Truffles & Lace   Bou-Tea-Que

 Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring boiling hot water


over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The term also refers to the


plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the


world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many people
enjoy.

Consumption of tea (especially green) is beneficial to health and longevity


given its antioxidant, flavanols, flavonoids, polyphenols, and catechins


content. Tea catechins have known anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective


activities, help to regulate food intake, and have an affinity for


cannabinoid receptors, which may suppress pain, nausea, and provide calming


effects.


Consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of diseases that


cause functional disability, such as “stroke, cognitive impairment, and


osteoporosis” in the elderly.


Tea contains L-theanine, and its consumption is strongly associated with a


calm but alert and focused, relatively productive (alpha wave dominant),


mental state in humans. This mental state is also common to meditative


practice.


The phrase herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made


without the tea plant, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea. Alternative


phrases for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied


contrast with "tea" as it is construed here.


Health effects:


Several of the potential health benefits proposed for tea are outlined in


this excerpt from Mondal (2007, pp. 519–520) as following:


    Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, among which the compounds

closely related to human health are flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins (C, E


and K), caffeine and polysaccharides. Moreover, tea drinking has recently


proven to be associated with cell-mediated immune function of the human body.


Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal microflora, as


well as providing immunity against intestinal disorders and in protecting


cell membranes from oxidative damage. Tea also prevents dental caries due to


the presence of fluorine. The role of tea is well established in normalizing


blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart


diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity. Tea also


possesses germicidal and germistatic activities against various gram-positive


and gram negative human pathogenic bacteria. Both green and black tea


infusions contain a number of antioxidants, mainly catechins that have anti-


carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumoric properties.


Catechins in green tea possess anticancer properties against "cancer in


various organs, including the colorectum and liver, and are known to exert


anti-obesity, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory effects." "Branched-chain


amino acids in green tea may prevent progressive hepatic failure in patients


with chronic liver diseases, and might be effective for the suppression of


obesity-related liver carcinogenesis."


Anticarcinogenic effects of tea polyphonols has been provided by numerous in


vitro and experimental studies, which describe their action to “bind directly


to carcinogens, induce Phase II enzymes such as UDP-glucuronosyl transferase


and inhibit heterocyclic amine formation.” “Molecular mechanisms, including


catechin-mediated induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, inhibition of


transcription factors NF-?B and AP-1 and reduction of protein tyrosine kinase


activity and c-jun mRNA expression have also been suggested as relevant


chemopreventive pathways for tea.” Protective effects from tea consumption


are observed less frequently in populations where intake of black tea


predominates.


Numerous recent epidemiological studies have been conducted to investigate


the effects of green tea consumption on the incidence of human cancers. These


studies suggest significant protective effects of green tea against oral,


pharyngeal, esophageal, prostate, digestive, urinary tract, pancreatic,


bladder, skin, lung, colon, breast, and liver cancers, and lower risk for


cancer metastasis and recurrence.


Possibly most noteworthy are human intervention studies that find consumption


of green tea cuts the risk of getting ovarian and endometrial cancers, and


advanced prostate cancer by 50%.


Cholesterol and blood sugar levels are lowered significantly by drinking


green tea. Drinking green tea is negatively associated with diabetes,


possibly due to moderated oxidative stress on fats, which may reduce insulin


resistance.


Consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of diseases that


cause functional disability, such as “stroke, cognitive impairment, and


osteoporosis” in the elderly. Specific to mental function, researchers in


2010 found that people who consumed tea had significantly less cognitive


decline than non-tea drinkers. The study used data on more than 4,800 men and


women aged 65 and older to examine change in cognitive function over time.


Study participants were followed for up to 14 years for naturally-occurring


cognitive decline. (AAICAD 2010; Lenore Arab, PhD; UCLA)


L-theanine in tea may reduce stress by inducing a calm but alert, focused,


and relatively productive (alpha wave dominant) mental state in humans. This


mental state is also common to meditative practice.


Cultivation and harvesting:


A tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia


Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that grows mainly in tropical and


sub-tropical climates. Some varieties can also tolerate marine climates and


are cultivated as far north as Pembrokeshire in the British mainland and


Washington in the United States.


Tea plants are propagated from seed or by cutting; it takes approximately 4


to 12 years for a tea plant to bear seed, and about 3 years before a new


plant is ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, tea


plants require at least 127 cm. (50 inches) of rainfall a year and prefer


acidic soils. Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up


to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft): at these heights, the plants grow more slowly and


acquire a better flavour.


