By Valerie Lull, MH
There's something new in the world of tea, it is called coffee leaf tea. It is a drink that comes from the leaves of the coffee plant. It is both coffee and tea and scientists think it's healthier than both. It has 17% more antioxidants than green tea. It seems to include the best of both the worlds of coffee and tea.
Coffee is a seasonal crop and the idea of harvesting the leaves during the off season, to provide year long employment, is gaining popularity. People seem to like the taste of it and in some parts of the world it is taken in place of coffee because coffee is more expensive.
Coffee leaf tea has an interesting history. It has been used in parts of Africa since antiquity. It is called Kuti in Ethiopia and was used by the Ethiopian people for centuries before roasting coffee beans was invented. Coffee producers in Sumatra and Java tried to popularize coffee-leaf tea back in the 19th century and it was displayed in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London Now efforts are being made again to popularize coffee leaf tea around the globe.
Health benefits include a higher level of antioxidants. The phenols mangiferin and hydroxycinnamic acid are thought to reduce heart disease and diabetes. Further benefits are a reduction of cholesterol levels and protection of brain neurons. Scientists feel that more research needs to be done to confirm the health benefits, but the preliminary work looks promising.
There is very little processing of the product. The coffee leaves are picked and left to dry in the sun. Then they are slightly toasted. Coffee leaf tea is brewed the same way other teas and tisanes are brewed. Add some water to the leaves and let them steep. If you want to try something new, try some coffee leaf tea. Coffee leaf tea can be found in health food stores, and on the internet.