Tea is the most popular manufactured drink in the world in terms of consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world – including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol – put together.
Most tea consumed outside East Asia is produced on large plantations in the hilly regions of India and Sri Lanka, and is destined to be sold to large businesses. Opposite this large-scale industrial production are many small "gardens," sometimes minuscule plantations that produce highly sought-after teas prized by gourmets. These teas are both rare and expensive, and can be compared to some of the most expensive wines in this respect.
Cultivation and Harvesting
Tea plants are propagated from seed and cutting; it takes about 4 to 12 years for a tea plant to bear seed, and about three years before a new plant is ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, tea plants require at least 127 cm (50 inches) of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils. Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft.) above sea level: at these heights, the plants grow more slowly and acquire a better flavor.
Only the top 1–2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves are called flushes. A plant will grow a new flush every seven to 15 days during the growing season, and leaves that are slow in development tend to produce better-flavored teas. Pests of tea include mosquito bugs that can tatter leaves, so insecticides may be sprayed; it is important that these be applied judiciously to avoid excessive residues.
Health Benefits of Tea
· Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
· Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
· White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
· Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn't backed the claims.
· Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.
The video shows How to make Tea with herbs. This is a must try!