Only the top 1-2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves


are called flushes. A plant will grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days


during the growing season, and leaves that are slow in development always


produce better flavored teas.


A tea plant will grow into a tree of up to 16 metres (52 ft) if left


undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of


plucking.


Two principal varieties are used: the China plant (C. sinensis sinensis),


used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas (but not Pu-erh); and the


clonal Assam tea plant (C. sinensis assamica), used in most Indian and other


teas (but not Darjeeling). Within these botanical varieties, there are many


strains and modern Indian clonal varieties. Leaf size is the chief criterion


for the classification of tea plants, with three primary classifications


being: Assam type, characterized by the largest leaves; China type,


characterized by the smallest leaves; and Cambod, characterized by leaves of


intermediate size.



Processing and classification:


Teas can generally be divided into categories based on how they are


processed. There are at least six different types of tea: white, yellow,


green, oolong, black, and post-fermented teas of which the most commonly


found on the market are white, green, oolong, and black. Some varieties, such


as traditional oolong tea and Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea, can be used


medicinally.


After picking, the leaves of Camellia sinensis soon begin to wilt and


oxidize, unless they are immediately dried. The leaves turn progressively


darker as their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This


enzymatic oxidation process, known as fermentation in the tea industry, is


caused by the plant's intracellular enzymes and causes the tea to darken. In


tea processing, the darkening is stopped at a predetermined stage by heating,


which deactivates the enzymes responsible. In the production of black teas,


the halting of oxidization by heating is carried out simultaneously with


drying.


Without careful moisture and temperature control during manufacture and


packaging, the tea may become unfit for consumption, due to the growth of


undesired molds and bacteria. At minimum it may alter the taste and make it


undesirable.


Tea is traditionally classified based on the techniques with which it is


produced and processed.


    White tea:  Wilted and unoxidized
    Yellow tea:  Unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
    Green tea:  Unwilted and unoxidized
    Oolong:  Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
    Black tea:  Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
    Post-fermented tea:  Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost

Blending and additives:


Although single estate teas are available, almost all teas in bags and most


other teas sold in the West are blends. Blending may occur in the tea-


planting area (as in the case of Assam), or teas from many areas may be


blended. The aim of blending is to obtain better taste, higher price, or


both, as a more expensive, better-tasting tea may cover the inferior taste of


cheaper varieties.


Some teas are not pure varieties, but have been enhanced through additives or


special processing. Tea is highly receptive to inclusion of various aromas;


this may cause problems in processing, transportation, and storage, but also


allows for the design of an almost endless range of scented and flavored


variants, such as bergamot (Earl Grey), vanilla, caramel, and many others.


Content:


Tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant. In a freshly picked tea leaf,


catechins can compose up to 30% of the dry weight. Catechins are highest in


concentration in white and green teas, while black tea has substantially


fewer due to its oxidative preparation. Research by the U.S. Department of


Agriculture has suggested that levels of antioxidants in green and black tea


do not differ greatly, as green tea has an oxygen radical absorbance capacity


(ORAC) of 1253 and black tea an ORAC of 1128 (measured in µmolTE/100g).


Antioxidant content, measured by the lag time for oxidation of cholesterol,


is improved by the cold water steeping of varieties of tea.


Tea also contains L-theanine, and the stimulant caffeine at about 3% of its


dry weight, translating to between 30 mg and 90 mg per 8 oz (250 ml) cup


depending on type, brand and brewing method.


Although tea contains various types of polyphenols and tannin, tea does not


contain tannic acid. Tannic acid is not an appropriate standard for any type


of tannin analysis because of its poorly defined composition.


Origin and history:


Tea plants are native to East and South Asia and probably originated around


the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma and


southwest China.


Although there are tales of tea's first use as a beverage, no one is sure of


its exact origins. The first recorded drinking of tea is in China, with the


earliest records of tea consumption dating back to the 10th century BC. It


was already a common drink during the Qin Dynasty (3rd century BC) and became


widely popular during the Tang Dynasty, when it was spread to Korea and


Japan. Trade of tea by the Chinese to Western nations in the 19th century


spread tea and the tea plant to numerous locations around the world.


