Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Health and Fitness: 'English' Tea

Do you drink tea?

I went to the dentist to have my scaled and polished last Saturday and the doctor told me not to drink anymore tea because tea marks stains on the teeth. If you do go to the dentist twice a year, you won’t care much about the stain, will you? Plus, tea is such a healthy drink!

The sense of coolness while drinking tea is what I like best about tea. No matter I’m drinking Japanese green tea or the English milk tea, I always feel relieved and mellow.

There are five types of tea which are most commonly found in Hong Kong, they are the black tea (or red tea), green tea, white tea, Oolong tea and flower tea. They are of different colours due to different ways they were processed, or “fermented”.

Tea bushes generally prefer acidic soils and the high-quality tea plants are normally grown on high land, up to some 1500 metres.

China is among the most famous countries in terms of consuming tea, as well as the earliest, but not to forget the likes of Indian, Sri Lanka, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Recently, in the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, the main protagonist Jamal was a chai boy before he went on the show ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ The word isn’t so difficult for us to understand because it is another variation of the word ‘cha’. Different countries will have different ways of calling it, but they all resemble to the words, ‘tea’ or ‘cha’.

Tea forms a very important part of many cultures, and almost every country has their unique version of ‘tea’. The studies, the wisdoms, the rituals, the beliefs, can be all seen through the ways they enjoy this wholesome drink.

Personally, I love Jasmine tea the best because of its elegance, purity and the slight fragrance of flower. For the sweet tea, I fancy lemongrass tea alone or with jasmine because it offers an extra scent of ‘mint’ and the cooling aftertaste. As for milk tea, I have always enjoyed simple Sri Lankan Ceylon (from Marks & Spencer) with a small tablespoon of sugar and higher-fat-content milk. It is not exactly the milk tea of the English, as the English either prefer Earl Grey for breakfast or milk tea with a lower fat content, but I like the richness of milk together with the smoothness of the tea, without the dryness of course.

Finally, I strongly recommend green tea, or Matcha in Japanese, for the ultimate relaxation, best served with the presence of greens and quiet lakes accompanied by a cool breeze, and brown-rice tea, or Genmaicha, for the perfect drink to be served with sushi and sashimi – nothing goes better than this tea with raw Japanese delicacy.

Pictures from:

Questions for readers (research is needed):
1. What is the meaning of ‘plus’ in the second paragraph?
2. In paragraph 3, can you list a few examples of each tea type?
3. Why did I use double-quotes for the word “fermented”?
4. In paragraph 4, what is the range on pH scale that shows acidity?
5. What is the name of the book that China’s Lu Yu wrote? Which dynasty did he live in?
6. Who said “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”?
7. In paragraph 9, I used 4 different verbs to show my preference for different types of tea, can you list them?