Tea, discovered by Shen Nung in 2737 B.C., brought fortune to England as well as built wealth, power and independence of her colonies in the New World.
Little did Chinese Emperor Shen Nung realize that in 2737 B.C., when dried leaves blew into his cup of hot water, the beverage he discovered would cause sensations around the world. During this time, water was always boiled for hygienic reasons. The pleasant aroma and refreshing taste enchanted him and soon everyone in the realm was drinking tea.
Japan was introduced to tea by Yensei, a returning Buddhist priest residing in China at the time of the discovery. Tea was immediately embraced by Japanese society and resulted in the creation of the intricate Japanese Tea Ceremony, elevating tea to an art form.
Tea continued to travel throughout the Orient and it was during the time of the European explorers tea made its cultural broad jump. The East India Tea Company brought tea into Holland but its prohibitive cost of $100 per pound kept tea as a rich man’s beverage until so much was imported that tea prices fell and was sold in small food shops.
In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant brought tea to the American colonists in New Amsterdam, later called New York. Soon the colonists were drinking more tea than all England.
In England, tea gardens, ornate outdoor events with fancy food and tea, fireworks and gambling, seemed to sprout up overnight as entertainment centers of the day and many British enjoyed the festivities offered there.
Russia discovered tea when ornate chests of the dried leaves were sent to Czar Alexis by the Chinese Embassy in Moscow in 1618. It became Russian custom to sip heavily sweetened tea from a glass in a silver holder. Russians also enjoyed honey or strawberry jam stirred into tea as their ethnic contribution. Even today, vodka and tea are the national beverages of Russia.
To recover extensive expenses from the French and Indian War, England levied a huge tax on tea imported to the colonies, mistakenly believing the colonists were so hooked on it they’d pay anything to keep their supply coming in. One night the men of Boston dressed as Indians, reminiscent of the French and Indian War, stole aboard the ships docked in the Boston harbor and threw the expensive tea cargo overboard and into the harbor. England reacted by having a raging fit, closing Boston’s port and sending Royal troops into occupation of Boston. Because of this, colonists met to discuss these events and declared a revolution.
At one point, England even gave The John Company the power to not only import tea but to coin its own money, make peace, declare war and other privileges previously only held by countries.
In the 1880’s, America came to the forefront as the biggest importer of tea due to faster clipper ships and the ability to pay its debts in gold.
A tea plantation owner introduced iced tea to the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. It was an extremely warm day and his hot tea booth was being passed up by the crowds in favor of cold drinks. As desperate measure, since he was out time and money for even coming to the Fair, he added ice to the vats of liquid hot tea and in the process made it one of the highlights of the 1904 World’s Fair.
The tea bag came along as a surprise. Samples of tea at the turn of the twentieth century were given out in small silk bags and instead of opening the bags, the tea bag in its entirety was being dropped into hot water by consumers. Quickly, a tea company sprang into action and patented the tea bag. Thomas J. Lipton was responsible for designing a four-sided tea he dubbed the ‘flo-thru’ tea bag, which allowed tea to steep more quickly in the cup than the customary two-sided bag.
Today tea is grown on tea estates and 70% of the tea we drink is grown in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Argentina and China. The best climates for growing tea are those that are tropical or semi-tropical and tea can be grown on soil that is not fit for growing much of anything else. Today there are three basic types of tea: black, oolong and green and from these three types spring over 3,000 cultivated varieties. The leaves are picked at just the right moment designated by the tea estate manager, then crushed to start the oxidation process.
Amazingly, we drink virtually the same tea today that Emperor Shen Nung drank the day he discovered it. Americans drink 140 million cups of tea each day and 80% of that is in the form of iced tea.
The Tea Story:
The second emperor of China, Shen Nung, discovers tea when tea leaves blow into his cup of hot water or so the story goes.
A Chinese dictionary cites tea for the first time as Erh Ya.
Demand for tea as a medicinal beverage rises in China and cultivation processes are developed. Many tea drinkers add onion, ginger, spices, or orange to their teas.
Now called Kuang Ya in the Chinese dictionary, tea and its detailed infusion and preparation steps are defined.
Turkish traders bargain for tea on the border of Mongolia.
Buddhism and tea journey from China to Japan. Japanese priests studying in China carried tea seeds and leaves back.
618-907 T’ang Dynasty
Tea becomes a popular drink in China for both its flavor and medicinal qualities.
Japanese monk Gyoki plants the first tea bushes in 49 Buddhist temple gardens.
Tea in Japan is rare and expensive, enjoyed mostly by high priests and the aristocracy.
The Chinese give tea give its own character ch’a.
The Japanese emperor serves powdered tea (named hiki-cha from the Chinese character) to Buddhist priests.
First tea tax imposed in China.
Chinese poet-scholar Lu Yu writes the first book of tea titled Ch’a Ching (The Classic of Tea) in timely alignment with the Taoist beliefs. The book covers detailed ancient Chinese tea cultivation and preparation techniques.
Buddhism and tea devotion spreads further.
The Japanese Buddhist saint and priest Saicho and monk Kobo Daishi bring tea seeds and cultivation and manufacturing tips back from China and plant gardens in the Japanese temples.
960-1280 Sung Dynasty
Chinese tea drinking is on the rise, as are elegant teahouses and teacups carefully crafted from porcelain and pottery.
Drinking powdered and frothed tea or tea scented with flowers is widespread in China while earlier flavorings fall by the wayside.
Zen Buddhism catches on in Japan via China and along come tea-drinking temple rituals.
Chinese Emperor Hui Tsung becomes tea obsessed and writes about the best tea-whisking methods and holds tea-tasting tournaments in the court. While “tea minded,” so the story goes, he doesn’t notice the Mongol take over of his empire.
Teahouses in garden settings pop up around China.
Japanese Buddhist abbot Eisai, who introduced Zen Buddhism to Japan, brings tea seeds from China and plants them around his Kyoto temple.
1206-1368 Yuan Dynasty
During the Mongol take over of China, tea becomes a commonplace beverage buy never regains its high social status.
Japanese Buddhist abbot Eisai writes the first Japanese tea book Kitcha-Yojoki (Book of Tea Sanitation).
Mongolia takes over of China and since the Emperor of Mongol isn’t a “tea guy,” tea drinking dies down in the courts and among the aristocracy. The masses continue to indulge.
1368-1644 Ming Dynasty
At the fall of the Mongol take over, all teas — green, black, and oolong — is easily found in China.
The process of steeping whole tea leaves in cups or teapots becomes popular.
The Japanese tea ceremony emerges onto the scene. First created by a Zen priest named Murata Shuko, the ceremony is called Cha-no-yu, literally meaning “hot water tea” and celebrates the mundane aspects of everyday life.
Tea’s status elevates to an art form and almost a religion.
Japan’s shogun Yoshimasa encourages tea ceremonies, painting, and drama.
Europeans learn about tea when a Venetian author credits the lengthy lives of Asians to their tea drinking.
Tea is mentioned for the first time in an English translation of Dutch navigator Jan Hugo van Linschooten’s travels, in which he refers to tea as chaa.
End of 1500s
Japanese tea master Sen-no Rikyu opens the first independent teahouse and evolves the tea ceremony into its current simple and aesthetic ritual. During this ceremony, one takes a garden path into a portico, enters upon hearing the host’s gong, washes in a special room, and then enters a small tearoom that holds a painting or flower arrangement to gaze upon. The tea master uses special utensils to whisk the intense powdered tea. Tea drinkers enjoy the art or flowers and then smell and slurp from a shared teabowl.
Europeans hear about tea again when Portuguese priests spreading Roman Catholicism through China taste tea and write about its medicinal and taste benefits.
The Dutch bring back green tea from Japan (although some argue it was from China).
Dutch East India Company market tea as an exotic medicinal drink, but it’s so expensive only the aristocracy can afford the tea and its serving pieces.
Chinese ambassadors present the Russian Czar Alexis with many chests of tea, which are refused as useless.
