Friday, January 22, 2010

What would we do without Tea!

Tea History-The Discovery of Tea

Chinese legend reads that the Emperor Shen Nong ("the god of farming") first discovered tea leaves when he observed that many of his people were dying of epidemic diseases and he decided to search for medicines. The legend says that Shen Nong
(picture below)

has a transparent skin which enables him to test the toxicity of an herb by observing the change inside of his body.

He discovered tea one day while testing a cure. On this day, Shen Nong tried too many different kinds of toxic herbs and he lost consciousness. As he lay there, a few drops of dew from a tea tree dropped on his lips and revived him. Fascinated by this miracle, he ate the leaf, and though it was very bitter, he was able to see the leaves moving through and removing the toxins from his body.

It is recorded in the first Chinese medicine book named after Shen Nong, 神农本草经 (Classic of Chinese Herbs by Shen Nong), that Shen Nong tried 72 toxic herbs a day and that each time, tea detoxified his body. This is the first known record in Chinese history that shows tea being used as a medicine.

News of these medicinal qualities spread fast and tea varieties were developed for a host of different ailments, many of which are being proved true by modern science. For example, numerous recent studies have found that green tea has more anti-oxidants than any other drink. Anti-oxidants are shown to help reduce the presence of free radicals in our body. Free radicals randomly destroy healthy cells and reduce wholeness. It's no wonder that after more than 5000 years, green tea remains one of the most popular teas of the world!
In honor of this rich history, Tea Beyond uses only the highest quality green tea as
a base for all our beautiful blooming teas.

L.T.-Calming and Detoxifying-Solo
V.T.-Slimming and Balancing-Solo

Blooming Tea Cocktail

Alcohol level-Medium

This cocktail is inspired by Long Island iced tea. It’s refreshing, fun and absolutely the killer for the night! Let the party begin!

½ oz Triple sec
1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz Tequila
1-1/2 oz tea (1 blooming tea)
Splash of syrup
1 piece of lemon
Ice cubes

1. Brew 1 blooming tea (use 1.5 oz water for one bloom) for 10 minutes. Chill for use.
2. Pour the light rum, Tequila, Vodka, triple sec, syrup, blooming tea juice and lemon piece into a shaker with ice cubes.
3. Shake well and Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon.

The History of Tea in the U.S.

From the time Petrus Stuyvesant first introduced tea to the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later New York City) to today, it has been a few hundreds of years.

Board of Tea Experts (former FDA) was created in 1897, to regulate the quality of tea imported. At that time, tea trade grew exponentially but tea merchants faced the tough situation where they found some teas were manipulated to reach the desired color and weight. At the time, people judge tea quality mainly by color, other than taste and aroma.

Board of Tea Experts is a group of tea experts selected. They meet once a year to sample teas submitted then choose one standard tea from each variety. Standard teas are sent to tea dealers, importers and inspectors to serve as a standard to judge for quality.

The process is very labor intensive. You can imagine the scene, water boiling, cupping, slurping, spitting....

It is also a subjective process as new tea species are constantly created. One of the most memorial tea stories is the He-No Tea. The tea is actually dried Kentucky bluegrass, not a typical traditional tea. The company was charged for mis-branding. A Chinese attorney defended at the court that the name clearly states Hay, NO TEA....

I like that attorney!

There are a great deal of people in the world drinking tea. They may be Chinese, Japanese, English, American, Frisian, Tibetan, Russian, French, Korean, Thai, Indian, or just about anyone from any of the world’s 193 different countries. They may drink their tea hot, iced, or lukewarm. They may add sugar and milk, yak’s butter and salt, red potash, cloves and cardamom, or nothing at all. But there is one common thread to tea drinking around the world: water. Without water, there is no tea.

And no matter how great your tea is, no matter how magnificent the pot that will hold it, or the cups into which it will be poured, if the water is of low quality then then the tea will be too. So how does one insure that the water going into the tea kettle is worthy of the tea it will be making? In order to help our customers have a better grasp of this important relationship, Kasora has prepared this simple guide.

Ancient times

Once upon a time, if you wanted water for tea, you had to get it directly from nature. Whether this meant pulling it up from a well, filling a container at a river or stream, harvesting snow or ice, or collecting rain, you had to work to get your water! Now, with modern plumbing, the water flows directly into our homes, and right out of a tap, making the whole equation a lot easier. Problem solved, right? Not quite. The unfortunate fact is that tap water is completely unsuitable for making tea. Because it is chlorinated, deoxygenated, and generally lifeless, any tea made from it will be chlorinated, deoxygenated and generally lifeless in turn.

Better Water

True tea connoisseurs are fanatics about water, and have been for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese texts on the preparation of tea, have spoken of teas that came to life and achieved magnificence when made with water from special streams, lakes, and springs. The Japanese stated–almost 500 years ago–that “the water used for tea comes ideally from high-mountain streams created by the melting of snow.” All this attention to water is no accident. Even today, it takes the best water to make the best tea.

The Golden List

These are bottled waters that tea experts around the globe agree are ideally suited for making exceptional tea:

Volvic (France) S.Bernardo (Italy)Spa (Belgium) Luso (Portugal) Norwater (Norway) Viking Springwater (Norway) Alaskan Glacier Gold Water (United States) Crystal Geyser (United States) Rocky Mountain (United States) Aquator (Canada) Bourassa Canadian (Canada) Valvert (Belgium) Highland Spring (United Kingdom) Naya(Canada) Fiji (Fiji)

This list is not necessarily all-inclusive. There are certainly bound to be other waters that make excellent tea. So how exactly can one make an informed choice before purchasing this all-important ingredient in the preparation of fine tea? By remembering the following points:

Softness: You’re looking for water that is not heavily mineralized. Often, a dead giveaway is the presence of the term “mineral water” on the bottle. Conversely, you also don’t want water that is too soft, or artificially softened. Probably the best sources of water that will fit comfortably in the median between too hard and too soft are from glacial sources. If the water says it comes from “glacial springs”, or “glacial under melting”, it’s probably ideal for tea.

Smell: If the water smells like anything, including the bottle containing it, discard it as unusable.

Taste: Here is where you can really make a solid determination of a water’s suitability for tea. When you taste it, do you detect anything other than a snappy, crisp, cleanness? For instance, many mineral waters such as Pellegrino are known for their slight acidity and faint tartness. While waters with these types of mineral tastes might be delicious, they will ruin fine tea. Avoid waters with distinctively mineral tastes.

Home Filtration Systems

Many people filter their own tap water using one of the many commercially available home water filtration systems, while others obtain their water from reverse osmosis filtration services, or from machines dispensing “pure” water outside of grocery stores. Whether or not these water sources are suitable for tea probably depends on the quality of the local tap water they are filtering.

“Emerald trees on Lushan
are held in swirling mist.
No wine can touch the senses
Like this tea made with spring water.”

Bai Juyi, Tang Dynasty Poet

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