The Ultimate Guide to Drinking Tea – FAQs About Tea

FAQs about TEA

The Art of Brewing and Drinking Tea is not a simple one and beginners might find themselves lost in all the various intricacies and details about this art. As such, I decided to prepare the Ultimate Guide to Drinking and Brewing Tea for Beginners, and plan to answer all of your most commonly asked questions here! Without further ado, let’s hop right into the guide!

 

1. WHAT KINDS OF TEAWARE ARE BEST FOR BREWING TEA

Currently, the most common types of teaware are made of porcelain, earthenware, glass and plastic. I would highly recommend earthenware for brewing black tea and oolong tea because they are excellent at keeping the tea hot and preserving its taste. The tea will also have a better color and fragrance during the brewing process, making the act of tea consumption a lot more presentable and enjoyable.

However, when brewing green tea, especially Biluochun and Anji Bai Cha, glass teaware are generally used. The mist formed within the glass pot can be observed from the outside, showcasing the beauty of the green blossoming tea buds dancing in the water. As for teaware made of enamel and plastic, their main advantages include their durability and light-weight, making them excellent choices for short-term usage or for bringing them on trips.

2. DOES THE QUALITY AFFECT THE TEA BREWING

There are various types of water with different properties, affecting the taste of tea in many ways due to the different dissolved substances. Using the wrong type of water to brew your tea can negatively affect the taste of your tea. Lu Yu, a well-known tea expert from the Tang Dynasty who authored the book “The Classic of Tea”, said that it is best to brew tea with natural spring water, especially water that flow at a slow pace, and contain the least amount of magnesium and calcium are best.

As for rainwater, it is usually pure. But depending on the duration of rain, the quality of the water may differ as well. Autumn rains are generally the best, plum rains are second best, and rain during thunderstorms are the worst.

3. WHAT IS THE BEST TEMPERATURE AND BREWING DURATION FOR MAKING TEA

The optimal tea brewing temperature really depends on the type of tea. Green tea, especially those with delicate buds and leaves, for example Biluochun and Maojian, cannot be brewed with boiling water at 100 ℃. If the temperature is too high, the tea will lose its original taste so they are usually brewed with water at 80 ℃. Black teas and flower teas can be brewed with 100 ℃ boiling water.

4. HOW SHOULD TEA LEAVES BE STORED

Advanced techniques can be used to ensure a long shelf-life for tea leaves. Optimal conditions for tea storage are when they are kept at room temperature, away from light and in a scentless environment. If the tea leaves are moist or have a high water content, they can be dried or fried and then stored. Tea leaves of larger quantities can be divided into portions of 0.25 – 0.5 kg each, wrapped well with white paper and placed in dry pots or jars.

Green tea can be stored in lumps of non deliquescence lime, black tea and flower tea can be stored in dry charcoal, and discolored silica gel can be used if conditions permit. The mouths of the dry pots or jars can be covered with multiple layers of straw paper to prevent moisture from entering. If the quantity of tea leaves are not large, it can also be wrapped with paper, packed and sealed with two layers of polyethylene food bags, and then placed in biscuit containers with the lid closed tightly.

In order to prevent tea from absorbing odors, avoid adding tea leaves to substances with serious odor, such as camphor pills, soap, perfume, cigarettes and so on.

The metal surface of the newly purchased tea can often has a layer of grease, which must be wiped clean and dried, and then wiped with a small amount of excess tea to remove the peculiar smell before the tea can be loaded.

5. HOW MUCH TEA AND WATER SHOULD BE USED WHEN BREWING A TEA TO ACHIEVE THE BEST RESULTS

To brew a good cup or pot of tea, you must first grasp the optimal amount of tea leaves to add. There is no uniform standard on how much tea leaves to use each time. This decision should mainly be based on the type of tea, the size of your teaware, and your drinking preferences. Teabags are usually 2 grams per bag. If brewed in standard sized cups, the proportion of tea leaves and water will be just right and you will not have to think too much about the perfect proportions to drink a great cup of tea. If you are using a tea pot, get a good grasp of the amount of tea leaves to add based on the size of the tea pot. Generally, the recommended ratio is 1:50-60, that is to add about 3 g of dry tea to every 150-200 ml of boiling water.

