Is Caffeine Healthy?

Although people often use the phrase “herbal tea”, herbal blends are plants other than the tea plant. The technically-correct term for these drinks is “herbal infusion”.

All tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, a species of evergreen shrub or small tree which naturally produces caffeine. The plants use caffeine to paralyze and kill predator insects feeding on them. Thankfully the effects are different on humans!

Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that prevents drowsiness by reversibly blocking adenosine from its receptors. It also stimulates certain portions of the autonomic nervous system.

Caffeine can be used to stay alert, and can even protect against some diseases, including Parkinson’s. However in some people it can disrupt sleep and cause anxiety. You may need to limit your intake depending on your health needs. Be sure to ask your doctor about whether caffeine is right for your body.

Whether you’re switching to a caffeine-free alternative for health reasons or simply finding something tasty to drink in the evenings, we have several naturally caffeine-free infusions to suit your fancy.

Herbal Blends: Healthy Harmony Series

Harmony Herbal Teas
Our Harmony herbal series features infusions that calm, balance, and restore.

Herbal infusions can contain one or more plants. We like to blend several in our Healthy Harmony herbal infusions to balance flavors and maximize health benefits.

  • Calming Harmony blends vanilla and chamomile with lemon balm, lemongrass and passionflower for a flavor reminiscent of a lemon dreamscicle.
  • Healthy Harmony mixes immune-boosting echinacea with the robust flavors of elderberry, ginger, and lemonbalm, and the mellowing sweetness of licorice root.
  • Restoring Harmony helps you detox using a subtle note of peppermint with floral tones of calendula and lavender over the vegetal quality of dandelion and nettles.
Rooibos leaves
Rooibos is often called “red bush tea”.

Rooibos

This plant, also known as red tea or red bush tea, has been consumed for centuries in southern Africa and is slowly becoming a staple in North America. Rooibos and its cousin honeybush have a sweet taste and contain powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Like the tea plant, rooibos leaves are often fermented, which turns them and their liquor a reddish-brown color. Unfermented rooibos is called green rooibos, and has a lighter, grassier flavor. Either red or green rooibos will provide numerous health benefits.

Tisanes and More

Ginger Sweet Orange Tisane
Taste the warmth of ginger, the citrus of tangerine, the sweetness of licorice root, and a touch of tart hibiscus with our Ginger Sweet Orange Tisane.

A sweet alternative to herbal infusions are fruit tisanes, which contain bits of dried fruit that lend their tastes and micronutrients to your brew. Our Bright Berry, Pina Colada, and Ginger Sweet Orange go over ice well, too.

In the evenings when it’s time to wind down, Eastern Chamomile or Lavender Flower Infusion can help you relax and get to sleep. They are both distinct in taste but share a similar light, soothing sweetness.

It’s easy to make herbal infusions part of a healthy daily routine. Let us know how you incorporate them.

Baking With Matcha

Matcha Blueberry Granola Bars
(Adapted from an original recipe by Modest Marce).

matcha-blueberry-granola-bars

INGREDIENTS

3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon The Tea Smith Matcha

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of cinnamon

3/4 cups almonds (roughly chopped or slivered)

1/2 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup fresh blueberries (can substitute 1/2 cup dried blueberries)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl toss oats with honey, oil, vanilla, matcha powder, salt & cinnamon until well coated.

Stir in almonds, white chocolate & fresh blueberries.

Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper & press oat mixture firmly into dish.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the oats have turned a slight golden brown.

Let cool completely before slicing into bars.

Chocolate Matcha Butter Cups
(Adapted from www.keepinitkind.com)

Matcha butter cups 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup coconut butter, softened but not melted

5 tablespoons almond flour

3 tablespoons powdered xylitol (or powdered sugar)

1 teaspoon The Tea Smith Matcha

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the Topping

1/8 teaspoon The Tea Smith Matcha

1/16 teaspoon sea salt

cacao nibs

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, mix together the coconut butter, almond flour, powdered xylitol (or powdered sugar), and matcha powder. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

While the matcha mixture is chilling, melt the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and place over a small pot of boiling water. Add the coconut oil and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Line a muffin tin with 8 muffin liners. Spoon 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate into a liner and use the back of the spoon to push the chocolate about 1/4 of the way up the side of the liner. Repeat with the rest of the liners.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of the matcha mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball. Place the ball into one of the liners and use your fingers to gently flatten it. Repeat until all cups have been filled.Top each cup with 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate and use your spoon to spread evenly over the matcha mixture, making sure that the chocolate meets the edge. If there is extra chocolate, divide it amongst the cups and smooth out.

In a small bowl, mix together the matcha powder and sea salt for the topping. Sprinkle the matcha salt mixture over the tops of the cups. Add a few cacao nibs to each, if desired. Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator and chill the cups until they are solid. Keep chilled until ready to serve. For a softer, chewier, piece, let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating.

