A Taste for Tea: Some Facts About the Drink

Updated on May 11, 2017
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Laura a 'Foodie" at heart loves writing about food as well as special preparations to wellness through healthy eating.

brew a cup of relaxation
brew a cup of relaxation | Source

Two for Tea and Tea for Two

Over 2 billion Americans drink tea instead of coffee every morning. Sales of tea reach over 15 billion dollars a year. Looking at these figures proves tea leaves are giving coffee beans a run for their money. One of the factors is the price tag. Tea is a more economical choice with bulk purchase options which run on average 10-$12 per pound. There are 16 ounces in a pound 1 ounce of loose leaf yields 10 cups of tea. You will pay $11.95-$14.50 for a higher end coffee $9-$10 for a lower end such as Maxwell House or Folgers. Coffee statistics are much higher it will cost you 75 cents per ounce .38 ounces per cup.

Ancient Beverage of Choice

how it was done
how it was done | Source

Tea History

The Chinese have enjoyed drinking tea for over 4,000 years. According to legend one of three leaders during the time of the ancients Yan discovered its potential while searching various herbs for medicinal use. It is said that after being poisoned by one of these ingested herbs one single drop of water from a tea tree saved his life. For many years tea held its place primarily as a herbal medication over time it began to evolve. The Zhou Dynasty used it for religious offerings and during the spring and autumn months ate fresh tea leaves as vegetables to supplement their diets. As Buddhism gained popularity among the Northern and Southern regions of China it was used by monks in Za-Zen meditation.

The Tang Dynasty introduced tea to Japan bringing tea seeds from the Chinese province of Zhejiang. The Song Dynasty acquainted Arabic merchants to tea and by the Ming Dynasty it was being sold in the regions of Southeast Asia and South Africa. In 1610 it made its way into Europe via Macau aboard a Dutch merchant ship. Tea quickly became an international beverage bringing us into the 1.42 million pounds consumed by Americans alone. Yearly over 3,000 million tons of tea is now produced worldwide.

Road to America

The Tang Dynasty introduced tea to Japan bringing tea seeds from the Chinese province of Zhejiang. The Song Dynasty acquainted Arabic merchants to tea and by the Ming Dynasty it was being sold in the regions of Southeast Asia and South Africa. In 1610 it made its way into Europe via Macau aboard a Dutch merchant ship. Tea quickly became an international beverage bringing us into the 1.42 million pounds consumed by Americans alone. Yearly over 3,000 million tons of tea is now produced worldwide.

which way do you swing?
which way do you swing? | Source

Tea or Coffee?

Do you prefer tea over coffee?

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Taste Preference is Important

many types to choose from
many types to choose from | Source

Types Commonly Available

The West classifies four basic types of tea; black, green, Blue (oolong) and white.

Black-Most common in the West with a bold full flavor it pairs well with Western foods particularly sweets. Black tea is oxidized and its flavor profile has notes of tannin, chocolate, stone-fruit, grape and/or citrus.

Green-Made popular by Baby Boomers largely due to its health properties Green Tea is making its way onto my American shelves. Green tea is non-oxidized and can range from sweet and mild (Long Jing) to vegetable/grassy and lemony (Sencha.) Flavor profiles for Green teas range from notes of nuts and flowers to wood and/or vanilla.

Blue-tea (oolong) - Blue tea, popular with "foodies" because it pairs well with various foods and wines has a wide range of flavors. Its flavor profile is complex and can contain notes of honey, orchids, lychee, fruit, wood, butter cream, vanilla and coconut. Recently oolong tea has been marketed for help with weight loss although there is no scientific proof to support this claim. This tea is partially oxidized and often hand-rolled.

White-Gaining popularity for their antioxidants and lower levels of caffeine White tea has a delicate nuanced flavor. White teas can be air-dried, sun-dried and/or oven-dried. Its flavor profile is light, delicate with nuances of flowers, field grasses, dried wood and cocoa.

Tea a Star at One Time

Tea is a Great Morning Boost!

Regardless of your palette preference tea seems to offer a greater health benefit and flavor variety then America's well-loved java. Whether you alternate or become a tea convert it seems to be a good addition to any pantry. Some people prefer not to have the wait time or longer preparation time loose-leaf tea requires but tea-bags are available. Using a tea-bag is actually a quicker cup of morning boost. All of the types and flavors listed above are available in the tea-bag variety but you will sacrifice freshness and the full-bodied flavor which comes by using loose-leaf. Contrary to public belief it doesn’t take any more time to fill a loose tea leaf tea infuser then it does to hit your brew button on your coffee maker. Also a good steep takes less time than waiting for your coffee to brew.

harvest blend
harvest blend | Source

Simple Steeping Instructions for Loose Leaf Tea

  1. Quality matters-Try to find a good tea within your budget.
  2. Quantity-use the same proportion of leaves as water used
  3. Ceramic mugs or kettles are best for steeping a good cup of tea
  4. White and Green tea leaves steep 2-3 minutes
  5. Blue (oolong,), Darjeeling tea leaves steep 2-4 minutes
  6. Black tea leaves steep 3-5 minutes
  7. Always steep to your preference and remember to keep your filled tea infuser it can be re-used possibly for two more cups.

Before grabbing an over-the-counter remedy

studies have shown tea can be medically beneficial
studies have shown tea can be medically beneficial | Source

Using Tea for Health Purposes

Many studies have been done in regards to the healing properties of tea. Micro biologist Milton Schiffenbauer, PhD of New York City’s Pace University, claims that in antioxidant-rich white teas Polyphenol is present this antioxidant is one that can inhibit the growth of oral bacteria, like those that cause tooth decay, Another study done showed that green tea contains tannins which can act as natural antiseptic. It can be used topically to relieve itching and swelling. Next time you get a sunburn try applying green tea bags (cooled) to the affected areas. Multiple studies have been done on tea-treatments as a means of healing and improving your health. Should you have any questions regarding other tea tips ask when leaving a comment I'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

Not a bad Substitute

ease into your day
ease into your day | Source

Even if You Are a "Tea" Totaler-

Even if you are a hard core coffee drinker tea can be a pleasant change. Like wine if savored it can be a complete experience. Aromatic,warm and soothing it does have its place in the echelon of hot beverages. Teas like Chamomile can reduce stress levels and even help with those sleepless nights. More commercial grocery suppliers such as Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh have jumped on the tea band-wagon and will shortly be offering tea in bulk lowering the cost even more. So "sit a spell," and sip on some tea. It may not be a life changing experience but I can guarantee it will be a enjoyable experience.

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