Tea catches on in the Dutch court.
A German physician touts a warning about the dangers of tea drinking.
Wealthy Dutch merchants’ wives serve tea at parties.
Tea parties become quite trendy among women across the social classes. Husbands cry family ruin, and religious reformers call for a ban.
The Dutch introduce several teas and tea traditions to New Amsterdam, which later becomes New York.
The first tea is sold as a health beverage in London, England at Garway’s Coffee House.
The debate over tea’s health benefits versus detriments heightens when a Dutch doctor praises its curative side while French and German doctors call out its harmful side.
When Charles II takes a tea-drinking bride (Catherine Braganza of Portugal), tea becomes so chic that alcohol consumption declines.
English East India Company brings the gift of tea to the British king and queen.
The British take over New Amsterdam, name it New York, and a British tea tradition ensues.
Holland tea prices drop to $80-$100 per pound.
English East India Company monopolizes British tea imports after convincing British government to ban Dutch imports of tea.
The Massachusetts colony is known to drink black tea.
Tea with milk is mentioned in Madam de Sévigné’s letters.
The Duchess of York introduces tea to Scotland.
The first tea is sold publicly in Massachusetts.
The first known Taiwanese cultivation and export of domestic tea takes place.
Russia and China sign a treaty that brings the tea trade across Mongolia and Siberia.
The controversy over tea continues in England and Scotland where opponents claim it’s overpriced, harmful to one’s health, and may even lead to moral decay.
During Queen Anne’s reign, tea drinking thrives in British coffeehouses.
Annual tea importation to England tops 800,000 pounds.
Thomas Twining serves up tea at Tom’s Coffee House in London.
Tom’s Coffee House evolves into the first teashop called the Golden Lyon. Both men and women patronize the shop.
British Prime Minister Robert Walpole reduces British import taxes on tea.
The Russian Empress extends tea as a regulated trade.
In order to fill Russia’s tea demand, traders and three hundred camels travel 11,000 miles to and from China, which takes sixteen months.
Russian tea-drinking customs emerge, which entail using tea concentrate, adding hot water, topping it with a lemon, and drinking it through a lump of sugar held between the teeth.
Tea easily ranks as the most popular beverage in the American colonies.
The Townshend Revenue Act passes British Parliament, imposing duty on tea and other goods imported into the British American colonies.
A town meeting is held in Boston to protest the Townshend Revenue Act, which leads to an American boycott of British imports and a smuggling in of Dutch teas.
Parliament rescinds the Townshend Revenue Act, eliminating all import taxes except those on teas.
In protest of British tea taxes and in what becomes known as the Boston Tea Party, colonists disguised as Native Americans board East India Company ships and unload hundreds of chests of tea into the harbor.
Such “tea parties” are repeated in Philadelphia, New York, Maine, North Carolina, and Maryland through 1774.
A furious British Parliament passes the Coercive Acts in response to the American “tea party” rebellions.
King George III agrees to the Boston Port Bill, which closes the Boston Harbor until the East India Company is reimbursed for its tea.
After several British attempts to end the taxation protests, the American Revolution begins.
Before the indigenous Assam tea plants is identified, British naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, hired by the East India Company, suggests that India grow plant and cultivate imported Chinese tea. For 50 years, India is unsuccessful.
Parliament further reduces the British import taxes on tea in an effort to end the smuggling that accounts for the majority of the nation’s tea imports.
11 million pounds of tea are brought into England.
English tea drinking hits a rate of 2 pounds per capita annually, a rate that increases by five times over the next 10 years.
Samples of indigenous Indian tea plants are sent to an East India Company botanist who is slowly convinced that they are bona fide tea plants.
English Quaker John Horniman introduces the first retail tea in sealed, lead-lined packages.
Congress reduces U.S. duties on coffee and tea and other imports.
By an act of the British Prime Minister Charles Grey (the second Earl Grey and the namesake of the famous tea), the East India Company loses its monopoly in the trade with China, mostly in tea.
The East India Company starts the first tea plantations in Assam, India.
The first American consul at Canton, Major Samuel Shaw, trades cargo for tea and silk, earning investors a great return on their capital and encouraging more Americans to trade with China.
The first tea from Indian soil and imported Chinese tea plants is sold. A small amount is sent to England and quickly purchased due to its uniqueness.
American clipper ships speed up tea transports to America and Europe.
1840s and 50s
The first tea plants, imports from China and India, are cultivated on a trial basis in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
Anna the Duchess of Bedford introduces afternoon tea, which becomes a lasting English ritual.
Parliament ends the Britain’s Navigation Acts, and U.S. clipper ships are allowed to transport China tea to British ports.
Tea wholesaler Henry Charles Harrod takes over a London grocery store and grows it into one of the world’s largest department stores.
Londoners get their first peak at a U.S. clipper ship when one arrives from Hong Kong full of China tea.
U.S. clipper ships soon desert China trade for the more profitable work of taking gold seekers to California.
Tea is planted in and about Darjeeling, India.
Local New York merchant George Huntington Hartford and his employer George P. Gilman give the A&P retail chain its start as the Great American Tea Company store. Hartford and Gilman buy whole clipper shipments from the New York harbor and sell the tea 1/3 cheaper than other merchants.
Over 90 percent of Britain’s tea is still imported from China.
The Suez Canal opens, shortening the trip to China and making steamships more economical.
In a marketing effort to capitalize on the transcontinental rail link fervor, the Great American Tea Company is renamed the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.
A plant fungus ruins the coffee crop in Ceylon and spreads throughout the Orient and Pacific, giving a hefty boost to tea drinking.
Twinings of England begins to blend tea for uniformity.
The Adulteration of Food, Drink, and Drugs Act deems the sale of adulterated drugs or other unlabeled mixtures with foreign additives that increase weight as punishable offenses.
A new British Sale of Food and Drugs Law calls adulteration hazardous to personal health and increases its legal consequences to a heavy fine or imprisonment.
Thomas Johnstone Lipton opens his first shop in Glasgow, using American merchandising methods he learned working in the grocery section of a New York department store.
Thomas Lipton buys tea estates in Ceylon, in order to sell tea at a reasonable price at his growing chain of 300 grocery stores.
Assam tea plants take over imported Chinese plants in India and its tea market booms.
Ceylon’s successful coffee market turns into a successful tea market.
Englishman Richard Blechynden creates iced tea during a heat wave at the St Louis World Fair.
Green tea and Formosan (Taiwanese) tea outsells black tea by five times in the U.S.
New York tea importer Thomas Sullivan inadvertently invents tea bags when he sends tea to clients in small silk bags, and they mistakenly steep the bags whole.
Thomas Lipton begins blending and packaging his tea in New York.
Sumatra, Indonesia becomes a cultivator and exporter of tea followed by Kenya and parts of Africa.
Laura of Finland develops the idea of a form for function from a day to day “pain” of tea drinking and hopes to enhance the experience and sensation.
Patent application is filed on the idea and concept; Model protection and design patents filed; Trademark and brand development of TipCup et al.
Product line is launched under the TipCup, and other partners under license agreements begin development of their own unique designs to complement the TipCup brand. Product portfolio line is further developed, accessories created, gift box concepts designed and a complete service concept for the restonomy, gastronomy, hotel and catering businesses is crafted and released with hand selected partners.
Why is Ceylon Tea different?
Tea originated in China, as legend has it, 5,000 years ago, yet it was Ceylon (now Sri
Lanka) that made tea famous in the 19th and 20th Centuries, as the tea that was used by
almost every major tea brand. Ceylon Tea is prized for its quality which is without
parallel, and its variety which is unmatched for a small island boasting dramatically
different teas in different parts of its tea growing regions.
