THE WONDERS OF TEA
Many tout popular beverage's health benefits.
WRITTEN BY SUE EDMONDSON
PHOTOS BY CHRIS HOLLOMAN
If you wonder why people rave about tea, it's probably because you've only tried the bag-in-a-box, grocery store stuff. Once you experience the taste of fine tea, you'll wonder why you didn't drink it sooner. Not only is tea delicious, but it's also touted for health benefits, from cancer prevention to weight loss.
"Chinese have experienced the benefit of drinking tea over thousands of years," says tea expert Margaret Fong, owner of 36-year-old Dragon Spring, a Reno shop filled with teas, tea accessories, martial arts equipment, and some Chinese antiques. "It increases alertness but is calming; in the summer, drinking hot tea cools you down. But Westerners like scientific proof, so the benefits are not easily accepted."
Science is now confirming some anecdotal evidence. A recent National Cancer Institute report cites more than 50 studies of green and white tea, many of which show "reduced risks of colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and lung cancers." The studies involve tea, not to be mistaken with herbal brews.
"Real tea all comes from the plant Camellia sinensis," says Alenka Vrecek, owner of Tahoe Teas at Lake Tahoe. "The herbal infusions we call 'tea' have many health benefits; (such as helping with colds, stomach upset, sleeping, and more)."
Health benefits also are found in Tulsi tea sold by Davidson's Organics, a tea manufacturer in Sparks since 1976.
"Tulsi promotes the immune system, combats stress, and energizes," says owner Promilla Mohan. "In India, Tulsi is grown in every household. We consider it a symbol of good health."
Greg Buchheister, owner of Truckee's Coffeebar, which carries fine teas and herbals, such as Yerba Mate, agrees.
"People are more concerned about what they put into their bodies," Buchheister says. "They're learning that food can be medicinal."
Perhaps the greatest benefit of tea is the relaxation that comes from the ritual of making and sipping it.
"It takes a few minutes to brew tea properly, so you naturally unwind (during the process)," says Staci Parker, who, with husband Ethan, owns Too Soul Tea Co. in Reno. "There's nothing more soothing than drinking a cup of good tea."
Freelance writer Sue Edmondson writes for various publications in Nevada and California. She's relieved that tea is healthy, since she can't stop drinking Vanilla Sencha green tea.
1707 S. Wells Ave., Reno
Retail sales of fine tea, including certified-organic selections and herbals, teapots, teacups, and accessories
700 E. Glendale Ave., Sparks
Wholesale and retail sales of certified-organic fine and herbal teas, and tea accessories at store and online
Great Basin Community Food Co-op
240 Court St., Reno
Community-owned grocery store open seven days a week, offering bulk teas by Davidson's Organics and other purveyors, as well as a variety of tea accessories
Too Soul Tea Co.
542½ Plumas St., Reno
Café/teahouse, retail fine teas, including certified-organic selections and herbals, teaware, and accessories
10120 Jibboom St., Truckee
Café, coffee/teahouse, retail sales of fine tea, including organics and herbals
Certified-organic fine teas and herbals sold online and in retail stores and cafés throughout Northern Nevada and California, including Whole Foods Market in Reno
IV Coffee Lab
907 Tahoe Blvd., Ste. 20A, Incline Village
Café/coffeehouse with Davidson's Organics teas on the menu
Dunn's Coffee and Fine Teas
231 W. Main St., Quincy
Café, coffee/teahouse with retail sales of fine and herbal teas
408 Broad St., Ste. 8, Nevada City
Teahouse/art gallery with a tea bar and retailer of fine teas, including organics, herbals, and art