Ever since a Chinese Emperor, millennia ago, discovered etas as a refreshing beverage, people have been enjoying it.
Tea is the second most non-alcoholic beverage in the world, following water. The third most popular beverage is beer.
The tea plant (camellia sinensis) grows mainly in sub-tropical countries from southern China to Sri Lanka in Asia, Kenya in Africa, and pockets of Turkey and Georgia.
English merchants contributed largely to popularize tea all over the world and to this day the country’s most famous tea producers export it to a number of countries.
The medicinal properties of tea have been researched thoroughly and even today there are scientists who study tea.
Beside camelia sinensis, there are many others – camomile, hibiscus, ginger, just to name a few.
White tea helps prevent weight gain; chamomile against anxiety, green tea is known to reduce the possibility of cardio vascular diseases (some even claim cancer), caffeine-free (yes, tea contains caffeine) rooibos tea sooths stomach problems and is an anti-inflammatory.
Hibiscus tea fights hypertension; ginger tea dilates the bronchial tree, and sooths the airways and is good for congestions and asthma attacks.
Tea enthusiasts swear by loose tea, and brew it with great fanfare. Actually they make a ceremony of tea brewing.
Japanese are famous for having developed a detailed procedure on how to brew tea and serve it. It is a tradition that is still practiced and has become a tourist attraction.
The vast majority of people prefer to brew tea, using tea bags (invented by English tea merchants). If you use tea bags, steep the tea bag for at least five minutes to increase polyphenol extraction, and dunk it several times.
Always add a little lemon (slices or juice), possibly a little milk and never cream. Generally, teabags lack flavour, and offer little more than convenience.
Decaffeinated tea contains less flavonoids. One cup of tea pending on its extraction strength contains approximately 80 milligrams of caffeine.