What is tea? Delicious hot or iced, a single type or an aromatic tea blend, with or without milk or sweetener, tea is a beverage that is much loved around the world. In fact, tea is the second most widely consumed drink worldwide (second only to water).
To many tea aficionados, the word "tea" refers only to traditional teas from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), including black, pu-erh, oolong, green, and white teas (which all come from this same plant, but are processed differently). Tea estates from around the world - China, Sri Lanka, Kenya, India, Japan, and more - share their traditional tea with us, inviting us to experience exotic flavors, aromas, and locales we've only dreamed of.
To others, the answer to the question, "What is tea?", also includes herbal teas or "tisanes," such as Rooibos, chamomile, ginger, and peppermint teas. Countless fragrant and delicious herbal teas are available to promote our good health and well-being.
Tea is made by adding freshly boiled or hot water to loose or bagged tea and steeping the infusion for the desired amount of time (usually just a few minutes). While the amount of tea and steeping time are a matter of personal taste to the individual tea drinker, each tea type has its unique suggested tea amounts, water temperatures, and brewing times.
Many tea drinkers add extras to steeped tea, such as milk, sugar, honey, lemon, or a cinnamon stick.
| Related: Making the Perfect Cup of Tea
Herbal teas or tisanes can be "infusions" (where hot or boiling water is added, and the tea then steeped for the desired amount of time) or "concoctions." Typically preferred when the tougher parts of the plant are used (such as bark, seeds, or roots), a concoction is made by combining the tea ingredients with cold water, bringing the mixture to a boil, and simmering it over low heat for a period of time. Then, simply strain the mixture and enjoy.
As delightful as hot tea is, teas or herbal tisanes are also wonderful served at room temperature or iced. To make iced tea, simply brew tea at twice the usual strength, and pour immediately into a glass filled with ice cubes. Or, chill the tea and serve over ice later (get more helpful tips here for making iced tea).
| Related: Yummy Iced Tea Recipes on Pinterest
While it does take longer to make, "cold brewing" is another favorite way to make tea. According to Plum Deluxe, beautiful cold-brewed tea can be achieved simply by adding about 2 teaspoons of loose tea to 8 oz. cold water, and chilling in the fridge for about 8 hours. Yum!
Not only aromatic and a most delectable beverage, tea may also support and enhance our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Traditional herbal wisdom has treasured the benefits of teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant for centuries, and scientific research is now confirming how tea contributes much more to our lives than just a comforting, refreshing beverage.
Herbal tisanes, such as South African Rooibos tea and hibiscus tea, have also been valued for many years for their countless healthful and nurturing properties. Herbal teas provide a plethora of wellness benefits... Whether you're looking to calm a troubled tummy, ease a headache, ward off a cold or chill, or alleviate achy joints, chances are there is an herbal tea that may help.
We can enjoy and benefit from tea in so many different ways... as a hot or iced beverage, in a tea latte or tea smoothie, and even added to sweet and savory dishes when cooking or baking. Tea is lovely used topically, too. Or, why not share a cup of tea and a chat with a good friend, or color tea illustrations in a Tea Coloring Book to lift your spirits? The list of ways we can take pleasure in tea is endless.
What is tea to you? A soothing drink on a cold winter's night, a simple and natural way to promote wellness, a tasty way to hydrate... or does it play many roles in your life?
Whether you are a long-time tea expert or simply enjoy a comforting cuppa each afternoon, you are one of the millions of lives that tea has changed and benefited through the centuries.
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Medical College of Georgia. "Tea may contain more fluoride than once thought, research shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714104059.htm>.
Thankachan P, Walczyk T, Muthayya S, et al. Iron absorption in young Indian women: the interaction of iron status with the influence of tea and ascorbic acid. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;87(4):881-6.
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Before steeping a pot of this delicious brew, take some time to get to know more about potential chamomile tea side effects, precautions, and safe-use tips.
The benefits of chamomile tea for hair and scalp are wonderful reasons to explore this herbal tea’s topical uses.
You’ll be amazed at the many benefits of chamomile tea for physical, mental, and emotional wellness, once you’ve begun enjoying this gentle, aromatic herbal tea.
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