“For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, or are become so from wine drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favoured beverage of the intellectual……”
Thomas De Quincy(1785-1859)
Confessions of an English Opium –Eater
“Tea induces lightness of spirit, clarity of mind and freedom from all sense of constriction, whether mental or physical and promotes serenity that mundane cares fall away so that whatever is strident or exacerbating in daily life can be put out of your mind for a while”
Chinese Tea Emperor- Song Hui Zong
“ Tea, which refeshes and quitens , is the natural beverage of a taciturn people, and being easy to prepare, it came as a godsend to the world’s worst cooks.”
C. R Fay, English Economic History.
“ The effect of tea is cooling and as a beverage it is most suitable. It is especially fitting for persons of self restraint and inner worth”
Lu Yu (715-803) Ch’ a Ching
The art and science of tea tasting can range from the professional to the casual. Professional tasting is done by experienced “tea tasters” who spend many years mastering the various
nuances and subtleties of tasting tea. The purpose of tasting by professionals can be with many aims in mind and can include;
– Comparing and contrasting tea for a specific end user
– Determining quality
– Detecting defects
– Developing sensory evaluation skills.
The sensory analysis of tea is one of the critical elements of tea tasting and this involves analysis of the tea in its dry leaf stage, the infused leaf and the tea liquor. The analysis is done
entirely as an organoleptic examination- meaning a visual, tactile, olfactory and gustatory analysis using the sense organs of perception.
At t-buds you can take the more casual and enjoyable approach to tea tasting with one of our tea sommelliers and learn the finer aspects of tea aromas ,flavors and mouth-feel of different teas
from various parts of the world. With experience you will notice that the depth of the taste expands. For example, the first time you try a green sencha tea, all that you could probably taste
was ‘sea- weedy’ vegetal flavor. But upon further tastings, more subtle nuances will be discovered and you will learn to identify the ‘poetry’ of tea tasting with terms like,full body, smooth,
malty, muscatel, rich and earthy.
Tea & Health
What ‘s tea ? what’s in it?
Tea as a beverage originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. Today tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world and is enjoyed by people in almost every nation. Canadians drink more than seven billion cups of tea each year! The distinctive taste , color and aroma of tea arise from a unique and complex combination of compounds ( including amino acids, carbohydrates, mineral ions, caffeine and polyphenolic compounds) which are naturally present in tea.
The botanical name for the tea plant is Camellia sinensis and its leaves also contain 75-80 per cent water,which is reduced,during the first withering stages to 60-70 percent. The firing or drying process deactivates the enzyme that causes oxidation and reduces the water content to approximately 3-4 per cent.
During oxidation, polyphenolic flavanols ( or catechins) react with oxygen to create the unique flavor and color of the infused liquor. The aroma of tea is extremely complex and so far more than 550 chemicals have been identified in the aroma of black tea. However the taste mainly results from the various polyphenolic compounds( often incorrectly called tannins) being modified by caffeine. Both black and green teas contain similar amounts of polyphenols (flavanoids) , although quantities vary in different types of tea. Green tea contains simple flavanoids called catechins while oolong and black teas contain more complex flavanoids called theaflavins and thearubigins . Tea also contains theanine, an amino acid that occurs rarely in nature and is thought to reduce physical and mental stress and promote a sense of well being and relaxation. It is the magic ingredient that gives tea its famous reputation as the drink that calms you when you are anxious and stimulates you when you are sluggish.
Tea also contains traces of calcium, zinc, potassium, manganese, vitamins B1,B2,B6 and B12, folate, niacin and pantothenate.
Health benefits of tea
Until the twentieth century, few of the health claims made on behalf of tea had been proved., but recent research around the worldand coordinated studies have given us more and more evidence that tea does indeed have many tangible health benefits. The polyphenols in tea have an antioxidant effect in the body and can help protect against certain age-related and degenerative diseases. These antioxidant effects have been compared to those of certain fruits and vegetables. In the case of heart disease and stroke, research indicates that tea can help reduce the inflammation connected with artherosclerosis and vascular problems. Tea polyphenols have also been shown to inhibit the the development of cancer cells.
Studies in a number of different countries indicate that tea is also helpful in reducing blood cholesterol, and it is thought that puerh and oolong teas are particularly beneficial.