In assessing the value of Ceylon tea, some of the properties which tea experts take into
consideration are appearance of the made tea, colour of the infused leaf, as well as
colour, strength, quality, aroma and flavour of the brewed liquor. The ultimate criterion of
a ‘good quality’ tea is however the subjective assessment of expert professional tea
Distinguishing itself as the ‘Best in Class’ producer of tea, with a well documented
heritage in tea, Ceylon, or Sri Lanka stands out amongst tea producers. The Low Grown
teas produced in Sri Lanka below 2000-ft sea level, are known for their superior leaf
appearance, highly valued in the Middle East, the coppery ‘infused leaf’ and its strong &
reddish brewed liquor. Sri Lankan low growns are prized for their appearance -’uniformly
black’, true to grade and devoid of fibre and extraneous matter. The High Growns, above
4000-ft sea level, on the other hand are known for their bright, coloury, brisk and
aromatic liquors. High grown Ceylon teas do not share the dense, black colour of the
quality low grown leaf being browner in leaf appearance, but have unsurpassed liquors
ranging from light, bright golden colour to deep red.
In Ceylon, particular emphasis is laid on the quality of tea, and this is determined by a
complex of parameters, the correct balance of which is the quintessence of tea
character. The appearance of the leaf (dry leaf after processing) is determined by the
content of chlorophyll in the young and tender leaves of the tea shoot. The relative
amounts of the polyphenols present in tea, the polyphenol oxidase (enzyme), the
theaflavins, thearubigins, caffeine, essential oils, sugars, amino acids in the bud and the
first two tender leaves will all contribute to the quality of the brewed liquor in a positive
way. Hence the importance of traditional and disciplined picking of teas in Ceylon. The
best raw material handled under poor conditions of manufacture would produce a poor
quality tea. It is through attention to detail in field practices as well as in manufacture,
that Sri Lanka retains its position as the Best in Class’ producer of Quality Tea,
considered by the Technical Committee of the ISO as the cleanest tea in the world.
How much caffeine is there in tea?
Caffeine from natural sources has been consumed and enjoyed by humans throughout
the world for centuries. The widespread natural occurrence of caffeine in a variety of
plants undoubtedly played a major role in the long-standing popularity of caffeine
incorporated products, especially the beverages. The human body requires a certain amount of caffeine and research indicates that up to 10 – 12 cups of tea daily will not have any detrimental effect on the
body. The species or the variety of the tea plant determines content of caffeine in
tea, as it is a genetic feature. Camellia Sinensis, the variety that is grown in Sri
Lanka has caffeine levels of approximately 2.5 – 4%. However the distribution of
caffeine in the plant depends on the part of the plant it is derived from.
- Bud 4.70 %
- First leaf 4.20 %
- Second Leaf 3.50 %
- Third Leaf 2.90 %
- Upper stem 2.50 %
- Lower stem 1.40 %
Both tea and coffee contain the methylated xanthines, caffeine, theophylline and
theobromine. Brewed coffee is said to have the highest caffeine content among those
dietary items containing caffeine- approx. 100 mg per cup. A 300-ml bottle of cola has
30- 60-mg caffeine and approx. 37-mg caffeine is there in 56g dark chocolate bar. There
are a wide variety of drug products that contain caffeine- typically 200 mg per tablet or
capsule (pharmacologically active dose of caffeine). A cup of tea has approx. 28 –44 mg
caffeine- (FDA 1980).
The quantity of caffeine in tea, on dry solids basis, is more than the quantity of caffeine
in an equal weight of dried coffee beans. However, as a result of getting more cups of
tea from a unit quantity of black tea than from an equal quantity of ground coffee beans,
the quantity of caffeine per cup of tea is less than the caffeine in an equal cup of coffee.
Excessive caffeine is said to have adverse effects on the human system and brewed tea
has only half the caffeine levels in brewed coffee. However, it is important to note that
research proves that the presence of caffeine in tea does not produce unhealthy results
due to its combination with tea polyphenols.
How much caffeine is considered safe?
The Food Guide to healthy eating recommends caffeine consumption in
moderation. According to the current findings for most people an intake of
caffeine up to 400-450 mg per day does not increase the risk of heart disease,
hypertension or have an adverse effect on pregnancy or the foetus. This level of
caffeine is equivalent to approximately 10 to 12 cups (170 ml) of tea per day.
As explained by Prof. T. W. Wickremanayake (Ph D Glasgow, Visiting Research Fellow
Glasgow, Wisconsin and California) the pharmacologically active dose of caffeine is 200
mg and the acute fatal dose is about 10,000 mg. Those who drink more than 5 cups of
coffee or 9 cups of tea are regularly consuming 5% of the fatal dose. The T 1/2 of
caffeine is about 3 hr. It is excreted quickly in urine as 1-methyl uric acid.
Prof. Wickramanayake also states the following. “There is a positive association
between Myocardial infarction and heavy coffee consumption, whereas the
correlation between infarction and heavy tea drinking is negative. In rats and
rabbits maintained on atherogenic diets, caffeine increases serum lipid
concentrations and therefore the incidence of atherosclerosis.
Coffee has the same action but not decaffeinated coffee. Tea has the opposite effect to caffeine
alone or caffeine in coffee. Similar results have been reported in a study of human subjects with and without heart ailments. Russian scientists have demonstrated that a course of tea consumption improved the condition of atherosclerotic patients. The alleged adverse effects of caffeine are apparently
eliminated in tea either by a modification of its activity by other constituents, or by
the opposing action of some anti-atherosclerotic constituent.”
Does green tea have the same Caffeine level as black tea?
Green tea, as well as Oolong tea & Black tea, are produced from the herb Camellia
Sinensis. They all contain the same amount of caffeine. Caffeine content in a cup of tea
is 2.5% to 4%, which is about a third of that in coffee. It is claimed that 80% of the
caffeine in tea remains unabsorbed by the human body.
From the above you would realise that Green tea, Oolong tea & Black tea may
taste different but the caffeine content is the same.
Why should one never reboil water when brewing tea?
Taste, colour and mouth feel depend on the interaction between the two main
components of tea, polyphenols and caffeine. Each component is astringent on its own,
but as a complex the astringent character is reduced. Water is known to contain dissolved gases absorbed from the air. Carbon dioxide (CO2) gas that is present in water affects the acidity. Acidity of water plays a critical roll in the ionization of tea polyphenols and it contributes to the stability of the above complex.
CO2 in water is gradually released during the boiling process. Re-boiling will in fact
further reduce CO2 levels, resulting in a decrease in the acidity. As mentioned above this
will affect the caffeine and polyphenol complexion, and bring about changes in the colour
as well as the character of the brew.
Twice boiled water will therefore affect the taste of a good tea and hence our request
that only freshly boiled water is used for brewing Dilmah tea.
Does drinking tea during pregnancy affect the foetus?
Questions surrounding caffeine intake and risk of miscarriage and health of the
foetus continue to be raised by pregnant women. A study published in the journal of American Medical Association found no evidence that moderate caffeine use increases the risk of spontaneous abortions,
growth retention or account for other factors. Another seven-year epidemiological
study on 1,500 women examined the effect of caffeine, during pregnancy as well
as on subsequent child development.
Caffeine consumption equivalent to approximately 3 ½ to 5 cups of tea per day
had no effect on birth weight, birth length and head circumference of the baby. A
follow-up examinations at age’s eight months, four and seven years also revealed
no effect of caffeine consumption on the child’s motor development or
A number of factors influence the metabolism of caffeine and the individual’s
response to caffeine indigestion. These include pregnancy, age, sex, body
weight, diet, exercise, and stress smoking and alcohol consumption.
Pregnancy hampers caffeine metabolism. For example, in non pregnant women
the break-down of half of the caffeine takes an average of 2.5 – 4.5 hours, 7 hours
during mid-pregnancy and 10.5 during the last few weeks of pregnancy. As
caffeine retention is longer during pregnancy, women sensitive to caffeine may be
affected. As a result a moderate consumption of approximately 3-4 cups a day, is
recommended for women during pregnancy.
What is decaffeinated tea?
