5 Unusual Products That Will Leave You Wanting More (Part 1)

  1. Masala Chai Gud

http://bit.ly/2AGzuDl

Inspired by the rural classic, this aromatic and flavourful beverage originated in India but is now popular in snack houses across the world. This Masala Chai Gud is the ultimate cheat in making your daily cuppa. It contains coconut sugar (healthier than regular refined sugar, and all the spices needs to make the perfectly balanced spicy ‘chai’. Simple heat up your liquids, infuse tea and add a spoonful of masala magic! Masala chai prevents one from body inflammation and helps beat fatigue.

  1. Bee Pollen

http://bit.ly/2hoqxGr

Bee Pollen is said to be an exceptionally nutritious food, and it is sometimes even labeled as “super food.” This pollen is extracted from honeybees who pack the pollen they collect from flowers into sacs. It is 40% protein by weight and is rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, due to which it can cure a multitude of health problems.

Confused how to use it? Here’s a quick and easy recipe:

Healthy Blender Drink :

Ingredients:

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

Makes about 10 ounces – a light breakfast/meal for one.

  1. Rhododendron Chutney

http://bit.ly/2hpiKsrO

An edible flower indigenous to the Himachal region of India that blooms only from January to March. This chutney is traditionally made in Himachal homes and no where else. It’s like nothing else you’ll ever taste with a stunning spicy, earthy, floral taste. Best with any kind of crackers, breads or as an addition to a traditional thali,

Rhododendron is used to cure heart problems, high blood pressure, liver disorders. It increases red blood cells and is good for reducing anemia.

  1. Dark Chocolate Black Tea

http://bit.ly/2m0JDHS

This one is for all the chocolate and chai lovers out there.  We have something really interesting for you but with a twist! A deep delicious black tea with the finest cocoa powder. Chocolate and tea together bring together a depth of flavour that is sure to leave you wanting more. Great with milk or water based brewing – and especially perfect for winter morning when you can’t choose between hot chocolate and chai!

This ultimate “guilty pleasure” is good for you in many different ways as well –

  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves heart health
  • Helps to reduce risk pre-mature ageing
  • Gives relief from stress and depression
  • Improves learning abilities/memory

5. Jowar Puff

http://bit.ly/2jmi1vO

Globally, jowar (also called sorghum) is being touted as the “new quinoa” for its gluten-free, whole-grain goodness. But in India, it has long been a staple, especially in the western and southern parts of the country where it is ground into flour and used to make rotis, cheela, dosa etc. This is a new take on the humble jowar, perfect for snacking. Mildly flavoured to suit all palates, it is a guilt-free snack that is sure to make a home in your pantry!

Jowar is rich in fiber, high in protein & iron and is excellent for bone health

Iced Turmeric Green Tea

Cool and refreshing, this iced turmeric tea is packed with nutrients. Skip the drinks with unhealthy artificial ingredients and make this beautifully delicate green tea version at home!

Prep Time: 15 mins | Serves: 1-2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (85g) honey
  • Ice and fresh lime slices to serve (optional)

Method

1. In a medium pot, bring water close to a boil and add minced ginger, turmeric, honey, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes then turn off the heat. Add the green tea bag and steep for 3 minutes, then take out. Strain out the solids using a fine mesh strainer and set aside.

2. Pick any sized glass or mason jar you like, fill 3/4 height with ice cube, pour the tea over the ice. Add fresh lime juice, honey to taste, garnish with a slice of lime, and enjoy!

Chamomile Strawberry Orange Cold-Brewed Tea

The most-fuss free, refreshing drink you could serve to your guests! Amazing for parties, morning refreshment, and also great with a splash of vodka.

Prep Time: 10 mins | Total Time: 12 hrs | Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 chamomile tea bags
  • 12 cups filtered water, at room temperature
  • 2 small juice oranges (thin-skinned), peeled, cut into slices, and seeded
  • 24 large strawberries, halved
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons hot water

Method

  1. Place the tea bags in the water in a jarge jar with a lid. Place orange slices, strawberry halves and cover with lid. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. (Longer the better).
  2. Remove tea bags from jar.  Combine honey and 4 teaspoons hot water. Add the honey to the mixture divide into glasses to serve. Garnish with fresh mint and fruits.

Mythbuster 3.0 – Caffeine Edition

This month, since we’re on the topic of matcha, tea and caffeine in general let’s look at some common sayings about this chemical and how true they are.

  1. Caffeine is dehydrating: Sort of.

Caffeine itself is a mild diuretic (i.e. it makes you run to the restroom more), that’s a proven fact. However, since most of the caffeine you consume tends to be in liquid form (tea, coffee, colas), the water used to make them generally makes up for any slight dip in hydration the caffeine may cause. So while your cuppa will make you pee more, it probably won’t dehydrate you. We say probably however, because while the amounts of caffeine in a cup or two of coffee won’t cause any negative effects, having more than 3 cups may cause dehydration as the effects of caffeine are compounded. TL;DR – Caffeine can cause dehydration of your intake is too high.

  1. Coffee can stain teeth: True.

Our tooth enamel has lots of tiny ridges and cracks, and the dark pigments from caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea or sodas can become embedded in them. However, this happens over a prolonged period and is easy to avoid! Try rinsing your mouth with water after drinking such beverages, or drink through a straw. If nothing else, a quick visit to the dentist, or using DIY teeth whitening methods can also do the trick.

  1. Decaf means no caffeine: False

Decaf doesn’t mean totally caffeine free! For example, decaf coffee still contains about 20mg of caffeine. This is much less than a regular cup of coffee that tends to have about 100mg of caffeine. But still, about 5 cups of decaf would add up to a regular drink.