Tea was imported to Europe during the Portuguese expansion of the 16th


century, at which time it was termed chá. In 1750, tea experts traveled from


China to the Azores Islands, and planted tea, along with jasmines and


mallows, to give the tea aroma and distinction. Both green tea and black tea


continue to grow in the islands, which are the main suppliers to continental


Portugal. Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II, took the tea habit to


Great Britain around 1660, but it was not until the 19th century that tea


became as widely consumed in Britain as it is today. In Ireland, tea had


become an everyday beverage for all levels of society by the late 19th


century, but it was first consumed as a luxury item on special occasion such


as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic work gatherings such as


quiltings.


The Word Tea:


The Chinese character for tea is ?. It is pronounced differently in the


various Chinese languages. Most pronounce it along the lines of cha (Mandarin


has chá), but the Min varieties along the central coast of China and in


Southeast Asia pronounce it like te. These two pronunciations of the Chinese


word for tea have made their separate ways into other languages around the


world:


    Te: From tê in Amoy dialect, spoken in Fujian Province and Taiwan. It

reached the West from the port of Xiamen (Amoy), once a major point of


contact with Western European traders such as the Dutch, who spread it to


Western Europe.

   
   Cha: From the Cantonese chàh, spoken in Guangzhou (Canton) and the ports

of Hong Kong and Macau, also major points of contact, especially with the


Portuguese, who spread it to India in the 16th century. The Korean and


Japanese words cha come from the Mandarin chá.


The widespread form chai comes from Persian ??? chay. This derives from


Mandarin chá, which passed overland to Central Asia and Persia, where it


picked up the Persian grammatical suffix -yi before passing on to Russian,


Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, etc.


English has all three forms: cha or char, attested
from the 16th century; tea,

from the 17th; and chai, from the 20th.


Languages in more intense contact with Chinese, Sinospheric languages like


Vietnamese, Zhuang, Tibetan, Korean, and Japanese, may have borrowed their


words for tea at an earlier time and from a different variety of Chinese,


so-called Sino-Xenic pronunciations. Korean and Japanese, for example, retain


early pronunciations of ta and da. Ta comes from the Tang Dynasty court at


Chang'an: that is, from Middle Chinese. Japanese da comes from the earlier


Southern Dynasties court at Nanjing, a place where the consonant was still


voiced, as it is today in neighboring Shanghainese zo. Vietnamese and Zhuang


have southern cha-type pronunciations.


Etymological observations:


The different words for tea fall into two main groups: "te-derived" (Min) and


"cha-derived" (Cantonese and Mandarin).The words that various languages use


for "tea" reveal where those nations first acquired their tea and tea


culture.


    Portuguese traders were the first Europeans to import the herb in large

amounts. The Portuguese borrowed their word for tea (cha) from Cantonese in


the 1550s via their trading posts in the south of China, especially Macau.


    In Central Asia, Mandarin cha developed into Persian chay, and this form

spread with Persian trade and cultural influence.

 
    Russia (chai) encountered tea in Central Asia.

    The Dutch word for "tea" (thee) comes from the Min dialect. The Dutch may

have borrowed their word for tea through trade directly from Fujian, or from


Fujianese or Malay traders in Java. From 1610 on the Dutch played a dominant


role in the early European tea trade, via the Dutch East India Company,


influencing other languages to use the Dutch word for tea. Other European


languages whose words for tea derive from the Min dialect (via Dutch) include


English, French (thé), Spanish (te), and German (tee).


    The Dutch first introduced tea to England in 1644.[44] By the nineteenth

century most British tea was purchased directly from merchants in Canton,


whose population uses cha, though English never replaced its Dutch-derived


Min word for tea.


At times, a te form will follow a cha form, or vice versa, giving rise to


both in one language, at times one an imported variant of the other.


    In North America, the word chai is used to refer almost exclusively to

the Indian masala chai (spiced tea) beverage, in contrast to tea itself.

    
    The inverse pattern is seen in Moroccan colloquial Arabic (Darija),

"ash-shay" means "generic, or black Middle Eastern tea" whereas "at-tay"


refers particularly to Zhejiang or Fujian green tea with fresh mint leaves.


The Moroccans are said to have acquired this taste for green tea— unique in


the Arab world— for East Chinese green tea after the ruler Mulay Hassan


exchanged some European hostages captured by the Barbary Pirates for a whole


ship of Chinese tea. See Moroccan tea culture.

    
    The colloquial Greek word for tea is tsáï, from Slavic chai. Its formal

equivalent, used in earlier centuries, is téïon, from tê.

