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New Western Lodge Dining Hall will Bring the Health Benefits of Tea to Campus

Tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world (the first, of course, is water), and it appears to be popular for a reason: studies show that tea comes with many health benefits, like antioxidants and the ability to burn calories and prevent heart disease.

Tea is calorie-free if you don’t add any milk or sugar, and it comes in a seemingly endless variety of flavors. It’s also just as good cold as it is hot, so it’s refreshing year-round!

This is great news for collegiettes, because tea is super easy to make (much easier than coffee), and it’s really inexpensive, too. All you need is to do is pour hot water over a tea bag in a mug. If you want cold tea, you can easily just make tea normally and chill it in a refrigerator.

Even better news for Miami students is that a new tea house will be opening on Western campus next spring! I caught up with Eric Yung, Miami’s executive chef, to learn more about this cool new option.

The teahouse, located in the new dining hall Western Lodge, will serve both tea lovers and those who are looking to try something new. “Even to people that aren’t avid tea drinkers, this is a really good platform to say, ‘If you’re really used to coffee, here’s the tea that’s most like coffee,’ and bridge that gap a little bit,” Yung said. Nutrition students are currently compiling information that will highlight different blends that focus on certain types of health benefits, like energy boosts or relaxation. These tips will be available to customers when they are making their decisions.

Different teas have different benefits, so blending different types of tea will increase the variety of nutrients in one cup of tea. Fruit juices and purées will also be available so students can really customize their beverages. “Tea lends itself to be blended with things that are healthier, while coffee is usually blended with milk and cream. Tea is can be blended with fruit juices,” Yung said. These will likely include peach, lemon, strawberry, and mango juices.

“We’ll buy premium teas in smaller batches,” Yung said. The teahouse will have up to 40 varieties of teas from which to choose. Small snacks will also be available to customers to accompany their tea.

The teas at the teahouse will mainly be served hot, but some cold teas will be available as ready-to-go options. Other options will include teh tarik, which is an Indonesian process of foaming tea and condensed milk together, and brick tea, which is tea made from tea leaves that are condensed together during fermentation to make a bolder tea.

Tea generally has less caffeine than coffee, and the amount of caffeine in each cup increases with the amount of fermenting that the tea leaves do before they are brewed into tea. Since green and herbal teas aren’t fermented at all, they are naturally decaffeinated.

I also spoke with dietetics students about the benefits one can get from drinking tea. “It’s another great way to hydrate,” Casey Pax, a freshman, said. “Hydration is really important to a healthy diet.” Teresa Schwendler, a junior, added, “Green tea is full of antioxidants, and it helps speed up your metabolism.”

Western Lodge is slated to open next spring, sometime between February and the beginning of spring break.

Sheila is a freshman at Miami University. She is a contributing writer and publicity staff member for the Miami (OH) Chapter of Her Campus.
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