In case you missed the memo, the benefits of kombucha have been a talking point for quite a while now. From nurturing gut health with its probiotics to aiding the body’s natural detoxification process, it has emerged as a potent player in the world of functional beverages. In this article, we will look into the fascinating world of kombucha, its brewing process, and the various ways it can contribute to your health and wellness.
Where does Kombucha come from?
Kombucha originated around 2,000 years ago in Northeast China (formerly known as Manchuria). A fermented tea drink, it was highly valued for its detoxifying and energizing properties. It was then traded along the Silk Road and eventually found its way to Russia and Eastern Europe. Over time, it gained popularity in the West, and by the late 20th century, kombucha had firmly established itself as a globally loved health beverage.
Despite its seemingly recent surge in popularity, the roots of kombucha run deep, entwined with ancient cultures and age-old traditions of health and wellness.
How is Kombucha made?
Kombucha is made through a fermentation process that starts with a sweetened tea base. The magic happens when a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) is introduced to this sugary tea mix. This SCOBY, often referred to as the “mother” or “mushroom,” begins to feed on the sugar, initiating the fermentation process. Over a period of about 1-3 weeks, the brew is transformed into a fizzy, slightly sour, and refreshing beverage packed with probiotics, enzymes, and beneficial acids.
The specific flavour profile of kombucha can vary greatly based on factors such as the type of tea used, the duration of fermentation, and any additional flavourings added post-fermentation, such as fruits or herbs.
The Health Benefits of Kombucha
Thanks to its unique brewing process, kombucha is not just any ordinary tea. Kombucha health benefits have been celebrated for centuries and it is often touted for its ability to support a range of wellness goals – from boosting gut health to promoting detoxification and heart health.
Gut health and kombucha
Perhaps the best-known benefit of kombucha is its role in promoting a healthy gut. But why is it so good for our digestive health?
The role of probiotics in gut health
Probiotics, often referred to as “good bacteria,” play a vital role in maintaining gut health. Our gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including various bacteria types, collectively known as the gut microbiome. When this microbiota is balanced, it aids digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function. Probiotics contribute to this balance by inhibiting harmful bacteria’s growth, boosting the immune system, and helping to maintain the gut’s protective barrier. They can also produce substances like short-chain fatty acids, which provide nourishment for the gut lining.
How kombucha nurtures digestive health
Kombucha directly nurtures gut health through its rich composition of probiotics and acids produced during the fermentation process. These probiotics, along with acetic, gluconic, and lactic acids, can help restore the balance of the gut microbiota. The probiotics in kombucha, specifically Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, are known to combat harmful bacteria in the gut, fostering an environment conducive to the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Additionally, the acids in kombucha can aid in maintaining an optimal pH level in the gut, further promoting digestive health by inhibiting the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts. Moreover, kombucha is believed to have a prebiotic effect, providing nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria and stimulating their growth.
By introducing and nourishing the beneficial bacteria in our gut, kombucha can play a vital role in maintaining and improving digestive health.
Kombucha as a detoxifying agent
Kombucha is also known as a powerful detoxifying agent, binding to the toxins present in the body and aiding in their expulsion, thus promoting a healthier liver and overall well-being.
Detoxification is the biological process of eliminating toxins from the body. These toxins can be anything from harmful chemicals we intake through air, food, and water, to natural waste products produced by our bodily functions. The process involves several key organs, primarily the liver, which plays a central role in metabolizing substances to be removed. Toxins are processed for elimination and then excreted through channels such as sweat, urine, and faeces. The kidneys, lungs, and even skin also play crucial roles in this detoxification process.
Regular detoxification can support overall health, improving organ function, boosting energy levels, and supporting the immune system. Drinking kombucha, with its beneficial natural acids and antioxidants, is said to enhance this vital process.
The role of kombucha in the detoxification process
Kombucha plays a crucial role in the detoxification process due to its high content of glucuronic acid, a natural detoxifier. This acid binds to toxins entering the liver and converts them into soluble compounds that can be easily excreted through the kidneys.
By aiding in the efficient removal of harmful substances, kombucha helps to alleviate the burden on the liver and kidneys, resulting in enhanced overall health.
Other health benefits of kombucha
In addition to its detoxifying properties and its positive effects on digestive health, kombucha may offer plenty of other health benefits. The drink can be rich in B vitamins, known for their role in energy production and maintaining good brain health. Kombucha’s antioxidant content helps combat inflammation and protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
The antioxidant power of kombucha is all down to the tea it is made from, as all the benefits of tea remain. You can find out more in our article about the benefits of green tea in kombucha.
Lastly, some studies suggest that kombucha may contribute to heart health by reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. However, more research is needed in this area to fully understand the extent of kombucha’s health benefits.
Are there any downsides to kombucha?
Before we look at the downsides and potential side effects of kombucha, it is worth mentioning that not all kombucha is made equal. So it follows that the associated health benefits can vary widely from brand to brand, and even batch to batch. Always buy good quality kombucha and beware of high-sugar versions that may also contain artificial flavours and preservatives.
