Take Time for Tea

Oct 28, 2010, 05:20 ET from PG tips

NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- MS -- With robust flavor, storied tradition and abundant health benefits packed in each and every leaf, is it any wonder tea is the one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world?

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101028/NY90093 )

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20101028/NY90093 )

Many people have fond memories associated with tea. It may have been at the centerpiece of cozy afternoon chats among friends. Tea has also soothed and warmed individuals who have needed a little comforting. Tea takes on various cultural significances around the world. In Russia, for example, tea is traditionally sipped from a glasses set in silver holders, where strong and sweetened tea is preferred. Japanese engage in a ceremonial preparation of green tea called the "Way of Tea" or chanoyu. Tea has also long been used for medicinal purposes, and its high antioxidant content helps fend off certain illnesses, including cancer.

While tea may be healthy and steeped in tradition, taste may be one of the primary reasons tea is enjoyed world-over. Because tea is one of the most popular beverages around, Hot Tea Month is celebrated every January to help extol its merits.

Although all tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, a warm-weather evergreen, how the tea is picked, processed and brewed can affect its taste. Tea is not merely a meeting of leaves and hot water. There's an art to brewing the perfect cup of tea — and not just any tea will do.

While different people have their tea preferences, PG tips black tea has long been part of daily life in England. Now Americans are discovering England's No. 1 tea, with its distinct flavor of green and black teas ideal for any occasion during the day.

Some say the secret to great tea is the manner in which it is brewed. While traditionalists may offer that loose tea leaves yield the best tasting tea (and PG tips does offer loose tea for these traditionalists), bagged tea can brew a delicious tasting cup of tea — if done correctly. The experts at PG tips say their innovative pyramid-shaped tea bag ensures perfect brewing within a minute of touching hot water. To learn more, visit www.pgtipsusa.com.

It's also important to know that freshly brewed tea tends to be healthier than bottled varieties. An August 2010 study presented by WellGen, Inc. suggests that freshly brewed tea offers more of the polyphenols needed to promote optimal health. Some bottled tea products studied actually have levels of polyphenols and antioxidant activity 10 to 100 times lower than conventionally brewed tea.

It's time to get excited about tea. Tea can be enjoyed at any time of day. With half the caffeine of the average cup of coffee, it can be a pick-me-up in the morning or a way to unwind after a long day.

Tea Trivia

While enjoying your perfect cup of tea, pour over these other interesting tea facts.

  • Aside from water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
  • Differences among the four types of tea — black, green, oolong, and white — result from the various degrees of processing and the level of  oxidization. Black tea is oxidized for up to 4 hours and generally tastes the strongest.
  • Tea is nearly 5,000 years old.
  • When enjoyed straight, tea is a no-calorie drink and makes a nutritious addition to most people's diets.
  • The Tea Association of the United States says that on any given day, about one half of the American population drinks tea.