Benefits of drinking
Green, Black, and White Teas.
Have a cup of tea?

If you visit Cameron Highlands, having yourself a cup of tea is a must. Even if your favourite caffeine fix is coffee, do give tea a go whether it is English afternoon black tea or Chinese oolong tea. Not just because tea is grown abundantly in Cameron Highlands; it has its health benefits as well.

The healthy benefits of green tea cannot be discounted. Drink plenty of them everyday!

I like tea and coffee and always go for a morning cup in the office whenever I log in for work. I would choose either coffee, English black tea or Chinese tea before I start rummaging and sorting through my inbox and keeping an eye out for some readers' comments from my Cameron-Highland-Destination.com website. Hey do keep them coming in! I would think that my body is saturated with caffeine considering that I still could drink it in the evening too without losing my forty winks at night is a such a marvel though sometime it does backfire and I become an insomniac and waking up the next day with Panda bear rings around my eyes. Why, I even know of some friends who must have their cup of coffee or they would not be able to sleep! Such irony. Nowadays I will avoid taking any coffee in the late evening lest I can't fall asleep. But I have no problem with tea though! I love the Oolongs with its strong dark roast giving me the necessary umph for its higher caffeine levels, while at other times I would go for the light aromatic Jasmine tea with its delicate flavour for a light indulgence.

Credit the Brits for their "Have a cup of tea?" expression even if all hell break loose all around. Tea certainly has its calming effect. But in the cool highlands with cool breeze blowing around the highlands, what better way to warm up your body and soul than a cup of hot tea?

In the Wikipedia encyclopedia, they have separated tea into five classifications namely White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong, Black Tea, Pu-erh and Yellow Tea. The grouping is based on the degree of fermentation process of the tea leaves though basically tea leaves is obtained from the Camellia Sinensis tea shrub. Of course you can't just take the Camellia Sinensis tea shrub and ferment accordingly to get your classification, it just won't work. Each region of where the tea is grown will have its own variety that will produce the right flavour for its own tea group. For example, Boh has one called the Garden Teas Palas Supreme which was suppose to mimic the flavour of Chinese Tea, but somehow the taste didn't quite fit in and I couldn't ascertain whether it was trying to be an English Tea or a Chinese Tea.

The Cameron Highlands tea shrubs variety are most suited for making Black Tea which is the most common tea drank in the Western countries. Black Teas are best drunk with a teaspoon of sugar and a dash of smooth milk. I particular like the Earl Greys with its medium strength, deep tone and delicate fragrance of Bergamot. Though I wish my office would stock up a boxful of Earl Greys I guess I will just have to be contented with normal English black teas.

Drinking teas has its health benefits. Now don't get me wrong, coffee has its good points too like the Norwegian study suggests that drinking coffee in moderation up to five cups a day, (you call that moderation?) can reduce the chances of contracting cardio-vascular diseases, Parkison's and Alzheimer's because of its anti-oxidant content.

Good to know:

What's the difference between black, green, and white vs. herbal teas?

Only black, green, and white teas come from the leaves and buds of Camellia sinensis, the original tea plant. Herbal teas and red teas on the other hand are not actually tea. Rather they are but a collection of dried roots, twigs and leaves from other plants like chamomile and mint.

How to get the best green tea brew

  • Don't use boiling water. It can make green tea taste bitter. Let the boiled water cool for a minute or two before pouring it onto the tea.
  • Allow green tea to brew for several minutes - longer than for black tea. Loose tea needs more time than tea bags.
  • Antioxidants degrade over time, so if you make iced green tea, drink it within 24 hours.
  • If you buy bottled green tea drinks, check the label. They may contain mainly sugar and not much green tea.

    Compiled by Jan

  • As for tea, the White Teas has the most potent content of anti-oxidants amongst the tea groups because it is the least processed, leaving it with high levels of anti-oxidants and lowest caffeine levels. However, its light delicate flavour may not go well with people who are used to medium to strong teas. Professor Milton Schiffenbauer, Ph.D. of Pace University studies has shown that tea destroys over 80 percent of viruses within 10 minutes. He said, "Due to the higher levels of antioxidants, White Tea may be the most powerful when it comes to cancer prevention."

    Researchers at the University of Oregon found that it was the best tea for inhibiting cell mutations, which is usually the early stage of cancer.

    What is best however, does not always go well with our taste buds. Not to worry, because the Black Tea too has its own health advantage. The Black Tea is darker in tone because the leaves are exposed to the air and turn black due to oxidation leaving a stronger, traditional taste. The many researches on the black brew found that it significantly reduces heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular diseases. It may also help prevent clogged arteries, improve blood vessel functioning, and lower blood pressure. In addition, six cups a day may also provide resistance to microbial infections and tumors, while two cups has been shown to ward off urinary tract cancer. Black tea also contains enough fluoride which the ingredient found in your toothpaste for strengthening your teeth. Now ain't that a thought! So the next time you drink your next English Black Tea think about all its positive benefits! I think I'll go make myself a cup of tea before continuing with the rest of this article!

    * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ *

    Now where was I, oh yes, tea is certainly soothing to the soul, warms your heart and protects it too!

    Green Tea is now very popular in Malaysia though I first tasted my first cup in some Japanese restaurant a long time ago. After my first business trip to Japan I got hooked with Green Tea. However, Green Tea tends to "cool the body" as the Chinese says, so people with irritable bowels like me, cannot take too much of it lest you have to make a quick bee line to the nearest water closet. Upset stomach aside, there are good benefits in drinking Green Tea. The chemicals in Green Tea have been shown to destroy cancer cells. Studies on women who drank 10 cups or more a day had a 43 percent reduction in cancer risk. In addition, an unknown component in the tea has lowered fat tissue levels in mice. So if you want some help to slim down, go drink plenty of Green Tea to lose weight! People who drank five cups a day have a higher metabolic rate and burn up to 80 more calories a day than non-tea drinkers.

    In Malaysia, we have another way of drinking tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk, with nice frothy foam formed by pouring the mix between two cups. We called it teh tarik and can be easily found in any Mamak restaurant in Malaysia as well as in Cameron Highlands. It goes very well with roti chanai or nasi lemak. However the chef has a tendency to put a fair amount of sweeten milk resulting in a drink that was too sweet. It was so sweet that one day the media simply mis-reported that the higher incidence of stroke amongst Malaysia was caused by drinking teh tarik! Eventually the Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek refuted that it was not drinking teh tarik per se that caused the health problem but the higher intake of sugar found in the sweeten condensed milk that was the culprit. It seems the daily average Malaysian sugar intake was about 120mg while the recommended intake was only 50mg. Boy do we have a real sweet tooth!

    In Cameron Highlands you won't be hard pressed to find a tea shop as you can find one in just about any corner whether they serve English or Chinese tea. For the tea shop with the best breathtaking panoramic views do try the Boh Sungai Palas Tea Center and the Bharat Plantation Tea Shop. They are both built on the cliffs edge though the Boh Sungai Palas Tea Center did one up by making the balcony hang over the edge giving any would be patrons a sense of vertigo at the balcony's edge.

    With all the good benefits of drinking tea go get plenty of cuppa. So like the good old Brits say, "Have a cup of tea?" I do!

    Jan.


    Posted on 18/5/2007

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