Like any food or drink, kombucha can also have potential side effects. While generally considered safe for most people, individuals with compromised immune systems or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should exercise caution.
Kombucha is a fermented drink containing a small amount of alcohol and caffeine, which some people may need to avoid. It can also cause upset stomachs, infections, and allergic reactions in rare cases. Overconsumption may lead to acidosis, a condition characterized by excess acid in the body.
Always remember to consume kombucha in moderation and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
To recap, kombucha is a delicious drink with a unique flavour profile and a wealth of potential health benefits, that makes a refreshing alternative to sugary sodas. Just remember to prioritize quality, watch out for high-sugar versions, and most importantly, consume in moderation.
Have you tried our range of naturally flavoured raw organic kombucha tea?
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Organic Kombucha Distributors”.
See original article:- From Gut Health to Detox: The Benefits of Kombucha
Among the various strategies to maintain a healthy gut, incorporating fermented foods into our diet stands out as a promising approach. Packed with beneficial probiotics, fermented foods are believed to play a critical role in promoting a balanced gut microbiome.
But how do they work their particular kind of magic on our digestive health? Read on as we explore the fascinating world of fermented foods, and their potential benefits for our gut microbiome.
Introduction to the Gut Microbiome
As we saw in our article on gut health, the gut microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms that lives in our digestive tract. These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. While some of these microorganisms can be harmful and lead to disease, the majority of them are actually beneficial.
These tiny microbes play a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. In fact, recent studies have shown that the gut microbiome is linked to everything from our immune system to our mental health. When the microbiome is out of balance, it can lead to a host of issues such as digestive problems, inflammation, and even weight gain. We can take care of our gut health by eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding unnecessary antibiotics. By doing so, we can help maintain a healthy and diverse microbiome to promote optimal health.
Fermented Foods and Gut Health
Fermented foods have been a part of our diet for centuries. Now known to be rich in probiotics, they can play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the gut microbiota. Eating these foods introduces a range of beneficial bacteria to the gut microbiota, which can help to improve digestion and boost the immune system. These are known as probiotics.
The process of fermentation
But how are these foods made? Unsurprisingly, it’s all about the process of fermentation, which is essentially the conversion of sugars and carbohydrates into alcohol or organic acids by microorganisms, like bacteria or yeast. Fermentation has been used for centuries to preserve food and create unique flavours. You might be surprised by just how many of your favourite foods are actually fermented, such as cheese, sourdough bread, and even chocolate.
Are all fermented foods probiotic?
No, not all fermented foods contain probiotics. During the process of fermentation, microorganisms like bacteria and yeast convert sugars and carbohydrates into alcohol or organic acids. This process can lead to the creation of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. However, not all fermented foods retain their probiotic benefits after fermentation. Factors such as processing, cooking, and pasteurisation can kill these beneficial bacteria. For example, both beer and wine are fermented yet do not contain probiotics because of the heating and filtering processes they undergo. So, while many fermented foods are rich in probiotics, not all of them are.
Types of fermented foods
- Sauerkraut: A type of fermented cabbage, popular in German cuisine.
- Kimchi: A traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, mainly cabbage and radishes, with chili pepper and other spices.
- Kefir: A fermented milk drink similar to yogurt, originated from Eastern Europe.
- Miso: A fermented soybean paste used in Japanese cuisine.
- Tempeh: An Indonesian product made from fermented soybeans.
- Pickles: Cucumbers that are fermented in a solution of salt and water.
- Kombucha: A fermented and sweetened tea, often flavoured with fruits or herbs.
- Sourdough bread: Bread made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast.
- Yogurt: A food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk.
Include fermented foods in your daily diet
Including fermented foods in your daily diet is an easy and delicious way to boost your gut health, and there are plenty of delicious options to choose from.
We recommend that you start small, as probiotic foods can be surprisingly powerful. Switch out your sugary soft drink for a cheeky kombucha. Or experiment with adding extra umami goodness to your cooking with a spoonful of our raw organic white miso.
Are you ready to start enjoying the benefits of fermented foods today? Explore our range of organic kombucha.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Organic Kombucha Manufacturers”.
See original article:- How Fermented Foods Help Promote a Healthy Gut
Gut health plays a huge part in our overall health and wellbeing. Rather than a separate nutritional issue, it should underpin our entire approach to healthy eating.
Most of us are increasingly aware of the importance of the gut in both physical and mental wellbeing, and that it has something to do with ‘gut flora’, yet how many of us really understand what it is all about?
This article aims to explain a little of the science behind the whole gut health thing, in order to arrive at a better understanding of just how important it is to our everyday health, and the food choices we make.
What is Gut Health?
The foundation of gut health rests upon healthy eating and making food choices that better support our health. Stress, medication, and our increasingly unnatural diet, have played havoc with our health, our digestion, and our wellbeing. Which, as we know, are all intrinsically linked.
We have become so disassociated from the connection between food, health, and wellbeing, that many of us may not even be aware that things are not as good as they could be. Even those of us who do not suffer from digestive disturbances may never have experienced the difference that a truly healthy gut can make to the way we feel.
