In the 16th Century, Tea was introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China and in 1660 the wife of King Charles II, Catherine of Braganza brought the habit of drinking tea to Britain but it remained an expensive luxury until the end of the 18th Century.
Once picked, the leaves begin to wilt and oxidize unless they are dried immediately. The leaves turn darker as their chlorophyll deteriorates and tannins are released. If the leaves are heated this deactivates the enzymes that cause this and if this isn't controlled carefully during manufacturing, the tea can be left undrinkable due to mold and bacteria growth.
Tea is thought to strengthen the immune system, lower cholesterol and help prevent cancer. It is also shown to help with weight loss and no matter what type of tea you drink, the results are almost identical for all. The full benefits of tea needs further research but current studies point towards all tea being beneficial in nature.
Revised December 24th, 2016
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Tea is one of the most popular drinks consumed worldwide. It is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis, an evergreen shrub from Asia that prefers warm temperatures and can grow more than thirty feet in the wild. The shrub is pruned for cultivation purposes which make it much easier to harvest. One bush can produce over 3000 leaves per year and although it originated in China and has been cultivated there for over 1500 years it is also indigenous to India too.