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A brief history of tea

Tea has an ancient history which extends throughout Asia, from India to China to South East Asia. There are records in China as far back as the 10th century BCE. During the Tang Dynasty, tea was very popular, and through trade it reached Korea and Japan.

 
Throughout the 16th century AD, the Portuguese traded with China and discovered this popular drink, then termed Chá. Tea arrived in Britain through the Dutch East India Trading Company around 1660, and it was generally consumed by the wealthy until the 1800s, due to the high taxes. Later  when taxes were reduced  it became a widely demanded commodity.
 
Today, the top tea producing countries (in order) are: China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and now include Australia.
 
Storing Tea
 
The best way to store tea is in a cool, dark place away from heat and light; such as in the kitchen cupboard. It has been  traditionally stored  tea boxes, tins or canisters. An airtight container is preferable.
 
How long can tea be kept?
 
Stored in optimal conditions such as mentioned above, tea can last for approximately two years.
 
What are flavored teas?
 
Flavored teas can include white, green or black. They are often scented with flowers or flavored with concentrated extracts from fruit, herbs or spices, or blended with the same. Some of the blended or infused ingredients contain rose petals, jasmine blossom, mint, rose hips, hibiscus, calendula petals and cornflowers. Dried fruits and essential oils from fruits such as vanilla, bergamot, orange and lemon are also often added.
 
How much caffeine is in tea?
 
In a cup (approximately 250 ml) of tea made with loose leaves:
 
Black Tea: 70 mg
Oolong Tea: 50 mg
Green Tea: 40 mg
White Tea: 15 mg
 
Can you  lower the amount of caffeine in a cup?
 
Yes by using a little less leaf and brewing the tea with slightly cooler water for a shorter period of time. Use green, white and lightly oxidised oolong teas for best results.
 
After approximately 30 seconds of “steeping”, nearly 80% of the caffeine will be extracted. It’s easy to remove most of the caffeine from any tea by steeping  the tea in hot water for up to 45 seconds, then discard the liquid. Add water to the leaves a second time and brew for the amount of time that is appropriate for that particular tea.
 
What about decaffeinated tea?
 
All tea naturally contains caffeine; it’s just the amount that varies. Choose a tea that  has been decaffeinated by carbon dioxide. This method results in no chemical residue being left in the tea, and the flavor and tea compounds are relatively unharmed.
 
Are all teas called tea?
 
Authentic tea van only be made only from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis bush. This includes black tea, oolongs, green teas, yellow teas and white tea. Drinks made from herbs or natural fruit are not traditionally known as “tea”; they are called “infusions” or  ”tisanes”. The term "herbal teas" does not mean that they have been made from, or include the leaves from the Camellia Sinensis bush.
 
Is tea good for your health?
 
A key benefit of drinking tea is that it contains the antioxidant effect of its poly-phenols, which may assist in the prevention of various illnesses. The inclusion of various other added natural ingredients such as dried berries may also contain properties which could be beneficial to health.