Gut health is about far more than simply reducing unpleasant symptoms, and it influences more of the bodies processes than we might realise. So maybe a better question would be; what is the gut?
What is the gut?
The gut is a collection of organs that belong with our digestive system, largely the stomach and the intestines. Yet, the gut is involved in far more than just digestion of the food we eat.
Did you know most of your immune system is housed within the gut, and that it is under the control of the gut microbiome? Not only does the gut flora act as a defence against invaders, it actively controls the behaviour of other immune cells.
Digestion itself plays a huge role in our overall health, in more ways than you may think. We have come to think of nutrition on a very reductionist basis which completely underestimates the complexity of the human body. The simple act of eating dictates every single bodily function, from the smallest chemical reaction to the largest muscle movement.
Let’s take a closer look at the role of the gut in digestion.
Our Digestive System
Our digestion is a complex system of mechanical and biological processes. In simple terms it is there to extract nutrients from the food we eat (and eliminate waste) in order to survive. As well as the mouth, the stomach, and the intestine, it involves other organs such as the liver, kidneys and the pancreas. All of it facilitated by an array of specialist cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. And an army of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and other assorted microbes.
Digestion begins in the mouth with the process of chewing, via the stomach where food is further broken down. Bacteria are present here in smaller numbers, playing an important protective role as part of the immune system, essentially acting as the guardians at the gate.
The role of the small intestine
From the stomach food enters the small intestine and this is where the microbial action really begins. It is here that most of our nutrients are extracted and absorbed.
The bacteria in the gut assist the digestive enzymes and provide vital protection to the intestinal barrier, making sure that nothing passes into the bloodstream that shouldn’t. They also play a role in keeping it all moving along nicely by supporting the muscular action of the gut wall.
If the small intestine cannot function as well as it should then the body will not be able to uptake all the nutrients it needs. Many of the symptoms of poor gut health show up here; however unconnected those symptoms may seem.
Once food has been processed by the small intestine, what’s left moves into the large intestine; the colon. And this is where the real magic of all those microbes begins.
The importance of the large intestine
The food that ends up here is the food that the small intestine cannot digest (like fibre, for instance). But whilst the small intestine takes all the credit for doing the bulk of the work, the large intestine is much, much, more than merely a disposal chute.
The largest concentration of gut bacteria is found here in the colon. There are trillions of micro organisms in the large intestine and they are responsible for the final stage of digestion that happens here. They take the food that we cannot digest and turn it into many of the vital nutrients that our bodies need. These bacteria do not just breakdown the nutrients within our food, but they produce essential nutrients too.
The Gut Microbiome
The collective term for all these microbes that live in the gut is the gut microbiome. More than just a handful of bacteria that make your tummy happy, it acts as an organ in its own right, playing a part in digestion, hormonal control, the nervous system, and the immune system. It also plays a crucial role in weight management.
Of the microbes that make up the gut microbiome, most of them (but not all) are bacteria. There are in fact more bacteria in the body than there are human cells, and they contribute to anywhere between 1kg and 3kg of our body weight.
The bacteria of the gut microbiome can be grouped into four dominant groups, and within these groups are thousands of different strains and types of bacteria, all with different requirements and doing different jobs. Of the four major groups, two are the most prolific, yet the overall number and their diversity differs from person to person. Not only does this depend on the biological conditions within the body, but it is also thought that we are genetically predisposed to a dominant type.
Whilst there isn’t really such a thing as good and bad bacteria, some are more beneficial than others. When the colonies of bacteria are out of balance, and the less beneficial bacteria are allowed to thrive, this can have a negative impact on our digestive (and overall) health and wellbeing.
How to Improve Gut Health
The aim of improving your gut health is to increase the diversity of the bacteria that make up the gut microbiome, and reset the balance in favour of the beneficial microbes. The best way to do this is to focus your diet around gut friendly foods. That not only means increasing your intake of those foods that support gut health, but also eliminating those that do not.
We will look in more detail at some of the things that can have an adverse affect on your gut health in another article, as well as explore certain foods that you may be best off avoiding; at least for a while.
For now, let’s look at some of the foods that are considered to be gut healthy.
Gut Healthy Foods
Try to eat as wide a range of whole, natural foods as you can. Diversity really is key here. Choose certified organic, and minimal intervention/pesticide free wherever possible. There are also two key topics here that need mentioning; probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are foods that contain beneficial bacteria. By eating these foods on a regular basis, you can introduce these good bacteria into your own gut microbiome in order to increase diversity, and tip the balance in favour of the good guys.
You do however need to make sure that you are taking good care of the newly introduced bacteria so that they can survive and thrive. That’s where prebiotics come in.
Prebiotics are foods that contain the things that beneficial bacteria like to eat. Like soluble fibre, and resistant starch. These come mainly from the indigestible fibre found in the cell walls of certain plants. Raw garlic, onions and leeks are all excellent sources of prebiotics. As are underripe bananas. Sourdough bread, cooked and cooled white potatoes (yum, potato salad) are good sources of resistant starch. Uncooked oats and apples are also good sources, so you have a good excuse to break out the Bircher muesli.