For teas to be labelled decaffeinated, the caffeine content should not exceed
0.4% by dry weight, which is equivalent to approximately 4 mg of caffeine per 170
ml serving. The process of decaffeination extracts the caffeine in tea. The current
commercially available methods for decaffeinating black tea are solvent based
extraction using ethyl acetate or methylene chloride, and extraction using
supercritical (solid) carbon dioxide. All three methods extract caffeine with
minimum effect to the quality of tea.
Tannic acid – what is it and is it present in tea?
Tannins or tannic acid are not present in tea. Tea polyphenols were formerly
referred to as tannins or tannic acids due to the similarities in the chemical
structure. This has left many misguided notions about the effect of tea upon the
human digestive system. Chemists generally group compounds into ‘families’ on
account of common features in the synthesis of the molecules. For example both
strychnine and morphine are alkaloids and have common structural features but
the action on the human body is different. Strychnine is a powerful stimulant and
morphine a powerful hypnotic.
Vegetable tannins are a large chemical family and some of them are loosely
called tannic acids. These compounds possess the property of hardening animal
tissues and turning hide into leather. Tea polyphenols on the other hand are
called catechins, theaflavins and thearubigens, and are responsible for many of
the health benefits associated with tea. Such as anti-hypercholestemic action,
anti-hyperglycemic action, fat reduction action, anti-hypertensive action, anticancer
action and many other health promoting effects. Current scientific
literature points to the fact that tea polyphenols are biochemically very different to
Nutrients in tea what is in your cup of tea, and how it can affect your body
|1 teacup 200 cc
|1 Tea bag 2g
|1 teacup 200 cc
|1 Tea Bag 2g
||Green Leaf (unprocessed leaf) as % dry matter
||Black Tea (processed leaf*) (as % dry matter)
*see our Tee Compendium for details how tea is processed
|Chlorophyll & Carotinoid
||element / component
||Energy (k cal)
||Calories (k cal) measure the energy content in foods.
Calorie content in tea (without sugar and milk) is negligible
||Moisture refers to the water content in food.
Processed tea leaves contain moisture levels 3 – 9 %. This can vary since tea is hygroscopic and can absorb moisture after processing, during storage. Fresh Tea deteriorates with the absorption of moisture and Dilmah Online recommends that Dilmah Tea is stored in an airtight container, in a refigerator to retain freshness, flovoud and aroma.
Please note that Tin Caddies and tea caddies made from materials that can corrode should not be used for refrigeration due to the high moisture levels inside a fridge – tea should be in an airtight, non corrosive container that is free of odour. For example, a clean and odour free plastic, re-sealable container.
||Proteins are Nitrogen containing compounds which are found in all animal and vegetable cells. An essential nutrient of all living organisms. Protein intake from tea is negligible as only less than 2% is extracted into hot water. However if milk is added it contributes significant amount of the protein requirement.
||Substances, which are insoluble in water and these include the waxes, oils and fats. Fat gets readily deposited in cell tissue. Tea contains a negligible amount of lipids and the amount extracted to water is minimal, as it is insoluble in water. As a result tea without milk and sugar is recommended as part of a low calorie diet.
||Inorganic constituents of plants and animals, e.g. Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Boron. They are essential for the healthy growth of the plant.
|On average about three-quarters of dry matter in plants consists of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main ingredient for animals in maintaining their body temperature. Carbohydrates consist of sugars and polysaccharides (fibrous matter). Main sugars are glucose, fructose and sucrose. Examples of polysaccharides are starch and cellulose.
Only 4-5% of the solids extracted by hot water are carbohydrate, allowing tea to be used in low calorie diets.
|Tea contains 4-9% of inorganic matter and the composition of this fraction varies. Most of these substances are essential to health and tea contributes to their dietary intake. Most od the minerals found in tea are essential plant nutrients and a healthy Tea bush would be expected to exhibit a range of these components. Variations experienced are usually attributed to differences in soil, age of the leaf at harvest and other agronomic factors.
Scientists have indicated that tea may be effective in treating anemia in due its Copper and Ferrous components.
Sodium is an essential mineral for human nutrition however its intake has to be regulated in hypertension patients. In such cases low proportion of sodium in tea is advantageous.
The tea bush tends to accumulate Magnesium, Aluminum and Fluorine. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for man but Aluminum is not known to be essential to human health. But is always present in human tissue. Studies have shown that the body may not absorb aluminum in tea.
Fluorine is beneficial for dental health.
Potassium is an essential element for the cell functions, including cardiovascular muscle function and nerve function. Compared to other elements the Potassium content of tea is high. As a result tea provides part of the daily Potassium requirement.
Calcium and Phosphorus are essential elements for the bone development, strong bones and teeth and tea provides part of the daily requirement of these elements.
What are the nutritional benefits of tea?
Tea composition varies with climate, season, horticultural practices and variety.
Polyphenols are the most important component in tea, as they constitute
approximately 36 percent of the dry weight of tea. Other components of fresh
green leaf include caffeine, protein and amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids,
vitamins and minerals.
Green and black tea have similar chemical make-up. The primary difference
between the two types lies in the chemical changes that take place during their
production. In black tea the plant Polyphenols are oxidized and this is prevented
in the manufacture of green tea.
One of the most important groups of Polyphenols in tea is the catechins in green
tea, theaflavins and thearubigens in black tea. A variety of physiological effects
have been attributed to tea catechins which are currently best known for their
Black tea is all-natural (non flavoured) and contains no additives. It is virtually
calorie-free (1 calorie per 100 ml) and sodium free and is therefore a suitable
beverage for individuals on calorie-reduced or low sodium diet. Tea includes
fluoride, traces of vitamins A, K, C, B carotene and B vitamins.
Average daily consumption of tea in the United Kingdom, 3.43 cups (650 ml),
provides very few calories and only a small amount of fat, whilst contributing
valuable minerals and vitamins to the diet. It provides:
- Over half of the total intake of dietary flavonoids.
- Nearly 16% of the daily requirement of calcium
- Almost 10% of the daily requirement of zinc
- Over 10% of the folic acid need
- Around 9%, 25% and 6% of vitamins B1, B2 and B6
Does tea affect the absorption of Iron?
Although concerns have been expressed about consumption of iron, existing
research and dietary knowledge indicate that tea is not likely to cause health risk,
in individuals consuming a typically Western diet.
Dietary iron exists in two forms, heme iron (derived from animal) and non-heme
iron (found in plants). The body better absorbs heme iron than non-heme iron.
Between 15-35% of heme iron is absorbed, while 2-20% is absorbed of nonheme
iron. Non-heme iron is generally modified by other dietary components.
Certain components in grain, fruit and vegetables as well as polyphenols in tea
reduce the availability of iron to the body. However, studies have shown that tea
only decreases iron absorption when it is consumed simultaneously with food
containing non-heme iron. Tea drinking between meals has no effect on iron
Moreover the ability of tea polyphenols to decrease iron absorption is reduced by
the presence of other dietary constituents particular ascorbic acid (known to
increase absorption of non-heme iron) and milk.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are components which help to protect cells from harmful “free
radicals”, known as oxidants. Free radicals occur naturally in the body as a byproduct
of the respiration process and can bring about cell damage. Antioxidantshelp to prevent this cell damage, which can contribute to ageing and a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease and strokes.
Are the antioxidants in green and black tea the same?
It was thought until comparatively recently that green tea was the most effective
antioxidant-containing tea and that green-tea catechins (the unoxidized polyphenols
present in tea leaf) alone were the antioxidants giving tea its health-giving attributes. It is
now well known that the theaflavins and thearubugins produced by the condensation of
oxidized catechins, during the fermentation stage of black tea manufacture, are equally
effective antioxidants (Leung et al 2001).
The catechins present in tea flush and as such in green tea are:
Expressed as a % of dry weight
Epicatechin 1 – 3%
Epicatechin gallate 3 – 6%
Epigallocatechin 3 – 6%
Epigallocatechin gallate 9 -13%
Catechin 1 – 2%
Gallocatechin 3 – 4%
During manufacture of Black Tea these catechins get oxidized & polymerized
(condensed), for example :
Epicatechin + Epigallocatechin gallate + Oxygen —> Theaflavin
The paired catechins as they appear in Black Tea are now known to be equally effective
antioxidants. The body produces free radicals (FRs) under certain conditions.
