Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Second Well-Known Beverage, Green Tea

Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world (water is the first) and has been used medicinally for centuries in China and Japan. That is because a number of beneficial health effects in green tea are attributed to regular consumption of green tea and dried/powdered extracts of green tea.

Tea time: The Wonderful Benefits in Green tea

The health benefits of green tea beverage have been discovered. In total world consumption of tea, green tea makes up about 20% of the total. In China, on the other hand, green tea is the most popular.

Green tea is rich in antioxidants.
Benefit of drinking a cup of green tea might do more than warm you up this winter. Researchers offer even more reasons to make time for this age-old beverage. The tea leaves used for making tea are the same plant but the processing each type of teas is different.

Green tea comes from the leaves of the white-flowered tea plant, Camellia sinensis, a bush native to Asia. These tea leaves are less processed than black tea and contain rich sources of antioxidants, which protect the body's cells from damage and fight diseases. The antioxidants, the benefits in green tea have been linked to cancer prevention, decreased risk of stroke, heart diseases, and lowered blood cholesterol. Catechin, a phytochemical, is the main component which benefits in green tea and is present in higher amounts than in grape juice and red wine, which are also believed to reduce the rate of heart disease. Other health benefits of green tea are still plenty!

Good for your heart?

Recent research suggests that beneficial antioxidants in green tea play a role in reducing the negative effects of bad cholesterol, lowering triglyceride levels and increasing the production of good cholesterol. They have also been shown to inhibit excessive blood clotting which may help against heart diseases and stroke. Further evidence has suggested that green tea plays a role in prevention of age-related and brain degeneration diseases, such as Parkinson and Alzheimer's. Its antioxidant properties are thought to reduce free radical damage and the breakdown of neurotransmitters. That is another beneficial antioxidants of green tea for health.

Cancer prevention?

Green tea's rich supply of antioxidants may also play a key role in the prevention of various cancers, like breast, colon, stomach, and lung cancer. They suppress the formation and growth of potent cancer-causing agents. While the potential anti-cancer properties of green tea look promising, they are also complex and not yet completely understood.

Good for your teeth?

Another interesting benefit of green tea is its effectiveness in preventing dental decay. It inhibits the growth of oral bacteria, which can help to fight cavities. When used as a mouth rinse, green tea reduced plaque and the incident of periodontal disease.

How to serve green tea

You can enjoy green tea including its numerous health benefits during any season. Green tea can be served hot or cold and still provide a host of health benefits. While sugar and lemon are not thought to alter the antioxidant content, milk may bind to the antioxidants and make them unavailable to the body. To brew a potent cup of green tea, make sure to steep the tea bag for at least 3 minutes. Otherwise, all of the antioxidants may not end up in the tea. If you're concerned about caffeine, a 6-ounce cup of green tea contains approximately 30 mg. That is much lower than coffee, which has about 100 mg per cup.

While there is plenty of new and exciting evidence about the health benefits of green tea, it's still important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes other rich sources of antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chinese Teahouse

Besides all the places of interest, the teahouses scattered in the city are most worthwhile to visit, if you wish to know the local conditions and social customs there. They are usually set up on bridge piers along the river, to provide a resting place for travelers coming afar. Not large in size but neat in configuration, they look like pergolas to some extent. And the tea served there vary from green tea to black tea, along with local delicacies and deserts. One may come in the early morning and order a pot of tea, chat and enjoy the warm sunshine at the same time, until it closes in twilight. Refills are also free of charge as long as the cup is left open.

The practice of tea drinking can be dated back to as early as the period of Three Kindoms (220-265 A.D). Though the teahouse appeared later in the history, the particular norms and customs accumulated and took shape over long periods of time. People pay special attention to the teapots, tea leaves and water.

Chinese believe that exquisite utensils should comply with delicate food. The same goes with teapots. The famous "zi sha hu" is made of a special pottery clay, purplish black in color and antique in design. Carved on it are some inscriptions, paintings and poems. The speciality is that it can preserve tea leaves in their original flavor and color. It is said the longer the pot is used, the more scent it gives out.
The carefully selected tea leaves and water are also indispensable. The tea leaves, picked before the solar term of Rain Water, are preferred, and then processed by hand. River water is never used, but water from spings or melted snow. When it snows in the winter, people in teahouses would shovel clean snow into huge water vats and store it for daily use. Drinking tea from this snow water can free people from heat rashes. No wonder the great poet Bai Juyi of the Tang Dynasty became a frequent visitor to teahouses when he was the regional chief in Hangzhou. And so many people form the habit of drinking tea day by day. It will certainly add a distinctive flavor to the scented tea, if you are seated in the traditional teahouse in such a picturesque place

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Chinese Tea History

Chinese people are believed to have enjoyed tea drinking for more than 4,000 years. Legend has it that Yan Di, one of three rulers in ancient times, tasted all kinds of herbs to find medical cures. One day,as he was being poisoned by some herb he had ingested; a drop of water from a tea tree dripped into his mouth and he was saved. For a long time, tea was used as an herbal medicine. During the Western Zhou Dynasty, tea was a religious offering. During the Spring and Autumn Period, people ate fresh tea leaves as vegetables. With the popularization of Buddhism from the Three Kingdoms to the Northern and Southern Dynasties, tea's refreshing effect made it a favorite among monks in Za-Zen meditation.
Tea as a drink prospered during the Tang Dynasty, and tea shops became popular. A major event of this time was the completion of Tea Classics, the cornerstone of Chinese tea culture, by Lu Yu, Tea Sage of China,. This little book details rules concerning various aspects of tea, such as growth areas for tea trees, wares and skills for processing tea, tea tasting, the history of Chinese tea and quotations from other records, comments on tea from various places, and notes on what occasions tea wares should be complete and when some wares could be omitted.

Tinted by the cultural style of the Song Dynasty, tea culture at this time was delicate and sumptuous. New skills created many different ways to enjoy tea. The Ming Dynasty laid the foundation for tea processing, tea types and drinking styles that we have inherited.
During the Qing Dynasty folk art entered tea shops, making them popular entertainment centers. This habit is still practiced in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

During the Tang Dynasty, a Japanese monk brought tea seeds from Zhejiang Province to Japan. Later in the Southern Song Dynasty, Zen masters brought tea procedures and tea wares from China to Japan, promoting the initiation of the Japanese tea ceremony. In the Song Dynasty, Arabic merchants exported tea from Quanzhou, Fujian Province. In the Ming Dynasty, tea was sold to Southeast Asian and South African countries. In 1610 tea went to Europe via Macau in a Dutch merchant ship. Thus tea became an international drink.
There are many teas in china,mainly have green tea,wulong tea,wu long tea (link)(also Wulong tea have efficet of weight loss)),puer tea.etc..,you can refer here,there are all types of chinese tea.but they are not so correct translated !