    
    The Polish word for a tea-kettle is czajnik, which could be derived

directly from chai or from the cognate Russian word. However, tea in Polish


is herbata, which, as well as Lithuanian arbata, was derived from the Latin


herba thea, meaning "tea herb."

    
    The normal word for tea in Finnish is tee, which is a Swedish loan.

However, it is often colloquially referred, especially in Eastern Finland and


in Helsinki, as tsai, tsaiju, saiju or saikka, which is cognate to Russian


word chai. The latter word refers always to black tea, while green tea is


always tee.

    
    In Ireland, or at least in Dublin, the term cha is sometimes used for

"tea," as is pre-vowel-shift pronunciation "tay" (from which the Irish Gaelic


word "tae" is derived[citation needed]). Char was a common slang term for tea


throughout British Empire and Commonwealth military forces in the 19th and


20th centuries, crossing over into civilian usage.

    
    The British English slang word "char" for "tea" arose from its Cantonese

Chinese pronunciation "cha" with its spelling affected by the fact that ar is


a more common way of representing the phoneme /??/ in British English.`


Tea culture:


Tea may be consumed early in the day to heighten alertness; it contains


theophylline and bound caffeine (sometimes called theine). Decaffeinated


brands are also sold.


While tea is the second most consumed beverage on Earth after water, in many


cultures it is also consumed at elevated social events, such as afternoon tea


and the tea party. Tea ceremonies have arisen in different cultures, such as


the Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies, each of which employs traditional


techniques and ritualized protocol of brewing and serving tea for enjoyment


in a refined setting. One form of Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu tea


ceremony, which typically uses small Yixing clay teapots and oolong tea.


Tea is prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East. In Arab culture, tea is


a focal point for social gatherings.


In Pakistan, both black and green teas are popular and are known locally as


sabz chai and kahwah, respectively. The popular green tea called kahwah is


often served after every meal in the Pashtun belt of Balochistan and in


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is where the Khyber Pass of the Silk Road is found.


In the Kashmir region of Pakistan, Kashmiri chai or noon chai, a pink, milky


tea with pistachios and cardamom, is consumed primarily at special occasions,


weddings, and during the winter months when it is sold in many kiosks. In the


northern Pakistani regions of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, a salty, buttered


Tibetan-style tea is consumed. In Iranian culture, tea is so widely consumed


that it is generally the first thing offered to a household guest.


In the United States and Canada, 80% of tea is consumed cold, as iced tea.


Sweet tea is a cultural symbol of the southern US, and is common in that


portion of the country.


Switzerland has its own unique blend of iced tea, made with the basic


ingredients like black tea, sugar, lemon juice and mint, but a variety of Alp


herbs are also added to the concoction. Apart from classic flavors like lemon


and peach, exotic flavors like jasmine and lemongrass are also very popular.


In India, tea is one of the most popular hot beverages. It is consumed daily


in almost all homes, offered to guests, consumed in high amounts in domestic


and official surroundings and is made with the addition of a lot of milk with


or without spices. It is also served with biscuits which are dipped in the


tea and eaten before consuming the tea. More often than not, it is drunk in


"doses" of small cups rather than one large cup. On April 21, 2012 the Deputy


Chairman of Planning Commission (India), Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said that


tea would be declared as national drink by April 2013. The move is
expected to

boost the tea industry in the country. Speaking on the occasion,


Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said a special package for the tea industry


would be announced in the future to ensure its development.


In the United Kingdom, especially England, it is consumed daily and often by


a majority of people across the country, and indeed is perceived as one of


Britain's cultural beverages. In British homes, it is customary good manners


for a host to offer tea to guests soon after their arrival. The British


prefer black tea, served in mugs with milk and perhaps sugar. Tea bags are


almost always used; PG Tips is the most popular brand. Tea
is generally

consumed at home; outside the home in cafés, coffee is the drink


of choice for many people. Afternoon tea with cakes on fine porcelain is a


cultural stereotype, sometimes available in quaint tea-houses. In south-west


England many cafes serve a 'cream tea', consisting of scones, clotted cream,


and jam alongside a pot of tea. In the north of England, and Scotland, 'tea'


also refers to the evening meal.


In Burma aka Myanmar, tea is consumed not only as hot drinks, but also as


sweet tea and green tea known locally as laphet-yay and laphet-yay-gyan


respectively. Pickled tea leaves, known locally as laphet, are also a


national delicacy. Pickled tea is usually eaten with roasted sesame seeds,


crispy fried beans, roasted peanuts and fried garlic chips.


