By Claire Hou
We would be inclined to think of loose leaf tea as the more traditional, “better” way to brew tea. Or others may think that there is no difference at all– it’s just tea. However, there are some unseen upsides and downsides to both methods.
Both tea leaves and bags contain the same components, but the key difference is how they react when exposed to heat. Tea is a great source of micronutrients and antioxidants, and the question is which one of the two has the maximum amount of these active compounds.
According to Dr. Anju Sood, a nutritionist, “if you are looking for an authentic way of having tea, I would suggest that you should always prefer a tea bag and not leaves because the excessive brewing can raise the pH levels of the tea, causing several health problems."
Tea bags, as opposed to tea leaves, are made with smaller broken leaves and pieces of tea. Since they are cut smaller, they are thought to enhance the extraction process of bioactive compounds. The crux, however, is more about brewing the tea properly. Not brewing tea correctly or for the right amount of time might lead you to miss out on a variety of bioactive compounds. (Read more at https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/tea-leaves-or-tea-bags-which-ones-a-healthier-option-1820829)
But here is where it starts to get complicated! Recent studies have found that plastic tea bags shed billions of microplastic particles into the cut when they are steeped. A NewScientist article reports that “a Canadian team found that steeping a plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of 95˚C releases around 11.6 billion microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic between 100 nanometers and 5 millimeters in size – into a single cup.”
While more research and experiments are needed to understand health impacts in humans, we need to be aware of what we are consuming. Learn to smart about your tea drinking habits– use a paper tea bag or prepare your loose leaf tea with a metal steeper!
Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2217483-plastic-tea-bags-shed-billions-of-microplastic-particles-into-the-cup/#ixzz66lNTpMIt
By Claire Hou
The annual Christmas Bazaar took place just yesterday at Concordia International School Shanghai.
Xiaohusai was in the PC Gym, just as it has been in the past few years, so thank you to everybody who came and supported us! Even if you didn’t get a chance to drop by, however, no worries; our pre-orders for new merchandise are still open (stay tuned for those), and you can always find us through our online store.
This year was Evelyn and my last year attending the Christmas Bazaar as a part of Xiaohusai. It’s crazy to think about how far this project has come since three years ago. We went from making tea-infused soap, which we quickly realized did not have the longest shelf life, to lemon-infused tea balls and new packaging every year.
As we reflect on this year’s Christmas Bazaar and 2019 draws to a close, we would like to sincerely thank everybody who has supported us in the past and will support us in the future. It isn’t always easy to find time to work on Xiaohusai, being a student-run organization, and I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t realize I forgot to write a blog update until it’s too late, but it has really been a great experience!
Please continue to keep an eye on us in the future, and happy holidays, everyone!
By Claire Hou
Why is it that Starbucks in the U.S. are becoming increasingly empty? The answer to this question, as it is to many others, is bubble tea.
According to the Tea Association of the USA, around 87 percent of American millennials are tea-drinkers. Capitalizing on this interest, the bubble tea market has been growing exponentially as this once-niche industry welcomes new waves of customers every day.
Bubble tea may be familiar to us as people living in China– we all have our orders down to a tee (thirty percent sugar, no ice, with grass jelly and coconut please). But for non-Asians in America, the variety of options in a single bubble tea order is something of a novelty.
“One hundred percent sweetness,” a clerk at Boba Guys in New York said to a customer, “is like a Coke.”
The story goes that bubble tea was created almost 30 years ago in Taichung, Taiwan, when a manager poured the tapioca pearls from her pudding into a glass of Asam Tea. Bubble tea soon became a huge hit in Tawian and throughout Asia– and it has finally broken into Western markets in recent years. Many franchises are opening locations near college campuses in hopes that Asian students will introduce their non-Asian friends to this particular dimension of Asian culture– and it seems to be working.
According to the New York Times, “Vivi Bubble Tea, a franchise business, has 45 shops in the United States, most of them on the East Coast, and seven more under construction. Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Company, which is based in Taiwan, has four stores in New York City and 26 in other states. CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice has 32 locations in the country, 22 of them in New York City.”
Of course, these numbers have got nothing on the sheer number of bubble tea stores here in China, and Shanghai in particular. There seems to be a 1点点 on every corner, enough to rival the number of Starbucks. As the market continues to grow in the US, however, it seems we all have a little piece of home to look forward to as we go off to college, or whatever endeavors that the future may hold in store.
Welcome to Spill the Tea, Xiaohusai's blog! In every article, we spill the tea about... tea recipes, project updates, and everything in between.