Fermented foods are your go-to-source for all those probiotics that we talked about. Again, eat from as wide a range of these foods as you can. They each have different populations of varying types and strains of bacteria, so the more you can introduce into your own microbiome, the better.
Try fermented vegetables such as naturally fermented pickles, kimchi, or if spicy is not your thing then maybe sauerkraut. Both is even better!
Live yoghurt, as well as unpasteurised dairy products, in particular goat or sheep cheese, are also excellent sources of probiotics. Yet another good reason not to eliminate entire food groups unless you have a compelling reason to do so.
Whilst not an actual source of beneficial bacteria, raw apple cider vinegar is thought to help balance gut bacteria and support gut health. You can use it as you would any other vinegar, or drink a small shot each morning.
You will need to eat plenty of prebiotic foods to allow all those beneficial bacteria to thrive. Remember that the two go hand in hand. Not only do you need to introduce as many different strains of good bacteria into your gut, but you need to feed them with prebiotics in order to populate them!
We have plenty of foods to help support your gut health, but why not explore our full range of organic products first?
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Organic Grocery Suppliers”.
See original article:- Our Guide to Good Gut Health
It has all the health credentials of tea, plus the gut boosting benefits of probiotics, but exactly what is kombucha good for?
The healthiest kombucha is made with green tea, for a whole host of added benefits. In fact, although kombucha is best known for its probiotic benefits, it is the properties of green tea that make it particularly beneficial to health.
Kombucha is good for anti-ageing
The antioxidants in green tea have powerful anti ageing properties. As well as contributing to the maintenance of healthy youthful skin as seen below, it contains protective polyphenols of the type EGCG. This is a potent anti-inflammatory that may help protect against cognitive decline.
Kombucha and healthy skin
Alongside the anti-inflammatory EGCG, green tea contains several compounds that directly support skin health. Quercetin and kaempferol (also anti-inflammatory antioxidants) help to soothe sensitive skin. The green pigment chlorophyll helps to flush out harmful toxins that can contribute to tired looking skin.
Kombucha is good for the brain
L-theanine, a component of tea (not just green) has been shown to have anti-anxiety properties and can also aid relaxation. Caffeine, especially in conjunction with l-theanine, can help improve brain function too, for a clearer, sharper mind.
And then of course there is the power of fermented foods and those little guys known as probiotics. Otherwise known as beneficial bacteria, these provide healthy bacteria for your gut.
There are many different strains of bacteria that can act as probiotics within the body, but the ones we are most interested in when in comes to kombucha are the lactic-acid bacteria it is shown to contain.
Kombucha for gut health
But what does good gut health look like? We are only just scratching the surface of the role the gut plays in our overall health and, over time, restoring your gut microbiome can be totally transformative. Yet there are two major benefits that people report from improving their gut flora.
Kombucha for energy
The first is improved energy. When your gut begins to function as it should you are likely to feel simply more energised. If you were suffering from a lack of energy or motivation then it is like a fog has been lifted.
Kombucha is good for your digestion
Many of us suffer from digestive issues. For some, it causes discomfort and even embarrassment. For others it may not even be noticeable because things have always been that way. A healthy digestion is a different beast entirely. And once things begin to function as they should, many other benefits follow.
Find out what kombucha and matcha have in common…
Our organic kombucha is available to buy online now. Made with green tea, it has all those antioxidant benefits we talked about.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Kombucha Manufacturers”.
See original article:- What is kombucha good for?
Matcha, with its bright green colour and sweet herbal flavour, is widely used as an ingredient beyond just tea. But what is matcha powder, exactly?
What is matcha powder?
Matcha is a traditional ceremonial tea from Japan. Made with green tea which is ground into a fine powder, it is as unique as the famous regions in which it is grown. Harvested several times over the course of a single growing season, it comes in a variety of different grades, all suited for different purposes.
How is matcha powder made?
The tea used to make matcha is always grown in the shade. With a season that begins in spring, and ends in late autumn, the highest grade powder comes from the first harvest or first flush. As the young shoots develop, the plants are kept under shade. This reduces the rate of photosynthesis, concentrating the chlorophyll that gives matcha its bright green colour.
These first leaves grow slowly over the colder months, allowing time for flavour to develop. Lower grade leaves harvested later in the season grow more quickly in the warmer weather and are less flavourful.
The young tender leaves of the first flush are carefully chosen and picked by hand. They are then steamed immediately after harvest to keep the vibrant green colour of the chlorophyll. Unlike green tea, which after steaming is rolled and left to dry, the green leaves for matcha are quickly air dried in a machine.
Once dry, the stems and veins of the leaves are carefully removed, leaving only the tender green leaf for the final product. This is then stoneground, in a granite stone mill. The aim is to create as little friction (and therefore heat) as possible. In this way, all of the delicate flavour is retained.
The different grades of matcha powder
Ceremonial grade matcha powder is the highest grade there is. This is used for the Japanese tea ceremony and is purely for whisking in water.
