When Going Green! The benefits and methods of Green Tea

It seems like these days ‘going green’ is IN. I’m not talking about just saving on your energy costs, but about boosting your energy every day among many other things. Go Green with your tea, but DO IT CORRECTLY! You don’t have to ‘tolerate’ bad tea for the health benefits. FIRST; a few key benefits to green tea, then we will get into the ‘need to knows’ of making green tea properly:

1. Loaded with Antioxidants – Green tea is full of polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins… all fancy talk for stuff that helps get rid of the junk in your body!

2. Increased brain activity – Caffeine! if you see ‘decaf’ green tea – it isn’t natural. Caffeine in the dosage found in green tea increases brain function without the jitters of coffee or the crash. The caffeine along with many other nutrients are a perfect combination for lasting energy throughout the morning!

3. Reduced anxiety – Green tea has plenty of L-theanine which increases the activity of the ‘GABA’ part of the brain. The increased activity of the GABA helps to fight off unnecessary ‘overstimulation’ by slowing down the signal between the neurons in your brain. Caffeine and L-theanine combined is the perfect brain booster – it gives you energy and efficiency without the extremes of jitters, crashes, and anxiety.

4. Increased Fat Burning! – Green tea has been proven to boost your body’s metabolic rate by up to 17%, it also boosts physical performance by up to 11%. No wonder the supplement companies are using green tea for so many slim pills and such.

5. Reduced risks – Green tea reduces the risk of various things like: Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, Reduced risk of infection, and green tea reduces the risk of Heart Disease – which is the biggest killer in the United States.

There are three factors that must be addressed when making tea. Temperature, Time, Tea – The three T’s of tea.

Temperature – Green tea is supposed to be steeped at 180-185 degrees. This is much cooler than a boil. 32 degrees makes a huge difference in your day, it changes the season outside, it’s no different with your tea. Green tea – made at a boil is like a tropical plant in the midwest winter – it won’t make it! Green tea it delicate and will render the bitter oils when it’s ‘cooked’ at a boil. Bring your temperature down for the best results.
Suggestions for bringing the temp down – We have found 2 ounces of cold tap water mixed with 6 ounces of near boiling water will equate to about 180 degrees. Another way to do this is to dissolve one ice-cube in 7 ounces of boiled water and it will bring the temp down to about 180 as well. Lastly, if you have a Keurig, check the menu for it’s brewing temperature and select a temp as close to 185 as you can get.

Time – Green tea is a 3 minute steep – Simple right! Set a timer, 3 minutes is faster than you think. Quality tea can be re-steeped 2-3 times so take care of your tea and get the most out of it. Over-steeping your tea can result in similar losses of quality as overcooking it, or overcooking anything. Over-steeped tea is bitter, leaves a dry texture in your mouth and is far from refreshing. Most people don’t like green tea because the fatal flaw of too long of a steeping time, or too hot of water yield less than desirable results. Remember, making tea is a craft – it takes practice and attention to detail. The strength of your tea is based on how much tea you use, nothing else. Keep the foundation of temp and time the same.

Tea – If I went to an expensive coffee shop and they pulled out a can of pre-ground Folgers, I’d be out of there quicker than a toupee in a tornado! Quality makes all the difference. High quality green tea requires proper care and storage. UV lights slowly oxidize green tea, reducing its quality and eventually turning it into black tea believe it or not. Air flow is also detrimental to tea. This is why we store our teas in tea tins for quality assurance. If your experience with tea is a store bought bag – there’s your sign. It’s low grade, after all, it was low cost too.
Portion it correctly as well. Tea must be used in the right ratio – 1 teaspoon of green tea is good for an 8 ounce cup of tea. If you want to be really specific – weigh it. 3 grams is the perfect measurement for a cup of tea. If you want stronger or weaker tea; adjust your volume of tea, not your temp or steeping time.

There you have it. Green tea, when brewed correctly, is amazing! It’s good for you, it’ll make you feel good and you will feel like a true artist when you get it right. now GO GREEN and enjoy your life!