Carcinogens and radiation from the environment facilitates the formation of FRs. These
FRs within the body cause oxidative changes to DNA (the genetic material present in all
cells). Changes to DNA carry the risk of cancers. The FRs are inhibited and destroyed
by the antioxidants in tea, both green and black tea.
Green and black tea comes from Camellia Sinensis. Green tea is unfermented,
steamed immediately after plucking, and retains a lighter colour and flavour.
Black tea is allowed to ferment and is then dried, resulting in a darker leaf colour
and a more flavour and aroma.
What are antioxidants?
Polyphenols, particularly those called Flavonoids are strong antioxidants.
Flavonoids include Catechins (green tea flavonoids), theaflavins and
thearubingins (black tea flavonoids) and are mainly responsible for the beneficial
effects of tea.
Can the consumption of tea be good for my memory as I grow older?
Research conducted at the University of Newcastle shows that drinking tea could help
improve memory and also slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The functioning of the brain cholinergic system, which is involved in attention and
memory declines during normal aging and is further affected in Alzheimer’s disease.
Current drugs for the symptomatic treatment of dementia are aimed at enhancing the
associated cholinergic deficit by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that cleaves
the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Butyrylcholinesterase increases in the brains of
people with Alzheimer’s disease and may play a role in the progression of the disease by
its ability inter alia to hydrolyse the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. Inhibition of both
these enzymes is one of the objectives in treating cognitive dysfunction associated with
diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
During the study it was found both green and black tea inhibited the activity of the
enzyme acetylcholinesterase, and also hinder the activity of the enzyme
butyrylcholinesterase. It was further observed that Green tea obstructed the activity of
beta-secretase, which plays a role in production of protein deposits in the brain that are
associated with Alzheimer’s disease. So this study reports that tea infusions in vitro have
dual anti-cholinesterase and anti-_-secretase activities relevant to the treatment of
Previous studies have shown that both green tea and black tea possess
pharmacologically protective, properties such as antioxidative, anticarcinogenic,
neuroprotective and hyppocholesterolaemic effects. This study indicates that Tea,
Camellia sinensis has the potential to enhance cholinergic function and therefore may
have a role in ameliorating and cholinergic deficit in Alzheimer’s disease and other age
related memory impairments. The effects of tea infusions on the cerebral cholinergic
system and _-secretase in vivo will depend on the levels of the enzymes in the brain, the
type and chemistry of the tea, infusion concentration (strength), dose (number of cups
per day) and duration of consumption. It is also possible that regular consumption of tea
by patients with dementia prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors may alter the effects of
such drugs. Clinical and scientific investigation of the chemistry and activities of
cholinomimetic and anti- _-secretase compounds in C. sinensis, and cognitive effects of
tea consumption is warranted in order to establish the relevance of these novel findings
to the maintenance of cognitive function in old age and in diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Tea and Oral Health
Tea contains fluoride and therefore drinking tea makes a significant contribution to daily
fluoride intake and the reduction of tooth decay. It has been found that not only fluoride
but the polyphenols in tea also act to reduce tooth decay. Recent studies have further
revealed that tea inhibits the growth of other harmful microorganisms in the oral cavity.
Tea and Stroke
Many in vitro studies have demonstrated the anti-oxidant properties of both black and
green tea, as well as the antioxidant activity of the polyphenols in tea. Further studies
have shown that these anti-oxidant components of tea are absorbed into the blood
circulation from the digestive tract and act as anti-oxidants in body systems. These
findings indicate that tea drinking helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and
cancer, common degenerative diseases.
Tea for Healthy Aging and Longevity
Researcher Dr Weisburger concludes from recent studies that six or more cups of tea
per day helps healthy aging. Tea can restore elasticity to the skin, and tests have shown
that it enhances memory.
In populations where regular tea drinking is a part of the lifestyle, as in Japan and India,
individuals are likely to live to an advanced age in good health. Also, experimental
studies indicate that animals given dietary antioxidants, including tea, live longer.
What is L-theanine?
An Amino Acid found in plants which was first referred to by Dr. R. L.
Wickremasinghe in 1978 in context of its influence on the quality of tea.
Subsequent research conducted in Japan and elsewhere suggests that Ltheanine
facilitates relaxation and may benefit the regulation of blood pressure in
humans, as well as mental clarity, concentration and the immune system. Ltheanine
is different to caffeine in producing a calming effect. It is the
predominant amino acid component in tea and whilst the amount of L-theanine in
tea depends on several factors – climate, soil and sunlight – clinical studies
suggest that consuming 6-8 cups of tea a day would offer 200-400mg of Ltheanine
whilst it is said to be effective in doses ranging from 50mg to 200mg.
Fresh Tea in particular is likely to be rich in L-theanine and researchers
recommend it, amongst other things, for coping with stress and also for
increasing ‘life energy’.
Is regular tea consumption good for my immune system?
A Harvard Medical School study discovered that regular consumption of tea could
boost the body’s defenses against infection. A component in tea was found in
laboratory experiments to prime the immune system to attack invading bacteria,
viruses and fungi, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences.
A second experiment, using human volunteers, showed that immune system
blood cells from tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs than did the
blood cells of coffee drinkers. Researchers claim that the results give clear proof
that five cups of tea a day sharpen the body’s disease defenses.
In the study a substance called L-theanine was isolated from ordinary black tea.
L-theanine is broken down in the liver to ethylamine, a molecule that primes the
response of an immune system element called the gamma-delta T cell,
considered the first line of defence against bacteria, viral, fungal and parasitic
The T cells prompt the secretion of interferon, a key part of the body’s chemical
defense against infection. To further test the finding, the researchers had 11
volunteers drink five cups a day of tea, and 10 others drink coffee. Before the test
began, they drew blood samples from all 21 test subjects.
After four weeks, they took more blood from the tea drinkers and then exposed
that blood to the bacteria called E-coli. The immune cells in the specimens
secreted five times more interferon than did blood cells from the same subjects
before the weeks of tea drinking researchers claimed. Blood tests and bacteria
challenges showed there was no change in the interferon levels of the coffee
Can tea be part of a healthy adult’s daily fluid intake?
As brewed tea contains almost 98% water it makes a healthy contribution to the
delay fluid balance. Tea contains no additives or artificial colours. Research
indicates possible antioxidant benefits so drinking tea can be a calorie-free way to
increase intake dietary antioxidants.
Does tea reduces the diuretic effect in comparison to coffee?
The diuretic can be attributed to the caffeine present in tea and coffee. Caffeine
increases diuretic action on the kidneys, increasing urinary volume and sodium
extraction as a result of a decrease in the tubular re-absorption of sodium and
water. Coffee contains a higher content of caffeine compared to tea. Research
indicates possible antioxidant benefits so drinking tea can be a calorie-free way to
increase intake dietary antioxidants.
The diuretic can be attributed to the caffeine present in tea and coffee. Caffeine
increases diuretic action on the kidneys, increasing urinary volume and sodium
extraction as a result of a decrease in the tubular re-absorption of sodium and
water. Coffee contains a higher content of caffeine compared to tea. Research
has shown that a 170ml (6-oz) serving of tea contains, on average 34mg of
caffeine in comparison to 99 mg of caffeine in 170 ml serving of brewed coffee.
As a result the diuretic effect of coffee is greater compared to tea.
Why does tea cloud when it is cooled?
Clouding in tea is a result of the colloidal precipitate that is formed. This is called
‘tea cream’. Tea creaming takes place when black tea is cooled below 400 C. A
weak complexion is formed between caffeine and polyphenols (theaflavins and
thearubigins). The tendency to cream down varies from tea to tea. In black tea
without milk complexation and subsequent precipitation that occurs is negligible
due to just 4% of caffeine.
