational enough to stand on its own alongside fine beverage traditions like wine, spirits and coffee. Anything less is produced on factory farms and sold by brokers for export.

Laoshan tea farmer QingQing He and her daughter Niu Niu

Laoshan tea farmer QingQing He and her daughter Niu Niu

We started Verdant Tea because we were inspired by the finest tea in the world. The farmers who produce it have no other opportunities to export their tea. Complex export law, corruption, and cost cutting by brokers and tea retailers around the world pressure the export industry to conform to the lowest common denominator.

The farmers we work with make more than “fair trade” prices. We respect them as peers and friends, and do business with them in a way that lets them reinvest their profits into better equipment, better facilities, and forming farmer’s cooperatives that spread the benefits they get from being true small family farmers in China and sharing their tea around the world.

Li Xiangxi in Wuyi

IMG_3957_large_lifamily_tree IMG_3957_lifmamily  IMG_3957_lifamily_kids

Because our partners are secure in knowing that their family has a future in tea, our farmer friends maintain the strictest standards of organic cultivation, crop rotation, biodiversity and water management. They protect the land in their village to ensure clean air, clean soil, clean water and clean tea. Drinking the best tea in the world benefits you, benefits the farmers who produce it, and benefits their communities and environment as a whole. It is the first step in a movement to put agriculture back in the hands of people who have an interest in quality and in conservation.

 

Fine tea is an opportunity to enjoy great taste, to meet with friends, and to feel better, healthier and happier without going broke.  All the while, committing to quality tea is one way you can choose to make the world a better place.

We can think of no better celebration of a new year than making a solid commitment to enjoy tea every day.

Cheers!

2 Responses to “Top 5 Reasons to Drink Tea”

  1. Karen Kelvie

    Do you sell only organic tea through your website? I saw a mention of organic at the end of the 5 Reasons article — but did not see any mention of organic on the first few pages of the verdanttea website.

    • Lily Duckler

      Thank you so much for your question, Karen!

      Yes – all of our partner tea farmers grow their tea without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers, or the tea is wild picked (especially in the case of teas from Zhenyuan Dongsa Farmers’ Cooperative in Qianjiazhai). Every tea we source comes from regions free from air pollution, and watered with natural spring water for water table sustainability.

      Though none of our partners are large enough to afford organic certification, their techniques exceed organic industry standards. That is why you will need see us use the term organic as a marketing or promotional angle. Our partners care for their land because they plan to pass it on to their children, not because they want to get rich quick selling tea on the international market.

      Our partners speak quite passionately and often about this subject – here are just a few interviews that I think you’ll find interesting, to help you judge for yourself:

      Master Zhang (our partner in Daping, Anxi) speaks about his organic farming techniques:
      http://verdanttea.com/in-his-own-words-organic-tea-farm-techniques-tieguanyin-oolong-daping-anxi/

      Here, Mr. He (our partner in Laoshan) talks about all of the challenges that go into his tea farm in Shandong:
      http://verdanttea.com/the-challenges-of-farming-in-laoshan/
      And here he speaks about why he chooses to use organic farming methods:
      https://youtu.be/jl0VDXE8In4

      And here is a short video from Mrs. Li, who grows the Dragonwell green tea we share:
      http://verdanttea.com/in-her-own-words-mrs-lis-shi-feng-dragonwell/

      David has also written more extensively on organic and sustainable farming, which you may find interesting.
      It’s a subject we touch on frequently (as you see here!), so you’ll see it come up again and again in our blog.

      http://verdanttea.com/organic-and-fair-trade/
      http://verdanttea.com/transparency-in-the-tea-industry/
      http://verdanttea.com/transparency-in-the-tea-industry-land-water-air/

      I hope some of these are helpful! I know David is in the middle of working on a much more indepth article on the subject of the sustainable models of small family agriculture and how that relates larger trends, the changing world economy, and the viability of this style as an alternative agricultural model. I will be sure to post that here for you when it is finished!

      All my best,
      Lily

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