Tag Archives: tea

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Superfoods

-Marissa Tomko

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s superfood!

Alright, alright, that was a bad joke. But come on, you wouldn’t have been able to resist either! The Oxford English Dictionary defines superfood as “a food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being.” Basically, these foods are really high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols. These are all things that keep us feeling good in the short run, and reduce our risk of chronic disease in the long run.

I’ve already told you about five foods that aren’t so good for you, so in the spirit of keeping things balanced, here are five foods that you should be keeping around!

Blueberries

Blueberries have numerous health benefits, all of which blow my mind! I mean really, how can those tiny little morsels pack so much power? Blueberries are high in the antioxidants by the name of anthocyanidins. These help fight oxidation in your body that cause heart diseases, cancers, and macular degeneration.

Salmon

If you don’t like fish, then I don’t understand you. The best meal I ever had was this past summer, when my parents grilled the tastiest salmon I have ever laid my tongue on. Not only were they pleasing my taste buds by providing me with such a meal, but they were also helping me be healthy; sneaky move, mom and dad! In addition to providing your body with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can give you 58 percent of your daily protein intake. Salmon is heart healthy, and high in vitamins and minerals!

Avocado

Word on the street is that people avoid avocados because they think they are too high in fat. To the people on those streets, I urge you to turn down a different one! These fats are heart healthy, and come along with the benefits of antioxidants and vitamins (especially vitamin K). You know what I always say: an avocado a day provides you with your vitamin K!

Tea

Tea is great for when you’re sick or you want to appear classier. Especially of the green variety, this beverage is chock-full of antioxidants. Additionally, it boosts your metabolism with EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), an antioxidant that reduces risk of cancer and other diseases. It can even benefit your bone density by way of your body absorbing catechins.

Oranges

In my research, this is the superfood that surprised me the most. Yes, I have always been aware that oranges are healthy; whenever I get sick, my mom blames it on low OJ intake. Oranges are most well known for having a lot of vitamin C, but they have also been credited with prevention of cancer, diabetes, and enhancing a healthy heart. By bringing some orange slices in a snack bag to school or work, you can revisit your grammar school days and enhance your health! One thing you won’t be able to do? Find a word that rhymes with this superfood. Sorry.

The Art of Divination from Tea Leaves: The Arcane World of Fortune-Telling Teacups

-Emily Fraysse

For many pieces of antiquity, the curious story behind the entity can be just as captivating as the object itself.

The eerie concept of hypothesizing “what a day may bring forth” by applying the art of divination is a natural curiosity. It may be, in a way, a desire that some light will be shed upon the precariousness of one’s future.

Adorned with alien-looking hieroglyphics, fortune-telling teacups have been traced back to medieval European times. According to Prediction Magazine, the origin has been traced back to Asia, the Middle East, and Ancient Greece, but the exact date is uncertain.

Commonly called tasseomancy (tasse meaning “cup” and mancy meaning “divination”) or tea leaf reading, it started with the interpretation of drippings from wax, lead, and other liquid substances and eventually evolved into decoding the shapes and patterns of tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments left at the bottom of the cup after being consumed. Fine-grained tea leaves are best to use because there is a higher chance of the leaves sticking to the sides of the cup.

The Process according to Tea-Cup Reading And Fortune-Telling By Tea Leaves (2006) is as follows:

After boiling a pot of water and pouring a small handful of leaves into the kettle, pour the tea into the cup of choice.

Leaving about a half a teaspoon remaining in the cup, “take the cup in your most dominant hand and turn it three times in a clockwise direction.”

While waiting, the reader should begin to concentrate upon his or her future destiny and “will that the symbols forming under the guidance of his hand and arm shall correctly represent what is destined to happen to him in the future.”

Pour any leftover liquids from the cup down the sink.

Place the cup upside down on the saucer and, once again, turn it in a clockwise direction three times.

Now, the individual can begin to decipher the symbols made of tea leaves that are located around the cup.

Common symbols include:
The apple, meaning achievement or knowledge.
The cat, meaning deceit or a false friend.
The candle, meaning enlightenment.
The insect, meaning good luck is on its way.
The kite, meaning wishes will come true.
The octopus, meaning danger.
The raven, meaning death or bad news.
And the circle, meaning great success in any venture.

