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Types of Teas To Try in Sri Lanka

Tea Plantation in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka came to be known as a tea country by a fluke of nature when all the coffee plantations in the country were wiped out by a fungal disease. Tea was introduced to its shores from China when a tea plant was brought over to be planted at the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. It was commercialised later in time by James Taylor, who is also known as the Father of Tea in Sri Lanka. From there the rest is a tea-story.

 

True tea is all derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Depending on the different amounts of processing that the leaf undergoes, the differing types of tea are produced. The main types of tea are Black, Green and White. Each of these teas have their unique properties, tastes and aromas.

 

Black Tea

Black tea undergoes the most amount of processing and this is what gives it its unique black leaves. The teas itself are dark in colour, a reddish or orangish hue, when brewed and has a strong malty taste with a hint of a nutty flavour. It has a deep and satisfying aroma. Black tea is most famous in Sri Lanka and a cup of black tea with milk and sugar are a staple for any occasion.

Zesta’s Range of Black Teas

 

Green Tea

Green tea goes through less processing compared to its counterpart black tea. It is not fermented and therefore retains most of its antioxidants. Due to this, it is the tea that is famous the world over for its health benefits that includes its weight loss properties as well as improved brain function, diabetes prevention and heart health. When the tea is brewed it takes on a light yellow to greenish tinge. The taste of green tea is a mix of sweet bitterness. The rule of thumb to remember in relation to green tea brewing is that if the temperature of the water used to brew is very high, the tea will take on a more bitter taste and if the temperature is lower the tea will taste sweeter. Green tea should be consumed without sweeteners.

Zesta’s Range of Green Teas

 

White Tea

White tea undergoes the least amount of processing. It is also unique in its manufacturing process because only the buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant are used to make this tea. It is also known as Silvertips and Golden tips. The tea is hand rolled and as it retains almost all of its nutrients and antioxidants, this tea is known to have more health benefits than green tea. This tea is also a favourite of tea connoisseurs the world over. When brewing this tea much care is taken so as to retain its natural taste and to avoid “burning” the delicate leaves. White tea has a very floral like taste compared to its counterparts. Sri Lanka produces some flavoursome white teas that are unique to its regions.

Zesta’s Range of White Teas

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Tea Gifts For Dad: How to Pick The Best Father’s Day Tea Gifts

Ceylon Black Tea

Father’s Day is fast approaching and you’re probably racking your brain trying to find the perfect gift for your dad; something personal, something he’ll enjoy, but also something that’s useful… 

Gift-giving is always stressful but it becomes even harder when it’s for parents because you want it to be thoughtful and for it to say ‘I appreciate everything you do for me’. Don’t stress! Zesta is your one-stop-shop not only for great tea gifts but new fun tea-related experiences to give your dad which are sure to bring a smile on his face on the 21st of June! Here are some ideas:

 

Baked Goods 

Baked goods are always a welcomed treat. Why don’t you bake your father something special like a sponge cake or some cookies, the perfect snack for an afternoon tea, and pair it with Zesta Luxury Loose Leaf Single Estate Tea? This tea is grown on one of Zesta’s tea estates in the misty mountains of Sri Lanka and has a slightly nutty, almost smokey, taste to it with a golden hue. Take your baked goodies to the next level and make some tea-infused cakes or cookies! 

 

Self Care 

One thing fathers don’t have time for is relaxation. Most of the time our dads are always on the move, rushing from one place to another so much so that they aren’t able to take some time for themselves and just relax. You can get him a book or a movie that you’ll think he’ll like, better yet make it a movie night and enjoy some family time. To de-stress even further, give your father a box of Zesta’s Pure Chamomile tea; chamomile is widely known to reduce anxiety and helps induce sleep, something your dad might need!

 

A Special Home Cooked Meal 

This is a really fun thing to do for your dad. Nothing can beat a home-cooked meal and no matter what it is, your father is sure to appreciate the gesture. If you’re looking to impress your father, try making a few Indian dishes and pair it with Zesta’s Masala Chai- a quintessential brew to accompany your Indian feast. A great tip is to make the Masala Chai as you normally would, but serve it in a nice tall glass with ice, the iced version of this traditional meal is perfect to wash down the spicy food. 

 

Take Him On A Trip Around The World… Sort Of!

Anyone would love to be taken on a vacation around the world, however, due to recent events this travel seems like a distant memory. If you can’t take your father around the world, why don’t you bring the world to him! Take your father on an international tea tasting tour from the comforts of your sofa! Apart from the Indian inspired Masala Chai, Zesta has a whole range of tea flavours originating from other exotic countries. Here are some flavours you should try:

Pure Peppermint Tea and be transported to the bustling streets of Morocco.

