Samurai means “to serve.”
Tamurai means “to serve through tea.”
AT TAMURAI TEA OUR GOAL IS TO HONOR THE SPIRIT OF HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.
WHISKY AND TEA
Tea and whisky have enjoyed a centuries-long romance. Like whisky, tea is a time-honored beverage that calls on hundreds of years of skill and tradition. Tea also has a vibrant history, and a reach that today touches every corner of the globe. In addition to their prominence, the two make a particularly good match because their flavors work in harmony. Like in any good marriage, they soften each other’s edges. They also heighten each others’ aromatics, complementing each other through shared notes of smoke, malt and tropical fruits. Delicious companions indeed. The pairing of whisky and tea has taken on many forms through the years, and continues to evolve today. How many of the following pairings have you tried?
THE HOT TODDY
The Hot Toddy, a much-loved Scottish invention that combines whisky with lemon, honey and hot water or tea, has been enjoyed since at least the 18th century. Sometimes spices such as cinnamon or cloves are added, or sugar is used instead of honey. Whatever the modification, Hot Toddy drinkers tend to believe that their own special formula is the perfect recipe. The famous concoction is universally cherished as a sweet, warming tonic against cold weather, a trying day or the threat of flu. In 19th-century Britain, it was common for doctors to prescribe a Hot Toddy as a cure for almost anything, from stomach pain to insomnia. Today it is sipped more to soothe colds – whisky to fortify, tea to warm, lemon to boost vitamins – or as a pick-me-up for a moment of comfort in our busy world. Next time you feel out of sorts, a Hot Toddy might just be the thing to get you back on your feet.
BLENDED WHISKY AND GREEN TEA
While the Hot Toddy has a long history in Scotland, the classic pairing of whisky and tea is taking on a crisp new form in Asia. China has become one of the top 10 consumers of Scotch for the first time, in part because of the discovery of a bold new way to enjoy it: mixing blended whisky with chilled tea, especially green tea. The drink is usually served as a highball, over ice, with about one part whisky, three parts tea. The tea is usually lightly sweetened. The soft, vegetal, grassy flavors of most green tea means it adds to, rather than overpowers, even the lightest whiskies. Often, a green tea will highlight citrusy notes in whisky. The result is a refreshing, breezy drink ideal for summer picnics and sultry evenings.
SINGLE MALTS AND FINE TEAS
The popular Asian mix of whisky and green tea is just one new development in the tantalizing tea and whisky duo. There are also now tea companies that bottle fine teas especially to be drunk with single malt whisky. Made from hand-picked, loose-leaf tea sourced from around the world, these teas make ideal partners for exceptional whiskies. Like fine wines, both whisky and tea develop in the glass. Their flavors evolve, with some notes softening and others becoming more pronounced. This makes them well-suited cohorts for a relaxed home tasting. If you would like to try these new takes on whisky-meets-tea, all it requires is a selection of teas, a few bottles of The Glenlivet and some willing companions. Your friends may not always share your opinion on which pairings work best, but flavor – like love – is always a matter of personal preference.
TEA & HEALTH
At Rishi Tea & Botanicals we believe that a healthy life is a balanced life and although we are not doctors and do not make specific health claims, we recognize the wisdom of traditional uses and remedies of herbs, teas and botanicals. When you include tea and botanicals in your diet it can increase a sense of wellness that creates positive self-care habits and rituals that will promote a healthy and balanced life.
For many centuries and through countless cultures, tea has been recognized as a healthful beverage for the mind, body, and soul. In today’s society, artificial beverages have become pervasive, and we believe tea offers the perfect alternative because of its numerous health benefits. The composition of the Chinese character for tea (“cha”) reveals how we can explore a natural and healthy existence through this timeless drink. The character depicts three elements: ‘grass’ on the top, ‘human’ in the center, and ‘tree’ on the bottom. This character reveals the essence of tea and its connection to nature. Japanese culture also recognizes this connection in Teasim. This was first explored by Okakura Kakuzo in his 1906 essay entitled, “The Book of Tea.” 茶 cha=tea grass + human + tree.
In the traditional tea cultures of East Asia, it is common knowledge that different varieties of Camellia sinensis (tea) offer unique energies and effects on the mind and body. With these traditions and their roots in “food as medicine” in mind, we will explore some of the health benefits of tea.
Elderberry is highly valued as a medicinal herb and food in many cultures. The plant grows as a small tree or shrub and produces flowers, followed by berries. The anthocyanidins in elderberries are thought to have immunomodulating effects and possibly anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects.
Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) contains antioxidants in the form of tea polyphenols and catechins. Some polyphenols and catechins are known to lower inflammation, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol as well as support arterial wall health. There have been some studies that suggest that some polyphenols slow the loss of bone density as well.
An adaptogen is an herb or plant which aids in the body’s resistance to stressors. Adaptogens are typically used to aid in relieving stress-induced fatigue, mental illness, and behavioral disorders.
Colloquially, many accept that the term nootropic refers to a substance used to enhance memory or other cognitive functions, including facilitating learning in a healthy brain.
Turmeric and Ginger are both used traditional anti-inflammatory tonics. The flavors blend well together and both contain compounds known to be anti-inflammatory.
Tulsi is one of the cornerstones in Ayurvedic tradition. Ayurveda, translating from Sanskrit as “the Science of Life,” is a healing science originating in India over 5,000 years ago.
Tea and Health – Antioxidants
Antioxidants May Help Neutralize Free Radicals
Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals or unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to varying types of stress. Free radicals caused by internal inflammation, UV exposure, first or second-hand smoke, and pollution have been linked to a whole host of stress-related diseases, common in our society today. The free radicals intermingle with other molecules contained within cells and cause oxidative damage to proteins, membranes, and genes. Antioxidants are said to help neutralize free radicals in our bodies and therefore boost overall health.
Tea and Antioxidants
Camellia sinensis (the botanical name for the tea plant) contains antioxidants in the form of tea polyphenols and catechins, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), Thearubigins (TR), and others. Green teas contain EGCG, a catechin renowned for its effect on lowering inflammation and antioxidant activity. Black teas have EGCG in lower amounts but also contain complex polyphenols, specifically, Theaflavin and Thearubigin. Complex tea polyphenols in dark teas and black teas like Thearubigin are known to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol as well as support arterial wall health. There have been some studies that suggest these polyphenols can aid in slowing the loss of bone density.
Antioxidants in the Form of Polyphenols May Help Mitigate Age-Related or Degenerative Conditions
Polyphenols are found in a wide variety of plant foods, including tea, red wine, dark chocolate, olive oil, and berries. Researchers believe polyphenols may help mitigate age-related or degenerative conditions. However, this has not been proven conclusively, so the FDA does not permit food companies to make specific claims about tea and disease prevention. We suggest tea drinkers interested in the health benefits of tea simply enjoy a variety of tea types.
Some of the most water-soluble, easily extracted components in tea are the polyphenols (antioxidants), so extended steeping is not necessary. Brewing tea for longer periods of time will result in an overly strong, bitter cup. For the best experience, we recommend following the specific brewing recommendations listed with each tea.