The best ceremonial grade matcha powder is first flush, and will be labelled as such. It should be rich, aromatic, and sweet, and not at all bitter or astringent. It can come under a variety of names; ours is labelled as supreme matcha.
Second flush tea can also be ceremonial grade but the flavour will be slightly less delicate than the first flush. It is still good for whisking with water, but will also work well in your matcha latte. We label ours as imperial grade matcha.
Culinary grade matcha powder is made from the third, or even the fourth, flush. The tea may not have been harvested by hand, and it is likely to be more coarsely ground than ceremonial grade. It is not inferior, just blended to stand up to other ingredients. It is more bitter and astringent than the higher grades, and possibly less green, but is ideal in baking or cooking where the subtle nuances might be lost.
Find out why matcha has more nutrients than green tea.
Discover our range of quality matcha powder at great value prices.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Matcha Distributors”.
See original article:- What is matcha powder?
Matcha and kombucha both spring from the same source, and that is tea. Matcha is always made from green tea, whilst kombucha can be made from black or green tea, and they each retain the benefits of the tea from which they are made. PepTea products all begin with green tea, so read on to find out more about the unique benefits of this powerful plant.
What is green tea?
Green tea is a type of tea that is processed from the leaves of the tea plant (camellia sinensis). Its growing popularity is due to not only its nutritional content, but also its subtly sweet grassy flavours.
Where does green tea come from?
Although tea originates from China, and is native to East Asia with its tropical and subtropical climates, it is now grown in many parts of the world.
Of the native teas, China still produces most of the world’s green tea. In Japan, green tea is the only tea produced commercially. Although modern mass production methods are responsible for most of it, there are many high quality teas produced by traditional methods. Japanese green tea is produced by gentle steaming, rather than the more aggressive pan-firing method, and this results in the sweet grassy flavours that it is known for. The world’s most well known black teas, such as Assam and Darjeeling, come from India.
Are green tea and black tea the same?
Both black and green tea come from the same species of plant; the tea plant camellia sinensis. Most of the tea we drink comes from two varieties of tea plant; var.sinensis and var.assamica. Assam, for instance, comes from the variety var.assamica. Darjeeling, on the other hand, comes from var.sinensis. Green tea can be produced from either variety. Each variety also has hundreds of different cultivars, from which all of the world’s teas are produced. This simply means that although they come from what is essentially the same plant, each variety and cultivar will have slight genetic differences that can result in vastly different teas. Just like fine wine, or great cheese, tea is a product of its environment. The soil, the climate, the plant type, the growing methods, and the processing, are all revealed in the final product.
The major difference between them lies in the processing. All tea begins as the freshly picked green leaves of the tea plant. There are generally three harvests of tea leaves known as a flush. The best tea is said to come from only the tips and first few leaves of the first flush which is in spring. Green and black tea both come from these young and tender green leaves.
Black tea is the product of oxidation. The leaves are left to wither and ferment, changing the colour from green to brown, and then black. The deep earthy flavour of black tea is the result of this process. The leaves for green tea are exposed to heat as soon as they are picked. This process stops the oxidation process, resulting in the green colour and fresh herbal flavours of green tea.
Does green tea have caffeine?
In general, black tea is considered to have more caffeine than green, which in turn is lower in caffeine than coffee. But that is not the whole story; as we have seen, tea comes in many many different forms, so there is no such thing as a ‘standard’.
Caffeine in tea is the plant’s natural defence against insects. Some sources suggest that leaves picked in the summer, when insect activity is at its highest, naturally contain higher levels of caffeine. Other factors affect the caffeine content of the fresh leaves; varietal, leaf type, processing, and exposure to sun, all have a part to play. The brewing process also has a lot to do with the final amount of caffeine in the cup. The more leaves you use, the longer you steep the leaves, and the hotter the water, the more caffeine you will extract into your brew.
Japanese teas in general are thought to contain more caffeine due to the gentle steaming process. Shade-grown teas, such as those used in the production of matcha, have more caffeine than tea grown in full sun. When you drink matcha tea, you are consuming the whole leaf, so none of the caffeine is left behind. There is also another side to caffeine in tea, and that’s l-theanine.
L-theanine and caffeine
Tea, whether green or black, is as calming as it is energising. It offers the perfect pick-me-up, with none of the jitters or post-caffeine slump of coffee. This is due largely to the soothing effects of l-theanine. This compound, found in the tea plant, appears to work synergistically with caffeine, producing the unique feeling of wellbeing that comes with drinking tea. The shade-grown teas, as mentioned before, tend to have higher levels of l-theanine. Matcha in particular has high levels of l-theanine and caffeine, which together are responsible for its unique buzz.
How green tea is made
Green tea is grown, and processed, in a number of different ways that result in variable levels of nutrients and ultimately capture different nuances of flavour. Some are grown in full sunlight. These leaves are golden-green when plucked and have higher levels of catechins rather than theanine, which give the tea a more bitter flavour. Sencha tea, the most popular tea in Japan, is grown in full sunlight. Others are grown in the shade so that the rate of photosynthesis is reduced. This concentrates chlorophyll and increases level of l-theanine. These leaves are a deep green when plucked, and the resulting tea is sweet and mellow, with less bitter undertones.
