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What’s that in my tea? Thiacloprid, Acetamaprid, chlorpyrifos . . . the list goes on. If you aren’t familiar with these “ingredients,” you might be surprised that these carcinogens are among dozens of other pesticides, herbicides, and toxins that are in many popular tea brands. Yuck!
It’s indeed true that popular brands like Celestial Seasonings, Teavana, Bigelow, Lipton, Trader Joe’s and Twinings of London, among others are kind of loaded with toxic junk. Even many “organic” tea brands are full of toxins.
If you have discerning taste and want a tea that offers antioxidants, including catechins and polyphenols without any extra junk that harms your body, then this review of Pique Tea is for you. Make sure you grab our exclusive discount at the end of this article!
Who Started Pique Tea?
“Tea Crystals are the biggest innovation in tea since the invention of the teabag,” says Simon Cheng, Pique Tea’s founder. He’s a tea aficionado who spent years studying ancient brewing techniques and collaborating with tea farmers throughout China in the Yunnan Province, who then decided tea crystals were an easy way to enjoy the flavor of tea without losing its nutrients and delicious flavor.
Cheng grew up drinking high-quality loose-leaf tea in Asia, and has been a tea lover since childhood. When he moved to the United States, Cheng found that the tea-drinking ritual was watered down, ironically, and thus began his thirst to make better tea.
Breakfast Criminals founder Ksenia got to meet Simon soon after he founded the brand, and was fascinated not only with the pure flavor of the teas Simon shared, but also with Simon’s commitment to mindfulness in all aspects of life and business. The story goes that Ksenia and Simon discovered their common interest in Qigong and breathwork, and spent the majority of the networking event exchanging experiences about healing practices.
Cheng found a way to take organic tea and turn it into a crystalline form so that it dissolves instantly in water but doesn’t compromise the quality of taste or nutrient density like many “instant teas” do. Pique has evolved a 13,000 year old tea making process by brewing tea in very low heat for 8 to 10 hours. They then extract the water, now flavored by the tea leaves, and turn it into a crystal form. Cheng and his team developed Pique’s crystalline tea to have twice the amount of antioxidants as tea brewed with traditional tea bags.
Just the founder’s story alone is enough to get me excited about Pique Tea, but let’s get straight to the important bits – there are essentially two reasons why you’d want to purchase Pique Tea over other brands:
- Cold-brew crystallization: a low heat, long-brew process that keeps the healthy compounds of tea intact, so that antioxidants aren’t degraded.
- Toxin removal: Pique utilizes a triple-toxin screening method to get rid of pesticides, heavy metals, and toxic mold. All things you’d rather not be sipping on as part of your daily ritual.
We’ll go over both of these points in more depth, and why they matter within this article. I am a total food and functional supplement nerd (food snob), 15-year seasoned yoga and meditation teacher, and a highly picky person when it comes to my health, so I’m going to dig into the science here and show you the facts. I can’t prove the purely energetic implications of eating poor quality food and drinking toxin-filled beverages, but I can certainly present the physiological ones. Then, you can decide for yourself, being well-armed with solid info.
Antioxidants & Health Promoting Compounds in Tea
Pique offers many black, green and herbal teas, primarily:
- Japanese crafted matcha tea with extra l-theanine: Benefits may include better sleep, more focus and Increased cognitive performance, lower cancer risk, weight loss support, boosted immunity, and less stress. Pique Tea is one of our go-to matcha brands.
- Black tea: Benefits include lowered inflammation, reduction of obesity risk, an immune boost, lowered cancer risk, and better gut health.
- Green tea: Benefits include carb and sugar cravings are lessened, better immunity, protect the brain from premature aging, help with bad breath, lower diabetes type 2 risk, boost heart health.
- Jasmine tea (green tea): Beautifully aromatic, with benefits that include boosting brain health, immunity, cognitive acuity, metabolism, and may help lower heart disease risks and prevent certain types of cancers while also helping you lose weight.
