By Frank Yip
Second to water perhaps Chinese tea is the favourite beverage of mankind. Like the kiwi fruit, according to the Chinese, it was first discovered (for practical use) and cultivated in China.
In the world's major tea drinking countries such as China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, England and German, just to name a few, the trend of tea consumption only goes one way, that's up.
With the invention of instant tea in bag form, America and other countries, with a time-conscious and fast-moving population, are fast becoming "addicted" to Chinese tea. With an increasing awareness of a healthy and trim body, free of modern ailments, more and more educated adults opt for Chinese tea.
In the Muslim countries, serving tea to the guest is the highest form of respect shown by the host. Before you see your Japanese executive friend in his office, a tea lady will serve you tea first.
Back home, we are only too familiar with the omnipresent "Teh Gula" (Malay sweet tea), "Teh Talek" (Indian 'pour-from-high' tea) and "Tiao Yu" (Chinese bagged tea which the drinker shakes in a fishing action to let loose the flavour).
Historically, Chinese tea crossed the Chinese borders during the Tang dynasty (618-907) when tea drinking became a fine-tuned culture most loved by the Japanese, Koreans and others. Though the efforts of monks, Chinese or otherwise, it crossed the Indian Sea or via the Silk Road to the Middle East and beyond.
Centuries later, the Dutch were credited for introducing Chinese tea to Europe and the Dutch East Indies, i.e. Indonesia today. During the 18th century, Victorian times, it became the national drink of England.
The many beneficial effects of Chinese tea on the human body were enumerated in the last article. Suffice it to say here that the many vitamins (from c to k), caffeine ( a stimulant), tannin (a relaxant) and other trace elements are combination of goodness beneficial to our bodies.
Tea experts will tell you how you could enjoy the desired effects of you tea: for stimulation i.e. if you have to burn the midnight oil to attain good grades in your coming examination, boil you tea in hot water for two minutes. To relax, that is it you are taking thins easy, up to five minutes. For any longer period, you may as well heat it as water, good only to quench your thirst.
So, remember to make it a good day tomorrow, have your "Tiao Yu" for two minutes Chinese style.