The tea grown for matcha is grown in varying degrees of shade, depending on the grade of matcha produced. The more shade, the greener the leaf, and the higher the grade of matcha. The purest grade matcha is deep deep green, without a trace of bitterness. This article explains more about the different grades of matcha tea.
For all green tea, once plucked the leaves are steamed and dried, then kneaded before sorting. The kneading process breaks down the fibres so that maximum flavour and nutrients can be extracted during brewing.
Why is green tea bitter?
Not all green tea is bitter. As we explained in the previous section, it is grown either in the shade or in full sun. Shade-grown teas have higher levels of chlorophyll and theanine (and possibly caffeine) but teas grown in the sun develop more catechins and less theanine. These catechins are responsible for the bitter, astringent, notes found in some teas.
The benefits of green tea
Green tea contains many plant compounds that have been shown to be beneficial to our health.
Protective polyphenols are the major active compounds. Polyphenols form a huge group of compounds found in plants, most of them with antioxidant properties. There are thousands of different types of polyphenols and these can be categorised into four groups, of which the flavonoids make up the largest. Catechins are part of this group.
The most potent, and possibly well known, catechin in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). It is thought that EGCG protects against the cell damage caused by free radicals and can help fight chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Also a powerful anti-inflammatory, EGCG may help to slow the rate of cognitive decline.
It is also rich in other beneficial flavonoid compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol.
Chlorophyll has all of the benefits we associate with greens. It has powerful anti-ageing properties and a detoxifying effect that helps to flush harmful toxins from the body.
Mood boosting l-theanine
L-theanine has been shown to have anti-anxiety properties and can aid relaxation.
Brain boosting caffeine
Caffeine can help to improve overall brain function, helping us to feel more alert with improved mood and a better memory.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Organic Kombucha Manufacturer”.
See original article:- The Benefits of Green Tea in Matcha and Kombucha
A bit of a baking phenomenon and yet another hit from the ever popular arena of Japanese food, is the Japanese cotton cheesecake. AKA jiggly cake. And yes, it reminds us of a certain Pokemon too…
What is Japanese cheesecake?
Japanese cotton cheesecake is perhaps better known as Jiggly cake. If you have ever seen those YouTube videos of Japanese bakeries, then you will know why. If you haven’t, then we recommend a look as it is a phenomenon best described in motion.
This half sponge/half cheesecake hybrid is made with a mixture of egg yolks, butter, and cream cheese, folded through whipped egg whites and stabilised with cornstarch. At first glance the texture is more superlight sponge than cheesecake, but the eating proves otherwise with the sour flavour notes and oddly creamy texture.
Interestingly, it would seem that the term Jiggly cake describes two kinds of Japanese cakes. The first (and incidentally the star of THOSE videos) is actually a sponge cake known as castella. Said to have been taken to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century, castella is a speciality of Nagasaki that CONTAINS NO CHEESE.
The second, the one that does contain cheese and thereby deserves the title of cheesecake is a more recent invention.
Both versions do however jiggle admirably.
What does Japanese cheesecake taste like?
As much about texture as taste, Japanese souffle cheesecake melts in your mouth and is as light as a cloud. Somewhere between spongecake and souffle, it isn’t overly sweet or cloying but you do a get a pleasing lactic tang from the cream cheese.
Is Japanese cheesecake gluten-free?
You could experiment with just using cornflour to make your cheesecake gluten-free, but most recipes also incorporate a little wheat flour to help stabilise the mix.
How to make a Japanese cheesecake
The process is not difficult yet it should not be rushed. It is after all Japanese and relies on focus, precision and due care. It is a little fiddly but the actual bake is quite forgiving so it is difficult to overcook. Do not be disheartened if it shrinks a bit on cooling, especially the first few times.
Cream cheese and butter need to be at room temperature and spreadably soft so they are easy to blend. Egg whites are easier to whip when at room temperature, but the eggs themselves are easier to separate when cold.
You want a cream cheese that is creamy and soft, yet with a good old-fashioned tang.
Matcha green tea Japanese cheesecake recipe
Matcha green tea is the perfect flavouring for a cake like this, with its subtle herbal tones and slightly sour sweetness. Read about the different grades of matcha green tea.
You will need an 8 inch round cake tin.
225g cream cheese, really soft
60g butter, really soft
6 egg yolks
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp matcha powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
For the meringue
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Icing sugar – for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Grease and line your cake tin.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Beat in the egg yolks and the sugar.
- Beat in the flour, cornstarch, and matcha powder.
- Add the salt, milk, and vanilla.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar.
- Once they are fluffy, gradually whisk in the sugar until the mixture is smooth, glossy and forms soft peaks. This means that when you pull some of the mix up with a spoon it stands and keeps its shape, but the peaks bend softly at the top.
- Using a large metal spoon carefully fold the egg whites through the cream cheese mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into your prepared tin.
