Legend places the discovery of drinking tea in the reign of the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung in 2727 B.C. When a few leaves of a wild tree blew into the royal bowl of boiling water, the inquisitive Emperor decided to taste this unlikely looking brew. He discovered that the leaves imparted a delightful flavour and promoted a sense of well being and so it became his favourite beverage.
Tea Arrives in England
The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654, and it became popular enough to replace ale as England's national drink. As in Holland, it was the nobility that gave tea its stamp of approval. Both King Charles ll and his wife, the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza were both tea drinkers.
During the 18th century, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, introduced what today has become knows as Afternoon Tea. After experiencing a ‘sinking feeling’ between luncheon and the usual late supper, she ordered tea and a light repast to tide her over. It was so enjoyable, that she soon invited her friends to join her.
It did not take long before the idea was copies by other hostesses and serving tea became a common event.
Tea Rooms, Tea Courts and Tea Dances
Beginning in both America and England in the late l880's, fine hotels began to offer tea service in Tea Rooms and Tea Courts. Ladies and their gentlemen would meet in the late afternoon for tea and conversation. Many of these tea services became so well known that certain hotels like The Ritz in Boston and The Plaza in New York were noted for them.
By 1910, other excellent hotels began to host Tea Dances in the afternoon, as dancing in America and England became the craze. Here again this highlighted the social aspect, it was a place where young men and women could meet.
Today, the tea craze has resurfaced and continues to grow. No longer just a social event, tea offers healthy benefits plus a chance to reconnect with each other in a genteel manner.
All About Tea – Tea is Good for You
All tea is derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub that is cultivated in tea gardens throughout China, India and other humid locales.
There are 4 types of tea, all of which come from this same plant, but differ in processing; white, green, oolong and black.
Substances found in Tea – Tea is good for you!
Naturally occurring plant compounds many of which are thought to play a role in decreasing the risk of cancer and heart disease and of boosting the immune system.
A broad class of antioxidant photochemical found through the plant kingdom.
A class of polyphenolic photochemicals that are antioxidants.
A group of antioxidant flavonoids found in tea and many fruit and vegetables.
A group of antioxidant flavonoids found in tea and some fruits.
Black tea flavonoids produced from cathechins during tea manufacturing. These are strong antioxidants.