Introduction to Chaga tea
- Supports your immune system
- Balances your metabolism
- Re-vitalizes, enhances your concentration
- High in anti-oxidants, anti-aging power
Chaga tea does not have the potency of a highly concentrated extract. But sometimes you don’t need that amount of power. Or maybe you just prefer to drink a healthy herbal tea during the day instead of popping capsules. Chaga tea is an excellent prophylactic.
In most countries, tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot water until the brew reaches the desired strength. However, in Russia, a lot of tea leaves are steeped in little water to create a powerful, highly concentrated brew called zavarka (заварка), which often will be simmering all day. This brew is then diluted with hot water to taste when it is served.
The traditional samovar was designed to do just this: on the top there was a tea pot with brewing tea (zavarka), and inside was hot water, with a little tap to dilute your cup of zavarka to the desired strength. See the picture, below.
This is an excellent way to prepare a really potent Chaga tea – in fact, you are performing a hot-water extraction this way, setting the active components free (beta-glucans, phenols) and thus increasing the therapeutic potency.
Chaga tea, when put in a filter bag, can be used a few times before losing its flavor if you choose the short (15 – 30 min. of steeping) method.
Russians also enjoy mixing different types of tea – for example, black tea with herbal tea. You can do the same with Chaga tea. You can also add small amounts of cinnamon, kardamom or nutmeg to vary the taste – feel free to experiment! Some mix it with instant-coffee (ratio 1:1) or drip-coffee. There are also people that put Chaga in an espresso-machine!
For sweeteners, Russians use sugar, honey, or even jam. Instead of dissolving sugar into the tea, some Russian tea drinkers prefer to hold a sugar cube in their mouths as they drink – a recipe for tooth decay, but an interesting idea nonetheless.
More background on Chaga and other medicinal mushrooms can be found, free for download, here.