Preparation:


The traditional method of making a cup of tea is to place loose tea leaves,


either directly or in a tea infuser, into a tea pot or teacup and pour


freshly boiled water over the leaves. After a few minutes the leaves are


usually removed again, either by removing the infuser, or by straining the


tea while serving.


Most green teas should be allowed to steep for about two or three minutes,


although some types of tea require as much as ten minutes, and others as


little as thirty seconds. The strength of the tea should be varied by


changing the amount of tea leaves used, not by changing the steeping time.


The amount of tea to be used per amount of water differs from tea to tea but


one basic recipe may be one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5 ml) for


each teacup of water (200–240 ml) (7–8 oz) prepared as above. Stronger teas,


such as Assam, to be drunk with milk are often prepared with more leaves, and


more delicate high grown teas such as a Darjeeling are prepared with somewhat


fewer (as the stronger mid-flavors can overwhelm the champagne notes).


The best temperature for brewing tea depends on its type. Teas that have


little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed


at lower temperatures, between 65 and 85 °C (149 and 185 °F), while teas with


longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100


°C (212 °F). The higher temperatures are required to extract the large,


complex, flavorful phenolic molecules found in fermented tea. In addition,


boiling reduces the dissolved oxygen content of water. Dissolved oxygen would


otherwise react with phenolic molecules (anti-oxidants) to turn them brown


and reduce their potency as anti-oxidants. To preserve the anti-oxidant


potency, especially for green and white teas brewed at a lower temperature,


water should be boiled vigorously to boil off any dissolved oxygen and then


allowed to cool to the appropriate temperature before adding to the tea. An


additional health benefit of boiling water before brewing tea is the


sterilization of the water and reduction of any dissolved Volatile Organic


Compounds (VoC's), chemicals which are often harmful.


Some tea sorts are often brewed several times using the same tea leaves.


Historically, in China, tea is divided into a number of infusions. The first


infusion is immediately poured out to wash the tea, and then the second and


further infusions are drunk. The third through fifth are nearly always


considered the best infusions of tea, although different teas open up


differently and may require more infusions of hot water to produce the best


flavor.


One way to taste a tea, throughout its entire process, is to add hot water to


a cup containing the leaves and after about 30 seconds to taste the tea. As


the tea leaves unfold (known as "The Agony of the Leaves") they give up


various parts of themselves to the water and thus the taste evolves.


Continuing this from the very first flavours to the time beyond which the tea


is quite stewed will allow an appreciation of the tea throughout its entire


length.


Antioxidant content, measured by the lag time for oxidation of cholesterol,


is improved by the cold water steeping of varieties of tea.



Black tea:


In the West, water for black tea is usually added near the boiling point of


water, at around 99 °C (210 °F). Many of the active substances in black tea


do not develop at temperatures lower than 90 °C (194 °F).[citation needed]


Lower temperatures are used for some more delicate teas. The temperature will


have as large an effect on the final flavor as the type of tea used. The most


common fault when making black tea is to use water at too low a temperature.


Since boiling point drops with increasing altitude, it is difficult to brew


black tea properly in mountainous areas. It is also recommended that the


teapot be warmed before preparing tea, easily done by adding a small amount


of boiling water to the pot, swirling briefly, before discarding. In the


West, black teas are usually brewed for about 4 minutes and are usually not


allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or more than about five minutes (a


process known as brewing or mashing in Britain). In many regions of the


world, however, boiling water is used and the tea is often stewed. For


example, in India black tea is often boiled for fifteen minutes or longer as


a strong brew is preferred for making Masala chai. When the tea has brewed


long enough to suit the tastes of the drinker, it should be strained while


serving. The popular varieties of black (red) tea include Assam tea, Nepal


tea, Darjeeling tea, Nilgiri tea, Turkish tea and Ceylon tea.


Green tea:


Water for green tea, according to regions of the world that prefer mild tea,


should be around 80 to 85 °C (176 to 185 °F); the higher the quality of the


leaves, the lower the temperature. Hotter water will produce a bitter taste.


However, this is the method used in many regions of the world, such as North


Africa or Central Asia where bitter tea is appreciated. For example, in


Morocco green tea is steeped in boiling water for fifteen minutes. In the


West and Far East a milder tea is appreciated. The container in which the tea


is steeped, the mug, or teapot is often warmed beforehand so that the tea


does not immediately cool down. High-quality green and white teas can have


new water added as many as five or more times, depending on variety, at


increasingly high temperatures.


