All About Tea Creaming

All About Tea Creaming and Cistus incanus Tea Sold by Linden Botanicals

When brewing Cistus incanus tea, is the three-brew method necessary? It all comes down to tea creaming.

Cistus incanus herbal tea is one of the healthiest all-natural teas in the world. Fans of this amazing herbal tea know it’s important to source wild-flowering plants that grow in their native Mediterranean soil and climate. Terroir — land, sun, and rain — is critical.

Plants growing in arid Mediterranean ecosystems endure multiple stressors and harsh conditions, such as drought, high sun exposure, and high temperatures. Mediterranean plants produce high levels of polyphenols to protect themselves against these stressors. Cistus incanus has the highest polyphenol content of any plant in Europe. Cistus has also developed a symbiotic relationship with a root fungi. The fungi helps the root system absorb water and minerals from poor soils so the host plant can thrive.

Now, the traditional advice is to brew Mediterranean Cistus incanus tea three times in order to derive the fullest benefits of this healthy tea. Here, I want to discuss why this option make sense — and how an alternative brewing method can save you significant time and effort.

Tea Creaming 101

First, it’s important to understand a technical, if somewhat odd-sounding, term called “tea-creaming.” Tea cream is a precipitate observed in cooled tea. Sometimes it’s seen as a “rainbow” film on the surface of the tea.

Generally, the tea cream can be found attached to the tea leaves, or as a film in your tea cup. If you see a rainbow film on the surface of your tea – that would be an example of tea cream.

Almost any tea or herbal infusion is susceptible to tea-creaming. For Cistus incanus, the tea cream precipitate has been found to contain quercitrin, ellagitannins, and gallic acid. To clarify, if these important compounds are left behind in the “tea cream,” those compounds don’t make it into your body when you drink the tea. That’s why many herbal practitioners insist Cistus must be brewed three times to capture its full health benefit.

Of course, you could add a bit more water and stir the precipitate back into solution, if you find it in your cup. However, when it is left behind on the leaves there is not the same visible sign. Most people would have no way of knowing that they have lost a significant portion of the beneficial active ingredients from their tea. That’s why tea creaming is so important to understand.

Now, a groundbreaking study in Food Research International Journal considered the effects of temperature, brewing time of Cistus incanus tea, and water mineral level on the tea’s total phenolic content. In particular, the study analyzed the effects of the mineral content of the water used. Higher mineral content in the water led to a 62% decrease in the flavonol glycosides. In fact, some compounds like gallic acid were completely left behind in the tea cream.

The amount of tea cream is usually a function of (1) temperature, (2) the ratio of water to tea leaves, and (3) the pH of the water. For Cistus incanus, however, the mineral content of the water plays a much larger role in tea creaming than the pH of the water.

Alternative Method for Brewing Cistus Tea

A French press is a good way to extract the most benefit from Cistus incanus tea and capture the nutrients in the tea cream. This brewing method is designed to be simple and straightforward. Be sure to use mineral-free water. Mineral-free water reduces the amount of tea cream, making it best for stopping the precipitation out of solution of Cistus incanus bioactives. You can buy distilled water or use a water filtration system.

Brew Cistus tea using this French press method by following these steps:

  1. Put 13 grams of Cistus incanus (roughly 1/3 cup) in the bottom of a a large 1 liter (or 1 quart) French press. (The cut of Linden Botanicals Cistus incanus tea is optimized for our brewing instructions – 13 grams of looseleaf tea to 1 liter of water.)
  2. Boil 1 liter of water (use filtered water with no mineral content), take the water off boil.
  3. Wait about 90 seconds (so the water can cool down a bit) and then pour the water into the French press. The plant material will float.
  4. Put the top on the French press and press the plunger just a bit so the material is all under water.
  5. Let the tea steep for 25 minutes, or until the plant material sinks to the bottom of the French press. When all of the plant material has sunk to the bottom of the press, press the plunger all the way down and drink your first 8 to 10 ounce serving.
  6. Enjoy your Cistus incanus tea throughout the day.

You can read more about tea creaming and about how to brew Cistus tea here. You can watch a video showing how to brew Cistus incanus tea here.

Choose Your Favorite Brewing Method

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the three-brew method — except that it’s complex and time consuming. If you prefer the three-brew method, there’s no need to make a change. But if your main concern is tea creaming and you want a faster, equally effective Cistus incanus brew, you might try the French press method.

Cistus incanus makes a pleasant-tasting loose tea with a mild, floral flavor. Once you’ve made the tea, it’s best to consume it within 24 to 36 hours. Try to make just enough for one day’s use if possible.

The bag that Linden Botanicals’ Cistus incanus arrives in is re-sealable, waterproof, and light blocking. Just put it on a cool shelf to store it. Or you can store it in a covered container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If you store it in the refrigerator, be sure to stir it before you drink it.

You can read about this and much more about how to brew Cistus tea on our Cistus incanus FAQ page.

Watch the Video Buy Cistus Now

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