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Green tea, white tea, black tea… what’s the difference? The examination of the health benefits from tea consumption date back about 4700 years ago from emperor Shennong of China. A cup of tea has been known to heal, comfort and cross cultural barriers and has so much to offer. The benefits of drinking tea can be significant to your overall health, but we must first understand the different types of teas and the prosperity that each one has to offer.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is said to be first produced at Mr. Wu Yi Shan in Fujian Province towards the end of the Ming Dynasty about 400 years ago. Drinking Oolong tea is truly a work of art. In order to enjoy the flavor and its rich aroma, a tiny teapot and teacup are used. This presentation has been handed down one generation to the next. This type of tea contains a large quantity of polyphenol- an ingredient that generates the unique flavor and promotes good health. This tea is a great source of antioxidents, weight loss, and can provide an overall boost to your health.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis and originates from China. What sets green tea apart from the others is the way it’s processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents a certain compound from being oxidized. In contrast, black and oblong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves. As a result of this process, the health benefits to you, the consumer, are significant. Recently, it has been all the rage and has become more widespread in the West. Green tea contains minerals and vitamins such as chromium, manganese, zinc, vitamin C, and certain phytochemical compounds. Studies suggest that green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, cancer, and can help lower cholesterol.

White Tea

Move over Green Tea, a new tea is in town. White Tea seems to be all the rage and is the latest and hottest new food trend in North America. Chinese tea drinkers have known since the Ming Dynasty about the benefits that White Tea can offer. White Tea is also made from the immature leaves of Camellia Sinensis, picked shortly after the buds have opened. White tea lacks the “grassy” aftertaste that Green Tea has, and offers a delightful, smooth and silky taste. White tea health benefits include: boosting your body’s immune system, fighting off viruses and infections, prevention of plaque buildup and tooth decay. With it’s widespread popularity, White Tea has made its presence known, and is here to stay.

Black Tea

Black Tea is a more oxidized tea than oolong, green and white teas. It is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine. Black tea is the most popular tea used in the U.S.  Black tea is often blended with other plants in a variety of mixtures to produce a unique flavor. Some of these blends include: Earl Grey and Masala Chai. Health benefits include cholesterol reduction due to a theaflavin derivative found in black tea, and is high in anti-oxidents. Black tea can be enjoyed alone, as a blend, or as a boost of energy in the morning, and may give you that jolt of energy you’ve been looking for to get you through the day.

There are lots of reasons to enjoy a nice cup of tea. I have only given you a short introduction to the different kinds of tea and some of the amazing benefits to your health that they can offer, and hope that I’ve inspired you to discover the wonderful world of tea on your own. Whether it be enjoying a nice cup of white tea with a loved one, such as my husband and I recently did in the Chinese Gardens of Portland, Oregon, or an ice-cold sweet tea on a hot, summer day- tea is here to stay!

Related – GSI Outdoors Vortex Hand-Crank Blender

– Special thanks to Andrea Ledwell for her contribution of this introductory article with future articles on teas and recipes soon to follow.

* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

A year ago, I packed up my grungy 10 pot coffee brewer and made the switch to plunger style brewing with a glass French press. To a true coffee aficionado, the difference was euphoric. The French press let me brew the highest caliber, freshest, and best tasting coffee right in my kitchen.

When it came time to plan the food list for our next camping trip, I was not enthusiastic about the usual instant coffee we bring on our trips. I wanted to bring my French press with me and make some truly worthy coffee, but a glass French press seemed doomed to break out on the trail for sure.

My search for an answer came quickly. I’d heard of a backpacker’s press and found what I was looking for on the internet with a company called Planetary Designs. The Big Sky Bistro, the original French Press Mug, was designed by a backpacker and coffee connoisseur who had faced the same dilemma I was in and had envisioned this product as the answer.

Big Sky Bistro is an insulated French Press Mug that brews a perfect cup of coffee, and keeps it hot as you drink, all in the same container.

Admittedly I was initially concerned about the durability of the product; it is a plastic insulated mug, and the plunger is also constructed of plastic. I wondered if it would hold up. My interest in this product was for occasional use and by no means did I think I would use it everyday. My trip wasn’t for a couple more weeks and I was anxious to try it. The ease and convenience of brewing my morning tonic in the same mug that I walk out the door with was as exciting as the gratification I had when I switched from my electric brewer to the French press. I brew a full 16oz. of perfect coffee each morning in my Big Sky Bistro and have now used it everyday straight for two months. My concerns of durability were not necessary; this mug was built to hold up to the conditions of the trail and the continuous abuse of the daily grind.

– Durable, hard plastic construction
– Compact and lightweight at only 7.1 ounces
– Insulated to keep coffee and tea hot longer
– Fast to use; takes only four minutes
– Drink directly from the bistro or pour into another cup
– Makes 16 ounces of perfectly brewed coffee or tea

Rating:  5 out of 5!

Special thanks to Richard Tinnell for his contribution of this article.

* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

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