The art of using divination can be fickle—like deciding if the leaves look like a grin or a grim. Whether deemed a serious method for predicting the future or merely a bit of silliness, this art form is just as abnormal and suspicious as the world it lives in.

Now, as Professor Sibyl Trelawney exclaims in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “together we shall cast ourselves into the future!”

The 10 Best Things About Fall

-Jamie Hershman

There’s nothing better than when the weather starts changing and you get to break out all the cold weather habits that make you smile. Read on for my personal opinion on the greatest aspects of autumn.

#1 Pumpkin spice everything

Pumpkin spice is the best thing that ever happened to the world. Is there really anything better than a pumpkin-spice latte with a piece of pumpkin pie? The answer is no, unless you add a pumpkin spice candle and maybe a pumpkin loaf.

#2 Sweater weather (is better weather)

Wearing big, comfy sweaters is one of the best parts of the season. Knowing there’s a little chill in the air makes it all the better to snuggle up in your softest knits and warmest boots and face the cool air without the slightest shiver.

#3 Football season

Duck football. Need I say more?

#4 Costumes, candy, and Halloween weekend

This is your one chance of the year to get especially creative with your costumes and go all out in dressing up. It’s only appropriate one night a year to dress like a weirdo and go around knocking on stranger’s doors asking for candy. Start brainstorming that really unique costume now. Also, three nights to celebrate one holiday has never been so great. A high schooler’s Halloween hardly compares to the college version.

#5 Hot tea

I guess you could drink hot tea in the 90-degree summer weather, but we all know that it tastes so much better when it’s cold out. Plus, there are so many different options: herbal, green, black, or maybe even a piping hot oolong.

#6 Thanksgiving

Seriously, food is one of the best things about fall: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, apple pie, and family and friends. It just keeps getting better.

#7 The changing colors

Walking along a path filled with red and orange leaves with trees bursting with yellow is such a beautiful sight. Instagram that picture as soon as possible before all the leaves fall off for good (or at least until spring).

#8 Birthdays

Specifically mine. Not that I’m biased or anything, but my birthday is always the greatest.

#9 Fall TV

All the best TV shows start up again for a new season. Summer television is all reality all the time, so it’s fun to actually catch up on a show you’ve been craving for three months. Plus, there are always new shows to get excited about.

#10 It’s that much closer to winter

Winter break is just around the corner and so are the holidays. It’s almost time to sell back your fall term books for good and then break out the Christmas tree or Menorah. It’s the perfect transition from one great season to another, filled with holiday treats and presents. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

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Steeped in Tradition

A spicy yet soothing aroma of freshly-brewed tea fills the air in Josh Chamberlain’s spacious tea house, J-Tea. Surrounding the tea bar and stools in the center of the shop, shelves hold teapots decorated with floral patterns and teas with names such as Hairy Monkey White Tea and Second Flush Oolong. There are stacks of tiny foil packages colored with turquoise, gold, and lavender, each containing a hard, compressed block of loose tea leaves.

Here, you will not find the premeasured tea bags packaged into oversized boxes that are popular in grocery stores. Chamberlain’s shop offers teas with minimal packaging, so what you’re getting is – well, tea.

Other tea shops often carry an assortment of teas from just about every area in the world that produces tea. J-Tea carries a more specialized selection, selling only teas from Taiwan and China. Chamberlain is so particular about his teas that he travels all the way to Taiwan twice a year to pick out the finest tea leaves himself.

Heading straight to the source rather than ordering through a middleman eliminates Chamberlain’s risk of getting stuck with teas of subpar quality.

Tea, like wine, is an agricultural product that varies widely in taste, appearance, scent, and overall quality from farm to farm and season to season.

“Those really regional, seasonal differences in tea that get expressed in the flavor, the body, the aroma—these are things that I’m trying to capture when I select the teas,” Chamberlain says.

When he visits the small-production farms in the high mountains of Taiwan, Chamberlain looks for the proper conditions that will fulfill his personal standards of quality. Teas of high quality boast delectable natural flavors and pleasant aromas.

And, as with wine, when a particular farm and season has produced an optimal crop, Chamberlain will buy as much as he can sell.

Taiwan’s cool, humid mountains are covered with flourishing greenery and offer prime conditions for growing lush tea.