- Place the tin in a baking tray, and fill with cold water to reach a third of the way up the cake tin.
- Bake for 15 mins at 200C. Turn the oven down to 140C and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and leave for a further 30 minutes.
- The test for doneness is the same as a sponge cake. It will spring back when you press the top, and a skewer will come out clean. It is quite forgiving so rather over bake than under.
- After it has sat in the cooling oven for 30 minutes it will be cool enough to tip out onto your hand and then onto a plate.
- Leave to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and slicing to serve.
Does Japanese cheesecake need to be refrigerated?
Japanese souffle cheesecake can be served whilst still warm from the oven, and will keep for an afternoon out on the kitchen counter at room temperature. After that you will need to keep it in the fridge where it will sit quite happily for up to 5 days. Do keep it covered though so it does not absorb all the flavours of the fridge.
Can you freeze Japanese cotton cheesecake?
You can freeze it too. Either in individual slices or as the whole thing. Wrap in cling film, and then in foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Don’t forget to stock up on organic matcha tea online and take advantage of our wholesale prices.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Bulk Suppliers of Organic Asian Groceries”.
See original article:- Japanese Cotton Cheesecake with Matcha Green Tea
We have all surely heard by now that modern life can be damaging to our gut health, and that the key to restoration could be beneficial bacteria. But how do kombucha and yogurt measure up in terms of probiotics?
Bacteria and gut health
When we talk about gut health we are usually referring to the gut microbiome. This is the colony of bacteria that lives in our intestine and supports the body in a number of ways. Made up of hundreds of different strains of bacteria, the delicate balance can be disrupted and we end up with more bad bacteria than good. Clearly this can impact our health in many ways. Not always obvious as illness or disease, an imbalance in the gut flora can show up in subtle ways such as lack of energy or digestive issues. Stress, too much sugar or processed foods, antibiotics, and chemical preservatives, can all disrupt the gut microbiome.
Kombucha and yogurt
Kombucha and yogurt can both introduce more beneficial bacteria to the body. This helps to rebuild the flora and maintain gut health, leading to improved digestion and a healthy immune system.
Kombucha is made from green or black tea. Fermented with a SCOBY, a culture of bacteria and yeasts, the resulting drink retains many of the beneficial bacteria. You can find out here why the tea in kombucha is so important.
Yogurt is fermented milk. It is traditionally a dairy product, yet vegan yogurt is growing in popularity. Kefir is another fermented milk product. We explore the kefir vs kombucha debate.
The obvious difference is that yoghurt is a food and kombucha is a drink. They both contain different bacteria so there is no reason not to enjoy both. The goal of eating fermented foods is to include a wide a range of beneficial bacteria, plus any extra nutritional benefits of the products themselves. Such as antioxidant green tea in kombucha. Or the calcium in cows milk.
If you are new to fermented foods, just don’t overdo it. Introduce new foods slowly and listen to what your body is telling you.
You can use kombucha to make your own yogurt. Made in much the same way as standard yogurt, kombucha yogurt gives you the best of both worlds.
Although you can use the SCOBY to ferment yogurt, it is also possible to use the kombucha itself. Use full fat dairy milk and a high quality organic kombucha. You can even play about with different flavours and see which you like best. Try our mango kombucha for a tropical fruity finish.
It is best to use jars with lids, like Mason jars for your kombucha yogurt. It should be ready in 24 hours, so no need to burp the jars.
For 1 litre milk, use 200ml kombucha.
Scald the milk to about 85C – you can guesstimate it, just do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and cool to about 45C. Again, feel free to guesstimate. It should be hot, but not too hot that you can’t keep a (clean) finger in it. A bit warmer than body temperature. Stir in the kombucha and leave in a warm place for at least 24 hrs.
Coconut yogurt made with kombucha
You can also make coconut yogurt with kombucha, replacing the dairy milk with a blend of coconut milk (the canned stuff) and coconut cream (to make it thicker).
Fermentation is more about trial and error than standardised recipes. Some attempts are more successful than others. If your kombucha yogurt is not as thick as you would like it, then you can still use it in baking or in smoothies.
Kombucha yogurt smoothie
Making a kombucha yogurt smoothie is an ideal way to combine the benefits of kombucha and yogurt, and gives a delightfully tangy flavour. You can use any probiotic yogurt you like. We use fruit powders for an easy nutrient boost, with a frozen banana for added texture.
1 banana, frozen in chunks
2 tsp Australian berry powder
1 cup yogurt
- Blitz together in a blender and serve.
TIP – to make frozen banana easier to blend, remove it from the freezer and allow to thaw for 10 minutes before using. It makes a lovely creamy smoothie that way.
This article was reproduced on this site only with permission from our parent co. operafoods.com.au the “Gourmet Online Wholesale Grocer”. See the original article here:- Kombucha and Yogurt – Both Beneficial Bacteria.
Pep Tea brand is a subsidiary of Opera Foods Pty Ltd.
Green tea has many health benefits. Containing powerful antioxidants, it comes as no surprise that many of these involve our skin.
