According to legend, tea originated over 5000 years ago when a couple of tree leaves fell into a cup of boiling water. Today, tea is one of the most consumed drinks in the world, second only to water.
What is it about this beautiful brew that is so associated with comfort?
When someone is upset, or we need a break the usual thing to say is “lets have a cuppa”. I must admit that I’m a huge tea drinker and have been for most of my life.
As a child, living in the country, we didnt consume a lot of sweet drinks, and it was normal to have tea after every meal and also in between, so the kettle was pretty much always on.
We were pretty basic on how to brew tea, put a couple of heaped teaspoons in a pot of boiling water and when it reached the desired colour it was ready…..now, as in so many things…we look at the best way to achieve the best results, the only thing there is there seems to be so many different opinions!
During the first episode of the new season of Inside the Factory, which was aired on BBC Two , Dr Stuart Farrimond, an expert tea maker, told presenter Cherry Healey how to brew the perfect cup.
According to Dr Farrimond, the longer a tea is brewed for, the higher its caffeine and antioxidant content. A tea brewed for 30 seconds contained 35 milligrams of caffeine, while a five-minute brew increased the figure to 50 milligrams. Leaving the teabag in for the same period also doubled the antioxidant level.
“Tea is a great source of antioxidants and these are natural substances that our body uses to help fight disease so it is important you leave it to brew”, says Dr Farrimond.
Dr Farrimond cited four golden rules of tea. They are:
“Never drink from a Styrofoam cup, which absorbs the flavour”…well I definately agree with him there
“Use a red or pink mug, which makes the drink taste sweeter” really??? – you’re kidding right?
“Filter the water, which removes calcium and magnesium residue, preventing scum from forming” OK, will agree with it, but don’t do it!
“Brew for five minutes” I’m just not that patient
With so many tea-brewing methods, what do other experts say?
Heat the pot first
Let the tap run for a while to up the oxygen level
Let it brew for 5 minutes,
Let it brew for 8 minutes
Milk and sugar in first or last
and so it goes on…..
The bottom line is that tea is a great drink, to have when you’re feeling down, want to share a moment with a friend, need time out or feeling thirsty, its a really comfortable drink. So from our basic versions of green and black teas we have so many variants on that theme, and at OutbackChef I’ve created quite a few using Australian native herbs, spices, fruits and berries…I love them all, but a personal favourite is Green Tea, Lemon Myrtle and Ginger, it just seems to tick all the boxes.
Now, you say, what about Tisanes, that is a tea without any tea….yes, we do have one that is Native Lemon Grass & Ginger and I’m please to say has been really popular, a good night time drink with no caffeine.
Then there’s the brewing equipment and all the great tea pots, cups, strainers and little scoops. The Aussie kitchen that used to have the kettle, a teapot with a tea cosy that was knitted by a favourite grandmother, or bought at a school fete, was always the go. So no matter what the brewing equipment, wether is’s made in an ultra modern kitchen in a big city or boiled in a billy over the camp-fire and drunk out of an old tin can, the emotion and the enjoyment are still the same.
It’s so important in today’s fast-paced technology driven world that we take time out, so dont let anybody stop you from enjoying Australian’s new superfood, a good Aussie cuppa!