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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


    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


    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.


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


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


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.


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.


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



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.


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



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


    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


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


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


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.


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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