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Food Photo: Brewing Tea in A Cup

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Tea

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring boiling hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many people enjoy.

Consumption of tea (especially green) is beneficial to health and longevity given its antioxidant, flavanols, flavonoids, polyphenols, and catechins content. Tea catechins have known anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities, help to regulate food intake, and have an affinity for cannabinoid receptors, which may suppress pain, nausea, and provide calming effects.

Consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of diseases that cause functional disability, such as “stroke, cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis” in the elderly.

Tea contains L-theanine, and its consumption is strongly associated with a calm but alert and focused, relatively productive (alpha wave dominant), mental state in humans. This mental state is also common to meditative practice.

The phrase herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea. Alternative phrases for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with "tea" as it is construed here.

Tea plants are native to East and South Asia and probably originated around the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma and southwest China.

Although there are tales of tea's first use as a beverage, no one is sure of its exact origins. The first recorded drinking of tea is in China, with the earliest records of tea consumption dating back to the 10th century BC. It was already a common drink during the Qin Dynasty (3rd century BC) and became widely popular during the Tang Dynasty, when it was spread to Korea and Japan. Trade of tea by the Chinese to Western nations in the 19th century spread tea and the tea plant to numerous locations around the world.

Tea was imported to Europe during the Portuguese expansion of the 16th century, at which time it was termed chá. In 1750, tea experts traveled from China to the Azores Islands, and planted tea, along with jasmines and mallows, to give the tea aroma and distinction. Both green tea and black tea continue to grow in the islands, which are the main suppliers to continental Portugal. Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II, took the tea habit to Great Britain around 1660, but it was not until the 19th century that tea became as widely consumed in Britain as it is today. In Ireland, tea had become an everyday beverage for all levels of society by the late 19th century, but it was first consumed as a luxury item on special occasion such as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic work gatherings such as quiltings.

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

 

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