Sunday, January 9, 2011

the great tea discovery

Lately, I've been trying to shift my daily caffeine intake from coffee to tea, with a focus on green teas.

There are a lot of claimed health benefits to drinking tea, and I love the taste of good green tea (we drank a lot of it when we were in Tokyo a few months ago!). So I've stocked up on several types of tea, both bagged and loose leaf, and I'm going to be trying them all and trying to find some favourites.

As I embark on this little journey of Tea Discovery, I'll share my thoughts on each type of tea with you. I'd also love to hear about any teas that you really love so that I can give them a try as well!

A little basic information about Tea (a lot of this information is from Wikipedia):

Tea can refer to:
- the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of various cultivars and sub-varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant, processed and cured using various methods
- the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water
- the common name for the Camellia sinensis plant itself

When I talk about tea, I'll probably mostly be referring to the drink.

After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.

There are at least 6 varieties of tea: white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and post-fermented teas. The ones most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong, and black.

The term "herbal tea" usually refers to an infusion or tisane of leaves, flowers, fruit, herbs or other plant material that contains no Camellia sinensis.

The health benfits of tea have been examined ever since the first infusions of Camellia sinensis about 4,700 years ago in China. Possible beneficial health effects of tea consumption have been suggested and supported by some studies, but others have found no beneficial effects. The vast majority of studies have been of green tea; however, some studies have been made of the other types of tea derived from Camellia sinensis, such as white, oolong, and black tea. Green tea has been claimed to be helpful for atherosclerosis, LDL cholesterol, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, liver disease, weight loss, neurodegenerative diseases, and even halitosis.

Whether or not green tea does or doesn't have the benefits these medical studies claim, I still want to drink more of it, and hope you'll find my trials interesting and informative! If you want to check out all the different teas I've tried, just click on the Category "discovering teas" at the end of this post, or in the Category list on the right hand side-bar.

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