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Dot Your "I's" and Cross your "Teas" - A Beginners Guide to Tea

Tea, the second most popular beverage next to water, and consumed all over the world, has been the favorite beverage of the Chinese for about three thousand years.  It has been used as a health drink and a traditional medicine in many parts across China. When Tea was adopted by the west, the more robust flavor of Black Tea became preferred instead of traditional Green Tea; which has a richer amount of anti-oxidants and is credited with being the best in assisting medicinal treatments by healers and herbalists. 

The Origin of Tea

Tea comes from a plant called Camellia Sinensis. There are 82 different species of Camellia, of which tea is the most complex, with 2 major varieties and almost 500 recognized cultivars. The leaves are smooth, leathery and oval, pointed and fairly scented.  The different categories or types of tea (Black, White, Green and Oolong) are the result of different ways of processing the leaf once it is plucked. Apart from China, Southern Africa has also acknowledged the benefit of drinking tea for a few centuries as well.

Herbal Medicine

The fresh leaves picked from tea plants are subjected to various processing methods to produce Green, Black, White and Oolong varieties of tea. For instance, Black tea is made from the leaf that has been fully oxidized, while Green teas are not oxidized and are produced through steaming or pan-firing.

Each type of tea contains different levels of important compounds known as the polyphenols (antioxidants), which are primarily responsible for the plant’s medicinal properties. White Tea contains the highest levels of polyphenols because it is the least processed.  However, Green Tea has been more widely studied and is regarded as having the greatest therapeutic qualities over all other varieties of tea.

Studies show that Green Tea drinkers report lower rates of cancer and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Several other observations have shown that drinking Green Tea can reduce gum inflammation and plaque formation.

Green Tea continues to be a popular aid for improving mental alertness and concentration, and it has also been investigated for its use as a potent weight-loss agent.

Taste of Tea

Different types of tea taste different. If you are a coffee drinker and are looking to switch to a healthier drink, then start with Black Tea and Oolong Tea.  It may be a surprising experience for coffee drinkers to switch over to tea, because the taste of tea at first will be lighter and leafier, despite the color.  Once you get into the habit of drinking tea, you will feel the change in your energy level due to its various medicinal and herbal qualities.

Something about Brewing

The taste of tea depends on brewing and the correct water temperature for the specific category of tea.  Please refer to our simple Steeping Guide.

Some tea leaves are bagged and are called Tea Bags. For a beginner, you can start off with bags. Just put the bag in a cup of warm water, wait for thirty seconds and you are good to go.

Where to Buy?

Tea is available all over the world, and every supermarket has it, but buying the best tea is not easy as you might think. Regular supermarkets carry a lot of tea products, but they are mass produced and are not as high quality as those sold by a specialty store. The best option for buying Tea is from well-known companies, such as Serenity Tea Sips (www.serenityteasips.com). Here you will find a large variety of teas in one place. You can mix and match various teas and flavors until you find the perfect tea for you.