You might be surprised to learn that, not counting water, tea is the most consumed beverage on the planet. As a matter of fact, according to data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, six billion cups of tea are drunk around the world each day!
Tea is positively ancient and is thought to have first been harvested back in 2700 BC by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung, who was known as “the divine healer.” For centuries, tea was used across Asia as a health tonic to promote long life and vitality. Today, modern research around the world is confirming what people have believed throughout the ages - that drinking tea is a key to good health.
The tea plant is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is native to China, Tibet and northern India. All true tea comes from the same species of plant, Camellia sinensis. The variations between black, oolong, green, and white tea have to do with how the tea is grown, harvested, and processed. Black tea, for example, is fermented, while green tea is not.
WHAT'S IN IT?
Polyphenols are natural plant compounds found in tea. There are estimated to be 30,000 polyphenolic compounds in tea including catechins, theaflavins, tannins and flavonoids. Within this group, the catechin compounds are what have been widely studied for their health benefits. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most active of these catechins and is often the subject of studies regarding tea antioxidants.
The content of health-supporting polyphenols in tea is a direct result of how tea is grown and processed and, above all, its quality. Cheap teas grown in poor conditions and heavily processed will not contain nearly the same level of healthful nutrients as specialty teas, like Japanese matcha green tea, that contain vastly higher levels of polyphenols. As a result, most teas from the grocery store won’t support your health in a significant way.
Early in Chinese history, tea was reserved for nobility and Buddhist monks. It wasn’t until the 14th century that teahouses sprung up all over the country and people would come at all hours of the day to enjoy the beverage and each other’s company. To this day, teahouses are still popular gathering places across Asia and are proliferating all over the western world as well. The importance of tea can be seen at every Chinese meal, where a cup of tea is always served.
Japan is where tea consumption became an artform in the Japanese tea ceremony. The rituals of the tea ceremony evolved over centuries and survive to this day as an honored and thriving tradition. The tea used for the ceremony is matcha, made from ground green tea leaves, and whisked with hot water to create the purest form of tea: nothing is added or modified.
In India tea is a staple in every home, restaurant, sold on the streets and in train stations. The ubiquitous beverage is usually black tea mixed with spices, such as cardamom and cloves, and sweetened with milk and sugar. This unique Indian preparation is what we in the west call Chai tea.
For centuries, serving guests tea was a symbol of Russian hospitality. Russian taste in tea is quite unique - they like their tea black and smoked to varying degrees. It is enjoyed with sugar or even a spoonful of jam mixed into the cup.
And who hasn’t heard about British “Tea Time?” Anna, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating this famous tradition. In her day, during the 1800’s, most people only ate two meals - a large breakfast late in the morning and a late dinner. The Dutchess would get hungry by the afternoon and started asking her servants to bring her a cup of tea with some sweets. She began sharing this custom with her friends, and afternoon tea soon became popular among the aristocracy. “Tea time” spread to the rest of British society quickly and the tradition continues to this day as a lasting part of English culture.
Tea is an integral part of life for literally billions of people across the world, with Turkey leading the pack with highest per capita tea consumption. Here in the USA, 1.42 million pounds of tea is consumed by Americans every single day!
Want to jump on the tea bandwagon and enjoy its numerous health benefits? Try our Organic Matcha Power®! Less than 1% of all matcha in the world is of this extraordinary quality and purity since most of it is reserved for special ceremonial use within Japan. With more than ten times the antioxidants compared to traditional teas, you can enjoy this “elixir of immortality” as people have been doing for centuries.