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Tokyo, Japan - Part of the worldwide health trend, Japanese consumers are warming up to many exotically flavored teas for both taste and health benefits. Teas flavored with flowers, herbs, berries and tree leaves are among the many flavored tea products available, reports The Nikkei Weekly.

Yerba mate tea at the Printemps Ginza department store in Tokyo is attracting attention from health-conscious consumers. Calcium-rich yerba mate is derived from a small evergreen tree in South America, where people drink it to prevent fatigue, fever, rheumatism and depression, and to aid digestion.

CHAtea, a green tea spiced with essences of fruits like strawberries and herbs like lavender and peppermint, was originally aimed at the markets in the U.S. and Europe, but Japanese consumers, already completely accustomed to green teas, have taken a liking to the new taste, described by the company as mild.

Minami Fujisangyo Co. in Shizuoka Prefecture markets a blended tea featuring stevia, a sweetening herb commonly used in Paraguay and Southern Brazil that helps regulate high and low blood sugar, increase energy and alertness, and lower growth of some bacterias and infections. Another tea contains Chinese matrimony vine, a leafy plant whose carotene-rich red berries are good for their eyes.

Teas featuring blueberries are also popular thanks to news that blueberries contain antioxidants and substances that protect blood vessels, particularly in the eyes.

Ontario, Canada - A Seattle, Washington harbor has been found to contain such high levels of caffeine that researchers have had to modify the tests by which they track water contamination, reports Murray White of Ontario’s National Post.

So much coffee has found its way into Seattle’s Puget Sound that researchers are no longer able to use caffeine to easily detect the degree of human waste flowing from sewer systems into the water. As in other major cities, levels of caffeine has been used in Seattle to track the flow of waste that escapes through cracked sewer pipes and into bodies of water. Because the only animals that produce caffeine are humans, waste containing it could only have been contaminated from sewers or water treatment plants.

However, a lot of Seattle coffee ends up in storm drains and then flows directly into the Sound, explained Scott Mickelson, chief microbiologist for King County water quality control. He said peaks in the caffeine flow remain discernable. Just before 9am, for example, caffeine levels in the sewer system are nearly eight times as high as usual, he said.

Despite the problems, caffeine is still found in so small a concentration that it is not thought to be a threat to wildlife in the sound, Mickelson said. “There’s probably not even a buzz effect,” he said. Seattle gave birth to Starbucks in 1971. The chain has spawned more than 3000 stores world wide. In the greater Seattle area alone, there are 144 Starbucks locations.

Tea & Coffee - September/October 2000
Modern Process Equipment


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