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Tea Time

Facts about the cup

Canadians drink more than 7 billion cups of tea each year.

According to a 1999 Angus Reid Survey, 9 out 10 Canadians drink some type of tea.

The British Tea Council gives the following advice for brewing the perfect cuppa:

  • Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea
  • The team must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature
  • Always use fresh boiling water
  • In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once
  • Measure the tea carefully
  • Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served
  • Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time (generally 3-5 min) before pouring

    Three basic types of tea are produced worldwide: black, green and oolong teas.

    They all come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, which will grow up to 27.4 meters. In some countries, monkeys were trained to pick tea leaves on these enormous plants and throw them to the ground. On plantations, the bush is kept to a height of less than one metre for easy picking.

    More than 3,000 varieties of tea come from the three major types of tea.

    Black Tea is most commonly used in North American tea bags. It is made form leaves that have been fully oxidized, and produces a hearty deep rich flavour in an amber brew. The oxidization process is also known as fermentation.

    Green Tea is most popular in Asia, and is not oxidized. Instead, it is withered and immediately steamed or heated to prevent oxidation - then rolled and dried. Characterized by a delicate taste, these teas have a light green colour .

    Oolong Tea is very popular in China, the name translates to "Black Dragon". Oolong refers to partly oxidized leaves, combining the taste and colours of black and green teas. Oolong teas are taken without milk or sugar and are extremely flavourful and highly aromatic.

    Flavoured teas are 'real' teas blended with fruit, spices or herbs. Herbal/Tisanes such as Chamomile, peppermint or nettle do not contain any real tea leaf. The term 'herbal tea' is a misnomer, as these products don't contain any tea at all. These 'teas' can be from a single ingredient or a blend of flowers, hers, spices, fruits, berries and other plants.

    Source: Tea Council of Canada and the British Tea Council

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