Melissa Choi, 37 set up tea company Choi Time as a hobby five years ago. She lives in Balham with her husband Drogo, a fine foods specialist and their baby daughter Inca Rose, who turned one on July 1st. She talks to Healthista about her love of the outdoors, and Chinese tea
Every morning I drink a pint glass of fresh jasmine green tea every morning before I do anything, it’s the Chinese way. My family do the same, waking up and pouring boiling water onto loose Jasmine tea pearls. Making a cup of tea helps me stop and savour the moment and beginning the day with a ritual like that helps me bring more mindfulness to the rest of my day.
I began bringing teas back from trips to China and packaging them up for friends as gifts. Most of them were so taken with the teas, and their loose and pretty leaves and flowers they’d say, ‘You should start this as a business.’ I worked in marketing when I first founded Choi Time, importing fine Chinese tea. It began as a hobby that indulged my passion but demand grew quickly and now I dedicate my time solely to the business.
I drink about five cups of green tea a day My grandma used to say it was good for skin and even in her nineties hers was amazing.
I walk Inca Rose through Hyde Park at least three times a week for 45 minutes and lose myself in the areas surrounding the Serpentine, watching the trees change and the different flowers coming out in the summer.
I have never been fat but over the last few months I have been doing Beautcamp Pilates. A hybrid of Pilates, this is a more dynamic, stretching and toning workout in a class setting that uses no impact and a variety of specialized machines that lengthen and elongate muscles (beautcampilates.com). I have done Bikram yoga and regular Pilates in the past but I have never seen such a change in my shape so quickly. Plus, you feel energized and strong afterwards – a great bonus. I love it.
Melissa’s teas are available from leading department stores and choitime.com
3 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR GREEN TEA BETTER
Filter your water if you can before boiling to take out the hardness and refine the taste. Drinking tea out of bone china or glass can also affect the taste. Good green tea should taste gentle and refreshing, never bitter.
Not all Chinese green teas are created equal and the higher the quality, the better the benefits In China, tea is chosen like wine is in the West. Look for loose tea which is full leaf. If the tea is good quality, after pouring hot water straight onto the loose leaves, they should sink to the bottom of the cup or pot and then expand.
In China, the same single serve of Jasmine pearls or fresh green tea leaves can be topped up with boiling water – up to five times – to make repeated cups of tea. Green tea contains less caffeine than black tea or coffee and it is slow release, so can help sustain your energy through the day.
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