White Chocolate and Matcha Tea Marbled Cake
(Adapted from an original recipe by LaTatine Gourmande).
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INGREDIENTS

3 large eggs

6 1/3 oz all- purpose flour

2 3/4 oz white chocolate

4 1/4 oz butter

5 1/4 oz fine sugar

1 pinch of salt

1.5 tsp. The Tea Smith Matcha

1 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butte.r

Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and let simmer until the chocolate is melted.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, place the eggs with the sugar and beat until it is white in color- then remove.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and add it to the egg/sugar preparation, mixing manually with a whisk.

Then add the salt and butter and mix.

Divide the batter in 2/3 and 1/3. Add the melted chocolate to the 2/3 batter and the matcha tea to the 1/3 batter.

Grease a rectangular cake pan and add half of the chocolate batter.

Continue with the matcha tea batter and finish with the other half of the chocolate batter.

Take a fork and pass it through the different layers of batter.

Cook your cake for 50 minutes or until the blade of a knife comes out dry when inserted in the cake. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.

Business Partner Spotlight: Floating in Tea

By: Jordan Concannon – Owner of Blue Oceans Float

Blue Oceans Float_FINAL2 - Copy

Even before I started designing the layout of my float shop, I knew I wanted a tea bar. It took quite a long time to find the exact ‘bar’ that would work in the space and match the style of other items in the lobby. It couldn’t be too metallic or modern, it couldn’t be old fashioned or too small. It had to be big enough to hold tea and water, and provide a counter space when we held parties and gatherings in the shop.

The tea bar was the last piece to come together. Long before that I decided with my team members that we wanted only tea from one location- The Tea Smith. I’d visited the Tea Smith so many times over the past 2 years. I’d go before and after work or school, or just to relax in a nice space to work on the computer or read. I’m a green tea drinker, but staff from The Tea Smith convinced me to branch out to other teas, like the tisanes and the harmony teas. Their staff took the time to tell me all about the history of their teas, the art of brewing the perfect pot of tea, and the best way to serve it. They also gave me advice on the materials to buy, the water heater I needed, and every item that was necessary in providing a wonderful tea experience for the visitors to Blue Oceans Float.

IMG_6978Our lobby was already very inviting and we encourage floaters to relax on the couches after their float – which they already do with little persuasion. The tea adds that extra piece of relaxation and perfection to the floating experience. It’s like a gateway between floating and the outside world. People coming out of a float shouldn’t have to rush back to the hectic world and crazy roads. They should have an opportunity to slowly readjust to gravity, the sounds and noises of the world. The tea provides that opportunity. It helps their body and mind gently wake back up.

All who have tried the teas we currently provide absolutely LOVE the flavors and the richness, the depth and the energizing yet calming energy they bring. I’m excited to try more flavors of tea as time goes on and continue to support our local Tea Smith.

Introducing a Friend to Tea

Women Having Tea
Did you know that tea is the second most consumed liquid on earth, only after water? It also contains a plethora of health benefits from increasing our metabolism, to helping prevent cancer, to controlling cholesterol levels.

I’m the first to admit- walking into my first teashop was quite an intimidating experience. There were all types of cool canisters along the wall with teas I had never heard of, some of which I wasn’t even sure of the pronunciation. Yes, I was actually scared. My eyes quickly darted over all of the tea names and landed on one I had heard of and knew I could pronounce- Earl Grey.

So when a friend of mine asked if I could be her tour guide into the world of tea, I was elated! Two years since that first Earl Grey, I felt like I had a much better grasp on the fabulous world of tea. Here are some simple tips when introducing yourself or a friend to tea!

First and foremost- have fun! Don’t take it too seriously. It should be an enjoyable experience to try new teas. The first step is to get the necessary supplies. They will include a tea infuser, a tea kettle and a nice mug to enjoy your tea in.

As a tea tour guide, the best thing to do is to not be overwhelming. Sure, let them know that the world of tea is so much bigger than this cup or this variety, but also bring it to a level that they can relate to. Show them what tea can do for them. Whisk up a Matcha tea and ask if they feel like they have more energy. Have them take notes when trying new teas. It’s hard to remember all of the types/flavors later on.

If possible, visit your local tea store during a slow time of day. A weekday afternoon might be a good time. Start out slow, maybe order a tea flight with 3 or 4 sample teas. The staff will be able to spend more time with you talking about some store favorites along with answering all of your questions! Make sure to try the store samples too!

Enroll together in a tea class! Tea 101, Matcha Madness, and Introduction to Green Teas are offered at the Tea Smith and are all great choices to learn more about tea.

If you’re unsure about where to start with all the different tea types, try a tea sampler box! Tea samplers include (6) seasonal loose teas. Another great option is to check out a tea subscription box. The Tea Smith hand-picks blends and flavors to best complement each month of the season, from spicy and comforting teas during the wintertime, to fruity teas for icing on long summer days.

In the end, show your new tea drinking friend that tea is something worth paying attention to, not just a hot drink for when you’re under the weather.