Zesta Exquisite Brew: Green Tea with Jasmine, one sip of this and it’ll feel as though you’re in a luxurious tearoom in China.

Zesta Premium Black Tea, have it with ice cubes and condensed milk and it will be as though you’re on the street of Bangkok sipping a Thai Iced Tea! 

If your father is not keen on “travelling”, gift him Zesta’s Ceylon Regional Pack. This bundle of teas has premium black tea from all five tea growing regions in Sri Lanka- Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. 

Whatever you choose to give your dad, just know that what matters the most is that the gift comes from the heart. Take this day and do something special for your dad, because he definitely deserves it!

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Herbal Tea Recipes to Boost your Immune System

Herbal Tea

Tea has become one of the most popular beverages in the world, only second to water, and can be traced back to the days of the ancient Chinese Empires where the camellia sinensis plant was used to make green tea or black tea. Fast forward to the present day, and tea has become diverse in many ways, as it has branched out to various varieties, which include different flavours and infusions. One such branch of tea that has become popularised over the years is herbal (tea) infusions. 

There is a common misconception in herbal infusions, as many would think that the same plant used for manufacturing green tea and black tea is utilised. However, it is really a blend of spices and herbs instead of the traditional camellia plant. Regardless, they are known for its many health benefits, of which strengthening the immune system is one major element. Here are four simple herbal (tea) infusion recipes for you to try out at home and experience its health benefits.

Chamomile Tea 

This particular herbal (tea) infusion is one of the most popular beverages out of the lot, as chamomile flowers are easily obtainable, and is simple to make. Moreover, the benefits of this infusion does not only cover the physical aspects, but also the mental aspects of health. 

How to make Chamomile Tea
Ingredients
  • 200ml of water (per person)
  • Two grams or one teaspoon of Chamomile flowers (per person)
  • One fresh sprig of mint (per person)
  • Two teaspoons of honey (optional)
Method
  • Boil fresh spring water
  • Prepare two grams or one teaspoon of flowers (per person) and a sprig of mint in pot or cup 
  • Pour boiled water onto flowers (200ml per person)
  • Close cup or pot to preserve aroma
  • Stir after 1 minute so it brews well
  • Leave it to brew for another 3-4 minutes
  • Strain into teacup
  • Add in honey (optional) and mix well before consuming

Using Zesta Connoisseur Chamomile tea bags make things easier for you, as it cuts down preparation time. If you want to know about the health benefits of chamomile click here.

Mint Tea

Mint tea is another very easy beverage to prepare, and has a host of health benefits, such as maintaining oral hygiene, good metabolism, and a great immune system overall. Moreover, this herbal (tea) infusion can be tweaked to your liking too.

How to make Mint Tea
Ingredients
  • 10 mint leaves
  • One sprig rosemary
  • Half a lemon (optional)
Method
  • Boil fresh spring water
  • Tear mint leaves into a cup
  • Add in the rosemary sprig while the water is boiling
  • Pour boiled water on the mint leaves
  • Let it steep for around 10 minutes
  • Strain into teacup
  • Add in a splash of lemon to your liking before consuming

It is as easy as that. You also have the opportunity to do something similar with Zesta Connoisseur Peppermint tea bags to cut down preparation time.

Osmanthus Tea

Just like its chamomile counterpart, Osmanthus tea is also derived from a fragrant flower that has many antioxidant properties, and is easy to prepare.

How to make Osmanthus Tea
Ingredients
  • One teaspoon or two grams of Osmanthus flowers
  • 200ml of water (per person)
  • Two teaspoons of honey (optional)
Method
  • Place dried Osmanthus flowers in a cup.
  • Pour boiling water to the cup
  • Cover and let it steep for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in honey and mix well before consuming

The antioxidant properties present in this herbal (tea) infusion detoxes the body, provides vital nutrients to boost the body’s immune system, and many more that you could find here. If you do not have fresh Osmanthus flowers, a good alternative is to use Zesta’s Black Tea Infused with Osmanthus Flowers, as it mixes in the benefits of pure Ceylon black tea as well.