Oolong tea:


Oolong teas should be brewed around 90 to 100 °C (194 to 212 °F), and again


the brewing vessel should be warmed before pouring in the water. Yixing


purple clay teapots are the traditional brewing-vessel for oolong tea. For


best results use spring water, as the minerals in spring water tend to bring


out more flavor in the tea. High quality oolong can be brewed multiple times


from the same leaves, and unlike green tea it improves with reuse. It is


common to brew the same leaves three to five times, the third steeping


usually being the best.


Premium or delicate tea:


Some teas, especially green teas and delicate oolong teas, are steeped for


shorter periods, sometimes less than 30 seconds. Using a tea strainer


separates the leaves from the water at the end of the brewing time if a tea


bag is not being used. However, the black Darjeeling tea, a premium Indian


tea, needs a longer than average steeping time. Elevation and time of harvest


offer varying taste profiles; proper storage and water quality also have a


large impact on taste.


Pu-erh tea:


Pu-erh teas require boiling water for infusion. Some prefer to quickly rinse


pu-erh for several seconds with boiling water to remove tea dust which


accumulates from the aging process, then infuse it at the boiling point


(100°C or 212°F), and allow it to steep from 30 seconds to five minutes.


Serving:


In order to preserve the pre-tannin tea without requiring it all to be poured


into cups, a second teapot may be used. The steeping pot is best unglazed


earthenware; Yixing pots are the best known of these, famed for the high


quality clay from which they are made. The serving pot is generally


porcelain, which retains the heat better. Larger teapots are a post-19th


century invention, as tea before this time was very rare and very expensive.


Experienced tea-drinkers often insist that the tea should not be stirred


around while it is steeping (sometimes called winding or mashing in the UK).


This, they say, will do little to strengthen the tea, but is likely to bring


the tannins out in the same way that brewing too long will do. For the same


reason one should not squeeze the last drops out of a teabag; if stronger tea


is desired, more tea leaves should be used.


Additives:


Tea is sometimes taken with milk


The addition of milk to tea in Europe was first mentioned in 1680 by the


epistolist Madame de Sévigné. Many teas are traditionally drunk with milk in


cultures where dairy products are consumed. These include Indian masala chai,


and British tea blends. These teas tend to be very hearty varieties of black


tea which can be tasted through the milk, such as Assams, or the East


Friesian blend. Milk is thought to neutralize remaining tannins and reduce


acidity. The Han Chinese do not usually drink milk with tea (or
indeed use milk

at all) but the Manchus do, and the elite of the Qing Dynasty


of the Chinese Empire continued to do so. Hong Kong-style milk tea is based


on British colonial habits. Tibetans and other Himalayan peoples


traditionally drink tea with milk or yak butter and salt. In Eastern European


countries (Russia, Poland and Hungary) and in Italy, tea is commonly served


with lemon juice. In Poland, tea with milk is called a bawarka ("Bavarian


style"), and is often drunk by pregnant and nursing women.


The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea is a much-debated topic, and can


vary widely between cultures or even individuals. Some say that it is


preferable to add the milk before the tea, as the high temperature of freshly


brewed tea can denature the proteins found in fresh milk, similar to the


change in taste of UHT milk, resulting in an inferior tasting beverage.


Others insist that it is better to add the milk after brewing the tea, as


most teas need to be brewed as close to boiling as possible. The addition of


milk chills the beverage during the crucial brewing phase, if brewing in a


cup rather than using a pot, meaning that the delicate flavor of a good tea


cannot be fully appreciated. By adding the milk afterwards, it is easier to


dissolve sugar in the tea and also to ensure that the desired amount of milk


is added, as the color of the tea can be observed.[citation needed] It is


thought that historically, the order of steps was taken as an indication of


class: only those wealthy enough to afford good quality porcelain would be


confident of its being able to cope with being exposed to boiling water


unadulterated with milk.


A 2007 study published in the European Heart Journal found that certain


beneficial effects of tea may be lost through the addition of milk.


