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Tea of the Month – August

Beautiful Skin
Red clover is such a common sight in our fields during the summer, but did you know it has amazing health benefits? When researching for this piece I was shocked to find that this simple flower can have so many positive effects on our health, particularly when brewed as a tea. Often used fresh in salads, we chose to use dried flowers in our Beautiful Skin tisane, and combined the clover with other summer blooms, dandelion, elderflower and chamomile, knowing this would be the best blend for promoting healthy, clear skin.
Like all of our other bespoke wellness teas, Beautiful Skin benefits the whole body, particularly the respiratory system, but as red clover is said to contain compounds that mimic estrogen, it is particularly good for the skin. It promotes elasticity, reducing the appearance of aging, keeping the skin youthful and supple. Combined with  chamomile, a famous anti-inflammatory, dandelion flowers, rich in minerals required for healthy skin function, and nettle, a powerful astringent, this tea is an antioxidant powerhouse, tailored to promote healthy, clear, beautiful skin.
It brews to a light gold, almost clear, and has a delicate, slightly floral flavour. It would be perfect just before bed.
Extravagant Earl Grey
Earl Grey, one of the most widely drunk teas in the world, is given a decadent lift in our bespoke Extravagant Earl Grey. We combine our bergamot infused Chinese black tea with rose flowers, lavender and cornflowers to produce a deliciously floral, aromatic, tea that has a wonderful hint of sweetness.
There are many stories about the origin of the Earl Grey blend, which has been known in England since at least the 1830s. It is assumed to be named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, the British Prime Minister in the 1830s. The most exciting of these stories proclaims that the blend was presented to the Earl by a grateful Chinese diplomat whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey’s men!
This perfumed black tea is very versatile, and as we love experimenting, we chose to add our Extravagant Earl Grey to a cake mix to create a decadent Earl Grey and Lavender sponge layer cake. It’s proving to be extremely popular! Similarly, we have found that this blend of Earl Grey works really well as a latte, both hot and iced. With the pink rose petals and blue cornflowers, this is a beautiful blend to use as a cold brew.

Tea of the month – July

MANGO BLACK TEA

With mango season in full swing, it only makes sense to pay tribute to our Indian roots and choose our black mango tea as one of our teas of the month. The bright yellow pulp, protected by a thick waxy skin, dark green with a rosy blush, is synonymous with summer desserts. Our black tea, which is scattered with sunflower blossoms, will bring this sunshine into your tea break, along with a little caffeine boost.

Whilst lovely as a hot brew, we’re really enjoying this tea blend as a cold brew drink at the moment. Given the recent heat wave, it made sense to us to develop a range of cold drinks, and this has proven to be one of the most popular choices with customers in the shop! Cold brewing means it tastes naturally smooth and sweet, so there is no need to add sugar, like you usually would with an iced tea. Without getting too scientific, this is because cold water extracts a different chemical balance from the tea than hot water, resulting in less of that black tea bitterness.

Cold brewing is something you can easily try at home. All you need is a large bottle, a few scoops of tea, and a space in the fridge! We usually brew ours overnight, but it needs a minimum of 4-6 hours. The sunflower petals and mango cubes make this a really pretty blend to have brewing.

 

HAPPINESS INFUSION

Our happiness infusion has this name for a reason! A cheerful blend of lemon verbena, rose buds, fennel and rosehips, this is an uplifting infusion which helps to clear the senses and revitalise the spirit. Winner of a Great Taste Award, this blend harks back to the age of foraging and preserving plants and herbs for medicinal purposes.

Lemon verbena has a number of health benefits, primarily decreasing inflammation, thereby protecting muscles and boosting the immune system. It can also clear up congestion and reduce fevers. When paired with rosehip, a seed famous for its high vitamin C content, it is great for preventing and treating colds and flus. The delicate rose buds add a gentle floral flavour, as well as some colour.

As this is a wellness infusion it won’t over brew like a regular tea would. We usually recommend leaving for around 5 minutes before enjoying. If you leave the tea for longer however, you will notice that the brew, initially a light green, will darken to a russet red as the rose hips come into play and it will taste more tangy. This is a truly versatile tea as it can adapt to different taste preferences, without getting bitter.

