Tea is a very popular drink all over the world. Simple to prepare, affordable, with a multitude of properties and benefits; and with a lot of history behind it. It is a plant used for its medicinal properties for centuries. And it is strongly rooted in the religious ceremonies of many cultures and ancestral traditions. To make it, we infuse this plant in water. This gives us a healthy and delicious drink, tea, full of properties and benefits for our health. Let’s get to know tea a little more in depth.
“It is the most consumed beverage in the world after water.”
Originally from China and deeply rooted in India and England, where they still maintain the custom of drinking it every afternoon at 5 o’clock. Such is the fame of this drink that it even has its own day on the calendar. Thus, on April 21, Tea Day is celebrated only in the United Kingdom. There it is very common to drink it with milk and accompany it with pastries. But it is not the only date, because every May 20th is celebrated worldwide as Tea Day.
But before we begin, let’s learn a little more about this beverage.
We know as tea the infusion of leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant, popularly known as the tea plant. It is important not to confuse it with infusions. Although many people use both words indifferently, as synonyms, the truth is that this use is not correct. For, as we said, tea is only the infusion of the Camellia Sinensis plant, while we call infusion to the result of infusing with water a multitude of types of plants, fruits, flowers, seeds … The options for preparing infusions are many.
This drink, as we have already mentioned, besides being very healthy, has a rich history behind it, which we will see later. But there is also an important culture around tea.
Properties and Benefits of Tea
Tea is a great ally for our organism. It has a multitude of vitamins and minerals, and at the same time it helps us to maintain an iron health. Since its discovery, this plant has been used for medicinal purposes. Let’s see in more detail all the benefits and properties of this drink.
- It helps to have a good circulation.
People who consume this drink regularly, thanks to the fact that it prevents blood clotting, have less risk of suffering heart problems or cardiovascular diseases. It also helps us to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol, thanks to the tannins present in this drink.
- It is a rich source of antioxidants
Tea, thanks to its polyphenols, acts as a natural antioxidant, which helps to delay the aging of our cells, keeping our body in good health. In addition, it also has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effects.
- It contributes to good hydration, so necessary for our health. And it is a perfect way to drink the necessary two liters of water a day and in a different way.
- The tea regulates the lack of iron, which makes this drink a perfect natural remedy to combat anemia.
Among the properties of tea we find that this beverage has anti-inflammatory and natural antibiotic properties.
- Helps the immune system. Tea has large amounts of flavonoids and Vitamin H, which make us have a stronger immune system.
It is a great source of nutrients such as salts and minerals that are very healthy for our body.
- It has iron, fluorine, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium… It is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and D.
It is a diuretic drink, which makes us release toxins and purify our body.
- Tea in diets:
If you are following slimming diets, including tea in your meals is a good option to lose weight. The polyphenols, together with the caffeine it contains, contribute to reduce the absorption of fats by our organism. In addition, if you drink it hot, it has a high satiating power.
- Tea and its relaxing effect
Although tea contains caffeine (but in smaller quantity than coffee), it also contains L-theanine, an anti-stress amino acid that helps us to relax in a completely natural way. But in addition to relaxing, it helps us to maintain mental focus, which translates into increased brain activity and a greater ability to concentrate while feeling very calm.
Buddhists believe that drinking tea is one of the best ways to relax the mind and meditate.
As you can see, there are many benefits and properties that its consumption brings us, besides being a completely natural drink. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you include it regularly in your diet. A good option is to replace coffee with tea in the morning. As we will see below, there are 6 types of teas. Try them until you find the one you like best, or enjoy a different cup of tea every morning.
Types of Tea
If we talk about types of tea, we could talk about 6 well known: white, green, yellow, Oolong, black (known as red tea in China) and dark teas (or post-fermented). All of them come from the Camellia sinensis plant, the difference between them is the treatment to which the leaves are subjected from harvesting to processing.
Each one has a suitable preparation temperature, but what they have in common is that with no tea the water should reach boiling point, that is to say, it should not reach 100ºC. Let’s see them in a little more detail:
- One of the most popular, Green Tea: It has a light green color and a fresh, light flavor. The leaves of Camellia Sinensis undergo a minimal oxidation process. This beverage is very popular due to its important antioxidant properties.
Did you also know that you can make fantastic drinks using tea as a base? Take a look at this Green tea with mint and lime, a fantastic drink, perfect to drink either hot in winter or with ice on the hottest days.
- Black Tea, which needs a longer oxidation process. It has a stronger and more robust flavor. This variety is very popular in India, where it can be consumed alone or with milk.
- White Tea, to elaborate this variety the leaves are harvested when they are still in bud, and are dried in the sun or steamed. It has a very mild flavor and is very aromatic.
- Oolong, a variety that we could put between green and black, due to its degree of oxidation. It can range from light and floral to dark and roasted flavors, depending on the degree of oxidation. It is a very popular drink in Taiwan.
- Pu-erh, which originates from Yunnan province in China. After oxidation, the leaves of Camellia Sinensis are again subjected to an additional fermentation process.
These would be, as we said, some of the best known types. However, they are not the only ones. For example, jasmine tea, smoked tea, etc.
Origin of Tea
The origin of this drink is in China, and although it is not known with certainty how it began to be consumed, there are many stories and legends surrounding it.
One of these legends, the Chinese legend, tells that this drink, so popular today, had a casual origin. In 2737 B.C., the emperor Shen Nung, known as the “Divine Healer”, ordered all water intended for human consumption to be boiled during his rule.
One day, as he was heating water while resting under the shade of a wild tea tree, a light breeze blew. As chance would have it, this breeze caused some leaves of this tree to fall into his boiling water. Amazed to see how they had the water and that the mixture gave off a very good smell, he decided to try it. He then marveled at the taste of this drink, and had seeds of this wild tree planted.
History and expansion
Beyond tales and legends, what we know for sure is that in 589 B.C., at the time of the six dynasties, tea was already a very popular medicinal plant in China. Through the trade routes, transported by Chinese caravans selling medicinal leaves, tea reached Japan and India.
It was not until Vasco de Gama’s discovery of the maritime route between East and West, when he crossed the Cape of Good Hope, that tea reached Europe in 1498, becoming enormously popular in the 17th century.
Several years later, in 1650, tea was exported to North America, where it became a very popular drink, especially among the English who populated the new American cities.
Did you know that…
The invention of tea bags was accidental.
Their “creation” is attributed to one of the world’s most important tea and coffee merchants, Thomas Sullivan. Sullivan handmade silk bags to send tea to his buyers. The idea was that, upon receiving the product, the tea would be taken out of the bag and brewed. But the people who bought it, out of ignorance or convenience, began to brew the tea without taking it out of these small bags.
Tea culture around the world
As we said, a great culture revolves around this drink. It is a traditional drink in many countries. Let’s take a look at it.
- In China, a country considered the cradle of tea, this drink has an important and long history and tradition. Surely you have heard of the ritual that is followed in its preparation and tasting, of which there are different ceremonies, depending on the type of tea.
- In Japan it is also a very important drink, and has its own ceremony, known as chanoyu. This ceremony has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries, and symbolizes tranquility, harmony and connection with nature.
- It is also a very representative drink in India. In fact, this country is famous for its production of black tea, which is a fundamental part of this culture.
- And, outside the Asian countries, as we have already mentioned, it is also very popular in the United Kingdom, where it is a ritual.
And with this we finish knowing this important and popular drink, which also has so many properties. If you found it useful, remember to leave us your comments, ideas, tips… We love to read you! And don’t forget to follow us on social networks to keep up to date with all our publications. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.