Irradiated vs. Organic Teas: What’s the Difference & Why Should You Care?
The friendly-looking logo on our featured image is what irradiation looks like.
Irradiation is a word few of us are familiar with, yet it affects nearly all of us directly or indirectly. We eat irradiated food all the time and don’t even know it.
Irradiation is a process whereby Gamma rays are passed through foods to make them appear more colorful/vibrant and is called ‘ionizing radiation.’ Gamma irradiation was introduced to develop a new processing method for brighter-colored green tea leaves extract.
Although putting the equivalent of 30 million chest x-rays through our food may make it look more ‘pretty,’ it kills off all bacteria – the good and the bad – and changes the constitution of our foods while damages the nutrients within it.
It can also be an easy go-to for companies operating under less-than-ideal conditions to ‘sterilize’ their foods, no matter how appalling the conditions of their processing plants. It can cover up things like cancer in livestock and appalling hygienic conditions (i.e. concerning sprouts and nuts) that’s then being fed to us.
Here are some of your foods that are being irradiated:
-Whole wheat flower
Others food items are currently undergoing the approval process in Canada, like poultry, shrimp, fresh fruit (i.e. mangoes) and vegetables (lettuce & spinach).
What does this mean for us?
Understanding how our food is brought to us helps us not only understand but be motivated by whom and from where we get our foods. Why we must purchase decentralized, local (where possible) and organic foods.
This is why, here at teALCHEMY, we source our teas from the best suppliers, our products are organic and never irradiated. We mix our teas in-house, lovingly source our teas and are proudly Canadian.
So, if you ever want to blend it, sip it, rub it, bake it or shake it, teALCHEMY is here for all your fun and fulfilling tea and elixir needs.
Go to this link here to learn more about irradiated foods, keeping in mind it’s on the government website that authorizes irradiation in the first place.
It is possibility. Rebirth. Changing the elements.
Every single moment we are alive on this planet we are alchemists. My fingers touching this keyboard in exactly the right manner is what is making these words – previously merely just thoughts in my head – appear logical to you (I hope).
The breath I just took in is being filtered through my lungs to feed my blood and body. The coffee I drank this morning is making me a jittery mess, which makes me regret not starting with tea, considering I’m writing on a TEA BLOG, but I’m having a lovely pu-erh right now to boost my metabolism and help aid digestion.
Alchemy is what makes everything possible: the planet with its ozone layer, H2O and other gases so that we can breathe and live, so the plants we enjoy can grow with vibrancy and in health. Tea has been a very important component throughout history for good health and life-giving properties, not to mention its cultural implications throughout the centuries.
At teALCHEMY, we belong to the chemistry-making process because we’re bringing the best quality, lovingly sourced teas and herbal elixirs directly to you. We understand that we can change the condition of our bodies by using the amazingly diverse plant world to not only heal but to enrich our lives as well. We use teas and herbs to achieve this because we believe it’s one of the easiest, most effective and potent ways of utilizing the healing properties of plants. We want you to become teALCHEMISTS too.
The idea that we are alchemists can be very powerful, in terms of the choices we make at every moment of every day. This is how we create our reality, whether we are aware of it or not. What we put into our bodies is critical to our survival as well as our vitality. Which means that many factors must be taken into consideration before we consume any substance, tea included. At teALCHEMY, we also like to give you peace of mind in the knowledge that our teas are organic.
If you come on this alchemic journey with us, you will discover just how complicated something as ‘simple’ as tea can be, and why you’d be wise to know the most important elements there are to know about the teas you buy. As well as what each tea can do for you.
They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but I say ‘other people’s ignorance is bliss,’ because there are people who benefit from what we don’t know. At teALCHEMY, we believe that transparency transforms and creates trust, in ourselves and in how we approach the world. How we sort through the maze of consumer items and make the right choices.
We have a finite period to focus on an infinite amount of things. So here at teALCHEMY, we focus on teas and everything we call tea-like beverages (whether there’s tea in it or not), to help create chemistry on the journey of wellbeing and – more importantly – being well.
Our next blog post will be on irradiated vs. organic teas.
Before you go jumping to conclusions, we’re not talking about your early morning bathroom rituals.
“First Flush” is a term we use in the tea world to talk about the first harvest of tea, which usually happens around this time of the month up until the first week of April.
(Two leaves & a bud. Source: flickr)
There are many names for this special time of year. Here are a few:
First Flush (English)
(Pre) Quinn Ming (China)
Sincha (Japan, not to be mistaken with ‘sencha’)
Ujeon (South Korea)
These teas are the first picked in a plant’s harvest season, are highly sought-after and have fresher flavors than the later flushes. Due to its youthful nature, there are properties in it that are highly coveted by tea connoisseurs and health-conscious people alike. It is said to yield the purest and freshest cup of tea.
The first flush is when harvesters pick the delicate and tender two leaves and a bud in the earliest spring growth, lending the teas a more light, floral, fresh, brisk and mildly astringent flavor (i.e. Darjeeling). These teas are generally less oxidized and may appear more greenish in color than typical black teas.
First Flush teas are the freshest and among the most exquisite, hence it’s usually a bit of an investment. If you can get your hands on some premium First Flush tea, it’s best to use it sooner rather than later. Store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container (not see-through), away from moisture and other pantry items (like spices or coffee) since the flavors can leach into these delicate teas more easily.
Brewing will depend on the region in which the tea was grown and how it was cultivated, harvested and processed. Best to ask your tea expert, who can give you specific instructions on how to brew the perfect cup based on your purchase.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Use fresh, cold filtered water (spring water is best)
Brew First Flush teas in slightly cooler temperatures and for less time.
So, use water just off the boil and steep it for 2-3 minutes, covered.
Use about a half a teaspoon per 8oz cup.
You can steep it multiple times so don’t discard the tea after first use.