Dive into the World of Healthy Hedonism by Amy Mia Goldsmith
As legend has it, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was a famed herbalist. He spent his time researching plants and their medicinal properties, as he believed strongly that one could find a cure for any ailment, if only they were to look at what nature had to offer. One day, when the servants were boiling some water for their emperor (which was taken to aid digestion in the ancient times), a few tea leaves accidentally blew from the tree and fell into the pot. The servants never noticed, and the water was served. The emperor saw the leaves, and just as he was about to ask for a new pot, his curiosity took the better of him. He drank the water, and found the taste to be more appealing than anything else he ever drank. And thus, tea was born, in 2737 BC.
Are you new to tea? Well, we can help you start. There are technically only a few types of tea: black, white, green, oolong, and dark. They are all made from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, and the difference lies in the process of fermentation, where the leaves come from, and which time of the year they were picked. All other teas are called “tisanes,” herbal blends of plants, roots, or seeds with potent taste. However, this term is rarely used, and the easiest thing to do is simply refer to all of them as tea. Want to know more about the history of tea and get some suggestions on which ones to try? Read on.
A part of many cultures
While a lot of us think of tea as the go-to drink when we’re sick, for a huge part of the world it’s actually one of the greatest pleasures, with a long history. From Russian family huddled around a samovar on a cold winter night, to a cup shared between friends in a Turkish cafe, many countries have their own little traditions when it comes to this beverage. It’s more than a refreshment – tea is our comfort when we’re upset, our elixir when we’re sick; tea is our simple Sunday afternoon with family, a moment of bonding, a moment of friendship. From China and India who produce more than any other countries in the world, to Ireland and the UK, who consume the most per capita, tea is important and irreplaceable.
Native to South Africa, the rooibos tea has gained popularity over the last few years. With its mild taste and rich color, this little powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamin C is used to aid digestion and has incredible benefits for skin and hair. It can also help prevent osteoporosis, and since it doesn’t have any caffeine, it’s a good, soothing tea to drink before bed to avoid insomnia. Try a rooibos vanilla chai mix if you want an explosion of taste and smell to lift your mood and make your entire house smell like a garden.
Ah, matcha. Closely related to the Japanese Tea Ceremony, matcha green tea is one of the healthiest, most high-quality powdered teas you can try. In Japan, it is served as a part of the ceremony for Shokyaku (the honored guest). This tradition dates back to the 12th century, and attention is paid to everything, from the aesthetics of the room and the sounds surrounding the guests, to the preparation itself, which must come from the heart. Matcha is a superfood; it’s known to improve memory and concentration, and to boost energy and strengthen the immune system. It’s good for weight loss and full of antioxidants, and Buddhist monks even use it to help meditation. Why not serve iced minty matcha on a hot afternoon to refresh yourself and enjoy the taste?
Any green tea is good at lowering blood pressure and warding off diseases, but ginseng green is particularly excellent for heart health, and even as a way to help regular sugar levels in diabetic patients. Sip on your ginseng green as you chat with friends and let it calm you.
A silly name for a fun, delicious black tea. The leaves look similar to monkey paws, hence the name, and it comes from the Fujian province of China. It stimulates circulation, helps digestion, and helps prevent coronary disease and even cancer. Golden Monkey tea is tasty and potent, and perfect for both the experienced tea drinkers and beginners.
The tea drinking ritual
While you can drink it on the go, there’s a lot more satisfaction in creating your own ritual. Take the time for it, set up the table on the balcony or in the living room, fill the room with flowers. Serve it in a beautiful teapot and decorated cups. Invite friends over, and read each other’s fortune from the tea leaves, just for fun, just so you can laugh. Simply, create an atmosphere of bonding and warmth, and let the tea connect you with your loved ones.
What a delightful way to indulge, to awaken your taste buds. It doesn’t matter whether you drink it with honey, lemon, cream, or sugar – create your own perfect cup and enjoy the hedonistic pleasure of drinking tea.