It’s been awhile since I have offered up some tea facts here on It’s Just Life and since I am traveling and neglected to prepare ahead of time for Teapot Tuesday (what was I thinking?) I think today will be a fun fact day .
There are so many different kinds of teas and I honestly do not have a favorite type although I am pretty much in love with the “tea bricks” that we got while we were in China a few years ago. The bricks that I have are called pu-erh and are fermented tea. They are tightly compressed into brick or disc forms and in order to use the actual tea one has to chip away at the brick and loosen some of the leaves to use to brew. I love the deep earthy taste of this type of tea and usually drink the entire pot myself if I brew a pot of this Chinese tea.
Did you know that tea was used as currency as well? Because of its high value in many Asian countries it served as currency throughout China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Central Asia. It could be compared to the salt bricks that were often used as currency in Africa. When we were in China one of the men we spoke with about tea told us stories of families who gambled everything on buying pricey tea –the more expensive the better and it could bankrupt a family quickly if the tea acquisition did not go as planned. Kind of makes you think the next time you buy that box of Lipton, right?
Of course there are many health benefits that result from drinking tea. Study after study continue to promote tea drinking for healthy living. Green tea has been at the top of the list of healthy options but all tea has its benefits. The best way to determine what tea will do for you is to do a little bit of research. There are many books available that can help in that endeavor and one that I have enjoyed reading is 20,000 Secrets of Tea: The Most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature’s Healing Herbs by Victoria Zak.
So how about a few facts to start your day off ?
- Did you know that a cup of ginkgo tea is a great daily habit to keep an individual at the peak of fitness? It is a great tea to drink to counteract the sedentary life and work that many of us have. It also is supposed to help enhance your youthfulness. Pour me a cup, please!
- Iced tea was a genius idea hit upon during the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Folks were sweating in the St. Louis heat and while they wanted to sample the lovely tea available on display from merchants they did not want something hot to drink. An Englishman from Calcutta named Richard Blechynden found some tall glasses, filled them with ice and poured the brewed tea samples over top. Immediate popularity and today almost half of the tea that people drink each year are iced teas.
- During the early 1900’s tea was shipped to potential customers in the US in tea tins. Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant in New York, saw that the price of the tins was cutting into his profit from selling the product so he decided it would be much cheaper to ship to his customers in silk bags. These eventually morphed into filter paper and as a result tea became much more economical and almost everyone could enjoy the tasty brew.
- In most eastern countries such as China and Japan taking your tea plain is still considered the best way to enjoy tea. In Russia it is offered with a single slice of lemon. During colonial American times teas were topped off with saffron or linden blossoms. Other items to enhance the flavor include: mint, a slice of lemon or lime, a little squeeze of orange, a stick of cinnamon, a bit of vanilla or a little bit of sweet anise.
- Sage tea has been used to help with problem solving. For some reason a cup of sage tea has the ability to clear the cobwebs and uncluttered the brain.
I could go on and on but I think I may need to have a cup of sage tea to get some clarity before I do. But before I go please tell me what your favorite tea is and how you take it. Sugar, honey, plain? Remember all comments this month go to our Comments for a Cause, NFED. Don’t forget that every comment counts.