Thursday 25 February 2010

Tea - An Overview

Tea - An Overview

I have always been a tea drinker, but until recently I found coffee easier and more convenient. Brew up a pot and drink it all was my motto. I have always kept 15 -30 types of tea at home, a mix of bagged tea and loose leaf teas. Yet over the last 2 years I have dropped my coffee intake to 1 cup a day and upped my tea intake to upwards of 6 to 8 cups a day. A big part of the change is thanks to Teaopia, and their Tea Master. It is convenient and easy to use and reuse. Their tea is a loose enough cut to be re-steeped between 2 and 4 times depending on the tea. But back to the topic at hand, tea. If you do a Google search on the 'benefits of tea' you get 16,400,000 results.

The earliest recorded consumption of tea is from around 10,000 BC. The first book on how to buy and prepare tea was by Wang Bo and is dated at 59BC. Today tea comes in hundreds of varieties and flavors, with something to suit almost any pallet. Next to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage around the word. And much of what is consumed in North American is not truly tea from its first definition. It is tea based on the second definition. According to Encyclopedia Britannica tea is: a beverage produced by steeping in freshly boiled water the young leaves and leaf buds of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. At one point in history Britain ruled the world because it ruled the seas. One of the reasons it ruled the seas was to control the traffic of commodities from continent to continent. One way this was done was that the East India Company (aka East India Trading Company, English East India Company, and then the British East India Company) tried to monopolize the tea trade on a global scale. This led to the Tea Act in 1773 which in turn led to the Boston tea Party. But today tea is commonly considered almost any plant or botanicals steeped in hot water. Yet you might ask why would you drink tea?

10 Reasons to Drink Tea
  • Lose Weight, Stay Alert and Protect Your Heart: According to Health Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD), tea helps support and maintain weight loss, increases alertness and helps protect against cardiovascular disease.
  • Fight Diseases: Tea is high in antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins including EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), which help protect the body from harmful free radicals and cellular damage.
  • Drink to your Health: After water, tea is the healthiest beverage you can consume according to a panel of nutrition expects published in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition.
  • Boost your Memory: New scientific research suggests that drinking tea may lower the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
  • Reduce Stress: The amino acid "L-theanine" found almost exclusively in tea is known to reduce stress and calm the mind, while keeping you more alert.
  • Age Gracefully: Beauty starts from the inside out. The antioxidants found in tea help slow down the aging process, making you look and feel great.
  • Lowers Cholesterol: Tea has been shown to reduce "bad" cholesterol (LDL).
  • Ease Arthritis: Tea has been shown to prevent and reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Oral Health: Tea helps eliminate bad breath and is rich in fluoride, which strengthens teeth and protects tooth enamel.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking tea is a delicious way to help meet your recommended daily intake. Drinking tea may even be better than drinking water since it replenishes fluids and provides antioxidants.
I really upped my tea consumption when I stopped drinking coffee for a while a year ago. I went from about 17 shots of espresso a day to zero coffee overnight and went almost six months without a coffee. I rediscovered my love of tea in its endless varieties and styles. I found a few wonderful quotes about tea I wanted to share with you, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis and "Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company." - Author unknown. So I have wanted to write a series of articles on my love of tea. Over the next few weeks I plan on writing a few articles in this series they are:

Articles in this Series:
0. Tea Tea Everywhere - Teaopia Mad Hatter Tea Party
1. Tea an Overview
2. Red Teas
3. Green Teas
4. White Teas
5. Black Teas
6. Matcha Tea
7. Yerba Mate
8. Fruit Blends
9. Wellness Blends
10. Herbal Teas
11. Purveyors of Fine Tea (my preferences.)
12. Custom Blending
13. My Favourite Teas
Top Ten Teas of 2010
Some Online Tea Resources:
Tea - Wikipedia

Feel free to post comments and links to your favorite tea resources.


Anonymous said...

Try Teavana.


Anonymous said...

Or, since we are Canadian, support Teaopia since it is the biggest and best Canadian tea retailer.. and doesn't rip people off on cast iron..