Guide

A tee tree in your cup

What is tea?

Tea is a stimulating drink, made by infusing tea tree leaves. The tea tree originated as a Chinese shrub. It was then imported from China around the 17th century by Dutch Jesuit traders.
They discovered its digestive properties, and introduced it to France. Tea ranks second among the world’s most consumed beverages. Depending on the country, tea is prepared in different ways. In India, for example, milk is often added, along with spices and sometimes honey. The English drink their tea with just a splash of milk. Utensils and cups also vary, depending on the country or region where the tea is consumed.

Tea comes from tea trees

The tea tree is also called Camellia Sinensis. There are three types of Camellia around the world:

  • Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, native to the Yunan region in Chin
  • Camellia Sinensis Assamica, native to Assam, a region in the north of India.
  • Camellia Sinensis Cambodiensis, from Cambodia.

Tea trees in the wild can reach heights of 15 to 20 meters, but a tree intended for cultivation is generally only 1.2 to 1.5 meters high, in order to facilitate harvesting. It has a lifespan of approximately 75 years, but isn’t “usable” until it reaches the age of five. Tea trees require a hot and humid climate, with light, regular rainfall, which is found only at certain latitudes. The youngest leaves are light green. These contain the highest levels of caffeine and tannins. Their taste is the most flavorful and refined. The younger and smaller the leaves, the more caffeine they contain. At the end of the branch is a bud covered with fine white fuzz that is simply the young unopened shoot, from which white tea is made. This bud is particularly sought after. The further down the branch you go, the bigger the leaves get, and the less flavorful the tea will be.

Tea stimulates without the jitters

Tea contains more caffeine than coffee, pound for pound, but less ends up in your cup because it’s normally much weaker infused. In addition to the intensity of the infusion, the type of tea, the conditions in which it was grown, the methods used to process it, along with other variables, also affect the caffeine content. There is, however, no relationship between the color of a tea and its caffeine content. Theine, the caffeine in tea, stimulates meditation and reflection, while the caffeine in coffee provides more of an energy boost. Caffeine from tea stays in the body from six to eight hours.

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