Many studies suggest that there are benefits to both drinking green tea and applying it topically. Making a matcha tea face mask is the ideal place to begin exploring the benefits of matcha skin care.
Is matcha green tea good for your skin?
Matcha green tea is good for your skin in so many ways. It contains a group of antioxidants known as catechins, more specifically a compound known as EGCG, that are directly involved in cell growth and repair. Green tea also has many anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that can help with hormonal acne. as well as Vitamin B2 for maintaining collagen levels and Vitamin E to nourish and hydrate.
The benefits of a matcha face mask
Many of the benefits of green tea are triggered from within but there are specific benefits to using it directly on the skin.
- Brighten dull skin
- Help retain moisture and hydration
- Fight wrinkles and firm sagging skin
- Work against acne bacteria and reduce sebum production
- Help puffy eyes
- Clearing clogged pores
Make a matcha tea face mask
If you make your own matcha skin mask then you are in full control of the ingredients. Green tea is a big thing in the beauty world but the quality and quantity of active ingredients can vary. Many cosmetic brands contain artificial ingredients and preservatives to extend shelf life. Whilst these may be deemed skin safe what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body. Thankfully all of our matcha green tea powder is 100% certified organic.
When creating your own DIY beauty products it is just as important to do a patch test. Apply a small amount to the skin on the inside of your elbow to make sure your skin is not sensitive to the ingredients you are using.
The recipe below is for a honey and matcha face mask, because why not harness the healing power of honey too. You could also use natural yoghurt or olive oil. Or just make a paste with plain old water. Whatever suits you.
Recipe for honey and matcha face mask
This makes enough for one faceful, but you could make up more and store it in an airtight container in a cool dark place.
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 tbsp raw honey
- Mix the ingredients together well.
- Apply all over the face, avoiding the eyes but covering the skin around the eyes.
- Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and remove with a warm wet cloth.
Use once a week.
This article was reproduced on this site only with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gourmet Online Wholesale Grocer”. See original article:- Green Means Glow With a Matcha Tea Face Mask
Although the clue is in the name, chances are that tea is not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of kombucha.
Good for your gut. Sure.
Fizzy. Fermented. Sour.
All of the above. Yet unless you make your own kombucha, does it even occur to you that kombucha is made from tea?
Let’s dwell on that for a moment.
Kombucha tea ingredients
Kombucha is made from five ingredients. Water, tea, and sugar, plus bacteria and yeast in the form of the SCOBY. This is left alone to ferment. The SCOBY is the live culture responsible for fermentation, a process that involves turning sugar to alcohol and alcohol to organic acids. It is similar to how rice vinegar is made.
Whilst we are busy concentrating on the amount of sugar in kombucha, or whether kombucha is alcoholic, ( a good scientifically correct kombucha has no remaining sugar or alcohol) tea is quietly getting on with its job. Turns out, tea is actually the most important ingredient in kombucha.
Why does kombucha need tea?
Tea not only makes booch taste great, and has some bonafide benefits to health, but it plays an integral part in the fermentation process too. Sugar plays an important part, but it is also the various compounds in the tea leaves that support the life of the SCOBY.
Is there caffeine in tea?
Caffeine occurs naturally in the plant camellia sinensis from which all true teas are harvested yet caffeine content in tea varies widely. Tea also contains an amino acid called l-theanine which works synergistically with caffeine to induce a state of calm alertness, as oppose to the rollercoaster ride of a coffee caffeine-high.
There are many factors that determine the caffeine content of tea. Although black tea is widely considered to have more caffeine than green tea, this may not always be the case. Some types of Japanese green tea, for instance, have more caffeine as they are grown in the shade and only the tips are harvested. Assam, a tea varietal found in many black teas, is naturally high in caffeine.
So, does kombucha have caffeine it it?
As with tea, the caffeine content of kombucha varies. The type of tea used, and the specifics of the brewing process, can affect the results. What is important to know is that less caffeine comes out than goes in because caffeine is used up in the fermentation reaction. Something involving nitrogen.
What teas can you use to make kombucha?
Kombucha needs true tea to grow and thrive. That’s black, green, white or oolong tea (or a combination). Herbal teas, such as peppermint or chamomile, are herbs not true teas so will not provide the right nutrients for fermentation. They can be used, with a healthy SCOBY, to brew up a batch or two but as part of the continual fermentation process that is kombucha they will not support the ongoing health of the culture.
It goes without saying that organic tea is preferable. Not only could pesticide residues inhibit fermentation but they will end up in your brew too.
Here at PepTea we only produce organic kombucha from green tea.
Kombucha green tea benefits
One of the major health benefits of kombucha is that it carries all the antioxidant benefits of the tea that it was made from. Green tea is particularly rich in antioxidant polyphenols, and studies have shown it to have numerous benefits to health.
Antioxidants prevent cell damage and inflammation. Green tea is a particularly rich source of EGCG, a powerful antioxidant of the group known as catechins. L-theanine has anti-anxiety properties which together with brain boosting caffeine can improve long term brain function. Green tea is also said to improve fat burning, reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, and help prevent cardiovascular disease.