DISCOVER

ORIGINS

There are many legends surrounding the origins of tea, one of the most popular however, is the story of the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung who allegedly discovered tea in 2737 BC, when fresh tea leaves accidentally fell into his drinking bowl. The liquid slowly turned golden and released an aromatic scent tempting Shen Nung to taste it. The Emperor, tired after a long day at the hunt, felt immediately refreshed and invigorated;  tea was thus discovered!

TEA FUN FACTS

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. An average three billion cups of tea are consumed daily worldwide.

 

There are six categories of tea (green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, red or black tea and pu-erh) and thousands of different types. However, all types of tea come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis Bush.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Tea, and in particular white and green tea, is praised for its many health benefits, including antibiotic effects, anti-cancer properties, boosting of the immune system, lowering of cholesterol levels and improvement of cardiovascular health.

 

The health properties of tea are closely linked to its high level of antioxidants  and to its natural nutrients and minerals, which include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B1 and B2, folic acid, fluoride, tannin, caffeine and theanine among many others.

TEA TYPES

All types of tea come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis. What determines the distinctive shape, aroma and flavour of each tea is the environment where the tea grows and the method of processing the newly picked leaves.

 

In China alone, there are thousands of tea variations. However, they can be classified into six main categories, which, sorted by order of fermentation, are green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong, red tea and pu-erh tea.

CHOOSING GOOD TEA

When choosing tea, four factors should be considered: shape, colour, smell and taste. Each factor is distinctive and depends largely on the type of tea being examined.

BREWING TEA

Tea is a refined yet simple beverage. A good cup of tea depends on the following factors: water should be pure; the tea-ware should be well chosen; water temperature is critical, lower temperatures should be used for greener teas and higher temperatures for browner, more roasted and tightly rolled teas.

Brewing time is also important, as brewing too long will make the tea astringent and bitter. In general, green and oolong teas usually brew fast, while the other teas are slower to brew.

BREWING TEA

Tea is a refined yet simple beverage. A good cup of tea depends on the following factors: water should be pure; the tea-ware should be well chosen; water temperature is critical, lower temperatures should be used for greener teas and higher temperatures for browner, more roasted and tightly rolled teas.

Brewing time is also important, as brewing too long will make the tea astringent and bitter. In general, green and oolong teas usually brew fast, while the other teas are slower to brew.

STORING TEA

Tea is very vulnerable to the following five elements: air, light, odour, heat and moisture. When tea is excessively exposed to these elements, it gradually loses flavour and becomes stale.

 

The best practices for storing tea include storing the tea in a dark cabinet or completely opaque container away from sunlight; storing the tea away from anything with a strong odour; keeping delicate teas separate from strongly scented teas; and, keeping the tea in a cool and dry place.

SHELF LIFE

 

In general, black (or Chinese red) tea and oolong tea have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years, if kept under ideal conditions. Tea that is less oxidised has a shorter shelf span; if stored properly, green and white tea can remain fresh for up to 2 years. Pu-erh tea however, can be stored for decades. The longer it is stored, the better it tastes!

LEARNING MORE

There are many books and magazines that explore the world of tea. Come to artteas venues and pick your book from our extensive tea library. Enjoy reading in the tranquility of a steaming pot of tea.

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