TEA TALK ON TEA
Omer Naci BOZKURT
The water is the second most consumed beverage today, followed only by tea. In fact, a tea culture has evolved with its legend, religion, denomination, benefits to human health, poetry and industry around this beverage known to have been consumed for more than 5000 years.
I as a person who loves tea and who drinks it a lot will try to narrate what I had heard, read and gathered on these aspects of this cherished beverage.
HISTORY OF TEA
The Chinese sources claim that the first person who drank was the emperor Shen-Nung who lived around 2700 BC. This emperor, reported to be quite careful about his health, used to drink his water after having it boiled. One day, while his water was being boiled again, some leaves from the tjigs burning in the fire underneath the pot was said to have fallen into the pot and the emperor who drank this tisane noticed that the aroma and taste was indeed wonderful. He inquired about where those leaves had come from and thus discovered the tea plant.
The Indians, on their part, claim that the discoverer of the tea was a bouddhist priest named Darma who had lived some 1900 years ago. He is reported to have decided to spend seven years of his life without sleeping for concemplating the grandeur of Buddha, but could withstand the sleeplessness for only five years and tried to overcome his drowsiness by chewing some leaves that he had picked up from some bushes and managed to complete thus his seven years. According to the Indians, the leaves which he had masticated were from a tea plant.
Another legend says that the warts on the face of a Chinese scientist could never heal and, finally the skin and flesh had started to fall off. As his face had become so ugly that he was being abhorred by the people around him, he decided to seclude himself from them and moved to an area with a mild climate and full of greenery. He was bating himself with the water from the neighboring springs and feeding himself with the grass and leaves from the adjacent forest. A while after, he observed that the wounds on his face had begun to heal. When he examined the matter, he had discovered that the area which he had selected as his abode was full of tea plants, of which the leaves were constantly falling into the spring constitution his bathtub.
The book titled "The Prose of tea" of Okakura Kakuza, translated by Ali Suha Delilbasi and published in the culture series, says that the tea was being used as a medicinal plant before being known as a beverage. The book goes on to say that the Japanese ennobled it in the fifteenth century and made a religion out of it: the chaism which was one based on the concept of admiring whatever is beautiful amidst the hidiousnesses and, as such, it penetrated into the wealthiest and the poorest homes alike, In fact, the Japanese people still say "chailess" for people who is impervious to both the serious and comical aspects of the drama of ; individual.
" There was a fine beauty prone to its idealization and idolisatino in the taste of the tea.
The despising pride of the wine, the conscious individualism and the smiling innocence of cacao are not encountered in the tea.
Tea is a beverage which entertains in the evening, consoles at midnight and salutes the sunrise in te morning.
Tea is a work of art and needs the hand of a master craftsman. Just like good and bad pictures, there are good and bad brews of tea.
A song poet marked with chagrine that the three worst things in the denaturation by a distorted education of an otherwise fine youth, in the observation of devaluation of fine paintings by the admiration of ordinary people and the bitterness of noting the wastage of a wonderful tea as a result of bad brewing. "
TEA IN THE HUMAN HEALTH
From time immemorial, the tea was appreciated by the nese botanists and physicians to relax the patients and to strengthen the weakened. Its ointment was used against the rheumatism. The taoists consider the tea as a ingredient of the ritual for attaining the impeccable. The Buddhists drank the tea at all times to keep them awake during long hours of reflection.
Loting one of the poets of the Tang period, had said that the first cup of tea wetted his lips and throat, the second saved him from solitude, the third entered his chest and set into motion a myriad of strange ideographs. the fourth gave him a light perspiration which exuded all malice from his pores, the fifth made him as pure and innocent newborn baby. The sixty brought him to the world of perenniality and the seventh, he could not drink any more. made him feel that his sleeves were inflated by the cool breeze.
Wang-Yu Eheng describes the tea as a concoction which filled his soul with a sound coming from nowhere and left him the pleasure given later by all advice. Stumpa praised it as something even stronger than the strength of the imaculate pury which defined the evil like a truly-virtuous man. He went on to say that the tea is something nobler than the idealisation of the manner in which it is siroted, something of the religion of the art of living. It is an excuse of the sect of purity and finess. Since it had become a sacrosanct duty of the hosts and the guests to realise the topmost happiness of the life and an oasis in the lugubrious desert of the existence where the tired travelers conversed with each other and indulged with the occult source of the life and art.