In tea with milk a similar association takes place between the milk protein casein
and various polyphenols. Due to the availability of casein in milk tea the
complexion is greater resulting in larger precipitation.
Does the water affect the tea brew?
The water used to brew the tea significantly affects the colour and the taste of a
cup of tea. Tea brewed in soft water or permanently hard water (which contains
CaSO4) appears brighter than if it is brewed in temporary hard water (that
contains Calcium bicarbonate CaCO3).
High pH water that contains bicarbonate makes the infusion look darker brown
due to the greater ionisation of the tea polyphenols. While lower pH as in lemon
tea the infusion turns yellow. As for taste some teas are more suited to softer
water such as the orthodox manufactured Assam leaf, while high grown Ceylon
and CTC manufactured teas are better with temporary hard water.
What is tea scum or the dark skin on top of the brewed tea?
It is the result of the high molecular weight components which are formed due to
the influence of calcium and bicarbonate ions at the liquid water interface. The
scum can be removed in two ways
- by filtering the calcium ions,
- by adding acids to covert bicarbonate ions to CO2.
Very little scum is formed on a cup of very strong tea. As the acidic tea
polyphenols themselves partly neutralise the bicarbonate ions. It also should be
noted that less than one mg of scum is formed in a cup of tea and it is not known
to be harmful to human health.
Can overcooked water affect the quality of tea?
Boiling water for too long does dramatically affect the quality of tea. The desirable
brisk taste of tea is created by the interaction of two of its main components,
caffeine and polyphenols. Each component is harsh on its own but as a complex
the compounds moderate each other. Acid levels of water affect the behaviour of
Water contains minerals and gases absorbed from the earth bed and air. Carbon
dioxide absorbed by air makes the water slightly acidic that influence the colour
and taste. High temperature changes the acidity of water and the acidity is
reduced by gradually driving out carbon-dioxide. Therefore re-boiled water might
well brew tea of a different colour and strength and is unsuitable to brew a good
cup of tea.
What is Real Tea?
Tea in its true sense is defined by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) as, ‘tea
derived solely and exclusively, and produced by acceptable processes, notably
withering, leaf maceration, aeration and drying, from the tender shoots of varieties of the
species Camellia Sinensis, known to be suitable for making tea for consumption as a
Real Tea is tea produced in the traditional, orthodox manner from the tender shoots of
Camellia Sinensis. The process of manufacture, perfected over centuries is the most
widespread in Sri Lanka with its drying, rolling, fermentation and baking into the form
most people are familiar with – black tea, green tea, white tea. Orthodox Tea is distinct
from the more recent process – CTC (or Cut, Twist and Curl) which was developed by
companies seeking to offer quick colour in a teabag. CTC teas rob tea of its soul, losing
the subtlety of flavour, aroma, variety and character that Orthodox Teas are prized for.
CTC consists of just 3 grades or forms, whilst Orthodox Tea produces almost infinite
variety of leaf size, colour, subtlety of character and body.
Dilmah offers Real Tea from a Single Origin in its teabags and leaf tea, offering
quality, flavour and richness of taste in both teabags and leaf tea.
What are Herbal Infusions
Herbal Infusions, fruit based tisanes and floral infusions are not tea. There are only three
types of tea, black tea, green tea and Oolong tea. In many countries, notably the USA,
these infusions are usurping the health and other benefits of tea falsely. We give below a
brief introduction to the most popular herbal infusions. Dilmah offers a selection of three
herbal infusions, clearly differentiated from Dilmah black and green teas.
Chamomile (Chamomillae romanae)
Chamomile herbal infusions are derived from the plant Chamomillae romanae. It
is a one-year plant, which reaches a height of approx. 55.cm. Chamomile
contains 0.6% – 2.4% essential oils such as angeloyl, methacryl and flavenoids
as the main constituents. The white flower heads are mechanically harvested
and dried in chambers to manufacture the commercial product.
Chamomile was known for its health benefits for centuries and the ancient
Egyptians dedicated it to their sun god, and used Chamomile in their
aromatherapy. This legacy of Chamomile lives on. Studies have that it is
beneficial for complaints such as indigestion, nervousness, depression and
In testing its Chamomile based product Kamillosan, the Chemiewerke Hamburg
Pharmacy of West Germany found that it reduces gastric acid and helps prevent
ulcers. It also promoted tissue regeneration after patients had operations on
their intestinal tract and urinary system. Chamomile decreases histamine,
implicated in ulcers and the skin swelling, puffy eyes and headaches brought
about on by allergies. It is given to children for digestive and hyperactive
The Greeks named Chamomiles “kamai melon” (ground apple) inspired by its
distinct apple like fragrance and the Spanish called it Manzanilla or “little apple”.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.)
Peppermint originated from the Mediterranean but is now cultivated globally in
the Balkans, Northern Europe and the USA. It is characterized by its strong
aroma. It is a perennial herb with a flat root system. It reaches normally a height
of approx. 2-ft and is harvested shortly before blooming. Peppermint contains
0.5 – 4 % essential oil that includes Menthol and menthol esters.
Written evidence of old Egypt indicates that Mentha plants were cultivated and
exploited for medical use 1,000 years before Christian era. It also shows that
Mint plants have represented a valuable object of trade, and was even accepted
as tithes to pay taxes due.
Studies have shown that peppermint tea brings about considerable increase in
the production of bile due to the presence of flavonoids. Peppermint leaf or
extracts prepared from it are included in many (ca. 50) prepared cholagogues
and bile-duct remedies, e.g. Cholagogum Nattermann (capsules, drops), etc.
gastrointestinal Remedies (ca 50), e.g. Gastricholan Iberogast Ventrodigest,
etc.), liver remedies (more than 10), hypnotics/sedatives (more than 10), e.g.
Nerventee Stada, Esberi-Nervin drops, etc., and laxatives.
Rosehip & Hibiscus
Usually consists of 70% Hibiscus and 30 % Rosehip. Hibiscus (Hibisci flos)
originated in Angola but is now cultivated throughout the tropics. It is an annual
herbaceous plant with lobed leaves that grows to a height of 5 m. Flowers with a
5-lobed calyx and divided epicalyx. Hibiscus for infusions is manufactured form
the dried calyxes harvested from the fruit of the species.
It is principally taken as a caffeine-free refreshing drink taken in large amounts
because of the plant acids. The plant acids which are difficult to absorb act as a
Hibiscus has been extensively used in the African Folk medicine. The drug is
ascribed, among other things, spasmolytic, antibacterial, cholagogic, diuretic and
anthelmintic properties. Studies have shown aqueous extracts of hibiscus
flowers relaxes the muscles of the uterus and to lower the blood pressure.
Rosehip is derived from the plant Rosae pseudofructus. It is a shrub that grows
up to a height of 5 m with thorn branches with flowers close to 5 cm in diameter
with five petals. The drug consists of the dried hypanthia from various species
of the genus Rosa with the fruit enclosed in them. Rosehip is native to Europe,
Western and Central Asia, and North Africa but now it is cultivated in Chile,
Bulgaria, Romania, China and Hungary. It was used in folk medicine as a result
of its diuretic and laxative action due to the pectin and the plant acid content.
Due to its high content of vitamin C Rosehip are used as breakfast teas.
When Tea is not TEA
Green Tea, Oolong tea, Black tea, Decaffeinated Black & Green Tea, the Green
tea component in Jasmine Green tea, and Organic tea are derived from the tea
plant, Camellia Sinensis. Many brands use the word ‘tea’ loosely since ‘tea’
refers only to the dried leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis, and does not
include infusions like Rooibos, Mate, Fruit and other herbal infusions. The term
Red Tea, recently associated with Rooibos, for example refers to the herb from
the South Africa shrub Rooibos (meaning Red Bush).
The traditional forms of tea are White Tea (see below for details), Green Tea
(unfermented), Oolong Tea (partially fermented) and Black Tea (fully fermented).
