Don’t look now, but your tea has just changed colour. It’s also way more healthier than you might have imagined! A new movement that has been giving competition to your morning green, is seeing folks in the city sip on a fresh new beverage — blue tea. A Thai variety — also known as Butterfly Pea (it’s made from dried butterfly pea flowers) — is packed with antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and helps prevent skin ageing. Here’s more on the fad.
Ready for purple tea, too?
Having originated in India and now found only in Kenya, rich and healthy purple tea has recently earned the title of ‘the world’s healthiest tea’ and is set to become the rival to green tea in Mumbai, too. A tea research institute says this anthocyanin or ‘ox-blood’ tea was a native of Assam, is high in antioxidants and has higher medicinal properties than green and black tea.
“What’s very nice about this variety is that it packs a much lower caffeine content than black or green. It is also apt for Indian tastebuds as it it is stronger chai, and has a lovely sweet, fruity taste, which also makes is a nice meal-ender. In fact, they should start serving a variety like this post a meal, at restaurants, too. People have been a little rigid with their tea-drinking habits, but it’s nice to see that changing now. They’re realising that having three cups a day gives the right amount of anti-oxidants that one needs,” says tea expert Kavita Mathur.
Key benefits of purple tea
– Guards against cardiovascular disease.
– Reduces cholesterol levels.
– Improves blood sugar and metabolism.
– Helps fight constipation.
Why blue is red hot
A caffeine-free option, blue tea is slightly sharper than a chamomile and works well for mornings. “So, many people are switching to this,” reveals tea sommelier Snigdha Manchanda. It’s like a medicinal brew really — a kaada or sorts, like what we would have in Ayurveda.” The tea is a visual delight, too. “Earlier, it was green then it was white and now this….what next, red and yellow? These teas are also healthy, popular and made from leaves that are processed differently,” she adds.
Key benefits of blue tea
– Packed with antioxidants that boost the immune system.
– Detoxifies the liver.
– Keeps skin glowing.
– Strengthens hair and prevents hair fall.
– Improves eyesight.
Tea facts & Trivia
– The composition of tea depends on its botanical variety, where it orginiates and how it’s processed.
– Tea can rev up the metabolism and have a weight loss effect.
– The art of tea reading, called tasseography, is popular.
Trend-spotting : go floral in your glass or cup
So, you love to savour the aroma and aftertaste of tea and like to pair certain teas with foods, too. Now, try a fad that has become popular of late — by adding floral elements to your cuppa. The flowers are not just used to add flavour to different dishes, they’re also increasingly making a splash behind the bar in mocktails and other liquid concoctions.
Indian culture has seen this happen, with rose petals in kulfis, ras malais and other desserts. But with this fad, you can also add tea to spice marinades, rubs and into gravies to complement oily or spicy fare. We suggest a chilled hibiscus infusion for a morning or post-workout pick-me-up! Or simply add a few jasmine tea pearls to your warm cup and watch them unfurl for a relaxing brew.
Other green tea replacements:
Another must-have is the exotic Sakura (Cherry Blossom) tea, a Japanese infusion with real flowers. Called sakura-yu, the fragrant brew is salty and floral. The faintly pink tea is light on the system and in Japan it is enjoyed at weddings and other festive occasions in place of the usual green tea.
Delicate white tea is actually far superior than green tea. “It’s smooth and has an amazing aftertaste — I call it the ‘quiet moment tea’,” says tea expert Radhika Batra Shah. “White tea is so pure and organic; it’s an anti-depressant, has anti-inflammatory properties and has a higher healing power than blue,” she informs.
The Burmese have a special pickled tea called lephet, that is usually served with garlic, peanuts, dried peas and even shrimp!