Quality ingredients

by TeaLady on September 9, 2010

Post image for Quality ingredients

Flavour and the story of tea bags

Take Charge Teas are all made up of simple herbs of the highest quality, the freshest ingredients, and non-irradiated.

The first ideal is the effort to keep the blends simple. At my home, we love the TTC blends, drink them all the time; but often we sneak into the supply cupboard and prepare simple infusions using only one herb. Before starting this business and sharing the blends, I spent years getting to know the ingredients one by one so that I can assure you an informed choice and background info about each one. Also, what this means is that your body is not being bombarded with a complicated list of unusual and unfamiliar food items that may or may not be health-giving to each individual. I am of the belief that a body needs variety in the diet so having access to all the different vitamins and minerals it needs. But I also believe that maximum benefit, absorption and appreciation is achieved by keeping it simple. It just seems like it bombards a body to ingest a huge variety of ingredients each meal or snack, and it seems to me unreasonable to expect that all the benefits are achieved in one blast like that. Think about how it would be if you listened to your three favourite songs all at the same time – how many different instruments is that? TTC blends are carefully put together in smaller intimate groupings which taste fantastic but also have similar and complementing nutritional and medicinal effects.

Regarding quality, we have found the most well respected and ethical suppliers of consistent, clean quality ingredients so that when our northern growers are unable to supply us with local herbs we can still enjoy tea throughout the year. We really care that the packaging, shipping, and trade practices that supply us come with good karma and we are satisfied that it does. As soon as our ingredients are available in the quantities we need at the quality we require from a local grower, we promise that your tea will have these ingredients. I am also of the strong belief that a body is best ingesting food items grown in their geographic vicinity.

Were you aware that it is common practice for food items including herbs and spices to be “irradiated”? This is a process used to decrease the rate of decay, destroy insects and other micro-organisms and damage the food’s ability to propagate…often done on seeds so that the seed company can continue to sell you seeds. The problem with this is that it does alter the chemical composition of the food item and also compromises the nutritional value. Not to mention the fact that the seller of such items have taken licence to control the food source rendering the industrious or frugal consumer unable to continue to feed himself with the natural product. And the fact that there is no labelling requirements to let people know that what they’re buying has less nutrition than what they think they are paying for. Needless to say, I assure you that our TTC ingredients are NON-IRRADIATED.

Tea bags

Powdered tea with bit of bleached paper

Now I’d like to talk about the flavour of loose teas as compared to the conveniently packaged tea bags from the grocery or health food store. There is no doubt that bags are convenient, and consistent and portion controlled and packaged. This makes them absolutely ideal for the “story of stuff” market…from grower to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer. This also makes them easy to use and store, and to take on the go in a travel bag. Brilliant. The problem is with the ingredient list, the quality, and the paper products involved. I don’t know about you, but since I drink a lot of loose teas I really can taste the bag. My own tea, in a bag does not appeal to me because I can taste the bleached paper and I don’t like it. I do sometimes use unbleached bags if I am running out the door to market, late, desperately needing a cup and that is only slightly better.

In order for the ingredients to fit into the single serving bags, in the plastic, in the box wrapped in plastic again, they need to be pulverized into tiny tiny pieces or even powdered. Any sticks, barks, roots, seeds or stems would puncture the bag and so powder is mostly what you get. As is the case with cooking spices, when the dried plant matter is kept whole or at least as whole as possible it will keep it’s flavour a lot longer. Generally, a ground spice is flavourful no longer than three months depending on the tenacity of the ingredient. Tea ingredients are nothing like cayenne pepper or clove so those flavours started out as delicate milder tastes. Even sealed up in many layers of paper and plastic, they are going to perish quickly. Remember the length of time during travel they have already undergone before they even reach the shop shelf where they may sit for who knows how long? The way that this problem is solved by the producers of such products is to add flavours. By the way, there is no more regulation of what constitutes a “natural” flavour, than an artificial one. Society in general has been exposed to so many artificial flavourings and colourings over the past 30 years that many people have completely lost track of what things actually taste like in their natural state. Especially since the degradation of the food quality through lessened soil health, age of transported food, and genetic engineering to make beautiful displays out of flavourless produce. I urge you to insist upon the pure and simple and natural foods and get to know your food again. It is imperative to your health and to the future of the food supply to demand this as a consumer.

Here is a snip from a recent CBC news article which i have been trying to explain to my customers over the years:

Artificial flavour
As a class, artificial flavours are chemically produced agents designed to mimic natural flavours. Eric Schlosser in his book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal notes that one artificial flavour can comprise more than 50 ingredients.

The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations outline that artificial flavours used in Canadian products can contain a sweetening agent, food colour and designated classes of preservatives. It can also contain, among other things, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and edible vegetable oil.

Loose tea is the way to go for optimal flavour. When you buy it, you can see the freshness by the intensity of the colour and you can smell the freshness. Then you can really know what you are paying for. Will you choose nutrition, or nearly empty fibre? Please be aware and care; Choose good food for you and your family; and for heavens sake drink only the best herbal tea, loose. It is so good for you, the future of the food supply, and the planet.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

bj July 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

more on quality ingredients.

all i can say about this, is…..give your kids herbal tea instead of juice!!!


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