Tea – The Widely-Consumed Beverage

Tea (pinyin: cha) is made with tea leaves and leaf buds from a tea plant named camellia sinensis. Tea has been consumed for thousands of years, and today tea is the most widely-consumed beverage besides water. The most popular tea types available on the market include green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and white tea. Green tea in particular, with the combination of its color and slightly bitter and astringent flavour, makes it an ideal drink for those who are health conscious. Another example is Artichoke, which has also made its way to drinks. Xi Hu Longjing or Dragon Well from the West Lake in Hangzhon, Zhejiang province, China, is among the most well-known.

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Green tea is traditionally beneficial for helping boosting energy, promoting circulation, stimulating mental clarity and function, regulating digestion as well as maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level.  Tea history goes back as early as 59 BC in China. Its health benefits were also recorded by the most renowned physician and sergeon in medical history, Hua Tuo, in one of his books around 220, the Three Kingdom era. “Cha Jing” by Lu Yu from Tang Dynasty further describes tea plants, tea leave processing and preparation. Different types of tea contains different levels of chemical and mineral substances. 

Teas become the types of tea they are because of how the leaves and buds are picked up, prepared, cured, and made into a beverage. That how the tea is processed, namely drying, heating, pressing, and the time to take at each stage to complete the process, determines the tea types. The tea types and quality, the amount of tea leaves used, and the temperature and the amount of the water poured can all alter the strength of the tea. High quality teas can usually be steeped multiple times. Normally, the third and fourth infusions are considered the best. There are general instructions to follow to prepare tea, but no one can tell you the way you appreciate a cup of tea. It is more of an art. You can prepare your cup of tea based on your taste. Never over steep or over blew your tea for stronger flavor, though, if you do not appreciate an overcooked taste. As each leaf unfolds in water, and as we drink through each infusion, we tend to appreciate more what these leaves can offer.

Fine teas need fine teawares to match. Some of those fine teawares are made near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu province, China. Yixing clay teapots or Yixing purple sand pots (pinyin: Yixing zisha hu) are especially designed for fine teas. Some of those teapots are considered priceless. They contain fine minerals, and their unglazed surfaces accumulate and bring up a more complex flavor for tea lovers. Shop for tea and tea sets here: Yixing Clay Happiness Tea Set, Service For 4, and Extreme Health's Organically Grown Green Tea, Loose Leaf, 8-Ounce Bag.