- Ginger tea (herbal tea): Benefits include calming the stomach, particularly helpful for treating nausea, and can also boost metabolism, ease headache and migraine and is also anti inflammatory.
- Turmeric tea (a warming herbal tea with bioavailable turmeric, ginger and cinnamon): Benefits include being highly anti-inflammatory, brain boosting, cognitive disease slowing, metabolism boosting while also promoting better gut health.
- Rooibos tea (red herbal tea): This tea has no caffeine and is low in tannins that can interfere with iron absorption. Benefits include high levels of antioxidants that boost heart health and immunity. It makes a delicious rooibois latte!
- Herbal fasting tea and green fasting tea: Benefits include less food cravings and a bug support for intermittent fasting.
- Mushroom tea (reishi and chaga elixirs): Benefits include immune support, calming the nervious system and better sleep.
Every tea offers a specific list of polyphenols, an antioxidant type that includes catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins. Here is what you can find in black tea, as an example:
Catechins: These potent antioxidants are found in many foods like berries and cacao, but also in high quantities in black and green tea. They’re super important for your immune system to function properly and also affect the molecular mechanisms that regulate cell death. This means they also have a key part in prohibiting the formation of cancer in the body. The catechin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) specifically, alters signaling pathways in your cells so that cancerous cells can’t form.
Theaflavins: These polyphenols are excellent for your health with benefits ranging from fat reduction, and glucose stabilization as well as being anticancer, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory. Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-osteoporotoic, and ant-atheroscletrotic (heart health boosting).
Thearubigins: These polyphenols are antioxidant, antimutagenic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and help to improve gastrointestinal motility.
*Just a note: when you feed your body good nutrients, you’re also feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut, which is an automatic immune boost right there.
Add to these antioxidant polyphenols thousands of other compounds in black tea that promote health including:
- Amino acids (L-theanine in particular)
- Phenolic acids (caffeic acid, gallic acid, chlorogenic acids, cauramic acid)
- Vitamins A, C, K
What’s Toxic Load?
With all these health-building compounds it’s a no brainer that you’d want to drink black tea, but here’s where the rub is: these compounds aren’t bioavailable if your body is too busy getting rid of all the unhealthy compounds like heavy metals (including aluminum), pesticides, herbicides, and petroleum based fertilizers. The higher your toxic load, the less capable your body is of digesting and utilizing the good stuff you put in it.
Your overall toxic load is directly linked to your immune health, and can take a long time to exit your body since they seep into tissues, blood, bones, your brain, and every organ. Your liver normally does a fantastic job of eliminating toxins, but it started to be overworked, probably about 100 years ago, at the dawn of the industrial revolution when we started dumping 1000s of chemicals into our air, water, soil, and food. While we have a natural detoxification system that removes many of these toxins while we sleep at night:
- Many of us are sleep deprived, so major detox and body repair can’t happen as it should.
- We consume far too many toxins for the body to keep up with.
- Only now are studies being conducted about how these different chemical toxins interact with each other within our microbiome and the rest of our bodies to cause cellular damage, mess with our hormonal systems, cause fatigue, obesity, reproductive issues and more.
What’s more, there are studies in Europe and the US that show toxins can stay in our genetic makeup for UP TO 3 GENERATIONS! Crazy, right!?
And even more crazy is that epigenetic tests don’t even show all the toxins that affect us for multiple generations. Epigenetics, made popular by people like Bruce Lipton, is the study of how our genes signal our DNA. So not only can your genes themselves be altered, but their signaling abilities, having multi-generational effects, can be impacted by toxic burden. So not only, “you are what you eat,” but quite probably, “your kids and their kids and their kids are what you eat.”
That’s where Pique Tea’s triple-toxin screening method becomes important. And yes, that’s an understatement. The easiest way to get rid of a toxic burden is to not add more toxins to your body in the first place!
This 3-level method is quite inclusive and done using a 3rd party lab. It works like this:
Screen 1: Raw materials are screened.