Many flavourings are added to varieties of tea during processing. Among the


best known are Chinese Jasmine tea, with jasmine oil or flowers, the spices


in Indian Masala chai, and Earl Grey tea, which contains oil of bergamot. A


great range of modern flavours have been added to these traditional ones. In


eastern India people also drink lemon tea or lemon masala tea. Lemon tea


simply contains hot tea with lemon juice and sugar. Masala lemon tea contains


hot tea with roasted cumin seed powder, lemon juice, black salt and sugar


which gives it a tangy, spicy taste.


Other popular additives to tea by the tea-brewer or drinker include sugar,


liquid honey or a solid Honey Drop, agave nectar, fruit jams, and mint. In


China sweetening tea was traditionally regarded as a feminine practice. In


colder regions such as Mongolia, Tibet and Nepal, butter is added to provide


necessary calories. Tibetan butter tea contains rock salt and dre (yak)


butter, which is then churned vigorously in a cylindrical vessel closely


resembling a butter churn. The same may be said for salt tea, which is


consumed in some cultures in the Hindu Kush region of northern Pakistan.


Alcohol, such as whisky or brandy, may also be added to tea.


The flavor of the tea can also be altered by pouring it from different


heights, resulting in varying degrees of oxidization. The art of high-


altitude pouring is used principally by people in Northern Africa (e.g.


Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Libya), but also in West Africa (e.g.


Guinea, Mali, Senegal) and can positively alter the flavor of the tea, but it


is more likely a technique to cool the beverage destined to be consumed


immediately. In certain cultures the tea is given different names depending


on the height it is poured from. In Mali, gunpowder tea is served in series


of three, starting with the highest oxidization or strongest, unsweetened tea


(cooked from fresh leaves), locally referred to as "bitter as death,"


followed by a second serving, where the same tea leaves are boiled again with


some sugar added ("pleasant as life"), and a third one, where the same tea


leaves are boiled for the third time with yet more sugar added ("sweet as


love"). Green tea is the central ingredient of a distinctly Malian custom,


the "Grin," an informal social gathering that cuts across social and economic


lines, starting in front of family compound gates in the afternoons and


extending late into the night, and is widely popular in Bamako and other


large urban areas.


In Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, the practice of pouring tea from


a height has been refined further using black tea to which condensed milk is


added, poured from a height from one cup to another several times in


alternating fashion and in quick succession, to create a tea with entrapped


air bubbles creating a frothy "head" in the cup. This beverage, teh tarik,


literally, "pulled tea," has a creamier taste than flat milk tea and is


extremely popular in the region. Tea pouring in Malaysia has been further


developed into an art form in which a dance is done by people pouring tea


from one container to another, which in any case takes skill and precision.


The participants, each holding two containers, one full of tea, pour it from


one to another. They stand in lines and squares and pour the tea into each


others' pots. The dance must be choreographed to allow anyone who has both


pots full to empty them and refill those of whoever has no tea at any one


point.


Economics:


Tea is the most popular manufactured drink in the world in terms of


consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the


world – including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol – put together.


Most tea consumed outside East Asia is produced on large plantations in the


hilly regions of India and Sri Lanka, and is destined to be sold to large


businesses. Opposite this large-scale industrial production there are many


small "gardens," sometimes minuscule plantations, that produce highly


sought-after teas prized by gourmets. These teas are both rare and expensive,


and can be compared to some of the most expensive wines in this respect.


India is the world's largest tea-drinking nation although the per capita


consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams per person every year. Turkey,


with 2.5 kg of tea consumed per person per year, is the world's greatest per


capita consumer.


Production:

In 2003, world tea production was 3.21 million tonnes annually. In 2010,


world tea production reached over 4.52 million tonnes. The largest producers


of tea are the People's Republic of China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and


Turkey.


Packaging:

 
Tea Bags

In 1907, American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan began distributing samples of


his tea in small bags of Chinese silk with a drawstring. Consumers noticed


that they could simply leave the tea in the bag and re-use it with fresh tea.


However, the potential of this distribution/packaging method would not be


fully realized until later on. During World War II, tea was rationed in the


United Kingdom. In 1953 (after rationing in the UK ended), Tetley launched


the tea bag to the UK and it was an immediate success.


Tea leaves are packed into a small envelope (usually composed of paper) known


as a tea bag. The use of tea bags is easy and convenient, making tea bags


popular for many people today. However, the use of tea bags has negative


aspects as well. The tea used in tea bags is commonly fannings or "dust", the


waste product produced from the sorting of higher quality loose leaf tea.