6. CAN YOU TAKE MEDICINE WITH TEA

Whether you can take medicine with tea can not be generalized with a single answer. In most cases, it is not advisable to take tea with medicine, especially iron-containing agents such as ferrous sulfate, ferrous carbonate, citric acid, ferric amine and aluminium-containing agents such as aluminium hydroxide. When medicine is mixed with polyphenols and metal ions found in tea, it will lose some or all of its efficacy.

Additionally, tea also contains caffeine, which has a stimulant effect. Therefore, you should not consume tea together with other drugs that have sedative, hypnotic or antitussive effects to avoid any form of negative reactions or reduction in drug efficacy. When consuming protein or starch, you should not drink tea as well. Polyphenols in tea can react with these substances, reducing their efficacy as well. Certain biological tincture preparations, as well as atropine, aspirin and other drugs, should not be taken with tea. Taking tetralin, methyl, a small amount of tea can cause insomnia, and a large amount of tea can increase blood pressure.

It is recommended that you do not consume tea within 2 hours of consuming the medicine. However, when taking vitamins, stimulants, diuretics, other medication that can lower blood lipids, blood sugar, and whitening drugs, tea can usually be taken. For example, drinking tea after taking vitamin C is acceptable. Green tea is rich in catechins, which can help in the absorption and accumulation of vitamin C in the human body. Tea itself also has similar effects of stimulants, and drinking tea can result in diuresis, blood fat reduction, blood sugar reduction, whitening, etc. When taking such drugs, tea will usually have a synergistic effect.

7. SOMETIME WHITE PRECIPITATE WILL APPEAR WHILE BREWING GREEN TEA. IS THERE ANY PROBLEM WITH THE TEA LEAVES

When you brew tea, the white precipitation phenomenon is mainly caused by water. This usually means that the water you use is hard water which contains a high proportion of calcium and magnesium compounds. The main component of this white precipitate is calcium oxalate. Because tea contains a relatively high amount of oxalic acid, it can be combined with calcium ions in hard water to form calcium oxalate that is difficult to dissolve in water, and even cause precipitation. This has nothing to do with the quality of tea.

8. THE SURFACE OF BLACK TEA WILL BE CLOUDY AFTER COOLING

Black tea has turbidity on its surface after cooling. The academic term for the turbidity of black tea after cooling is called “cold turbidity”. The turbid objects are mainly caffeine, theaflavin, and theaphyllin binding complex. The normal “muddy when cooled” phenomenon of tea is generally an indicator of good tea quality, which can be used as a method of selecting black tea.

9. WHEN IS DRINKING TEA MOST BENEFICIAL TO THE BODY

A cup of tea in the morning can help to rejuvenate the mind while drinking tea in the workplace can eliminate fatigue, enhance vitality, improve thinking ability. Drinking tea while smoking can also weaken the harmful effects of tobacco oil and nicotine, and drinking tea while watching TV can help in vision recovery and eliminate the hazard of weak radiation. As mentioned above, the most suitable time for drinking tea varies from person to person, different environments, and working conditions. It is not necessarily beneficial to drink tea at a specific time. If you drink tea for the sole purpose of quenching your thirst, any time is a good time to drink, especially when you are feeling thirsty.

10. CAN DRINKING STRONG TEA HELP ALLEVIATE HANGOVERS

Many people claim that drinking strong tea can help one alleviate hangovers. However, many others are often unsure about the truth behind such a claim. After drinking, people rely on their livers to break down alcohol into water and carbon dioxide. This dissolution requires Vitamin C to act as a catalyst.

When you drink too much alcohol, it is good to drink a cup of ginseng tea. Ginseng tea is usually made up of high quality ginseng and high quality green tea leaves, bringing forth the benefits of both active ingredients, such as nourishing and strengthening the body and increasing metabolism.

11. IS IT BETTER TO CONSUME TEA HOT OR COLD FOR HEALTH BENEFITS

Many people like to drink hot tea, especially with strongly brewed tea above 80 ° C. The high temperature may cause the accumulated acid in tea to precipitate and scald the esophagus, constantly stimulating the esophageal epithelial cells and causing them to mutate. After a large number of mutant cells grow, they gradually evolve into tumor tissues, which results in digestive tract cancer.

It is best to cool the tea soaked in boiling water to temperatures below 70 ° C before consumption. When you are able to hold the ceramic or glass tea cup without getting scalded, it is then suitable for consumption.

12. HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IN TEA

The average amount of caffeine in a cup of tea varies greatly, depending on the plant cultivar, type of tea, season of plucking, and the duration of infusion.

Following is the approximate caffeine content in various beverages:

Beverage Approximate Caffeine Content (in milligrams)
Coffee 40-170 mg
Black Tea 25-110 mg
Oolong Tea 12-55 mg
Green Tea 8-30 mg
White Tea 6-20 mg
Pu’er 2 mg (very low content)
*Assuming 5 oz or 100 ml of water is used per brew

13. WHY IS TEA ABLE TO INCREASE OUR ENERGY LEVELS? ARE THERE ANY HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS?

The caffeine contained in tea can stimulate the nervous system and increase energy levels. The degree of stimulation depends on the dosage. In addition, caffeine can eliminate fatigue, help protect you against the harmful effects of alcohol, nicotine, morphine and other toxic substances. The side effects from caffeine are usually temporary, as it does not accumulate within human blood and is usually discharged within a few hours by the body’s metabolic processes.

14. I SOMETIMES DRINK TOO MUCH TEA AND SUFFER FROM INSOMNIA AS A RESULT. IT THERE A SOLUTION FOR THIS?

Caffeine and flavanols in tea can promote adrenal gland activity and prevent the degradation of catechol in the blood. At the same time, it can also induce the biosynthetic effect of catecholamine, which has a stimulating effect on the body. If you are a person who is prone to insomnia after drinking tea, then please avoid drinking strong tea at night to ensure that you can have a good night’s rest.

But if you find yourself longing for a hot cup of tea after your evening meal, try switching to an herbal blend. Herbal teas, such as Eucommia tea, chamomile, can help you wind down after a long day at work and can even help to promote a better night’s rest. You could even add alcohol to your tea for a nice night cap.

If you’re not a fan of herbal teas and you’re really craving black, green, yellow, oolong or pu-erh tea, you can prepare the tea using cold water. Cold brew tea has significantly less caffeine than tea that is brewed hot.

Another option is houjicha. Houjicha is a Japanese green tea that is given to children in Japan due to its low caffeine content. This tea is roasted during production, which reduces the amount of caffeine considerably. .

15. CAN YOU GET DRUNK FROM DRINKING TEA

Tea contains polysaccharides and catechins, which are effective water-soluble compounds that reduce blood sugar levels. When drinking tea on an empty stomach, because the blood sugar of the body is already low, ingesting even more polysaccharides and catechins from tea will reduce the blood sugar levels even more. This results in dizziness, panic, weakness in hands and feet, entering a trance-like state and other symptoms, all of which are often classified as “tea drunkenness”.

16. HOW DO WE IDENTIFY WHAT’S GOOD AND BAD WHEN PURCHASING TEA

Organic Bi Luo Chun Green Tea

We should mostly pay attention to the dryness and the freshness of the tea while trying to identify which teas are of a higher quality. When purchasing loose leaf tea, you can use two fingers to pinch the tea. If you can grind it into fine powder, it means that the tea leaves are relatively dry, and their moisture content is between 6-7%, which meets the required standards. If it cannot be ground into fine powder but can only be ground into thin sheets, it means that the tea leaves have absorbed moisture and the dryness is insufficient. The water content of such tea is often above 9%, and we do not recommend purchasing tea leaves that contain so much moisture.

Freshly picked and processed tea has its own unique fragrance that smells and tastes fresh. Whether the tea is fresh or not can be identified from its appearance and color. Fresh green tea tends to have a lustrous appearance, or has a smooth, dark green appearance. Black tea on the other hand tends to have a smooth, dark black appearance.

Additionally, you should get a whiff of the tea leaves to check for any peculiar or moldy smells and ensure that the tea product is normal. While purchasing tea in small packaging, ask or look for the packing and expiry dates. In general, small packaging tea tends to absorb moisture and deteriorate in quality if more than one year has passed since its packng date.

In addition, pay attention to the quality and integrity of the packaging material and check if it is water-proof before purchasing.

