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At Essential Escapes, we live and breathe luxury spas. Beyond the experts in our own team, we are also in touch with a network of experts in their fields, specialising in various aspects of health, beauty and wellness. This keeps us up to date on the latest and best that the world of spas has to offer. Put our expertise to the test!

Health Secrets of Tea

Juyan Webster, founder of  The Chinese Tea Company, offers her insights into the health benefits of tea.

(see below for our exclusive 15% discount for clients!)

Juyan was born and raised in the Chinese countryside to a peasant family who owned small pieces of land for cultivation. The land included a tea plantation, rice fields, and vegetable gardens. For Juyan, the earliest memory of tea was picking tea leaves along side her mother in the early spring mornings in the family’s tea garden.

The family's home grown and cultivated green tea was the only tea in her family teapot throughout her childhood. This upbringing shaped her passion and love for tea. In 2010, Juyan decide to open her tea shop on Portobello Road, London, to bring carefully selected loose-leaf teas and Chinese tea culture to you.

Juyan says, "The Chinese Tea Company sources teas directly from the growers and tea masters who grow and produce tea in China. We regularly travel the length and breast of China visiting different tea regions to meet farmers and find the best and most exciting examples of tea that is available. We are in complete control of our supply chain from sourcing from the tea makers to selling the tea to consumers by building relationships with our tea masters and seeing for ourselves how they make their teas and only selecting the teas that we taste and approve of ourselves. "

The Benefits of Tea for Health

Tea has always been valued for its health benefits in China. Tea leaves are thought to contain more than 700 chemicals among which include compounds of Polyphenols and Catechins that are found in the highest concentration in White, Green and Yellow teas. These compounds are a type of antioxidant, which protect the body from damage by highly reactive molecules known as "free radicals" and boost overall immune response. Scientists also found that tea Catechins can help the body to fight fat by more effective metabolism, reducing absorption.

Theanine is another compound found in tea (especially Green tea) and has been shown to modulate mood, reduce mental and physical stress by producing an overall sense of well-being and works in synergy with the caffeine present in tea to improve cognition. That is why you can drink countless cups of Chinese tea throughout the day and utilize the physical and mental stimulation it provides and still remain calm and well balanced. Theanine has been found particularly Green and Oolong varieties of tea.

In addition to the compounds mentioned above, studies have also shown that there might be other salutary properties of tea that include anti-pathogen & anti-inflammation effects, help in the prevention of heart attacks, tooth decay, lowering blood sugar and helping to prevent cancer.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, tea is considered the most beneficial of all herbs used with potent detoxification and restorative properties and the only one that has been consumed on a daily basis for thousands of years. Chinese believe that we need to find internal balance between "cold (Yin)" and "hot (Yang)" energy for maintaining health. Among all the herbs, tea has the remarkable ability to restore hot cold disorders and to cold hot disorders in the human body. That is why the Chinese like to drink tea after a big meal: the "cold" property of tea balances the excess acidity formed in the digestive system by rich food.

The general rule is the less oxidized, the more cooling, i.e. Green, White and Yellow are considered as cooling effect for treating diseases characterized by having too much internal heat, inflammation for example. More oxidized or fermented tea, like Oolong, Red and aged Puer, is known as being good for warming. For example, high-quality oolong tea provides protection from excessive blood toxicity due to smoking and it has the ability to enter the bloodstream and removes toxic residues, excreting them through the kidneys.

Different types of tea

Although there are endless different tea names available on the market, each kind of tea will fall into one of six main categories – Green, White, Yellow, Oolong, Red and Black. The categories are based on the tea bush varieties used and how the tea is processed, but all teas are essentially derived from a species of plant called Camellia sinensis. There are thousands of varieties of Camellia sinensis, some are very unique and region specific and others are similar and used on a large scale across different areas.

Green tea is made by drying fresh leaves, immediately after picking, in a hot pan or oven to avoid leaf oxidization causing the leaves to retain a fresh, grassy taste. Green tea has the longest recorded history or tea in China and has the most possible varieties out of all other teas. Examples of Green teas: Dragon Well Green Tea, Huang Shan Mao Feng, Bi Luo Chun.

White tea has even less processing than Green tea. To produce white tea the freshly plucked leaves are laid to dry naturally under the sun for the complete process cycle of the tea. White tea is slightly oxidized. This process makes a cup of tea that is light in colour and very subtle in flavor and also helps preserve tea polyphenols. Examples of White teas: Silver Needle White Tea, White Peony

Also a lightly oxidized tea, Yellow tea is quite a rare tea that was made for the appreciation of locals and has never really had a broad market presence. The lightly oxidation yields a tea that is pale yellow in the cup, with a light, subtle taste and a delicate sweet aroma. Examples of Yellow teas: Jun Shan Yin Zhen Oolong tea

Oolong tea is a partially oxidized tea (more oxidized than White teas but less than Red) and is considered the most complicated kind of tea to produce and requires great skill and experience to craft the enormous range of flavours, fragrances and liquor colours that are available. Because of changes in antioxidants during the Oolong process which assist the body for aiding digestion, curling headaches, and cleansing the system from excessive use of smoke and alcohol. Examples of Oolong teas: Tie Guan Yin, Wu Yi Rock Tea, Phoenix Dan Cong

Red tea (Known black tea in western countries) is fully oxidized by its own enzymes and the leaves turn from green to reddish brown. The flavonoids in red tea have proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and they give red tea its distinctive rich taste and deep red colour. Examples of Oolong teas: Dian Hong, Keemum

Black tea is post-fermented that have undergone a period of "aging" from several months to many years. The exposure of the tea to micro flora, humidity and oxygen in the air causes it to undergo further oxidation through auto-oxidation, fermentation, and possibly some reactived oxidative enzymes in the tea.

The most famous Chinese black tea is Puer tea from Yunnan and they are commonly compressed into shapes that included bricks, discs, bowls, or mushrooms. Puer teas are thought to be particular good for minimizing risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes while also boosting the immune system and aiding digestions.

Essential Escapes Client Benefit: 15% discount on any items purchased online at The Chinese Tea Company and in our shop. Please type in the discount code "Essential Escapes" during the online payment process.

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