Tea, Your Health, and Your Bank Account
Many of my friends and peers say “Dean I never see you without a cup of coffee.” They are wrong, but not wrong about seeing me daily with a coffee cup. It’s just that my “coffee” cup is usually filled with tea.
I started drinking tea years ago when a combination of long hours as a medical student, too much hospital coffee that would probably burn a hole through titanium, and the stress of learning all you have to learn in medical school-all combined to give me recurrent epigastric inflammation, (for you non-medical types: heartburn….)
After getting tired of Maalox, and Tagamet, I approached one my attendings, (what we called “real docs” when I was in medical training.) He was a GI specialist and his remarkable advice was: “Quit drinking so damn much coffee! Now get back to the wards!”
So I quit drinking coffee (and went back to work!)
It worked, the heartburn went away. (didn’t do much for the work stress….)
I realized after I quit though why I started drinking coffee in the first place. It had something to do with working 72 hours straight every other weekend.
Remember, this was before all these energy drinks hit the market, and I needed something to keep me going during those long hours on the patient wards at the old Talmadge Hospital in Augusta Georgia.
Tea, The Other Caffeinated Beverage!
I rediscovered tea. As a kid during the winter, we would occasionally drink a cup of hot tea using a Lipton Orange Pekoe teabag and about 3 teaspoons of sugar.
I saw a few of those little bags on the hospital wards and remembered the tea of my youth. And voila, a tea bag and a little hot water, (sans the sugar) and in 3 minutes you had a hot drink with caffeine, but no burning stomach. I was ready for action.
I’ve been a tea drinker ever since. I still drink coffee. I frequently have a cup, (or two or three) after lunch, and if I limit my coffee drinking to the afternoon, it never bothers my gut. Who knows why…
Over the last decade or so, what the Chinese will say they’ve known for years has become a scientific fact. All of the tea types made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia Seninsis, have health supporting properties.
Types of Tea:
Black tea is my go-to tea most mornings. It has a strong flavor, and there are many varieties. I’m a fan of English Breakfast and Earl Grey (which is flavored with Oil of Bergamot) .
I frequently drink green tea in the afternoon. It is good as iced tea as well. You can now buy it just like soda, though it is often sweetened and contains artificial flavors.
Green tea is made from leaves that are steamed, then dried. It contains a higher concentration of health preserving flavinoids and has been purported to decrease cancer frequency, aid in cardiovascular health, help support weight loss efforts, and brain health.
I have not had much experience with white teas, though there are many available.
White tea is made from uncured and un-fermented leaves and has been shown to have high levels of flavinoids and other anti-oxidents.
And for you trivia buffs, most of the “Herbal Teas” you see at health food stores, and hotels aren’t tea at all. They are just flavored stuff, soaked in water. Nothing against ‘em, they just ain’t TEA…
Tea Making Stuff
Remember, we have always been
cheap frugal in our household. Buying expensive one-time use tea bags just didn’t seem to be the way to go-especially if you drink two or three, (maybe more) cups a day….
I have run the gamut of tea making equipment through the years. This well before Teavana and other specialty tea stores became mainstream, rather than avant garde-and nope we’re not going to buy gourmand tea, hand picked by virgins deep in undiscovered China, pricier than a damn gold bar…..
Years ago we (OK Cil discovered it-she edits so I have to be mostly honest…) discovered that spice companies sell bulk loose tea at a good price.
Once we got the bulk tea, we had to figure out the best way to utilize it.
I tried the little bags to make my own tea bags, multiple stove top tea pots, tea infusers on chains, little chrome cages, along with electric kettles.
After years of trial and error, wrong turns, and wasted effort, we came up with a tea making system that works for me. Now I’m sharing with you to save you those years of toil and trouble!
The kettle I use now (I’m on my second as I’ve worn one out) is an Aroma glass kettle, on an electric base that boils 1 1/2 quarts of water in about 8 minutes. It has a tea holder that attaches to a hook on the lid of the kettle, that is easily removable for loading and cleaning.
My current tea making engineering goes as follows:
- Boil water in my electric teapot.
- I use about 3 teaspoons of loose tea placed in the tea ball infuser that hooks to the lid of the pot.
- After a three minute steep (timed of course), I pour the tea into a thermos that has been pre-warmed with a little hot water from the kettle before I put in the tea infuser.
- I then enjoy the tea while writing every morning, and I take the thermos of tea to the office and refill my cup as needed during my morning office hours.
Have I noticed any health benefits? Other than my heartburn went away, can’t say I have. Does it make me calmer, less likely to die of a stroke, heart attack or cancer? Who knows.
One other confession about my tea drinking practices:
(The feminists among you need not read this next sentence.) Years ago, I really don’t remember how it came about, my wife agreed to make my tea every morning while she made her coffee, if I would continue to open her car door when we travel together. She does and I still do too.
We’ve continued that quaint custom for the past 30 years….
Are you a tea drinker? What’s your favorite? How do you make your tea?
“Like” me please!
My goal is 1000 Facebook likes before the end of the year. Please hit the “Like” button and help me reach my goal.
Link to me-at Linked In
Don’t miss anything here-RSS
Newsletter, for special people, with my special mini-e-course on personal finance and my special free e-book, at no extra charge-cause that’s the kinda guy I am! Don’t you want to be special?