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Interesting Tea Facts
A Tea Drinking Culture
- Drinking tea is not just about appreciating its taste or its ability to refresh the drinker, it's also an important social event, providing endless opportunities to talk, gossip and discuss business
- Tea is often drunk as part of special rituals. In China, when a man and woman marry they share a strong cup of tea. They put a lotus nut and a dried date in the cup to represent their wish for many children and happiness. It is believed drinking this strong tea means their love will be strong also
- On special occasions such as New Year, the younger generations serve their elders a cup of tea containing a dry red Chinese date, which represents prosperity and harmony for the elderly.
- In China, tea is regarded as one of the main aids to a long and healthy life. Combined with daily exercise, tea made the right way -not too strong and not too light - can keep your body healthy all your life.
- As there are different quality leaves on every single plant, at harvest time, the tea leaves are plucked by hand. Some countries use machinery but it cannot identify and separate the tea leaves and produces an average quality tea
- The quality and the price of the leaves depend on the time of day that the tea is picked. Tea leaves are picked generally 2 or 3 times a day, the best leaves are picked between the dawn and 7am
- There are 3 things that are all important to get the best flavor from your tea, namely the teapot, the water you use, and how you heat it. In the tea world there is a saying that the teapot is the father of the tea, water its mother and charcoal is its friend.
- It's important to use the right water for preparing tea. About half the organic constituents of tealeaves are soluble. Since theses organic constitutes are responsible for the flavor, aroma, taste and coloring of the tea, using the right water is essential to get the best out of the tealeaves. Some constituents are slow to dissolve while others are much quicker. This is why the brewing time is also so crucial.
- Controlling the temperature of the water is of critical importance when making good tea. The first step is to control the heat produced. It's best to use electricity to heat your water as the smell of gas can linger in the water.
- When the water heating starts to pop nosily in your kettle or container this is what is called ‘mature water' and is generally the right level for making tea. When the water bubbles like mad it should not be used to make tea.
- Some teas cannot be brewed in water that is too hot while others can. For example oolong teas can be brewed at a temperature of 100 °C, whereas delicate teas such as green teas use slightly cooler water at around 80 °C. You can achieve this temperature by taking the lid off the kettle and letting it cool down for 2 min.
Equipping Yourself Correctly
- The fact that teapots are referred to as the ‘father of tea' tells you just how important they are. There are 4 main things to consider when buying a teapot – choosing the most suitable teapot, using it to make the best possible tea, taking care to preserve the pot and appreciating the pot.
- Depending on the material it's made of, sometimes the essence of the tea will be absorbed into the teapot. Tea lovers often have more than 1 pot for different teas - one for green one for black etc
- There are 2 types of tea set and 2 groups of teas to match them together. The delicate tea sets suit delicate teas such as green teas, while the thicker sets that trap more heat are suitable for stronger teas.
- It is vital to keep leaves dry and away from any humidity that will change their taste. Good quality leaves are only harvested once a year and some teas are purchased and stored for 10 to 20 years because, like a good wine, the older they are the better they are
- Tealeaves are extremely dry and so are liable to absorb water, chemicals and odor from the air. If the tealeaves come in contact with water they rot and high heat will turn them yellow and make them bitter.
- Leaves should not be stored next to anything that has a strong pungent smell like pepper, curry or chilies or exposed to sunlight or air. For this reason glass or plastic containers or paper bags are not the most suitable. The best and most common way of storing tea is in an airtight aluminum container.
- You must also never store 2 kinds of teas in the same container even if you separate them with a divider; otherwise the leaves from one will absorb the aroma from the other and will acquire a strange aroma and bitter taste.
- Scalding hot tea for obvious reasons
- Cold teas as it spoils digestion
- Very strong tea unless it is a special medicinal brew
- Tea before eating in the morning
- Tea that has left and grown cold in the pot, as it will be stewed, strong and bitter
- Teas that have been left overnight and re heated.
- Poor quality tea. Cheap tea is likely to be poor quality and badly made. This will be apparent in the taste
- Badly stored tea. If it is damp it will have deteriorated and have a musty smell. Tea should be so dry that it has a rustling sound when shaken and should always smell good.
Uses of teas
- As a mouth wash after eating
- If you bite your tongue while eating have a mouth infection or a sore throat, warm strong tea will both cleanse and promote healing
- Tea can be used externally as an antibiotic and cleanser
- To disinfect cuts before applying first aid
- For eye infections – steam from a hot cup of tea or use lukewarm tea to bath the eye
- For smelly feet. Soak feet in old warm tea for 10 min then dry carefully before retiring to bed
- If you have been handling fish and your skin smells fishy, carefully wash your hands in strong teas - oolong works best
- If you are allergic to detergents, you can use tea to clean your crockery
- Make up a bag of tea to use in your bath to soothe infected skin. Green teas work best for this
- Use cheap tea to clean windows and mirrors
- Use the smoke from burning tea leaves to keep mosquitoes away
- Add a little tea to the water to enhance the flavor of boiled eggs
- Recycle your tea leaves in the garden to make a very good acidic compost