Wimbledon Tennis Championships

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships have started, which that means that the London summer is in full swing. City summers are so different from the countryside, and believe me, when I’m like a sardine on the central line, I would much rather be in rolling fields with the breeze in my hair. However, there is something special about living in a city during the summer months.

In this weather, it’s a pleasure to walk home from work, iced tea in hand, surrounded by barbeque smells and kids playing on their bikes. With the evenings being so long now, you have time to walk through the parks or along the river and stretch your legs. It’s so much easier to be active in summer, and, inspired by the greats, many people opt to improve their backhand, with varying levels of success… The oldest, and arguably the most prestigious, tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon has a great many traditions, one of them being, for sure, leaving half of London with aching muscles and tennis elbow!

It’s lucky, really, that we are here to help! We have a number of single herb infusions and wellness blends that are great for rejuvenating you after exercise, but none can be better than the perfectly named Aching Muscles blend to get you but up and out there! A soothing mixture of chamomile, passion flower and oat straw, it smells just like sun-warmed grass. Hints of lemongrass and spearmint come through when it is brewed, lifting the blend. It is a deliciously light and refreshing infusion, and the passion flower, thought to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helps to lower blood pressure, thus reducing muscles cramps.

A tisane, this blend will not over-brew, however, we recommend you brew this for around five minutes before you enjoy it. Generally brewed as a hot infusion, this would also work well over ice to help you cool off after exercise.

 

Can a Cup of Tea Fight Inflammation?

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.

However, in some diseases, like arthritis, the body’s defense system triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. This is known as autoimmune diseases.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation arises after a cut or scrape in the skin, site of injury or sore throats. It is short-term and the effects subside after a few days.

Chronic (sometimes called systemic) inflammation is long-term and occurs in conditions such as lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma. If left untreated, chronic inflammation can unfortunately lead to more serious health issues. Some key factors that contribute to autoimmune diseases can be due to lifestyle, genetic predisposition, lack of exercise, stress, poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol and pollution in the environment.

Thankfully, by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle choices may keep inflammation under control. By learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory response could be the best strategy for containing it, even though some establishments say that hard evidence is lacking.

Anti-inflammatory food diets are generally what health nutritionist advice you to eat such as fruit and veggies, whole grains, nuts which contain healthy fat to stop inflammation, fish, herbs and spices.

If you are looking to keep your inflammation levels under control through lifestyle changes and dietary means, then you may want to consider the following;

  • Eat a variety of colourful, whole, plant food in their natural state
  • Avoid or limit processed foods
  • Stay hydrated with water
  • Exercise often – ensure regular movement in your daily routine
  • Sleep – make sure you get good quality sleep and find breathing exercises and meditation to keep stress levels down

The best anti-inflammatory herbs and spices known are cloves, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, sage, coriander, ginger, and peppermint.

Drink tea to fight inflammation

 The best teas to help fight inflammation are peppermint, fennel, cinnamon, ginger, nettle leaf, rose hips, matcha and most types of green teas. Black teas also help with keeping inflammation at bay because it is rich in quercetin, a bioflavanoid that has anti-inflammatory effects. Black tea can be high in caffeine depending on how it’s brewed so you may want to brew lighter infusions.

 Its best to try a variety of teas over the week so that your taste buds develop and learns to appreciate the healing effect of different flavours and subtle notes of sweet and woody herbs and floral and fruity characters of green teas.

 Here are some recommendations from the Camellia’s Tea Collection which we think will help the body to alkaline and reduce inflammation.

 Handmade wellness herbal infusions:

Can a Cup of Tea Help Fight Inflammation

For the healing effect try longer brews for herbal infusions to boost the tea’s potency.

Green teas:

  • Anji Bai Cha is a delicate spring green tea with a very pale green colour
  • Ceylon Green tea – this is rare and one of the finest organic green teas
  • China Gunpowder is one of the most widely drunk teas in China
  • Green Mint is invigorating which combines strength and quality
  • Lung Ching also known as “Dragonwell” renowned for its quality and flavour
  • Matcha Premium is of a ceremonial quality and classic for the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

Avoid steeping green in water that is too hot for longer than 3-4 minutes, as this will result in a bitter brew.