Magazine article Ebony

Tea Time for Your Health

Magazine article Ebony

Tea Time for Your Health

Article excerpt

For many years tea has been associated with positive health benefits. There are many varieties of tea. All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, the fresh leaves of the tea plant are processed and the their level of contact with oxygen determine the type of tea. When oxidation takes place, tea leaves undergo natural chemical reaction that results in distinctive characteristics, color and taste.

Green tea is not oxidized, and the leaves are steamed, rolled and dried, very little processing. On the other hand, black tea is allowed to oxidize and is fully fermented during this processing. Oolong tea fails somewhere between green and black teas, in that the leaves are only partially oxidized. White tea is picked and harvested before the leaves open fully, and the buds are still covered by white hair.

Herbal teas do not come from the Camellia sinensis, but are an infusion of leaves, roots, bark, seeds or flowers of other plants. Like wines, tea takes its name from the district in which it grows. There are many kinds of black tea, green tea, and white tea.

Tips For Brewing Tea

* Use one tea bag, or 2 to 4 grams of tea per cup. Fill a kettle with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn off kettle or remove from heat, and allow it to stand for up to 3 minutes. Pour the heated water over the tea bag or tea, and allow it to steep for up to 3 minutes. If using a tea bag, remove the bag. Allow the tea to coot for three more minutes.

* It is very important that the tea is never allowed to over infuse. That will produce distasteful tea. If you want stronger tea, add more leaves or bags, rather than infusing longer than recommended,

* Try to use loose-leaf tea whenever possible. The tea leaves in tea bags are usually broken, dusty bits of lesser quality tea leaves.

* It is best to boil fresh tap or bottled water (not distilled water) and avoid reusing water that has already been heated or boiled. This is flat water, which has been depleted of its oxygen and is not good for brewing a good cup of tea.

* A tea strainer or infuser basket is better for infusing loose-leaf tea [rather than a tea ball or clamping spoon) so that the leaves have plenty of room to expand and fully infuse

* If you are serious, buy a beverage thermometer to make sure you are brewing your tea at the appropriate temperature. Using water that is too cool, or too hot, can ruin a good cup of tea. Black teas brew best with water at the boiling point and green teas should use water at 160-180 degrees. …

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