The Five Types of “Real Tea,” and Other Little-Known Tea Facts

Chai tea is an Indian drink with a specific spice blend, and, in India, a specific process involving condensed milk. Its actual name is ‘chai masala’, which is Hindi for ‘spiced tea’. When white westerners found it, we straddled the line between ‘exotic’ and ‘palatable to anglophone audiences’, and in doing so, made a phrase redundant in two languages. It would have been fine if we’d called it ‘masala tea’ or ‘tea masala’, or just ‘spiced tea’.

Portugal has nothing to do with it.

This New Fake Leather Is Made From Tea

Researchers from Iowa State University have developed the unusual new form of synthetic leather using some rather normal ingredients. It’s made in shallow plastic tanks that contain cellulose fibers taken from kombucha tea, along with vinegar and sugar. When a colony of bacteria and yeast is added, the material grows on the top of the liquid’s surface. It can then be harvested and dried and—bingo!—teather! (Actually it’s not called teather, I just made that up. They actually call it “cellulosic fiber.” Teather is more fun.)

Source: This New Fake Leather Is Made From Tea

Actually, real leather is all of those things too.

…and a crapton more durable. …And doesn’t fall apart when wet.

What’s odd is that Kangaroo leather is the toughest stuff – high end football (AKA soccer) shoes are made of it.  Kangaroos are considered vermin in Australia, so why doesn’t someone kill two birds with one stone?  There was talk about selling the meat too…

Top 10 Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Caffeine Hit

Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages are enjoyable for the taste alone, but sometimes you might be thinking about their caffeine content more than the flavor. Here are the top 10 things you should know about this wonderful drug and how to use caffeine more efficiently.

Source: Top 10 Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Caffeine Hit

I was taught that the darker roasts had less caffeine as it was leeched out by the roasting process, so that milder coffees actually gave you more of a jolt than espresso roasts, if prepared the same way.

Caffeine is known to double the impact of certain pain medications (not unlike the grapefruit effect). For those taking few different medications during the day for chronic pain, the dose can be halved by taking it with coffee.  Less drug, more coffee, no downside!

Give Your Grains a Creamy Flavor Boost by Cooking Them in Coconut Milk

From chewy farro to a simple pot of rice, barely a day goes by that we’re not cooking or consuming some kind of grain. Still, as with any staple, we can grow weary of the same old flavors day in and day out. Isn’t there an easy way to shake things up in the grain pot? Something that doesn’t involve more chopping or fancy ingredients? You bet there is!

Source: The Easiest Way to Boost the Flavor of Rice and Grains

Uplift your vegetables by smothering them in cheese!  Coconut milk is good and all, but yikes… calories.

Cooking porridge oats in apple juice is also fairly common. Other options for steel cut oats include:

  • Whey for sweet/ sour (depends on the whey)
  • Beef stock for savory
  • Dark beer for curiosity
  • Cocoa powder for fun

Use Leftover Pineapple Skins to Make a Refreshing Tropical Tea

Pineapple is delicious, and not as difficult to butcher as it looks, but once you’ve cut up your fruit, don’t toss the skins. You can use them to make a delicious infused tea in about an hour.

Source: Use Leftover Pineapple Skins to Make a Refreshing Tropical Tea

The youtube video doesn’t work for my country, maybe others will have better luck:

How A Tea Party Turned Into A Scientific Legend

When pouring tea, do you add the tea first or the milk first? If you think it can’t possibly matter, you’re unfortunately wrong — as Dr. Ronald Fisher proved at an innocuous tea party where he conducted an experiment that changed statistical science forever.

Source: How A Tea Party Turned Into A Scientific Legend

Related: Tea + Milk: But in What Order? According to Science…

Use Leftover Ginger Peels to Make Tea

I have Fridays off, and on my first Friday back at university you’d have found me with first the first cold I’d experienced in over two years, and after a trip to Waitrose (In London the time when so many things in store are reduced is on a Friday morning) spending the afternoon in the kitchen. The reason my afternoon cooking and my cold were related, because my irritation at how much my food shop had cost combined with my still sore throat lead to the discovery of my new personal cold medicine; Fresh Ginger Peel & Lemongrass Tea.

Source: What To Do With Leftover Asian Flavours: Fresh Ginger Peel & Lemongrass Tea

Not just tea, make ginger ale!

Kombucha Tea: How Much Vitamin K?

I couldn’t find any substantial information on this.  Kombucha is fermented, which doesn’t indicate vitamin K content – natto and sauerkraut have vitamin K, but yogurt (including Greek) does not have vitamin K.  The only nutritional breakdown I found was this for citrus kombucha, saying 0 mcg of vitamin K.

My understanding is there are no clinical trials or sound scientific evidence to substantiate the numerous claims – my investigation supports that. That is not to say there are not any benefits from drinking the tea; it simply means there is no evidence that proves the benefits claimed.  Eventually that will change, and I look forward to finding out.

As always, if you consistently consume roughly the same amount of kombucha – it’s not an issue, as your dose will already account for it.  However if you occasionally binge, I would recommend testing weekly and often.  If you’re really keen, keep a food diary and get an INR test the day after having kombucha.   This way, you can work at determining if the kombucha is the cause or not.  What constitutes a “binge”?  I don’t have the data to say, but 2+ cups when you don’t do it regularly is a good place to start.

Steep Tea for a Short Time to Get More Caffeine from Your Cuppa

…the ritual is so ingrained in British culture that several scientists over in the U.K. (and elsewhere) have devoted some time to breaking down tea science — specifically, what’s involved in brewing the perfect cuppa, British-style.

…And there are many variables. Tea is made of many compounds, says chemist Nikolai Kuhnert at Jacobs University Bremen, in Germany, who has studied tea. In fact, black tea contains over 30,000 “rather complex molecules.”

To help you out, The Salt has put together a list of important variables and their chemis-tea, if you will, to aid you in pouring your perfect cuppa every time. (Though we do note, the world of tea is vast, and the Chinese tradition is quite different. This guide focuses on the English style of tea-drinking.)

Source: Tea Tuesdays: The Chemis-Tea Of Pouring The Perfect English-Style Cuppa

In case you need a refresher on: tea & milk, but what order?

Physics Can’t Explain Why You Spill Your Tea

If you spend your mornings sourly contemplating the tea you spill on your counter – no matter how carefully you pour – you’re not alone. Nearly everyone spills a few drops. And despite talented physicists trying to figure it out, no one knows why.

Some problems never get solved because they’re difficult. Some never get solved because everyone already assumes they know the answer. The mystery of the Teapot Effect remains unsolved for both those reasons. Experiments have been done to determine why some of the tea dribbles down the spout even when the tea is poured expertly, but the experiments haven’t been conclusive. More importantly, for a long time, no experiments were done because everyone was sure they knew why their tea got spilled.

Source: Physics Can’t Explain Why You Spill Your Tea

What do you expect? The poor lad has no arms!

Storm in a tea cup