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Health Benefits of Tea

article and photographs by James Scott
 
 
You may not know it, but not including plain water, Tea is the number one drink in the world. In fact Tea accounts for more than all soft drinks, Coffee, and alcohol put together! Tea originated in China around 2700 BC by the Emperor Shen Nung, now every country seems to have their own version of Tea. Tea can be obviously enjoyed as a drink, but it also has many medicinal properties as well. 
 
All Teas have caffeine and theanine which improve and heighten mental alertness and boost exercise endurance. They also contain antioxidants in the form of Polphenols that include flavonoids. These protect against cancer, Heart Disease, and clogged arteries. 
 
On a research visit to Tea Village in Pattaya we learned not all teas are the same, each Tea type has different properties and should be prepared differently
 
White Tea: The lightest of teas, is both uncured and unfermented. It has the highest and most potent anticancer properties. Best brewed at: 65 to 70 °C (149 to 158 °F) Steep Time: 1-2 Minutes
 
Green Tea: One of the most popular teas made from steamed tea leaves has a very wide range of health benefits in that it may interfere with growth of cancer cells, burn fat, reduce stress, and reduce risks of disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and reduce risk of stroke. it has also been linked to improved bone mineral density.
Best brewed at: 75 to 80 °C (167 to 176 °F) Steep Time: 1-2 Minutes
 
Oolong Tea: Helps to lower Bad cholesterol levels.
Best brewed at: 80 to 85 °C (176 to 185 °F) Steep Time: 2-3 Minutes
 
Black Tea: With a strong flavor black tea is often used for Chai tea and other strong flavor teas. Black tea helps fight lung damage from smoking and lowers stroke risk.
Best brewed at: 99 °C (210 °F) Steep Time: 2-3 Minutes
 
Pu-erh Tea: This is the aged and pressed tea you will often see displayed in finer tea shops. It is often pressed into round “cakes” and will be date stamped to show location and season. It is then aged like a fine wine and its value and potency increase with age. It has a strong taste and is associated with weight loss and low cholesterol. 
Best brewed at: 95 to 100 °C (203 to 212 °F) Steep Time: Limitless
 
This is by no means a comprehensive Tea listing as there are also flowering Teas, Herbal Teas, Rooibos, and many others. I have always enjoyed teas and was aware of many varieties, however while researching this article I made a trip to Tea Village in Pattaya. They are a boutique Tea shop offering a large variety of teas, cups, kettles, and anything else you would need to make your perfect cup of tea. They also offer tastings which I highly recommend. Not only did I get to try a variety of teas, they explained what each one was for, and the benefits and history of many of the teas. Starting with very light white teas and working our way to the very strong aged Pu-erh Teas with an almost bitterness and very distinct flavor. 
I recommend you try this yourself as you will be surprised with the flavor range and strength of the different varieties, and will most likely walk away with some new favorites.
 
For more information on having your own Tea tasting party contact tea-village.com