By the way, we also wrote another article on “How to Select High-Quality Chinese Tea“. You can check it out here if you are interested 🙂

 

18. THE TEA HAS A WEIRD SMELL DURING STORAGE. HOW DO WE HANDLE AND PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING

Tea tends to have strong adsorption, especially the olefins contained within it. Therefore, it is best to avoid storing tea in environments with strange smells. The packaging material should also not have strange smells. At the same time, the packaging of tea should be sealed tight to reduce contact with the external environment.

19. HOW MUCH TEA SHOULD WE DRINK EVERYDAY

There is no strict guidelines and common standards for how much tea each person should consume on a daily basis as it varies from person to person. Generally, healthy adults who have the habit of drinking tea should consume around 6-10 g of tea every day, split into 2-3 brews.

black tea

Those who are physically active and consume a large amount of tea can drink about 20 g of tea. Those who eat a lot of greasy food, and those who smoke and drink a lot can also increase the amount of tea consumed daily. On the other hand, those who are old, suffer from deficiency in the spleen and stomach, pregnant and children, should decrease their daily dosage of tea accordingly.

20. IS IT GOOD TO DRINK STRONG TEA

Strong tea refers to tea that is brewed with a higher proportion of tea leaves (the standard amount per cup is around 3-4 g). Drinking strong tea is good for those suffering from heatiness and dampness, those who smoke and drink excessively, and those who consume too much greasy meat. It is also helpful for those who have dysuria, stomatitis, sore throat. However, there are others who recommend avoiding strong tea.

21. IS IT ALRIGHT TO DRINK COLD TEA OR TEA THAT IS LEFT OVERNIGHT

From a nutritional and hygienic perspective, I believe that tea that is leftover from the previous day is not suitable for drinking. As for cold tea, you can consume it as long as its quality has not deteriorated. However, you should not drink tea that has been consumed before and left there for an extended period of time. As of now, the tea found in cans are primarily cold tea, which can be drunk without any problems as they are usually sterilized. It should also be noted that old people with blood deficiency or suffer from deficiency of the spleen and stomach should not drink cold tea or tea leftover from the previous day.

22. HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD A CUP OF TEA BE BREWED

Different types of tea can handle different levels of brewing as they have different levels of concentration. In general, black tea, green tea and flower tea can be brewed for three times. After three times, the flavor of tea will be lost. Oolong tea has a much stronger flavor and can be brewed 5-6 times.

23. WHY DOES TEA TASTE BITTER? WHY DO DIFFERENT TEAS HAVE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF BITTERNESS?

The bitter and astringent taste in tea is mainly caused by polyphenols and caffeine present. The bitterness of tea is determined by its category, the variety of tea tree, the season and the processing technology used.

For example, tea trees with larger leaves tend to have higher polyphenol content than tea trees with smaller leaves. Summer tea tends to have higher anthocyanin content than spring tea. In the production process, polyphenols and anthocyanins are converted into other substances and lose their bitterness. As a result, tea that is processed for shorter periods of time will tend to retain more of its original bitterness.

24. IS IT ALRIGHT TO DRINK TEA THAT HAS BEEN LEFT FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME AFTER BREWING

The chemical composition of tea that has been left for long periods of time after brewing is significantly different from tea that is freshly brewed. The polyphenols and amino acids in the tea are oxidized and polymerized which worsens the taste. The lipids are hydrolyzed, and the carotene is oxidized, resulting in a sour taste.

The content of heavy metal also increases with the oxidation of vitamins and the volatilization of aroma substances. Also, when tea is left in contact with air for long periods of time, the bacteria content will increase as well. Therefore, we highly recommend avoiding drinking tea that is left out for long periods of time.

25. DO THE BUBBLES THAT FROM WHILE BREWING TEA INDICATE ANYTHING ABOUT IT’S QUALITY

The bubbles that are formed are mainly caused by tea saponin in the tea, which tend to generate foam. However, its content in tea is very low and does not really effect the quality of tea such as its colour, aroma and taste. Therefore, the amount of bubbles formed during the brewing process has no real correlation with the quality of tea.