You Can’t Judge a Tea-m by its third string!

I remember the first time I made tea for my wife. 14 years ago, we were dating then and I didn’t know much more about tea than the next guy, But I knew enough about her to make tea the way I knew she would like it. She said ‘I don’t like tea!’ and I kindly told her that she needed some green tea to help fight her cold and that she’d have some whether she ‘liked’ it or not because it was good for her. She didn’t like tea because she said- ‘it’s bitter,’ and ‘it has a funny taste and texture.’ I found out, she was judging tea by it’s third string.

Third string players rarely play – but they suit up the same as anyone else. They look just like the guys on the first string, in all reality they are players on the team, but nobody judges a team by the quality of the guys on the bench. A team is judged by its finest player and their ability to work well with the coach and each other. I find tea to be the same way. Many people THINK they don’t like tea, many people also THINK they like coffee – but truthfully it’s all in how we coach our tea, or coffee that makes us like or dislike it.

most people think they don’t like tea because they have only ever had bad experiences with bad tea.

Super market tea, is not representative of what tea is on the whole – that would be the third string! Third string players are low cost and rarely as good as the franchises most valued and expensive players. Pre-packaged economy teas don’t come close to being fresh quality tea, so don’t judge all teas by the third string.

The tea at Royal Tea in LeClaire Iowa is of top shelf quality! It’s for this reason that all of our teas are sealed in airtight tins to block harmful UV rays and seal in the aromatics of fresh tea.

Good tea; when prepared correctly, will produce a quality representation of what tea is supposed to be. However; Good tea, improperly brewed, will still yield less that satisfying results. This is why the teas at Royal Tea in LeClaire are packaged with brewing instructions.

Here are a few tips to counter tea making mistakes:
If your tea is bitter or has a ‘dry’ texture: Most likely your tea was either steeped for too long, or at too high a temperature or BOTH. Black and herbal teas are good with water 30 seconds off a rolling boil – but only for 3 – 5 minutes of steep time. After that you start to cook the bitter oils out of the tea and into your cup. GREEN teas should NEVER be made at that hot of a temperature, but at 180-185 degrees. Likewise they only should be steeped for 3 minutes, or they too will get bitter and filmy.

If your tea isn’t strong enough: Most likely you are not using enough tea or high quality tea. Low quality tea is less balanced, one dimensional, and weak compared to quality teas. avoid the mistake of thinking your tea is ‘stronger’ with a long steep time, it will be stronger in the direction of a stronger ‘bitter’ and throw the balance of your cup off. Use MORE tea and follow the same temperature and time preferences for the tea. The volume of tea ought to determine the teas strength, not the time of steep.

If your tea still doesn’t taste good: Try a different tea! Currently we have 47 varieties of tea from several different categories. Black tea, green tea, herbal tea, white tea, rooibos tea, and dessert teas can all be found at Royal Tea in LeClaire Iowa. You can also order online from http://royaltea.org/store/

Finally, if you still struggle to get the right quality tea and you’ve considered the methods and corrected them; it’s time to check your equipment. It is possible to get a ‘gritty’ cup of tea from a cheap tea infuser. Get a good tea steeper and try filtering your water. Have dedicated equipment for tea only and use it and maintain it correctly. Quality teas, good methods, and proper equipment are a formula for top quality pleasing tea for anyone. There is always a tea to please any individual, our hope is to help you all find the perfect tea or teas for you.

Welcome to the first string!

The Soft Launch

We are almost fully OPEN! As of right now we have open houses every weekend and our online store is open and 100% functional.
Our open house hours are:
Thursdays 12-5
Fridays 12-8
Saturdays 12-3
Sundays 12:30-3

Please come on out and see our shop! You can smell and sample any of our teas while you are at it. Currently our official opening date is Nov. 7.

Remember – you can still get your tea now by ordering online and you can either opt to come to the shop to pick it up during open house hours, or we can ship to you! This is such an exciting venture for our team and our little river town, be part of it!