Cold Days Call for Hot Tea

Copyright Stuartmiles

January is the perfect time to curl up with a hot cup of tea. It’s no wonder then that this is National Hot Tea Month. Quick facts about tea:

  • There are two types of tea: True tea comes from a tree called Camellia sinensis and herbal tea comes from a variety of herbs.
  • Tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant that has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • The fluoride in tea contributes to oral health by slowing tooth decay and the tannins in tea inhibit bacterial growth.
  • Tea bags were originally used to sell samples of loose tea from India in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When customers decided it was easier to brew the tea in the bags rather than putting the leaves into an infuser, the tea bag was born.
  • Tea is generally taken with food and each country has a different specialty snack or meal for this purpose. In England, small cucumber sandwiches or biscuits accompany afternoon tea. In Japan, the kaiseki tea ceremony meal consists of one soup and three sides, including sashimi (raw meat or fish). In India, they adjusted the British tradition of afternoon tea to their own tastes with dishes such as pakoras, chaats, and bhel poori.
  • Green tea has been shown in studies to fight cardiovascular disease and  stimulate the immune system.
  • Not everyone takes tea the same way. While in the UK they take their tea with milk and sugar, Tibetans drink their tea with salt and rancid yak butter (known as po cha, the tea is consumed all day).
  • The most popular type of tea is black, which makes up 93 percent of all tea consumed. Green tea comes in second with four percent of consumption, followed by oolong at two percent.
  • Tea has about 40 mg of caffeine per serving, or half as much as coffee.
  • China produces the majority of tea, with India coming in second.