Tea tales

Ever since 2737 B.C., when tea was believed to have been brewed for the first time, it has remained a favourite drink for millions around the world. Tea is still the second most consumed liquid after water. A look at what is in the cuppa that kick-starts your day.

Tejaswi Rathore | Print Edition: January 27, 2008

Know your cuppa
Know Your Cuppa

Ordinary tea has many components that benefit you, on a daily basis.

Alkaloid: It can help refresh the mind, boost the heart, eliminate toxins, relieve inflammation and get rid of hangover.

Tea polyphenol: It activates the capillaries.

Vitamins and fluoride: Various vitamins enhance the effect of alkaloid and tea polyphenol. Abundant fluoride is good for teeth.

Catechins: This antioxidant can do wonders to the skin by eliminating pigment residues.

Tea Time

No drink would have as many varieties and variables as tea. So, it is important to know which tea should be had when. Green tea, for instance, is for summer, black tea is for winter and oolong tea goes well all year round.

The Character of Tea

Different varieties of tea apparently suit different people best. Here’s a fun look at which tea is best for you.

Executives: Green tea

Types of tea

There are different varieties of tea based on their origin and processing.

1. White tea
The least processed of any type of tea and tastes like fresh leaves. It also has the lowest amount of caffeine.

2. Green tea
This tastes somewhat like white tea but has comparatively higher antioxidant properties.

3. Black tea
This is the most consumed of the four types of teas. It is the highest in caffeine content as well.

4.Oolong tea
It is the most difficult to process. Oolong tea tastes somewhere between green and black tea. 

Sport lovers: Oolong tea and black tea

Those exposed to air pollution: Green tea

Smokers and drinkers: Green tea

Meat lovers: Oolong tea

Those suffering from constipation: Honey tea

Those wanting to lose fat: Oolong tea and green tea

Those with a weak spleen and stomach: Oolong tea and flower teas

Those hoping for longevity: Oolong tea and black tea

The twist in the tale

Tea is one drink which can be mixed with as many things as you can think of, to suit your taste. Here are some favourites.

2 bags of Chinese tea

200 ml white wine
1 piece of cinnamon quills
1 clove
½ non-sprayed lemon and orange
½ little glass of rum
Sugar to taste

Mix the tea with wine and 200 ml of water in a deep pan. Add spices and slices of orange and lemon. When it comes to a boil, cover it, reduce temperature and leave for 5 minutes. Then remove from the stove and leave for 5 minutes. Strain punch, add sugar to taste and add rum.


In 1657, tea was sold for the first time as a health beverage in London at Garway’s Coffee House.

In 1662, when Charles II married Portugal’s Catherine Braganza who was a tea lover, tea became so chic that alcohol consumption declined.

1856 saw the birth of Darjeeling Tea as tea plantation began there for the first time. Before tea leaves were introduced to the English, they used to drink hot water at “tea time” with similar affection. 

Russian Punch
500 ml tea
2 tsps of sugar
3 cloves
50 ml vodka
½ lemon
Add strong sugared tea with cloves in a pan.
Cover it and leave for 4 minutes. Remove cloves. Add lemon juice and vodka.

Scotch Toddy Recipe
1 shot Scotch whisky
1 tbsp honey
1 tea bag
Boiling water
In a standard coffee mug put the scotch, honey and tea bag. Pour boiling hot water to fill mug. Steep for about one or two minutes. Then remove and dispose of tea bag.

Kashmiri Kahwa

Boil three cups of water along with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and pour over the tea. Leave to infuse over a very low flame for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve saffron in a little water by rubbing it gently. Strain the tea and add the saffron liquid together with almonds. Sweeten if you like and serve hot.

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