July 24 – Tea Time

I am definitely a morning coffee drinker.  I came to the habit later in my life than many, but in recent years have come to really appreciate good coffee.  However, my afternoon habit is tea. I’m sipping a nice cup right now as I type away mid afternoon.  This habit first started after visiting a couple of tea plantations in Kenya (the worlds 5th largest producer), where they introduced me to the idea that different teas require different preparation, and once I started applying those rules found that my teas tasted much better.  If you can believe it, since then I’ve actually read several books on tea, and so today I thought I’d share a few of the interesting points I’ve picked up along the way.

64% of the worlds tea is produced in India, China and Sri Lanka.  2/3 of all of this is reserved for domestic consumption.  The rest is exported.  80% of that to Europe.  Only 20% of that 1/3 (about 7%) of the worlds tea is consumed in North America.  It’s simply not a habit that’s been picked up as much in this part of the world.

Over 2,500,000,000 litres of specialty tea beverages were consumed in Europe last year.  These include cans, bottles and packets of flavoured, iced and sparkling teas.  Of course this all in addition to their regular morning and afternoon hot teas.

The record of tea drinking goes to the Irish who consume an average of just under 8lbs per person, per year.

Tea is the second most consumed fluid on the planet next only to water.

About $1,200,000 is the highest price ever paid for a kilo of tea.  Obviously it was a very rare leaf.  Most rare teas will cost between $300 and $12,000 per kilo.

It takes 4 years for a tea plant to produce usable tea leaves.

The oldest trees, ranging from 100-200 years old give the best yields.

The oldest tea tree in the world is 3,200 years old and stands 30m (98ft) tall.  Its located in the Yunnan Province of China.

The caffeine in tea (actually called theine) is less harmful than that found in coffee, and actually has different affects.  It stimulates the nervous system, but to a lesser extent that caffeine from coffee, and helps to improve concentration.  It has a positive affect on Cardiovascular health and can help regulate cholesterol.  There are obviously countless uses for tea in preventative medicine in the Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, including anti-viral, ant-bacterial, and anti-coagulating uses.  Tea can be diuretic and toxin flushing.  The benefits of teas run far and wide. 

I like knowing that I might be creating a positive health outcome from my afternoon tea, but more than that, I just like how it makes me feel a bit relaxed.  It’s literally a warm feeling.

Hope you enjoyed these little tidbits.  Enjoy your next cup knowing you’re doing your body good!!

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