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5 Keys Facts

The 5 basic things every tea drinker should know

The world of tea is a lifetime of exploration and learning so we've started with 5 key things everyone should know about tea, whether you're a beginner or an experienced connoisseur.
 

 

  1. TEA is a natural herb, made from a cultivar of the Camellia plant. Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. assamica are the two major varieties of this species. The different teas - White, Green, Oolong, Black Tea are made mainly from Camellia sinensis with different methods of production and hence different levels of oxidation accounting for the difference. The three main types of tea are Green Tea (unfermented), Oolong Tea (partially fermented) and Black Tea (fully fermented). There are in addition other types of tea including Sencha, White Tea etc., which are based on different production techniques or a combination of production style and different cultivars.

     
  2. TEA generally – in all its variants – is the most consumed beverage on earth after water. The earliest records of tea date back to the 10th century BC, although tea arrived in Europe around 1660. The beverage remained exclusive in Europe due to its cost until the 19th Century when tea drinking became widespread. Tea was first recorded as a herbal medicine; ancient Chinese herbalists prized tea for its health benefits and have since been proved right by modern science which confirms the protective benefits of tea across virtually every lifestyle disease of the 21st Century including diabetes, obesity, and others such as dementia.

     
  3. MANY of the teas that are sold as ‘tea’ are in fact not tea at all. Tisanes and infusions like Chamomile, Peppermint Leaves, Rooibos, Mate amongst many others, are herbs that do not offer the same potency as tea in such a multiplicity of benefits for human health.

     
  4. TEA, like wine, is influenced by soil, wind conditions, temperature, rainfall, humidity, sunshine, elevation and the like which are expressed in terroir – the sense of place – that each tea possesses as its identity. It is terroir that dictates that in a relatively small island as Sri Lanka is, tea is influenced by climate in offering unimaginable variety. Several thousand different terroirs are produced each week in Sri Lanka, changing with the weather the week after.
     
     
  5. TEA needs to be cared for. Store tea in a cool, dry container away from direct sunlight. Moisture is potent in its effect on tea – as tea is hygroscopic, it will absorb moisture and odours in kitchens and in any environment. An increase in moisture levels in tea can promote the development of toxins which retard flavour and antioxidant benefits whilst absorption of aromas and odours will affect flavour. The best tea therefore is tea that is fresh, rich in flavour and antioxidants, stored carefully. Tea is best stored in an airtight container or foil pouch in the refrigerator.

 

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