Tea

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour that many people enjoy.

Tea likely originated in China during the Shang Dynasty as a medicinal drink. Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16thcentury. Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century. The British introduced tea to India, in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea.

Tea has historically been promoted for having a variety of positive health benefits, and recent human studies suggest that green tea may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, promote oral health, reduce blood pressure, help with weight control, improve antibacterial and antivirasic activity, provide protection from solar ultraviolet light,increase bone mineral density, and have anti-fibrotic properties, and neuro-protective power. Additional research is needed to fully understand its contributions to human health, and advise its regular consumption in Western diets."

Consumption of tea (especially green) is potentially beneficial to health and longevity given its antioxidant, flavanols, flavonoids,polyphenols, and catechins content. Tea catechins have known anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities, help to regulate food intake, and have an affinity for cannabinoid receptors, which may suppress pain, nausea, and provide calming effects.
Consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of diseases that cause functional disability, such as “stroke, cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis” in the elderly.

Tea contains L-theanine, and its consumption is strongly associated with a calm but alert and focused, relatively productive (alpha wave dominant), mental state in humans. This mental state is also common to meditative practice.

The phrase "herbal tea" usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as rosehip tea, chamomile tea, orrooibos tea. Alternative phrases for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with "tea" as it is construed here.

TEA CULTURE
Tea may be consumed early in the day to heighten calm alertness; it contains L-theanine, theophylline, and bound caffeine(sometimes called theine). Decaffeinated brands are also sold.

While tea is the second most consumed beverage on Earth after water, in many cultures it is also consumed at elevated social events, such as afternoon tea and the tea party. Tea ceremonies have arisen in different cultures, such as the Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies, each of which employs traditional techniques and ritualised protocol of brewing and serving tea for enjoyment in a refined setting. One form of Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu tea ceremony, which typically uses small Yixing clay teapots and oolong tea.
Ireland has, for a long time, been one of the biggest per-capita consumers of tea in the world. The national average is four cups per person per day, with many people drinking six cups or more. Tea in Ireland is usually taken with milk and/or sugar and is slightly spicier and stronger than the traditional English Blend.

Tea is prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East. In Arab culture, tea is a focal point for social gatherings.

In Pakistan, both black and green teas are popular and are known locally as sabz chai andkahwah, respectively. The popular green tea called kahwah is often served after every meal in the Pashtun belt of Balochistan and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is where the Khyber Passof the Silk Road is found. In the Kashmir region, Kashmiri chai or noon chai, a pink, creamy tea with pistachios, almonds, cardamom, and sometimes cinnamon, is consumed primarily at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter months when it is sold in many kiosks.

In central and southern Punjab and the metropolitan Sindh region of Pakistan, tea with milk and sugar (sometimes with pistachios, cardamom, etc.), commonly referred to as chai, is widely consumed. It is the most common beverage of households in the region. In the northern Pakistani regions of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, a salty, buttered Tibetan-style tea is consumed.

In the United States and Canada, 80% of tea is consumed cold, as iced tea. Sweet tea is a cultural symbol of the southern US, and is common in that portion of the country.

Switzerland has its own unique blend of iced tea, made with the basic ingredients like black tea, sugar, lemon juice and mint, but a variety of Alp herbs are also added to the concoction. Apart from classic flavours like lemon and peach, exotic flavours like jasmine andlemongrass are also very popular.

In India, tea is one of the most popular hot beverages. It is consumed daily in almost all homes, offered to guests, consumed in high amounts in domestic and official surroundings, and is made with the addition of milk with or without spices. It is also served with biscuits dipped in the tea and eaten before consuming the tea. More often than not, it is drunk in "doses" of small cups rather than one large cup.
In the United Kingdom, it is consumed daily and often by a majority of people across the country, and indeed is perceived as one of Britain's cultural beverages. In British homes, it is customary good manners for a host to offer tea to guests soon after their arrival. Tea is generally consumed at home; outside the home in cafés. Afternoon tea with cakes on fine porcelain is a cultural stereotype, sometimes available in quaint tea-houses. In southwest England, many cafes serve a 'cream tea', consisting of scones, clotted cream, and jam alongside a pot of tea. Throughout the UK, 'tea' may also refer to the evening meal.

In Burma (Myanmar), tea is consumed not only as hot drinks, but also as sweet tea and green tea known locally as laphet-yay and laphet-yay-gyan, respectively. Pickled tea leaves, known locally as laphet, are also a national delicacy. Pickled tea is usually eaten with roasted sesame seeds, crispy fried beans, roasted peanuts and fried garlic chips.