Tea - Duke's Materia Tonica

December 17, 2020 21:48

Tonic Tinctures Tea Benefits

Tea is a medicinal tonic that has long been processed in a variety of ways ^ to make this liquid beverage, made by steeped extraction of the leaves ^, into the most consumed beverage in the world, after water ^.


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The Two Common Species Varieties ^ of the Tea Plant Used to Make Tea:

  • Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (used for all types of tea)
  • Camellia sinensis var. assamica (used for black and some pu-erh)
  • And other rare varieties ^

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Types ^ of Tea Leaf Processing ^ and Classification ^

The degree of oxidation ^, meaning enzymatic exposure ^ of tea leaves to oxygen in the air, or fermentation ^, meaning introduction of microbial activity ^ into tea leaves, are responsible for many of the flavors and aromas in tea ^:

Types of Tea

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Tea Uses

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How Tea Works

Tea leaves contain a complex chemistry ^, commonly known for the moderate amounts of caffeine ^, that support nerve function and promote metabolism. Tea also has antioxidant catechins ^, that maintain vascular and cellular integrity and are part of how energy oxidation works; and many micronutrient vitamins ^ and minerals ^ that build-up nutrient density for overall health. Notably, the amino acid theanine was discovered in tea in 1949 ^ and is responsible for promoting cognition  and supporting the relaxing de-stress benefits of drinking tea.

Traditional herbalism recognizes the bitter flavor of tea which invigorates the body, quenches thirst, and supports digestion, especially of fats and proteins. Modern food research recognizes the savory umami flavor of tea ^ which comes from the amino acids glutamate and theanine.

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Tea Lifestyles

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Tea Books Reference, & Research

The processing of fresh harvested leaves into black tea activates an enzyme that acts upon the polyphenol flavonoids, creating theaflavin ^, which give black tea its unique flavor and potent antioxidant capacity. WebsiteOregon State University -Tea 

Tea is culture and is considered the best tonic according to the Tibetans, where tea is drunk daily as part of a complete diet to support and maintain health. They add yak butter, salt and possibly roasted barley flour to further increase nutrient density, nearly making a complete meal of tea. Book: Enjoy the visual journey on the Tea Horse Road: China's Ancient Trade Road to Tibet ^ by Michael Freeman ^ and Selena Ahmed ^.

However, too much tea may not be a good thing, even considering the age-old wisdom of the early 1900's, as Margaret Grieve states how black tea may be easier to tolerate as a daily beverage: "Taken moderately by healthy individuals it is harmless, but in excessive quantities it will produce unpleasant nervous and dyspeptic [old-school word for irritable indigestion] symptoms, the green variety being decidedly the more injurious." Website BookA Modern Herbal: Tea ^

Jason & Lindsey's Favorite Books:

  • Book: Tea - A User's Guide ^ by Tony Gebely ^
    • Comment: "Tony covers all the bases of every kind of tea, including all the rare to attain tea. Jason used this a checklist, having nearly tried all teas in this book, but only needing to try a few more to complete the checklist."






  • Book: Japanese Tea: A Comprehensive Guide ^ by Simona Zavadckyte ^
    • Comment: "Short but comprehensive book about the basics of Japanese teas without missing anything important. Simona covers areas where other authors missed some important specifics concerning Japanese tea." 

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Tea Brewing Guidance

Steeping tea ^ may be an art ^ to some people or the equivalent of an engineer's skill ^ to others.

Top Tea-Making Tip: Use filtered water!

Tea Bags
Follow directions on packaging2-5 minutes depending on desired strength

Loose Leaf Tea

Use 4 grams of tea to about 8.5 (250ml) oz of water ^.

Many quality loose leaf teas ^ may be steeped for multiple infusions ^therefore brew time varies depending on type of tea used, and desired strength of each steeping. Japanese tea requires a different method than other teas ^ with more leaf used, shorter steep times, and not-so-hot water.


Quick Brew Tea Guide

Relative Water Temperature

Hot - not fully boiling
Japanese
Green

Hotter - just at boiling
Yellow
Oolong
White

Hottest - fully boiling
Black
Dark/ Pu-erh


Gong Fu
Chinese Tea Ceremony ☯

Tea steeping skill can include the Chinese gong fu ceremony of artistry for bringing out the flavor ^. Gong fu means "dedication and skill with tea" ^.


Chanoyu / Sado / Ocha
Japanese Tea Ceremony ⛩

Matcha ^stone ground powdered Japanese tea leaf ^, is prepared during "the way of tea ^ritual art-form ceremonies conducted by certified professionals ^.

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Tea Merchants

Although you generally pay for what you get, spending more doesn't mean better quality for a few reasons, for example: maybe the tea is of plentiful harvest so that high supply equals affordable price. Or maybe you simply like the tea you like. A merchant can help decide what is most drinkable for you.

Jason & Lindsey's Favorite Tea Shops:

  • Stash Tea ^
    ★★★★ USA
    • Wide Tea Bag Selection
    • Large Loose Leaf Selection


  • Tea Trekker ^
    ★★★★★ USA
    • Custom Loose Leaf Selection
    • Japanese Specialty





  • White2Tea ^
    ★★★★ China
    • Unique Quality Selection

  • Sugimoto Tea ^ Japanese
    ★★★★★ USA
    • Top of the Line Tea Bags

  • ITO EN ^ Japanese
    ★★★ USA
    • Travel Bottles of Oi Ocha

  • IKKYU ^ Japanese
    ★★★★ Japan
    • Unique High-Grade Selection

For the experienced connoisseur of pu-erh ^; they may wish to adventure into the area of specialty vendors, purveyors, and shops ^.




  • Bana Tea Company ^
    ★★★★★ USA located ^
    • Best Quality Pu-erh Teas
    • Recommended in the book: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane ^ by Lisa See ^
      • Comment: "The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a must-read fictional, but accurate, book on pu-erh tea that brings to life the tea trees, the women who cherish and guard them, and the journey of their leaves from ancient obscurity and into a booming modern health and culture phenomenon. Plus deep wisdom and insight into the meaning of pu-erh."

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