To ensure that the tea he is purchasing is of high quality, Chamberlain chooses to buy only pure, unflavored tea leaves. He avoids flavored teas, which are the dominant teas on the market in the U.S., because flavors are often used to mask poor quality, according to Chamberlain.

“People are often surprised that tea can taste as good as it does just on its own,” he says.

J-Tea benefits from the variety and frequently-changing qualities that come from small farms, while large-scale tea businesses usually look for just the opposite. They don’t want any variation in their teas, according to Chamberlain.

“They add the tea together in a formula that consistently produces the same taste,” he says. This, however, won’t guarantee that the color will remain consistent. To ensure that their product always looks the same every time a customer brews a cup, big companies add dyes.

Chamberlain concentrates on filling the majority of his store with genuine tea.
Camellia Sinensis is the actual tea plant, which is used to make green, white, and black teas. Herbal teas do not fall under this category, as they are derived from other plants, such as rose, mint, or chamomile flower.

Rather than focusing on the conventional top sellers, such as Earl Greys and herbals, Chamberlain instead seeks out rare teas.

Another feature that sets these teas apart from others is that J-Tea only sells whole leaf tea, rather than the dust and crumbs that are often used to fill tea bags.

Chamberlain’s vast knowledge of the types of teas and the processes needed to properly brew them also benefits his customers, especially those who purchase brewed cups from the tea bar.

“He knows so much about tea, so it enhances the experience of drinking it. Period,” says customer Frank Hale, a self-proclaimed tea lover.

Chamberlain developed his knowledge while he was studying abroad in Taiwan. His years overseas taught him the benefits of drinking tea, such as increased awareness and a calmer state of mind.

“I was crazy about tea,” he says. He would drink it in the morning, afternoon, and evening. After returning to the U.S. in 2005 with an MBA and an in-depth understanding of the beverage, Chamberlain decided to open his tea shop.

Chamberlain has honed and perfected his skill for getting the tea-brewing process right, evident in every cup of tea served. He pairs pots with equipment and particular teas in order to deliver an incomparable drink to his customers every time.

For example, Chamberlain knows that a heavier, more full-bodied tea, such as a ‘High Mountain Roasted Oolong,’ is best prepared using a dark, iron-rich clay pot. The dark clay absorbs tea flavors while simultaneously enhancing them.

For a lighter tea, such as a ‘Green Oolong,’ Chamberlain recognizes that porcelain is the best type of pot to brew the tea in. Porcelain lets the heat dissipate rather than holding it in, and it won’t absorb the tea’s flavors–perfect for switching between teas in the same pot.

Chamberlain is also a useful resource for his customers when they are unsure about which teas to buy. When customers ask for Chamberlain’s input, he replies by asking them what kind of beer they like, or what type of wine they prefer. Based on their preferences for other beverages, Chamberlain can better recommend a tea that will suit their tastes.

For instance, someone who likes malt whiskey may enjoy a tea with rich flavors, such as a roasted Oolong. If someone likes IPA beer, Chamberlain recommends teas with bitter flavors and a sweet aftertaste.

But what you get at J-Tea doesn’t end with quality. This tea house offers a unique business with a cultural touch.

Outside of the tea house is a modern metal structure that seems to make an artistic statement rather than serve a solid functional purpose. A short set of stairs leads customers from the street to a wooden entrance that resembles a box. The entire front of the shop is made of tall, glass windows, allowing natural light to gently flow in.

First-time customer Neil VanSteenbergen says, “There’s a comfort and warmth here. I’m going to come back and bring my sweetheart.”

Hale agrees. He keeps coming back to J-Tea because of the calm, soothing environment and the unique selection of teas that he can’t find elsewhere. Also, the cultural and spiritual experience of watching Chamberlain handmake the cups of tea right in front of his eyes is something he can’t get anywhere else.

Drawn to the time-honored tea-brewing process at J-Tea, Hale says, “After the first time I drank here, I stopped drinking store-bought teas.”

Chamberlain hopes the new shop will provide an ideal setting to expose customers to the health benefits and life-enhancing qualities of tea along with the culture behind drinking it. Here, he will work to conquer one of his biggest challenges: showing people what ‘quality’ tea really means and the traditions behind the cultures that enjoy it.