However, this is not true for all brands of tea; many high quality specialty


teas are available in bag form. It is commonly held among
tea aficionados that this

method provides an inferior taste and experience.


The paper used for the bag can also be tasted by many, which can detract from


the tea's flavor. Because fannings and dust are a lower quality of the tea to


begin with, the tea found in tea bags is less finicky when it comes to


brewing time and temperature.


Additional reasons why bag tea is considered less well-flavored include:


    Dried tea loses its flavor quickly on exposure to air. Most bag teas

(although not all) contain leaves broken into small pieces; the great surface


area to volume ratio of the leaves in tea bags exposes them to more air, and


therefore causes them to go stale faster. Loose tea leaves are likely to be


in larger pieces, or to be entirely intact.

   
   Breaking up the leaves for bags extracts flavored oils.
  
   The small size of the bag does not allow leaves to diffuse and steep

properly.

   
    Some tea bags are made using a wet paper strength-reinforcing coating

using epichlorohydrin, a known carcinogen.


The "pyramid tea bag" (or sachet) introduced by Lipton and PG


Tips/Scottish Blend in 1996, attempts to address one of the connoisseurs'


arguments against paper tea bags by way of its three-dimensional tetrahedron


shape, which allows more room for tea leaves to expand while steeping
.

However, some types of pyramid tea bags have been
criticized as being

environmentally unfriendly, since their synthetic


material is not as biodegradable as loose tea leaves and paper tea bags.


Loose tea:


The tea leaves are packaged loosely in a canister or other container. Rolled


gunpowder tea leaves, which resist crumbling, are commonly vacuum packed for


freshness in aluminized packaging for storage and retail. The portions must


be individually measured by the consumer for use in a cup, mug, or teapot.


This allows greater flexibility, letting the consumer brew weaker or stronger


tea as desired, but convenience is sacrificed. Strainers, "tea presses,"


filtered teapots, and infusion bags are available commercially to avoid


having to drink the floating loose leaves and to prevent over-brewing. A more


traditional, yet perhaps more efficient way around this problem is to use a


three-piece lidded teacup, called a gaiwan. The lid of the gaiwan can be


tilted to decant the leaves while pouring the tea into a different cup for


consumption.


Compressed tea:


Some teas (particularly Pu-erh tea) are still compressed for transport,


storage, and aging convenience. The tea brick remains in use in the Himalayan


countries or Mongolian steppes. The tea is prepared and steeped by first


loosening leaves off the compressed cake using a small knife. Compressed teas


can usually be stored for longer periods of time without spoilage when


compared with loose leaf tea.


Instant tea:


In recent times, "instant teas" are becoming popular, similar to freeze dried


instant coffee. Similar products also exist for instant iced tea, due to the


convenience of not requiring boiling water. Instant tea was developed in the


1930s, but not commercialized until later. Nestea introduced the first


instant tea in 1946, while Redi-Tea introduced the first instant iced tea in


1953.


These products often come with added flavors, such as Chai, vanilla, honey or


fruit, and may also contain powdered milk. Tea connoisseurs tend to criticize


these products for sacrificing the delicacies of tea flavour in exchange for


convenience.


Bottled and canned tea:


Switzerland is considered as the motherland of bottled iced tea. Maks


Sprengler, a Swiss businessman, tried the famous American iced tea and was


the first to suggest a produce ready-made iced tea in bottles. In 1983,


Bischofszell Food Ltd. became the first producer in the world of bottled ice


tea on an industrial scale.


Canned tea is a form of tea that has already been prepared, and is sold ready


to drink. Canned tea was first launched in 1981 in Japan. As such, it is a


fairly recent innovation.


Storage:


Tea has a shelf life that varies with storage conditions and type of tea.


Black tea has a longer shelf life than green tea. An exception, Pu-erh tea


improves with age. Tea stays freshest when stored in a dry, cool, dark place


in an air-tight container. Black tea stored in a bag inside a sealed opaque


canister may keep for two years. Green tea loses its freshness more quickly,


usually in less than a year. Gunpowder tea, its leaves being tightly rolled,


keeps longer than the more open-leafed Chun Mee tea. Storage life for all


teas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets,


and by vacuum sealing.


When storing green tea, discreet use of refrigeration or freezing is


recommended. In particular, drinkers need to take precautions against


temperature variation.


Improperly stored tea may lose flavor, acquire disagreeable flavors or odors


from other foods, or become moldy.

                                                                                                             
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