Coffee has always been the most popular drink to be served when you visit family or friends. But what if you can’t drink so much coffee anymore? Welcome to the world of glorious tea.
Once upon a time I had over ten different types of teas in my kitchen cupboard, but cutting back on waste my tea options got limited. Luckily these days you can just do a little bit of research then you learn to go back to your roots.
Tea has always been the healthy drink of legends that was discovered many moons ago. So how did they discovery it and why is it so healthy?
History of tea
The discovery of teas was always shrouded with a blend of myth and fact. According to Chinese legends, tea was discovered in 2737 B.C.E by Emperor Shen Nong, who was a skilled ruler and scientist, who was boiling water in his garden when a stray leaf from wild tea tree fell into his pot. He enjoyed the drink so much he needed to do more research on the plant further. As he investigated the plant he discovered the medical healing properties of tea.
You can read more about the history at Peet’s Coffee.
As trade began all over the whole tea was being distributed all over the world. Each country started to make their own type of tea. In South Africa it is the wondrous Rooibos tea that we all grew up with.
Tea is part of a 10 billion dollar industry and is the second most popular drink in the world.
Do you know what is the world’s six most popular types of tea?
Traditionally from China it the least processed and oxidized of all the teas. It is only picked a few days of the year when the bai hao appears on the shoots. This tea is gentle and has fresh bamboo, asparagus or earthy flavors.
Green tea leaves are heat processed which is done by pan-frying or roasting leaves as done in China or in Japan they steam the leaves. This tea has bolder citrus-like flavors. It’s color can vary anywhere from a dark to a pale green.
This tea is semi-oxidized and come from China and Taiwan. It is made from larger, mature leaves. They pick the leaves – let it wilt – roll them out – oxidize it – and then it gets fired. This is a very unique process which gives the tea the widest range of flavors and aromas depending of the amount of time steeping.
This is the fine powdered tea that most Western Countries are familiar with. The leaves are fully oxidized and picked when young. The tea is divided between broken leaf and full leaf categories. Being broken leaves, which happens during processing, make the tea quicker to make and contain higher levels of caffeine. This is the typical “English Tea”.
Oh how blessed we are with this red caffeine-free tea! This tea is indigenous to South Africa and is of course known for its red color and naturally sweet flavor. It has needle-like leaves and is harvested during summer. Oxidation enhances the flavor of the tea which also turns the leaves from green to red.
This is actually not tea as the ingredients do not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal teas can be made out of a variety of different herbs such as mint, roots, flowers etc. This is a plant and floral infusion which offers a wide range of tastes and aromas.
Teas, depending on the type, have a wide variety of health benefits. It contains antioxidants which help to keep us young and protect us from pollution damage. It has less caffeine than coffee, so no caffeine spikes. It might reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. It may help you protect your bones. It decreases tooth loss, boosts your immune system and soothe your digestive system. As said before, it depends on the type of tea. So do some research and find out what tea will work the best for you.
I personally love Rooibos and peppermint tea the most. Peppermint makes me feel relaxed and hydrated. Recently I started the morning with a cup of tea and it has worked wonders. What is your favorite tea and have you tried making your own?