Ginger Tea

Considered to be a great remedy for the common flu, along with alleviating any digestive problems and strengthening the immune system as a whole, ginger tea is an herbal infusion that can be made in numerous ways. But here is a simple recipe to follow

How to make Ginger Tea
Ingredients
  • Fresh spring water
  • One teaspoon ginger root (grated)
  • One and a half teaspoon honey
  • Two cloves
  • One-inch piece cinnamon bark
  • Three-inch strip orange peel
Method
  • Bring a cupful of water to a boil
  • Add in all the ingredients when the temperature in the water has dropped a bit
  • Let it steep for around 15 minutes
  • Strain into teacup before consumption

If you want to cut the preparation time significantly, but still want to have the same benefits and a unique taste, you can use Zesta Ginger Flavoured Black Tea in teabag format instead.

Whether you are a frequent tea drinker or not, these herbal (tea) infusion recipes are sure to not only help boost your immune system, but also allows you to experience a unique side of tea.

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Health Benefits of Silver Tips Tea

Tea cup on book with the sun shining

Ceylon Silver Tips tea is easily considered to be one of the more exclusive and exquisite teas in the world. From the processing of the Camellia sinensis plant buds to the way the end product is brewed, the tea gives out a light, sweet and sublime taste that satisfies many palettes. However, did you know that with its unique taste, Ceylon silver tips tea benefits are plenty? From the boosting of the immune system to helping your mind stay focused in your daily tasks, this particular Ceylon Tea does wonders to the body. By choosing Zesta’s Silver Tips Jar, your experience will be all the more special in addition to its benefits of silver tips tea.

Silver Tips Tea and Heart Health

It has been researched that the antioxidants contained within the silver tips tea is known to have a positive effect on the circulatory system and the heart. This is attributed to the fact that the compounds help in reducing the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol from the blood vessels, which in turn reduce the chances of heart diseases and strokes.

Silver Tips Tea and Digestion

The polyphenolic compounds within the beverage also has a positive effect on the digestive tract. Having many antimicrobial properties, drinking the beverage will lead to the cleansing of the digestive system, which in turn would result in a cleaner and higher metabolic rate. So if you do suffer from any stomach cramps, nausea, or even irritable bowel syndrome, silver tips does act as a supplement that can help in curing the digestive problem.

Silver Tips Tea and Weight Loss

Although not conclusive, there is also reason to believe that due to the promotion of a healthy metabolic rate, the body starts to dispel unwanted fat and triglycerides stored in the body. The reduction in excess fat results in supporting weight loss, however, this is only experienced with people who are following a proper diet and who engage in frequent physical activity.

Silver Tips Tea and Immune System

Another major health benefit of silver tips tea is the effect it has on the immune system. The antioxidant properties have been shown to eliminate free radicals, which cause many illnesses to the body, the common cold being one of the more notable illnesses. In other words, by drinking this tea would make you less likely to contract several sicknesses due to the immune system being boosted by the antioxidants contained in the beverage.

Silver Tips Tea and Mental State

While the silver tips tea is famed for its many physical health benefits, the beverage is also proved to be beneficial to the mental state of the individual. This is because of the L-theanine amino acid present in the buds. This amino acid is responsible for inducing a more calm and focused state of mind, which is perfect for many people undergoing quite a lot of stress in their professional lives.

Limitations and side effects

If you are a habitual silver tips tea drinker, it is perfectly fine, however, do keep in mind that more than five cups a day can result in a few side effects, such as disturbed sleep due to the caffeine levels in the beverage. Moreover, if you are a pregnant woman, it is always important to have a controlled consumption of silver tips tea, since it can lead to birth complications in the future. 

Silver tips tea then, is an elixir that provides many health benefits to the body and mind in many ways. Zesta takes it up a notch by providing some of the finest quality silver tips tea for you to savour the taste.

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A Guide To Brewing Tea

Pouring Ceylon Tea

Tea is one of the more sought-after beverages in the world, only second to water. The reason for this can be due to its ease in preparing a fresh cuppa and its many health benefits. Moreover, the Ceylon Tea drinking experience has transformed into a diverse range of flavours, herbal infusions and many other mixtures. However, although brewing a cup can be so simple, many often get it wrong in some way or another, which, on the tongue of the avid tea drinker, can change tasteful tea into quite the opposite. Here’s our guide on how to brew tea! 

What You Need To Brew Tea

Before getting into the nitty gritty of actually preparing the beverage, it is important that you have the necessary utensils to prepare it. This may be taken for granted by many; however, it is a very important part of preparing the prefect cuppa. 