Screen 2: Screen for heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, etc.
Screen 3: Another 3rd party lab in Switzerland conducts another screening once the extraction process to get the tea crystals has been completed.
No one can screen for every possible contaminant, but these are commonly found and screened in the Pique tea process:
Heavy metals: Chromium(Cr), Nickel(Ni), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium(Cd), Arsenic(As), Aluminum (Al) and Lead(Pb).
Radioactive isotopes: screened in one product only, Pique’s Sun Goddess Matcha (likely because it is sourced from Japan).
Toxic mold: Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2, and Ochratoxin A (OTA)
Pesticides: All pesticides prohibited by the USDA for organic compliance. Some blends are also held against more strict standards for the EU or Japan.
The cold-brew aspect of Pique Teas along with a triple screen for toxic junk so you can add great things to your body and not add more of a toxic burden to your likely-already-begging-and-pleading bio-home is a solid “YES!” for me. I’m a tea lover, so the fact that there are multiple flavors, but not so many that I have to spend a full weekend looking through an onslaught of choices makes it an easy order for me to stock up and get on with life.
I can target gut health, fasting, better immunity, mental clarity, lowering my sugar and carb cravings (all accomplished with green and matcha tea consumption) or just get a little boost when I need to start my day, as tea traditionally has far less caffeine than coffee, yet still enough to give me a little kick in the pants since I’m not a morning person.
Don’t expect to pay .30 cents per cup of tea. When you purchase a high quality, functional food or beverage, you’re usually going to pay a slight premium that’s totally worth it. Just thinking of all the health bills I save money on because I eat right, drink right, get ample exercise and try my best to get enough sleep, I’m happy spending a little extra on a delicious daily beverage.
It’s also easiest to purchase this tea online so if you like physically shopping for tea in a tea store, you might be missing out slightly on the social experience that tea drinking was meant to be. You can always invite friends over, and brew your own though.
Is Pique Tea good for you?
Undoubtedly, tea of any kind is good for you, except when it’s full of toxins. The fact that Pique creates its teas with cold brewing and a triple screening for toxins makes it even better.
What does Pique Tea taste like?
Each flavor of tea has its own unique taste. Choose one that suits you. Matcha is more earthy and intense, black tea is crisp and some teas have a fruitier flavor.
How do you drink Pique Tea?
You can drink Pique Tea any way you normally drink tea, or even add it to smoothies. Add almond milk, coconut milk, macadamia nut milk, hemp milk, or other supplemental ingredients to taste and swerve hot or cold as the weather dictates.
Where is Pique Tea grown?
Pique Tea is sourced from various countries around the world, always with an eye for quality and organic ingredients, thus the 3-tiered system to triple check for toxins. It makes no sense to go to all the trouble (and expense) to test for unwanted ingredients so if you have a tea supplier who gives you junk, you’ll likely find a new supplier.
Who created Pique Tea?
Simon Cheng created Pique Tea in 2014 as an avid tea love and entrepreneur with respect for the centuries-old tradition of tea drinking.
What green tea does Dr. Fung recommend?
Dr. Fung as well as other renowned health experts like Mark Hyman, MD, also recommend Pique Tea.
What is the best tea for fasting?
Any of Pique’s Teas would be ideal for fasting since they all are almost zero calorie, and still provide high levels of antioxidants and detoxification support.
Is Matcha good for your gut?
Matcha is not only good for your gut, it can regulate your immune system and blood sugar, and provide high levels of antioxidants to promote mental clarity, elevate your mood, and give a kick to your metabolism. It’s known as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds to good bacteria in your gut so that they can flourish, and outnumber the bad bacteria.
Does Whole Foods carry Pique Tea?
Currently the only Whole Foods that carries Pique Tea is in Northern California, but you can order it online from anywhere.
Is instant tea real tea?
