Tea is drunk all over the world, and is the second most popular drink after water. So why is it so popular?
1. Teas are available in different flavours and varieties. In the same way that not all red or white wines taste the same, not all teas taste the same. Green Tea is made from only the leaves of the tea plant. Black Tea is more oxidised and stronger than Green Tea. White Tea is fast dried whereas Green Tea is roasted. Oolong Tea is a Chinese tea that is in between Green and Black Tea. Herbal teas or fruit teas are strictly not teas, but infusions. This means that there are many types to choose from and so something for everyone.
2. Tea is refreshing and invigorating, but isn’t overpowering or bitter like some coffees can be. Tea is also much healthier than fizzy drinks, and can be drunk all day without the well known side effects of fizzy drinks.
3. Tea contains far less caffeine than coffee. This means that tea drinkers can enjoy more cups of tea as it is less stimulating than coffee. It is therefore the perfect drink for the evening as it is much less likely to cause sleep problems unlike coffee.
4. Tea is easy to make and specialist equipment is not vital. A cup, kettle, water and tea bag are the bare minimum requirements for a cup of tea. However, a lot of people prefer to use a teapot to make the tea in, and will take milk and / or sugar in their tea. Connoisseurs usually prefer to use loose tea and a tea strainer rather than tea bags. This is the equivalent of using fresh ingredients rather than having a microwave ready meal.
5. Different teas require different brewing times and water temperatures. Getting the time or temperature wrong will mean that the tea won’t taste as it was intended. This learning process ensures that each cup of tea is more than worth the effect.
6. Although traditionally grown in China, India, Japan, Kenya, and Sri Lanka, less obvious countries such as Iran, Brazil and Turkey also produce tea. Each country’s tea will taste different because of the climate and the way it is prepared.
7. Tea is well known as a relaxing drink, and when sweetened, can help to reduce the effects of shock. This is another reason why people are often offered it if they have been involved in an accident.
8. Despite being grown in warm countries, tea can be used as a warming drink when it is cold. Alternatively, and quite surprisingly, a nice cup of tea is very refreshing when it is warm
9. Over recent years the health benefits of tea, especially Green Tea, have become more apparent. From use as a weight loss aid to helping to lessen the effects of Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease, Green Tea could be called a “super drink”.
10. The process of making and drinking tea is steeped in tradition, and can be a social event in itself, and a “cup of tea” is rarely just that. Japanese tea ceremonies are very formal, and the ceremony is almost a spiritual event as much as a social gathering. Afternoon tea can range from a mug of something lukewarm and wet with a slice of dried out cake in a café in a department store, to a much more lavish affair involving many types of sandwiches, cakes and biscuits, and tea served in the finest bone china in a posh restaurant.
Now you know why tea is so popular, why not put the kettle on and enjoy a cup of the most popular hot drink in the world!