These offers the health benefits associated with tea whilst others such as
Rooibos, Mate, fruit and other infusions usually do not, although they may have
their own specific benefits.
Dilmah Jasmine Tea (Jasminum officinale)
Composition includes 98% Green tea (Camellia Sinensis) and 2% Jasmine
The manufacture of organic tea is carried-out without the addition of Chemical
fertiliser, Pesticides and Insecticides as a result the product doesn’t contain
chemical residues which can bring about health effects.
What is White Tea?
Sri Lanka traditionally produces one of the world’s finest white teas in the form of Silver
Tips and Golden Tips, entirely handmade from a special variant of the Camellia Sinensis
plant, untouched by machines and prized for their rarity and subtle character. The
Chinese also have a tradition of producing fine White Teas.
In the production of white tea the ‘bud’ is selectively plucked and sun dried. Since the
Bud remains undamaged the Catechins or the un-oxidised Polyphenols present remain
intact. What we refer to as Flavonoids in tea, or the antioxidants in tea, include the unoxidised
Polyphenols or Catechins as in Green Tea and White Tea, as well as the
Theaflavins and low molecular Thearubigins in conventional Black Tea. The Catechins
(Flavonoids) content in the tea becomes progressively less as we go down from the Bud
to the mature leaves in a tea shoot. The bud has the highest catechin content, next the
first leaf, followed by the second leaf and so on.
The sun dried buds or White Tea are therefore likely to have a higher Flavonoid or
Further, since the bud is sun dried (not subjected to high temperature in a
drier) even the vitamin content in the White Tea will remain high and potent. So will be
the Caffeine content. It has been already shown that the bad effects of caffeine is
nullified in Tea by the presence of the Polyphenols in the tea (unlike in coffee and the
colas). Hence the White Tea will have greater nutritive and therapeutic value than the
conventional black tea
What are the different types of tea?
All tea comes from the evergreen tea bush (Camellia Sinensis). The following terms
only describe tea leaves after they are harvested from the tea bush and processed
Oxidization is a chemical reaction that takes place when tea leaves are picked and
begin to wither and die. Green tea is not allowed to oxidize and is quickly dried, pan-
fried or oven fired to dehydrate the tea leaves for storage. This process retains many
of the polyphenols, catechins, and flavonoids that are associated with the health
benefits of drinking green tea.
Black tea is allowed to oxidize which “ripens” the tea and creates a deep, rich, robust
flavor with uniqueness based on the tea grower’s knowledge and skill. The oxidation
process is commonly referred to as fermentation. This is technically incorrect
because “fermentation” is a process in which yeast is converted into alcohol and
sugar is converted to and released as carbon dioxide gas.
Oolong tea falls somewhere between green tea and black tea in the amount of time
the tea leaves are allowed to oxidize. Two terms often used to describe oolong tea
are “green” and “amber” style. The “amber” styles are allowed to oxidize slightly more
than the “green style” oolong tea. This results in a variety of smooth teas available
that bear the makers style and tradition.
White tea is picked before the leaf buds fully open and are still covered with fine silky
hairs. The delicate buds are quickly air dried to produce some of the rarest and most
expensive tea available. White tea is said to have three time more antioxidants than
green or black tea. Researchers for some of the large cosmetic companies have
become very interested in white tea in recent years. The polyphenols in white tea
have been shown to be very effective in mopping up free radicals that can lead to
aging, and wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Pu-erh tea comes from the Yunnan province in China. Pu-erh tea has a distinct
earthy aroma. This type of tea differs from other formed black tea because it is
allowed to grow a thin layer of mold on the leaves. Of course these are harmless
cultures and are reputably known in China for their medicinal effects. This makes
sense because the antibiotic penicillin was first discovered through mold cultures.
Formed or Compressed Tea Bricks
This could either refer to green tea or black tea that is pressed into tea bricks,
medallions, balls or other impressions. In ancient times, this was necessary to keep
compact for storage on long voyages by ship or camel. It also preserved the tea
during these long journeys because the tea was so tightly packed that it sealed out air
that would otherwise degrade the tea.
Flavored tea is typically a black tea that’s soaked in natural or artificial flavors. Today
there are too many flavors to list. The most notable is Earl Grey,which is flavored with
the oil of bergamot. Flavored green teas and herbal tisanes are also now available
and gaining popularity
Herbal tea or herb tea is not really tea at all, since they do not contain leaves from the
tea bush (Camellia Sinensis). Herbal teas are made from seeds, roots, flowers, or
other parts of plants and herbs. They are often blended to make unique tasting
infusions and more formally known as tisanes. Medicinal teas are herbal teas that are
used for the treatment of ailments. These teas are gaining acceptance in western
A Cup of Hot Tea = A Cup of Good Health
Tea Consumption Linked to Numerous Body Benefits
A hot cup of tea may do more than relax you. Research shows tea consumption may help prevent a wide range of ailments.
The latest medical research is finding potential healing powers in this ancient beverage. Recent research, for instance, suggests drinking tea may help prevent everything from cavities to Parkinson’s disease. And some studies indicate it may even save lives.
The benefits of tea consumption may extend throughout the body, experts believe. Here is a partial list of conditions some research has shown may be prevented or improved by drinking tea:
Arthritis: Research suggests that older women who are tea drinkers are 60 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who do not drink tea.
Bone Density: Drinking tea regularly for years may produce stronger bones. Those who drank tea on a regular basis for 10 or more years had higher-bone mineral density in their spines than those who had not.
Cancer: Green tea extracts were found to inhibit the growth of bladder cancer cells in the lab — while other studies suggest that drinking green tea protects against developing stomach and esophageal cancers.
Sipping on a cup of hot tea may be a safeguard against cancer. Population studies have linked the consumption of tea with a reduction in risk for several types of cancer. Researchers speculate that the polyphenols in tea may inhibit certain mechanisms that promote cancer growth. Both green and black teas have been credited with cancer-inhibiting powers.
Flu: You may be able to boost your fight against the flu with black tea.
Your best defense against contracting the flu is to wash your hands often and get vaccinated against the influenza virus. Black tea may further bolster your efforts to stay healthy. In a recent study, people who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice per day showed a higher immunity to flu virus compared to the people who did not gargle with black tea.
Heart Disease: A recent study published in the journal Circulation found that drinking more than two cups of tea a day decreased the risk of death following a heart attack by 44 percent. Even less spirited tea drinkers were rewarded: Consuming just two cups a day decreased the risk of death by almost a third.
Tea is a rich source of the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, and research shows that high dietry intake of these compounds is associated with a reduced risk of fatal heart attacks. In one study, people who drank about a cup and a half of tea per day were almost 40% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to tea abstainers.
High Blood Pressure: Tea lovers may be surprised to learn their beverage of choice touts yet another health benefit: blood pressure control. Drinking a half-cup of green or oolong tea per day reduced a person’s risk of high blood pressure by almost 50% in a new study. People who drank at least two and a half cups per day reduced their risk even more. Their risk was reduced even if they had risk factors for high blood pressure, such as high sodium intake.
Parkinson’s Disease: Tea consumption may be protective against developing this debilitating neurological disorder.
Oral Health: Rinsing with tea may prevent cavities and gum disease.
What’s responsible for tea’s many health benefits?
It’s the complex brew of chemicals that make up this seemingly simple beverage.
“The big class of chemicals in tea are flavonoids — a natural class of antioxidants that are found in many natural plant-derived foods,” explains Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and author of the Circulation report. “In American diets, black tea represents probably the single biggest source of flavonoids.”
Antioxidants rid the body of molecules called free radicals, which are side products of damage done to the body by pollution and the natural aging process. Free radicals in the body’s cells are very unstable and tend to react negatively with other important molecules like DNA, causing malfunctions and injury on the cellular level. The destruction these free radicals produce may therefore pave the way for diseases like heart disease and cancer.
In the case of heart disease, antioxidants in tea may prevent death from second heart attack by helping blood vessels relax, thereby allowing blood to flow through more easily, potentially lowering blood pressure and reducing stress on the heart.
