Tea. It is a drink made from dried leaves of the tea plant or small trees (camellia sinensis) of the family of Theaceae (s). It is consumed, either as a hot or cold drink, by approximately half of the world’s population, despite being second to the coffee plant considering its commercial importance.
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- 1 History
- 2 Production
- 3 Properties
- 1 Other properties
- 4 varieties of tea
- 1 Green tea
- 1.1 Use in cosmetics
- 2 Black tea
- 3 Red tea
- 4 White tea
- 1 Green tea
- 5 Elaboration
- 6 Producing countries
- 7 See also
- 8 Sources
Etymologically, the word tea comes from the Chinese ideogram pronounced ‘chah’ in Cantonese and ‘tay’ in the Amoy dialect. As ‘chah’ tea has traveled to Japan , India , Persia and the Cyrillic alphabet areas ( Russia , Ukraine , etc.), although for our vocabulary, German and English traveled as ‘tay’ when the Dutch transported it to Europe from Java .
Its origin dates back to Japanese mythology, which credits the Chinese Buddhist saint Bodhidharma who would have remained in front of a wall meditating for nine years. During his meditations the saint fell asleep and when he got up he was so upset by having fallen asleep that he cut his eyelids to make sure that this did not happen again. Plants grew from their drooping eyelids to the ground, the leaves of which, immersed in hot water, produced a drink that combat sleep.
Contrary to the belief that tea was imposed by the British, the western use of tea was imposed by the Dutch. These brought him to Holland on his travels and entered him to America through New Amsterdam (later called New York ) in the mid- 17th century . The 5 pm tea custom was imposed by the wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford, Anna, around the year 1840 . Because at that time people ate a very strong breakfast and did not consume any other food until dinner at 8 p.m., the duchess institutionalized a 5 p.m. feeding with tea and cakes.
Tea leaves are processed to produce green or black tea. The manufacture of black tea begins with the process of “drying” the leaves, either naturally or with hot air. After drying, the material must be passed between the rollers to squeeze out the juices and hit it to break the leaves. They are then sifted and fermented to achieve the quality of the final product. Then, the fermented tea is dried, graduated and classified for packaging. The broken leaves and part of the waste are used for “tea in sachets”.
The tea has healing, bactericidal, refreshing and anti-aging properties, so it can be used both for the preparation of cosmetics and dermatological products. In addition, tea has a pleasant stimulating effect on the central nervous system , which can convince coffee addicts .
- Decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Lower cholesterollevels in the blood
- Protects against cavities
- The antioxidant activity of tea exceeds that of some fruitsand vegetables
- Helps fight fatigue
- Stimulates defenses and mental functioning
- It is a natural drink that does not fatten, does not contain sugaror calories at the beginning.
It is obtained by drying the leaves in the sun for one or two hours or by roasting. These processes hardly alter its chemical composition, which means that it has higher levels of flavonoids (catechins). Two cups of green tea have the same vitamin C content as a glass of orange juice. There are numerous varieties of green tea, all of them very popular in China and Japan.
The best known are:
- The Lung Ching:is the most famous variety. Sweet and golden, it is a common drink for monks, who have been using it for hundreds of years to clear the mind and calm the nerves.
- El Bancha: itis extracted from the stem of the plant of the same name. Slightly tastes of hay.
- The Gunpowdwer: Itis boiled with mint and sugar and is popular in Morocco , where it is rolled into balls, which are opened with hot water. It is bittersweet.
- El Sencha:very popular in Japan, it has a yellow color and tastes like vegetables.
- Matcha:Its refreshing power is highly appreciated by the Japanese, who serve it sparkling at the tea ceremony.
- Gyokuro:Its cut grass flavor has made it very popular in Japan.
- The Pi Lo Chun:has a curious fruit aroma. The small spirals of its hand-rolled leaves give it the name, which means green snail.
Use in cosmetics
The antioxidant power of green tea makes it one of the most appreciated anti-aging substances in cosmetics. Its antioxidant power prevents the formation of free radicals, interrupts the chain reaction and repairs the damage they may cause.
In well-known perfumeries or establishments such as The Body Shop you can find complete lines of skin care made with tea, excellent especially for those who have excess oil or acne problems. Moisturizers, exfoliants, facial cleansers, deodorants, aromatherapy essences . In addition to drinking it, there are numerous products that you can use to enhance the effects of tea from the outside.
It is another variety of the same species that is achieved by fermentation first and drying with hot air afterwards. With the process it acquires a dark hue and a chemical transformation of its amino acids, fatty acids, polyphenols, etc. occurs.
Also known as Pu-erh, it has become popular in the West, especially in the US for its slimming (not yet proven) and digestive properties. It prevents cavities, lowers bad cholesterol, improves constipation, relieves depression, and even makes hangovers disappear. It is actually fermented and aged green tea with a strong red color and tree bark flavor from Quingmao, a species highly revered in China because it is said to promote health .
The fermentation process takes five years, the tea being stored in barrels, like wines. The longer it is preserved, the more precious it is. In fact, there is Pu-erh gran reserva, 60, more expensive than caviar. Pu-erh is a tea low in tannic acids (carriers of theine), so it is not contraindicated for anyone. It can be taken by people with a delicate stomach, pregnant and lactating.
White tea has recently been discovered as nature’s most powerful antioxidant: it contains three times more polyphenols than green, and is more effective than vitamin C and vitamin E together. In addition, white tea is the one that contains less caffeine, so you can make it a much more relaxing substitute for coffee.
The secret of its high concentration of polyphenols is in its manufacturing process: instead of the whole leaf, only buds are collected in this type of tea, where all the energy of the plant is concentrated. These unopened buds are covered in white hair (hence the name: white tea with silver needles). And instead of being cut or rolled as it is done with black and green, it is left to air dry, in the natural sun on silk cloths. The researchers assure that this simple process is what keeps the tea in a pure state, full of energy and with three times more antioxidant than green tea.
The water is heated and just before it starts to boil, pour a trickle into the empty teapot to avoid burning the leaves. Tea is incorporated and hot water is added. Let it rest for about 10 minutes and take it with milk , sugar, saccharin, honey or lemon .
Around 40 countries grow tea. The main tea producing countries are:
India – black tea.
China – white, green, red tea etc.
Japan – green tea.
They are followed in production and consumption: Sri Lanka , Kenya , Turkey and Indonesia .
In Europe stand out: Germany , Ireland , England and Russia .
The largest buyer of national tea is the US , who use it for the preparation of cold tea, which is its most common form of consumption.