Tea also aids good dental health as the polyphenolic components in tea have the effect of helping to reduce the formation of bacteria and plaque in the mouth while the fluoride content strengthens tooth enamel. Green tea contains twice as much fluoride as black.In china and and Japan toothpaste is now made containing a certain amount of tea extract.
While most scientists have focused on the health benefits of green tea, research shows that black tea may be equally beneficial in disease prevention.
Caffeine and tea
Caffeine may be one of the most often discussed and least understood elements in your cup of tea. Sadly the myths seem more widely accepted than the truths. Even many of the most widely read and respected tea books still promote the old beliefs about caffeine and tea which have long since been proven nothing more than old wives tales.
While the caffeine in tea and coffee are technically the same , the experience is different due to three key factors:
There is significantly less caffeine in the average cup of tea- up to only one third the amount in coffee-
especially when including green and white teas brewed at shorter times and lower than boiling temperatures.
L- theanine, an amino acid found only in tea, has a relaxing effect that counteracts the jitteriness of
caffeine without reducing the increase in alertness.
The high levels of antioxidants found in tea slow the body’s absorption of caffeine-resulting in a gentler
increase of the chemical in the system and a longer period of alertness with no crash at the end.
A widely cited 2004 British study looked at 200 cups prepared by consumers going about their normal brewing routines. It found that the average caffeine level in the cups of tea was 40 mg. vs 105mg. in the average cup of coffee.
The amount of caffeine in coffee or tea depends on a number of factors, including the length of brewing or steeping. With tea studies also show that leaf location on the tea plant affects content of caffeine in the tea.The youngest leaves,highest on the plant, contain the greatest concentration of caffeine and antioxidants.
Also keep in mind that,because tea bags contain broken leaves of smaller size, they produce an infusion with more caffeine than loose tea does. This is also true of very fine loose tea. In comparison, the same volume of coffee yields at least double the amount of caffeine.
A common myth is that you can “make your own” decaf tea by briefly steeping the tea and throwing away resulting liquor. The theory is that most of the caffeine is washed away in this initial steeping.The truth however, is something else entirely. Caffeine is extracted over time , and so the first 30 seconds of a five minute steeping may only extact 20 to 30 % of the caffeine. As importantly, the antioxidants and other health benefits of tea tend to be extracted more quickly than the caffeine. As a result, that first quick steeping or “washing” removes both the caffeine and the healthy elements of found in tea.
To eliminate caffeine intake completely, one must switch to herbal or Rooibos teas which are sometimes reffered to as tisanes and do not come from the same family of camellia sinensis.
Summary of health benefits of varieties of tea
Contains cancer fighting anti-oxidants
Cooling and detoxifying
Anti ageing and anti stress properties
High L-theanine content promotes alertness .
Highest content of cancer fighting anti-oxidants
Antiseptic and anti viral effects.
Fights degenerative disease and supports immune function
Strengthens tooth enamel
Potent source of vitamins and minerals
Effective for weight loss and slimming.
Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
High anti-oxidant content
Strengthens tooth enamel and fights bad breath
Effective for weight loss
Potent source of vitamins and minerals
Promotes heart health
Helps prevent plaque build up in arteries
Increases bone density
Promotes oral health
Fights bad breath
Perhaps the most effective tea for slimming and increasing metabolism
Helps metabolize fatty acids and oily foods
Reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels
Cleansing and detoxifying to the blood stream.
Other general benefits
Promotes mental clarity
Stimulates neural activity
Provides even, sustained energy
Lower caffeine than coffee.
Strengthens immune system
The benefits of tea are realized when consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle, on a regular basis over sustained periods of time. Common knowledge is that tea helps prevent illness than recover from it.
You can indulge your senses with the romance and natural
beauty of tea in its pristine environment as you are taken on a tour of the verdant tea gardens nestled at 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. You can savour the peace and tranquility amidst the misty mountains and live in one of the charming colonial type bungalows.
See tea being picked and processed in its traditional way and enjoy some of the best brews in the world as you are taken on a sensory-rich journey of discovery to true teaopia!
You could also include a tour of the famous sacred Buddhist temples and cultural heritage sites in Sri Lanka and expand your appreciation of an Island that is referred to as serendipity or
place of pleasant and surprising discoveries.
Check with our staff for more details and best times of travel or visit www.staffordbungalow.com