Antioxidants are thought to be behind the benefits of tea on dental health as well. A number of studies have suggested that rinsing with black or green tea may lead to better oral health.
“We have found that the [antioxidants] in black tea will suppress the growth of bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum diseases,” says Christine Wu, professor of periodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. “These will inhibit or interfere with the attachment of bacteria to the tooth surface.”
A Prescription for Better Health?
With so much compelling research, isn’t it about time for everyone to consider brewing up more of this potent potable?
“For nearly everybody, there are few, if any, downsides to drinking tea. It’s hard for me to tell people not to do it,” says Mukamal. “But I’m not sure our evidence is quite at the stage where we would be recommending that everybody drink tea.”
That’s because some people may be sensitive to certain components of tea. And while the caffeine content is 1/3 that of a cup of coffee, some people may react to caffeine at any concentration.
Additionally, researchers need to pin down how much and how often tea should be consumed for optimal health. “Drinking tea is beneficial, but we need to do more studies to substantiate it,” says Wu.
In the meantime, adding tea to your list of possible beverages is probably a good idea, experts say.
“I think it’s reasonable for people looking to make healthy lifestyle choices to consider tea as a better option than other beverages — which aren’t necessarily harmful, but which may not give people the added benefits that something like tea does,” says Mukamal.
(Submitted by Erin Ellizabeth Ward of Durham, North Carolina)
Black Tea Helps Prevent Cavities
New studies, funded by the Tea Trade Health Research Association, found several doses of black tea every day not only reduced plaque build-up but also helped control bacteria.
“We found that the black tea infusion can inhibit or suppress the growth of bacteria that promotes cavities and affect their ability to attach to tooth surfaces,” Christine Wu, professor of periodontics at the University of Illinois and lead researcher on one part of the study.
Wu said that while earlier studies in Japan have shown the cavity-fighting benefits of green tea, known for its rich antioxidants, her team chose to focus on black tea, which is more popular in western culture.
The research is part of a collaborative study done in conjunction with the College of Dentistry at the University of Iowa and the Institute of Odontology at Goeteborg University in Sweden. The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida.
300 Species of Bacteria
Dental plaque contains more than 300 species of bacteria that adhere to tooth surfaces and produce cavity-causing acid. Plaque is also a leading cause of gum disease.
A specific element of black tea, called polyphenols, killed or suppressed cavity-causing bacteria from either growing or producing acid, according to Wu’s study. The tea also affected the bacterial enzymes and prevented the formation of the sticky-like material that binds plaque to teeth.
Participants in the study rinsed with tea for 30 seconds, five times, waiting three minutes between each rinse.
“We were trying to simulate what people did while sipping tea,” Wu said.
A similar study by Goeteborg University, where participants rinsed with tea for one minute 10 times per day, showed comparable results. Both studies showed that the more people rinsed, the more their plaque and bacteria levels fell.
In the University of Iowa study, researchers looked at the impact of black tea’s fluoride content on preventing cavities but found the benefits less clear. They exposed pre-cavity lesions to black tea but saw little change, suggesting that tea’s cavity-fighting ability stems from a complicated reaction between it and bacteria.
Fluoride Not A Factor?
“We had very little results, which implies that if tea is having a result in normal use it’s not from fluoride,” said James Wefel, professor and director of the Dows Institute of Dental Research at the University of Iowa.
Of course, to help prevent cavities the tea must truly be “black,” without sugar, milk, honey or other additives. Researchers also stressed drinking black tea should not replace traditional oral hygiene.
“Tea will affect the plaque formation but one has to brush their teeth to remove the plaque,” Wu said. “It’s a must.” And while black tea may fight cavities, it does not combat tooth stains.
(Submitted by James Dewanz of New York)
Hibiscus Tea – Antioxidants
A recent study revealed that hibiscus teas contain a number of different antioxidants that may help to protect against cell-damaging free radicals. These teas also may help control high blood pressure. You can find hibiscus in such teas as sour tea, red zinger tea, or sorrel tea. Check the ingredients label to be sure.
Source : http://www.farsinet.com
From Buddhist monks using it in their religious ceremonies to American revolutionaries tossing it in to Boston Harbor, tea has become more than a beverage; it has become an event. For nearly 5,000 years this drink has been a source of medicine, meditation, piracy, political upheaval, social order, congregation, and superstition.
Botanically, the tea we drink is of the genus camellia and the species sinesis. Tea originated in Central Asia and can be separated into three basic types: black, green and oolong tea.
With black teas, the leaves are withered, rolled, sifted, and fermented, delivering a hearty flavor and rich amber color. Black teas, which account for approximately ninety percent of U.S. tea consumption, include such favorites as Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, and Darjeeling.
To produce green teas, the leaves are fired shortly after harvesting to prevent fermentation, yielding a greenish gold color and a delicate taste. Recent studies have shown that this tea can help reduce the risk of cancer.
With oolong teas, the leaves are withered, rolled, twisted, and semi-fermented, producing a color and flavor that falls between that of black and green teas.
Although herbal teas are designated as teas, they are not comprised of any tea leaves. Instead, these herbal teas contain peels, grasses, berries, leaves, flowers, and flavorings from a variety of plants.
According to Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Nong, revered for his knowledge of agriculture and medicine, mandated, presumably for health reasons, that his subjects boil water before drinking it. While preparing his water one day, a light wind deposited several tea leaves into his boiling pot. The aroma enticed Shen Nong to sample the pot’s contents. At once he found the flavor to his liking and his body rejuvenated. Other versions of the tale cite that the source of the tea leaves was not from a tree above the pot, but rather from a camellia branch which was fueling the flames below it. Still others attempt to validate the authenticity of the event by affixing a date to Shen Nong’s experience, asserting that it occurred in either 2737 BC or 2690 BC.
The Buddhist chronicle of the genesis of tea follows the mythical religious pilgrimage of Siddhartha Gautama, a Nepalese prince and historic founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha eager to prove his faith journeyed to China, pledging to forego sleep during his trip. Wearisome after days of travel, Siddhartha breached his vow and slept. Upon waking, he cursed his eyelids and promptly removed them, throwing them to the ground. To his dismay, the eyelids quickly buried into the soil and within moments sprouted a tea bush. Siddhartha partook in the leaves of the bush, and immediately his tired body was replete with energy.
In 1600, Queen Elizabeth, longing for exotic luxuries, founded the East India Company to procure fine woven cloths, spices, herbs, and other riches from the East. Although it would not be until 1664 before this enterprise would deliver tea to the shore of England, six years after the first documented tea drinker on English soil took a sip, the East India Company held exclusive rights to English-Oriental trade until 1833.
Accordingly, as tea drinking blossomed in England, so too did it in the English colonies. By the turn of the eighteenth century, tea was publicly available in colonial Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the colonial tea trade was almost exclusively with the Mother country. England soon placed increasingly higher tariffs on tea as a way to recoup the expense of the French and Indian War. These tea taxes prompted the colonists to take action. On December 16, 1773, a band of some sixty outraged colonists tossed hundreds of pounds of tea into Boston Harbor. Known as the Boston Tea Party, this event was a catalyst to the colonists fight for independence.
Following the Revolutionary War, America staked its own claim in the Chinese tea trade, and by the turn of the twentieth century, tea became a source of social congregation.
During this time two particular tea discoveries were made almost accidentally. In 1904, Richard Blechynden, a tea vendor at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, weary of selling his cups of hot tea in the summer heat, dropped ice in the beverage in an attempt to boost sales. The result was the first iced tea, which has since become a hallmark of supper tables in the American South. A second evolution of tea occurred in 1908 when Thomas Sullivan began to ship tea samples in individual bags to New York area restaurants. Sullivan soon discovered that the restaurants were preparing the tea without extracting it from the bag. Hence, bagged tea was born, allowing a tea connoisseur to effortlessly produce a hot cup of tea without notice.