traditional Asian tea

Tea History and Its Health Benefits

When you drink tea, do you ever think of these questions: Which country created tea? Where did tea come from? When was tea first crafted? Who created tea?

Tea has been around for almost 5,000 years. A classic tea history narrative passed down through generations recounts tea's discovery as a pleasant accident.

According to legend, Emperor Shen Nung found it over 5,000 years ago in ancient China (2737 BC). The Chinese Emperor was drinking hot water under a tea bush one day.

When a leaf fell into the hot water, aromatic essential oils were released, producing a unique experience and taste. He sipped the fascinating brew, not noting the colour shift, and was immediately delighted by its exquisite flavour and rejuvenating effect. 

After tasting the beverage, the emperor recalled a warm sensation that pervaded every part of his body. Shen Nung gave it the name "ch'a," which means "to verify or investigate" in Chinese. As a result, ancient China became the origin of tea and the emperor, the person who invented it.

Tea became popular in China, Japan, and, ultimately, all around the world. Tea had become popular among European monarchy by the 1600s. Tea was transported from China by Dutch and Portuguese merchants to the United Kingdom, where it was sold for $100 per pound.

The geography and environment in which it is grown, as well as the time of plucking and processing methods, all influence the quality of the tea. True tea comes in four varieties: black tea, white tea, green tea, and oolong tea, all of which are made by harvesting only the top two leaves and buds of the camellia sinensis plant.

The flavour variances are attributable to how various teas are prepared. Before being crushed and cooked, black tea is dried and fermented for the longest period compared to any tea. Oolong is prepared in a similar manner, but with a shorter fermentation period.

The leaves of green tea are steamed and scalded but not fermented. White tea is processed the least, as it is solely harvested and air-dried. Subsequently, continue reading to know a little more in depth about the true teas.

Black Tea

cup of black tea with biscuits

Back then, green tea was popular in China until the mid-17th century. As overseas trade increased, so did the popularity of black tea. After being harvested, tea leaves are exposed to heated air for many hours to produce black tea. After that, the leaves are rolled to allow the essential oils to disperse and penetrate the buds.

They are then passed through a screen, with small leaves proceeding to the next stage and larger leaves being rolled again. These are then baked to stop the oxidation process. The ultimate product is a full-bodied tea that tea enthusiasts all over the world adore.

Key Health Advantages:

  • Benefits your hair and skin 
  • Lowers blood pressure and the risk of having a stroke
  • Reduces blood sugar levels

White Tea

pouring a cup of white tea from pot

White teas are the rarest of all exotic indulgences that were formerly the exclusive luxury of royalty. At the start of the season, the new fine shoots are hand-picked with the delicate silver doves still attached. The sophisticated light-flavoured tea leaves come from China's Fujian province, India's Darjeeling, and sections of Sri Lanka.

Key Health Advantages:

  • Increases bone density and helps to keep teeth and gums healthy
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis may be prevented.

Green Tea

green tea

Green tea leaves are processed the least. They don't go through the oxidation process. After being plucked, the leaves are left to wither for a few hours. The leaves are then steamed or panned to remove moisture and trap antioxidants within them. Green tea flavours vary by country, with more grassy green teas coming from Japan, fruity and chocolatey teas from China.

Key Health Advantages:

  • Ensures higher metabolism
  • Increases immunity to diseases
  • It's an excellent weight-loss supplement

Oolong Tea

oolong tea

Since its introduction to the globe, oolong tea has been a favourite of the imperial court. It is made from the Camellia Sinensis plant and is semi-fermented and oxidised. Only a professional will be able to extract the proper flavour and oxidise it to the desired level. The tea leaves, which can be oxidised from 20% to 80%, are rubbed repeatedly to achieve the desired texture and flavour. Oolong tea flavours range from light floral to nutty, toasted, depending on the extent of oxidation.

Key Health Advantages:

  • Helps with weight loss
  • Reduces the indications of ageing and improves heart function

Choose Your Own Cup of Tea

TCM Tea in a can
Inner Radiance Tea

The good news is that there are numerous health benefits to drinking your favourite cup of tea, regardless of the variety.

Tea is high in phytochemicals, particularly flavonoids known as catechins, which have antioxidant qualities that may aid in the battle against free radicals.

A recent study also highlighted the benefits of another green tea ingredient, L-Theanine, which may help protect against viruses and germs. And lastly, according to another research findings, tea drinkers were five times less likely to develop a cold or flu than coffee drinkers – tee hee!

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