Glycosides such as tea saponins are commonly found in the plant kingdom. They include ginsenosides found in ginseng which are antioxidants, and the allyldisulfides present in garlic and onion, which also have the effects of improving our immunity systems and have anti-cancer properties.
What kind of effects do the tea saponins contained in our tea have?
  • Tea saponin have anti-seep and anti-inflammatory effects, can regulate blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol. It can also prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, phlegm and coughs.
  • Tea saponin is not only a good surfactant, but also helps enhance our anti-bacterial defenses, with an exceptionally strong resistance to various skin pathogens.
  • Tea saponin can also prevent gastric emptying and help regulate regular gastric function, keeping our digestive system healthy and functioning optimally.
  • Lastly, tea saponin can inhibit the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream and and accelerate the decomposition of alcohol, making tea the perfect drink for sobering up after a night’s out with the boys or girls.

 

26. CAN YOU EXPERIENCE SIMILAR BENEFITS WHEN YOU CONSUME TEA IN YOUR FOOD, AS OPPOSED TO DRINKING IT?

Generally, the only part of tea that is consumed is its water-soluble substances and they only account for 40% of the dry weight of tea. Many of the insoluble substances are mainly dietary fiber, protein, lipid substances, pectin, starch, fat soluble vitamins which are generally not consumed. If you eat tea directly, it should be more beneficial for your health.

27. WHAT ARE THE MAIN APPLICATIONS OF TEA IN FOOD?

This question is difficult to answer in a few words. Because tea has positive health benefits, its application in food science is still being actively researched. We can only describe a few situations simply – The most important thing about tea is that it acts as a natural antioxidant. It is widely used in animal and plant fats, baked foods, aquatic products, meat products, flavoring agents and beverages.

It is also increasingly popular for consumers to add tea into their food. For example, when tea is used to make tea bread, because tea contains certain special chemical components, it can increase the volume of bread and increase the its ability to withstand corrosion and deterioration. Therefore, tea bread is not only delicious but has a special flavour, appears puffy and stores well.

Additionally, tea can also be used as a natural health food additive. For example, tea polyphenols extracted from tea are added to other foods to create anti-cancer and anti-aging health foods.

28. I WANT TO MAKE SOME FOOD AT HOME USING TEA AS ONE OF IT’S KEY INGREDIENTS. DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDED DISHES OR RECIPES FOR ME

It is quite popular for people to eat tea rice these days. When cooking rice, use water brewed with flower tea instead of plain water. The rice will have a naturally scented flower and tea fragrance and can help you prevent illnesses. This dish is good for the summer and autumn seasons, as it can also help dispel wind and heatiness, and prevent diarrhea.

Using tea to roast fish can also help to remove fishiness, while cooking beef can increase its fragrance. Noodles that are made with tea do not stick to the bottom surface of the pot and have a refreshing taste.

Other tea-related dishes include chicken soup made with tea, tea boiled eggs, tea steamed buns and more. Using tea skillfully to enhance your food can not only improve its taste, but also bring further health benefits and create more variation in your cooking, so I would really recommend giving it a try.

29. WILL STORING TEA FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME AFFECT IT’S QUALITY

The main factors affecting the quality of tea are temperature, light and humidity. If the tea is stored under the right conditions, and these factors are reduced or eliminated, the tea can be kept for long periods of time. If the tea is not stored properly, the chemical composition of tea will change, resulting in stale taste, darker colours after brewing the tea leaves in water, an increase in concentration, a decrease in the freshness of taste.

30. WHY SHOULDN’T WE USE COLD WATER TO BREW TEA

Tea is best consumed when we are able to smell its fragrance and appreciate its colour. The volatilization of its fragrance is caused by the aromatic substances that are released after steam evaporates and carries the smells to our noses when tea is brewed with hot water. The colour and taste of tea are also determined by the solubility of tea in water, which increases when the water used is of a higher temperature.

31. WHAT TYPES OF TEA ARE THERE

Tea in China are divided into 6 main categories, namely black tea (known as red tea in the East), green tea, Oolong tea, yellow tea, white tea and post-fermented tea (known as black tea in the East). Tea in China is classified according to the colours of the beverage, while tea in the West is classified according to the colours of the tea leaves.

32. When and where is it best to drink tea?

Drinking tea not only comes with numerous health benefits, but it is also a form of pleasure. This activity should not be restricted to certain times and environments. Usually I will drink a cup of natural pure ginseng tea during work, which helps to perk me up and energize my mind. I also like to make a pot of flower tea and share it with my family within the comforts of my home after work. When I am hanging out with friends, I will brew a pot of Oolong tea for us to enjoy. 🙂

 

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