July 26, 2013 |
When I was growing up, tea was something I was given by my mother and grandmother as a cure for colds. "Drink some hot tea, and you will feel better. I guarantee it. " My choices were pretty simple, Tetley or Lipton. Today, food stores stock scores of teas. And Americans are drinking it, for taste and for health. According to the Tea Assn. of the USA, Americans drank more than 65 billion servings of tea, or more than 3 billion gallons, in 2011. Teas are sold to aid in digestion, promote blood circulation, help you sleep better and even make you smarter.
February 24, 2003 |
When Americans drink tea, it's usually black tea, often iced (and in the South, sugared). Many of the recent studies on tea, however, have been done on green tea, served hot, the kind favored in Asia. No one knows for sure whether tea type makes a difference when it comes to health, but experts say all kinds of teas from the Camellia sinensis plant probably have some health benefits.
July 29, 1993 |
At Sun Long Tea, a clerk offers you a sample cup of fresh Oolong and urges you to inhale its aromatic steam. "It's cleansing to the system," she says as you breathe in. Looking around the shop, with its stately, antique-style Chinese furniture, transports you to an era when tea-making was elevated to an art form and teahouses were the center of Chinese social life and business dealings.
April 26, 1990 |
All tea leaves come from the same plant species, but different growing conditions, processing and blending create distinctive tea varieties, including the three major categories--black, green and oolong. Black tea is created by drying and fermenting the leaves, which are then fired to halt fermentation. It is this final process that turns them black. Green tea is steamed immediately after harvest to prevent fermentation.
December 16, 2001 |
We're told that Americans are evolving into serious tea drinkers rather than just chilling out with iced tea or dipping an occasional bag into a mug of hot water. Still, the teas most in demand are sweetened, flavored and novelty teas--witness the craze for Thai tea, then Indian chai and now boba tea with its bouncing tapioca balls. Diet teas have drawn attention. And green tea is on a roll as a health and beauty aid.
May 12, 1994 |
Something new is brewing for American tea drinkers--rare teas from Vietnam that will be ready for distribution here this summer. The specialty teas, some exotically flavored and packaged in handcrafted, folk-art containers, are worlds apart from the mass-produced, serviceable tea used for everyday drinking in Vietnam.
May 25, 1989 |
Much of the tea that Americans sip comes from plantations around Munnar, a cool, hilly town in the South Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is the southern domain of Tata Tea Ltd., the world's largest integrated tea company: It grows, processes, packs and distributes tea, unlike companies that merely buy and blend it. Tata is India's leading manufacturer of instant tea, and the United States is its main market. Some 1.5 million pounds of tea powder are shipped annually to a Tata factory in Plant City, Fla., near Tampa, for final processing.
February 3, 2005 |
My tiny acupuncturist Victoria, whom I affectionately call Sadistic Needle-Poking Dragon Lady only because I know I could take her in a fight, waggled a finger in my face. "No more coffee!" she barked. "It's bad for your qi!" Just thinking about it now, I get a chill down my spine. Which would be nicely taken care of by a vanilla nonfat latte, but I digress. It's not that I've ever been a daily coffee drinker, and I'm certainly not hooked on caffeine.
September 17, 1998 |
Did you know all tea comes from the same plant? Whether it's in Lipton bags or the fancy loose-leaf oolong variety, all tea originates from a green bush called Camellia sinensis. Also noteworthy is that the United States imports practically all of its tea, mostly from Argentina, and the quality isn't that great. There's only one tea plantation in this country--in Charleston, S.C.,--and it serves mainly as a tourist attraction.
November 1, 2000 |
In my family, we were tea drinkers, an admission that sounds almost quaint these days, given the coffee craze that has swept the continent over the past few decades. Somehow, my family slipped through that grip of mass social conversion and kept right on drinking tea as if coffee had never been invented. As a result, I grew up rather archaically knowing what a proper cup of tea tastes like, and I was brought up to be fussy about it, as only a tea drinker can be.