By, Lady Mary
My goal in writing about tea is to share with you fun, interesting, and healthy information about something as simple as making and drinking loose leaf tea. Occasionally, you will also have to suffer through some tea puns. For example: No tea-sing about it, tea is good for you! Believe it or not, tea is the second most popular drink in the world, after water.
Tea is an ancient drink—well over 5,000 years old. It was discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung. He was also known as the “Divine Healer.” As legend goes, some tea leaves accidentally blew into the Emperor’s pot of boiling water……..and the rest is history!
The tea journey begins in the many countries that grow tea, including: China, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, South America, Egypt and USA. The tea plant is formally known as Camellia sinensis plant. This plant produces white tea, green tea, black tea, pu-erh and oolong teas. Before I began my tea journey, I used to think there were white tea plants, green tea plants, black tea plants, and so on. I had NO IDEA that they were all from the same plant. What makes the different tea varieties is what age the leaves are picked and how much oxidation the leaves receive when they are picked and dried (for the two extremes, white tea is barely oxidized and black tea is fully oxidized). Now, I know we all feel a lot smarter just knowing this bit of information! There are many herbal teas, root teas and mate teas that are not from the Camellia sinensis plant. They are grown as whatever plant they are and then picked, dried and packaged as something to infuse into water to make a drinkable liquid, but they are not truly tea. We are just used to equating the word “tea” with a hot brewed beverage that we make and drink. We’ll cover herbs, roots and mates another time.
Next time we visit, I’m going to talk about different techniques for making/brewing your loose leaf tea.
Till then, bottoms up! (That’s a little more tea humor!)