  • Tea leaves (either in teabags or in loose-leaf form)
  • Fresh spring water
  • Clean kettle
  • Clean tea pot
  • Clean teaspoons
  • Clean cups and saucers

Of course, the key ingredient is the very tea leaves itself, thus making it imperative to use the best of it. Regardless of whether it is Black Tea, Green Tea, Herbal Infusions, Silver Tips, or Golden Tips, choosing Zesta guarantees a tea drinking experience like no other.

How to Prepare Loose Leaf Tea

Preparing Zesta’s loose-leaf teas are very simple and can be done by anyone who craves for a fresh cuppa. 

  • Boil fresh spring water to 100°C
  • Prepare tea leaves in pot or cup (2g or one teaspoon per person)
  • Pour boiled water onto tea leaves (200ml per person)
  • Close cup or pot to preserve aroma
  • Stir after 1 minute so it brews well
  • Leave it to brew for another 3-4 minutes
  • Strain leaves
  • Serve straight or with additives like sugar. 

However, it is important to note that there are few variations in the brewing process, depending on the type of tea. 

How to Brew Black Tea

When at the stage of the brewing, make sure you strain the leaves after 2 minutes, if you are willing to drink it straight. If you wish for a stronger cup, or want to add milk and sweetener, it is highly recommended to strain it after 4 minutes. A slice of lemon also helps in accentuating the drinking experience, should you opt to drink it straight.

One important fact to keep in mind is not to put any additive when brewing rare black teas like Regional Tea, Single Estate Tea, and limited-edition seasonal teas.

How to Brew Green Tea

Before adding the boiled water to the pot, make sure you leave it for around 5 minutes, so it cools down to 80°C. This is done so that the delicate tea leaves are not damaged when the water is poured into the pot. It is always best to drink this straight to get the best out of it.

How to Brew Herbal Infusions, Golden Tips, and Silver Tips

Similar to Green Tea, leave the boiled water to cool until it reaches a temperature of around 80°C. Make sure you stir the pot after 1 minute, and leave the herbs/buds for another 2-4 minutes so the brew turns out well. Do keep in mind that it is recommended to drink these beverages straight.

How to Brew Tea using Teabags

Very similar to loose-leaf tea, preparing a cup of tea with teabags are easy:

  • Boil fresh spring water to 100°C
  • Prepare tea leaves in pot or teacup (one teabag per person)
  • Pour boiled water onto tea leaves (200ml per person)
  • Close cup or pot to preserve aroma
  • Stir after 1 minute so it brews well
  • Leave it to brew for another 3-4 minutes
  • Remove teabags from pot or cup
  • Serve straight or with additives

Keep in mind though that there are slight variations in the brewing process depending on the variant you wish to drink.

How to Brew Black Tea using a Tea Bag

Just like its loose-leaf tea variant, make sure you remove the teabag after 2 minutes, should you wish to drink it straight with a slice of lemon. But, if you wish to drink the beverage with additives such as milk or sweetener, it is recommended that you leave it the teabags for 4 minutes. 

Remember that it is not recommended to serve rare black tea, such as Regional Tea, Single Estate Tea, and limited-edition seasonal teas, with any additives. The reason for this is to make sure that you will be able to experience the unique flavour of the tea. 

How to Brew Green Tea using a Tea Bag

In the case of preparing Green Tea, make sure that you let the boiled water sit for around 5 minutes to let its temperature drop to around 80°C. This is done so that the tea leaves are not burnt when the water is poured into the pot or teacup. This beverage is best served straight without any additives.

How to Brew Herbal Infusions, Golden Tips, and Silver Tips using a Tea Bag

Let the boiled water cool for 80°C before pouring into teacup or pot. Just like the Green Tea variant, this is done so that the herbs and buds are not damaged. Once the water is poured into the pot or teacup, stir it after 1 minute, and let the herbs/buds stay in the water for another 2-4 minutes so that the flavour becomes well spread. Drink straight without any additives.

Important points to consider

  • When you do open a fresh pack of Zesta tea store in an airtight container, and avoid storing it in a place where there is direct sunlight and heat
  • It is always recommended that you use fresh spring water, and never use re-boiled water for brewing, as it does not allow you to taste the true flavour of the tea.
  • Zesta prides itself in producing some of the finest Ceylon Tea in the country, using the methods of old. As a result, it is important that you let the tea steep for at least 3 minutes to extract the full flavour out of the leaves.

If you are that tea connoisseur looking to get the best out of fine Ceylon Tea, follow the guidelines mentioned, and, of course, make the experience even better by choosing products from Zesta to prepare the perfect cup of Ceylon Tea.