Many instant teas still contain “real tea,” meaning it is sourced from tea leaves but many just use artificial flavorings to make water taste like “tea.” Moreover, the process to make instant tea from real tea leaves destroys most of the antioxidants and leaves only about 10% as much of them as non-instant whole leaf, or cold-brewed tea. On the other hand, Pique Tea crystals are 100% real tea.
Can you buy Pique Tea in stores?
There are over 1,500 retailers selling Pique Tea, but it’s much easier to just purchase it online, and is often less expensive that way.
All Pique tea products are reasonable in price considering the high quality ingredients and lack of toxins, ranging from $11.99 for Jasmine green tea to around $52 with free shipping for Japanese Matcha tea. The matcha price is on the higher side, but I’ve never regretting buying it – it’s so pure and potent in flavor and color, and the quality is top notch.
Use code KSENIA for 5% your Pique Tea order on piquetea.com.
The best deal comes as a subscription, but you can cancel or pause it any time. There’s also a money back guarantee, so should you decide you don’t love the tea you can reach out to the company one of 3 ways:
- Fill out a contact form at PiqueTea.com
- Contact customer service at 1(888)747-8398 anytime 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST Monday to Friday.
- Contact via email: email@example.com
Real Matcha Tea and Pricing
***A note about Matcha tea: many brands try to pass off the much less expensive, and far less nutrient dense Sencha tea as Matcha tea, and it isn’t the same. Matcha and Sencha are both green teas, however, they come in different textures and Matcha is so vibrantly green because it has such a higher level of antioxidants and phytonutrients in it.
If you source organic, Matcha tea without toxins anywhere close to $100 for a month’s worth of servings, you’ve found a solid buy. Pique Tea Matcha tea is sourced organically, is loaded with EPGC catechins and is crafted by a true Japanese tea connoisseur.
You also get free shipping with any order over $100.
There are many other brands competing for your attention that are organically sourced and that are generally healthy. Not all of them have a triple-level process for getting rid of or identifying toxins though. Some similar brands are:
- Art of Tea – Mostly organic teas in 100% compostable tea bags.
- MUD\WTR – Masala Chai sold as a coffee substitute with Reishi and other adaptogenic mushrooms
- David’s Tea – Whole leaf teas, some organic, some not
- Numi Organic Teas – Organic and Fair Trade teas
Pique Teas are high quality, great-tasting teas with extra assurance that you are purchasing only the highest level ingredients with highly bioavailable nutrients. With so many teas on the market, more than half of them are, arguably, not worth purchasing because they’re full of chemicals, heavy metal, and mold. Tea is one of the most heavily sprayed crops too, so purchasing organic is more important since those toxins are concentrated when you steep tea leaves sprayed in those chemicals in a glass full of water. Just say no thanks!
It’s a shame that many people aren’t educated on just how many toxins many tea brands contain, but fortunately there are alternatives like Pique so that you don’t end up adding to your body’s toxic burden. While there are several good brands to choose from Pique tea stays in my tea cabinet on the regular since it is so high quality. I get my Matcha and black tea fix from Pique, then turn to other brands for more variety in flavor and function – such as herbal teas, flowering or blooming teas when I’m having guests over, or just to mix it up, taste wise.
Pique Teas are slightly on the pricey side, but again, you’re paying for quality. I’d rather pay a few cents more per cup knowing I’m putting a non-toxic, highly nutrient-dense beverage in my body. But hey, to each his own! If you’re stopping at fast food restaurants every day and fail to work out or get good sleep you’re likely not worried about the kind of tea you drink. This review is for people who already take regular steps to be healthy and put highly functional foods into their dietary mix.
Why not try a 13,000 year old tradition, evolved into great tea?
You can purchase your own Pique Tea and try them for yourself here.
An Ode To Tea (Crystals) + Green Tea Smoothie Recipe
Medical disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and not intended to serve as professional medical advice. No information on this site should be used to determine diet, exercise, medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment for a medical condition. Please consult a qualified health care professional and your own body to determine what works for you.