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I’m a Teetotaler

My husband and I were able to run away from home yesterday for a wonderful couple of days in the Muskokas – definitely one of our favourite things to do.

We love doing nothing together. We do it well.

A little bit of shopping, massages, dinner, an awesome swim and water walk in the indoor/outdoor pool and a nice time warming up in hot tub too! Last night, we got into our soft clothes, drank tea and watched a bit of hockey and baseball. Actually, Chris was watching sports and as I was sipping a cup of chamomile tea, I was also reading a wonderful book that a special friend gave me two years ago – TEA SOMMELIER, by Gabriella Lombardi. Such a beautiful book –  gorgeous pictures, explanations about the origins of tea, the colours of tea, the art of tea making, recipes – such a delicious read.

I hadn’t read this before:

“The history of tea is an ancient one and indeed there are legends in every country surrounding its origins. Perhaps the most famous is the Chinese story of the Emperor Shen Nong, the father of agriculture and medicine, who was very strict about hygiene and only drank boiling water. One day, in the year 2737BC, he was boiling some water when leaves from a nearby tea shrub blew into the cauldron, giving the water a golden hue. Intrigued, the emperor exclaimed, “That which Heaven sends, brings harmony into our soul.” He tasted the resulting brew, and the beverage of tea was born.”  

Nice story – might not be true but it sure is a feel-good explanation. The author goes on to say that “setting legends aside, tea is one of the major Chinese contributions to humanity and civilization.”

I totally agree. Where would we be without tea?

I am convinced that there is a right tea for everyone – even for those avid coffee drinkers who snub all forms of tea. I’ve managed to bring my husband to the tea side, despite his love and need for morning coffee. It’s not unusual to see him sipping tea in the later afternoon and evening. We have recently become the proud parents of a two-cup teapot with matching cups, bought specifically for those peaceful reprieves from the hectic pace of the day.

I didn’t realize that all teas derive from a single plant: an evergreen shrub called Camellia Sinensis. A Chinese proverb says that “we can count the stars in the sky but we cannot give a name to every tea.”

Another interesting point is that caffeine releases more slowly in tea than in coffee, because in tea, caffeine tends to bind to the polyphenols – which is why coffee is considered a stimulant, while tea is considered more invigorating and refreshing. Also, the antioxidant activity of two cups of tea is equal to seven glasses of orange juice or four medium-sized apples. Hm…there are definitely some healing properties to this drink.

One more interesting thought – there are two great tea making traditions worldwide: the Chinese and the Anglo-Saxon.

Anglo-Sacon or Western Method: few tea leaves, a long infusion time, and a single infusion.

Chinese, or Eastern method: many tea leaves, a very short infusion time, and multiple infusions.

Traditional Chinese medicine recommends drinking at least three cups of tea a day to keep healthy so I’m right on task! So far today, I’ve had an English breakfast and a green jasmine tea. Of course, I’ll fit a chai in there sometime this afternoon.

…and I’ll keep reading this scrumptious book.



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