Did You Know? 96% of the UK's cups of tea are made from tea bags!
History of Tea
According to Chinese Legend, tea was first discovered more than 5000 years ago by the second emperor of China Shen-Nung in 2737 BC.
Whilst travelling around his empire the emperor was resting under a tree when a light breeze blew leaves from a tea tree into boiling hot water that his servants were preparing, which resulted in the first known brew of tea.
The tea plant is an evergreen tree and a member of the Camellia family. Tea plants are grown in more than 25 countries around the world and have oval shaped, shiny, smooth leaves. The tea tree if left to grow wild, can grow to a height of many metres. However, under cultivation, tea trees resemble more of a bush and are usually kept at under a metre high, allowing the tea tree to produce more tea leaves and making the tea bush easier to pick.
Tea bushes are harvested or hand plucked every 7-14 days, only the top leaves and a bud are plucked from the sprigs on the tea bushes. After the tea bushes have been harvested for their tea leaves, tea production goes through five stages:
- Withering to soften the leaves in temperatures of 25-30 degrees centigrade.
- Rolling the tea leaves to release the essential oils.
- Fermentation of the tea leaves to provide the colour, aroma and flavour during the brewing process.
- Drying the tea leaves to stop the fermentation process and evaporate all the moisture. This process ensures the tea is of the highest quality.
- Finally, the screening process to sort the tea leaves into grades and size, and also removes any stalk or tea dust.
Tea characteristics and flavours vary dependent upon the soil type, the altitude and the climatic conditions the tea plants grow in. Tea can be easily contaminated, as tea can pick up any smell or flavour close to it. This is why it is very important to keep tea in a cool, dry place preferably in an airtight container to help keep its natural flavour , aroma and freshness.
Health Benefits of Tea
The first recorded mention of tea in Europe, comes from a Venetian merchant in 1589, when he mentions the reason for the long living of Asians is due to their tea drinking.
Studies around the world support the health benefits of tea drinking, although health experts can not agree on every aspect, there does seem to be overwhelming research confirming that tea can help to protect against many diseases including heart disease and cancer.
Tea contains high levels of antioxidants, some of which are called polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins. These antioxidants take on the free radicals in our bodies and help to protect us against them harming healthy cells. Today our understanding of antioxidants has increased dramatically, and their disease prevention is seen as a natural way to help protect and fight against damaging free radicals.Tea also contains fluoride which helps protect teeth and has bacteria killing properties too.
Ceylon tea is world famous for its golden colour, rich intense flavour,and aromatic hints of Orange and spice.This English green tea is simply wonderfully refreshing to drink and is good for you too, being packed with all the antioxidants.
Sri Lanka's formally known as Ceylon, central highlands,low temperature,with high humidity and favourable rainfall, are the perfect conditions for growing premium quality tea.
Tea - refreshing and delicious - enjoy!