  1. Caffeine is bad for health: False

In fact, intake of caffeine has been linked to lowered risks of various diseases and cancers, like skin cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzhimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and many more. However, as is true of most things, moderation is key! A cup a day is no miracle cure, but will probably do no harm either.

  1. Caffeine is addictive: Sort of.

Caffeine is mildly addictive in the sense that it’s a stimulant for the nervous system that your body can learn to depend on. Due to this physical dependence, giving up high doses of caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and difficulty concentrating, as your body has become used to certain chemical reactions. However, there are no long term negative effects of giving it up, and the body is generally able to adapt to normal caffeine-free levels soon. This is why most experts don’t qualify caffeine as an addictive substance on the level of drugs or alcohol.

Our Top 5 Unusual Teas In The World

Matcha is not the only weird and wonderful way people drink their tea leaves. We trawled the internet and spoke to our fellow foodies about the strange, wonderful, rare or outright crazy teas they’ve had or heard of. The results did not disappoint. Presenting to you, our top 5 picks of the most unusual teas that we found:

  1. Panda Dung Tea

No there’s no actual dung in the tea, we promise. It’s actually a tea that’s fertilized specifically and only by panda poop. Since pandas absorb only about 30% of the nutrients in their food, the balance 70% is excreted, which is absorbed by the tea plants fertilized by it. An entrepreneur in China started this method, and people actually loved the flavour of the tea!

  1. Fermented Yak Butter Tea

This one is a Tibetan specialty, perfect for the chilly weather there. After making regular boiled tea from leaves, yak butter and salt (yes it’s a savoury tea!) are mixed with it and stirred continually for hours, until it’s homogenized and looks like a stew. It is said to have a high calorific value and warm up the body from inside.

  1. Yellow Gold Tea Buds

At around 105 USD for 50gms this tea is equivalent to buying a piece of jewellery! And for a reason – the tea leaves are coated in real 24-carat gold. What’s more it’s grown only on one particular mountain in the world, and harvested on one day every year, with special golden scissors, from a specific part of each plant, and is sold only in Singapore. Phew, talk about exclusive!

  1. Pu-erh

This is a type of green tea that is slowly and deliberately aged using fungus – think of It as the blue cheese of teas. This aging is said to give it a depth of flavour and texture that its addicts swear by. Pu-erh is mainly produced in the Yunan district in China, with the government officially only acknowledging teas produced there as authentic Pu-erh.

  1. Tieguanyin

This one is not as fantastical in its preparation – we’ve included it in this list however as it is by far the most expensive tea available in the world. At the fantastical price of 3,000 USD per kg, this is an oolong tea grown in China. Why is it so expensive? We’re not sure, but it is supposed to bring all five senses into play when it is consumed. Guess we’ll just have to try some to find out!

Special Mention: Kombucha is a Russian tea, famous for its sour taste. It is made from sweet, balck tea fermented with a mixture of yeasts and bacteria. Made famous now in the West by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities, it is supposed to have many health benefits, including boosting immunity.

Matcha-do About Something?

The world seems to be obsessed with matcha. Beautiful people are knocking back shots of it at fashion shows. Gwyneth and her tribe are toting jars of it to yoga classes. Cafes are serving it in lattes and chefs are turning it into everything from soup to brownies. Japan’s most revered form of green tea has now become a must-have ingredient for the ‘wellness’ set. But what’s the truth behind the health claims? Here’s what you need to know if you want to join the green party.

What is matcha?

Let’s begin with what it actually is: matcha is essentially a stone-ground, powdered green tea. It originates from Japan, where the green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, after which and the stems and veins are removed, and the leaves are processed and ground.

The main difference between  conventional green tea and matcha is that in traditional green tea, you consume the  essence of the leaf that is infused in water with the leaves themselves being discarded, while with matcha you are drinking the actual finely powdered leaves.

What are the health benefits?

One of the main reasons matcha is so wildly popular is that it has numerous health benefits. As one serving of matcha has the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regular green tea, it is packed full of anti-oxidants (including the powerful EGCg). These help to boost your metabolism, burn fat, increase immunity, detoxify your body, fight cancer and even slow down aging (phew that’s a lot!).

Matcha also contains a rare amino acid called L-theanine, which is a saviour for those who need a caffeine hit without the coffee jitters. Each cup of pure brewed matcha contains about 70g of caffeine – quite a kick. However, the presence of theanine helps the body process this caffeine better, inducing a calm, alert state of mind as opposed to the high and subsequent crash of coffee. In fact, Japanese monks have used it for centuries for meditation.

Does matcha taste sweet or savoury?

In a nutshell – both.  Our favourite compound Theanine influences the taste of matcha as well. This amino acid beings in a flavour of ‘umami’ – the fifth taste identified after sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Many people describe umami in different ways, but it is essentially a rich moreish flavour that is difficult to pin down but is adds a delicious richness and dimension to food.

The presence of ‘umami’ gives matcha a mellow, sweet, natural flavour, with moreish undertones. This combination of sweet and savoury makes matcha an easy match to use in cooking.

 

The last important thing that we’d like to tell you about matcha, is that it comes in various grades and qualities. Not every powdered green tea can be called matcha, and it is important to look for good quality to reap the health benefits. Always look for ceremonial-grade (high-quality, fit to be used in formal tea ceremonies) matcha, and keep a look out for the iconic bright green colour of the powder. If it’s yellowish or browning, it may not be in it’s prime or may be adulterated.

Shop original matcha here on our site!