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Background of tea………… p.1 History of tea………………….p.2 Process of tea………………… p.3 Types of tea…………………….p.4 Culture of tea………………….p.5-6 Making tea………………………p.7 Benefits of tea…………………p.8 Glossary………………………….p.9 References……………………..p.10

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Background of Tea

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Tea is the second most popular drink in the world after water. Drinking tea at home may seem easy but for it to get in to your cup is a long journey through many countries. Tea tress first started to grow in China, Japan then Europe. Today, many cultures drink tea. India produces the most tea in the world. Amazingly, there are 2,000 types of teas; Oolong tea, green tea, black tea are the most popular. The tea plant called the Camellia Sinensis is an evergreen plant which grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates but also in marine climates. All tea is made from this plant.

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History of Tea

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The first people to drink tea were in Southern China back in the Stone Age (3000-2000 BC). Before they were growing wheat they had farms of tea bushes in China. Around 200 BC Chinese doctors were giving tea to sick people as a medicine. The tradition of offering tea to guests also started back then. When people were too poor to have tea they offered hot water to their guests. Tea was first introduced to Europeans in the 1600’s AD when Chinese people served tea to them. The word tea in English comes from the Chinese word for tea “te”. Europeans were bringing tea back home and it became very popular. But they couldn’t grow tea bushes in Europe because of the cold, wet climate so the British found another way around the problem. The British had invaded India so they started to grow the bushes there; where now India is the world’s biggest exporter of tea.

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Process of Tea

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Only the top portion or the bud of the plant is picked; it grows every 7-10 days. The bud portion of the plant is called flush. The farmers pluck off the best leaves one by one, later, they sell them to factories where they start withering the leaves until they are really dry. Next, they take out all the moisture until the leaf has about 3% of moisture left in it, then they start rolling the leaf flat with a special machine. Next, they set the leaves on tables and dark rooms then the tea mixes with the air which brings the teas’ flavour. This is called the fermentation process. Finally, they are dried even more(depends on type of tea). They are then sorted and graded from perfect to good according to size, shape and cleanliness. Finally they are packaged in airtight containers which prevent air from coming in. After packaging, the teas are sent to the stores where you can buy them and enjoy a nice cup of tea.

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Types of Tea

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There are many types of tea. But the most popular ones are:black tea, oolong tea, and green tea. Black teas are fermented and oxidized during processing. This gives the tea its full, rich taste. Oolong tea on the other hand goes under less fermentation. Green tea is the least fermented and because of this has a light flavour. Green tea is known to be very healthy. Herbal tea is not actually ‘tea’. Herbal tea is made out of different plants that have medicinal properties.

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Black tea

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Oolong Tea

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Green tea


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Culture of Tea

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Tea culture is the way people make, serve and drink their tea. In many cultures tea is commonly drunk at special events, and many cultures have created formal ceremonies for these events. Western examples of these are afternoon tea and the tea party. In England, tea is drunk out of small cups. Even the order the tea is put with the milk is a cultural difference. In the east, tea ceremonies differ among countries, Japan's being the most known. Other examples are the Korean tea ceremony or some traditional ways of brewing tea in Chinese tea culture. Unique customs also exist in Tibet, where tea is commonly brewed with salt and butter, or in the Middle East and Africa where tea plays an important role in families and friendships.

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Culture of tea (cont.)

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The British Empire spread its own idea of tea to its colonies, including places like Hong Kong and Pakistan which had existing tea customs. Taste of tea is also different depending on regions. Some regions favor different varieties of tea, black, green, or oolong, and use different flavourings, such as milk, sugar or herbs. The temperature and strength of the tea also changes. In some countries ice tea or different flavoured teas are as popular as black or green tea.

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Hong Kong tea culture

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Making Tea

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To make a good cup of tea, you need to find good tea. Good teas are sold in tea shops. Then there is the choice between tea bags and loose tea. To make tea with tea bags is very easy but is not the best tasting. You simply grab a cup or mug fill it with hot water, put the tea bag in, let it stay 2-5 minutes. And your tea is ready. To make a good cup of tea with loose tea, you must boil water in a kettle, put the loose tea into a teapot, later put the boiled water in the teapot. Let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes for black tea. Serve your tea in a ceramic cup to keep your tea nice and warm. Tea can be drunk with lemon, sugar, and milk. All according to your taste. Tea can also be served cold as ice tea.

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Benefits of Tea

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Recent research shows that any tea derived from camellia sinensis has cancer-fighting properties. The leaves of this plant contain chemicals called polyphenols, which give tea its antioxidant properties. Tea also has fluoride for strong teeth, almost no calories, and half the amount of caffeine found in an equally-sized cup of coffee. Apart from polyphenols, tea also contains vitamins and minerals. These are found in tea and they help to fight against aging, high blood pressure, viral and bacterial infection. They also help to improve the digestive system. In conclusion, by drinking 2-4 cups a day of tea, you can get the benefits of tea.

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Green tea

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Glossary

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Camellia Sinensis: Latin name of the tea plant. Sub-tropical climates: North or South of tropic zones. Winters are less hot than summer. Flush: The bud part of the tea plant. Withering: Loss of water, drying. Fermentation: In this case, controlling temperature and humidity in order to change chemical balance of the tea leaves. Oxidation: Taking out the oxygen of the leaves (drying). Medicinal properties: Having medicine like benefits. Steep : Slowly allowing tea to absorb the water. Polyphenols: A chemical found in tea which fights against cancer. Antioxidant: A substance that fights against cancer. These substances are also types of vitamins. Fluoride: A element which is good for bone building and teeth.

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References www.britannica.com www.teabenefits.com www.tea.co.uk www.tenren.com www.coffeetea.about.com www.apotoftea.com

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About the Author Bora was born in 1999 in Geneva, Switzerland (his birthday is this Saturday). He has been writing since the age of 6. His other works have included Kings and Queens: Suleiman the Great, Greek Gods: Poseidon and the Aztecs. Bora currently lives in Seoul, Korea with his family; where he attends Seoul Foreign British School.

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all about tea and its made