Sharon Kleyne interviews Tea Expert Tim Blakely
Guest: Tim Blakely, Frontier Natural Products
Tim Blakely has been working with herbs since the 1970’s and has been a manager at the Herb Pharm in Oregon’s Applegate Valley, near Grants Pass, where Sharon Kleyne Lives. He now lives in Hawaii and works for Frontier Natural Products. He is an expert on medicinal and healing herbs and teas. Frontier Natural Products is one of the nations’ largest suppliers of organic herbs, teas and plant oils. Other imprints are “Simply Organic” and “Auricaria.”
Like Sharon, Tim recently attended the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California. Tim and Sharon agreed that the expo was awesome and that the industry has come an amazingly long way in the past 30 years.
Tea, according to Tim, dates back 4,000 years to Hunan Province, China. The original plants were not spectacular and it is unknown who first decided, or why, to boil them in water and drink the extract. Perhaps they noticed a calming effect. China dominated the tea market until the 182o’s, then it moved to India and Ceylon when the British became obsessed with tea.
Tea is one of the few ways in which it is OK to adulterate water without losing most of the benefits of water (as long as you don’t add milk or sugar). Tea has been described as an “extension of water” and some believe it is actually better than pure water (although you wouldn’t want to drink eight to ten glasses of tea a day).
Tea is now grown in China, India Kenya, Turkey and Ceylon. Tim has been attempting to cultivate tea in Hawaii and Lipton has a tea plantation in South Carolina.
There are four varieties of traditional or “true” teas:
Black tea (Lipton’s), is most common and has the most caffeine.
Green tea is the healthiest for you
Oolong tea combines the properties of black and green tea
White tea is the least common and has the least caffeine
There are also flavored teas and herbal teas. The benefits of herbal teas is that they contain no caffeine. Herbal teas are commonly made from nettle, chamomile, spearmint and many other plants, often blended together.
Teas have a shelf-life of a year or two and should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. Best is to store them in a glass container rather than in a box. While leaf tea is better than tea bags. Cotton tea bags are better than paper.
American’s drink more coffee than tea but tea has been making a comeback for the past 30 years. In Nepal, they put butter in their tea but no milk.
Tea is an excellent anti-oxidant (especially green tea) and is always good for you. It has a strong calming effect.
Sharon’s evaluation: I am fascinated by teas and their health possibilities and will have Tim on again to explore the health aspect more thoroughly. I strongly urge tea drinking as a way to relax, take in nutrition without overeating while obtaining all the benefits of drinking pure water.