According to Zon-Mao Chen who spoke in the International Symposium of Tea Sciences at Shizoyoka in August 1991, the tea is quite rich in vitamins, particularly in vitamin C at the rate of 100 mg in 100 grammes of green tea. This quantitiy is comparable with that in the lemon and liver, although 90 percent of it is lost in the processing of fresh leaves into black tea. The vitamin B is available in equal quantities in both the black and green teas and more than 90 percent of it is passed into the water during brewing. Its vitamin E, known to be antigeriatric and anticarcinogenous. is exists for about 24 to 80 mg per 100 gr. of tea. Five cups of tea per day meets the entire daily needs of vitamin K of the human.
COMPONENTS OF THE TEA
The tea contains 25 aminoacids. The thein is the most important one, constituting more than 50 percent of these substances.
The polyphenols are the most important ingredients for medical use. Its ratio in the tea samples is between 10 and 20 percent. somewhat higher in the green tea than in the black.
The majority of 28 elements found in the tea are useful for the human health. The tea contains fluorine. The amount of this element. ingested through 5 to 6 cups of tea per day, is quite useful for the dental health. The sodium and potassium .existing in large quantities in the brew, are good for patients suffering from hypertension. Though the quantities of copper and iron in its composition are limited, it was shown that the tea could be advantageous in the treatment of anemia. As a valuable source for the manganese supply, it has an enzymic activant effect.
It is documented that the tea has a stimulant and urinant effect, due to the fiavonal. alias caffeine, in it. According to the statement of a researcher, the caffeine is not carcinogeous even at the limit of its maximum tolerance. Though the pure caffeine causes nervosity and stomach throubles, it is not responsible for such situations in the brew itself. The caffeine is a cardiac stimulant, increases the basic metabolismal rate and results in some persons in insomnia.
The use of tea as a panacea for high-fever diseases date back to the ancient China. The green tea is a stronger antibacterial than the black one. Used as a drug to stop the dysenteria in Russia, it was found to be more effective than manyther expensive drugs.
In 1987. considerable quantities of amino-butyric acid were produced through the processing of a new species of tea called "gabaro" in oxygenless environment. This substance reduced the blood pressure by 14 to 17 percent in the rats after a 20 day treatment.
TEA: A PANACEA FOR ALL
As a result of its effects of reducing the blood sugar, the tea decreases thlipids and cholesterole levels and arterioscleroses.
The harmful effects of tobacco, the toxicity of nicotine and tar are known to be carcinogenous. Against which the tea acts as a blocker. It removes the unpleasant odor of cigarette from the mouth. In fact. tea phenols are used in chewing gums and in some of the mouth sprays.
The less than expected rates of death among the survivors of Hiroshima have been attributed to be fact that the inhabitants were consuming large quantities of green tea.
The research work carried out in Japan an China revealed that the crystalline substances in the tea brew acts against oxidation and. therefore as a retarder of senility.
Scientists in many countries have studies after the 70s the tea's effects preventing the cancer and mutations in the genes and obtained encouraging results with the green and black the plus oolong tea (partially fermented leaves before roasting).
The experiments conducted on rats showed that the green tea brew contained the sarcomal growth. The oral ingestion of a drug manufactured from the tea crystal, reduced by 23 percent the growth of Erlich tumors. The study made in 1988 and 1989 showed that the green tea significantly retarded the spread of this specific cancer type.
The same study indicated favorable results on 95 percent of the rats to which were given a green tea brew at 5 to 19 percent.
The tea also contains the intestinal cancers. In groups controlled by tea, the tumor was smaller and the total cure was marked in 95 percent of cases.
The investigations carried out likewise in china showed that both the black and green teas are capable to delay the spread of the stomachal cancer. A parallel study in Japan indicated that the region Shizvok where large quantites of green tea is consumed has cancer death rate five times less than the national average.
The hepatic cancers can be contained in 45 to 47 percent of cases when the green tea extract is ingested orally at the rate of 50 mg/ kg. The green tea extract is found to be more effective than that of the black one.
In summary, it may be stated that the tea has beneficial effects in both the initial and advanced stages of cancer. Since the people live in more poluted environment today, a means to offset the ill-effects of this phenomenon is required to ensure the longevity, and the tea can well constitute this panacea.
An old Chinese adage says that "three cups of tea a day keeps the druggist away".
The calorific value of the tea is low. One cup of tea contains a mere 4 calories. It also has a cooling effect in the human being. According to some claims, one liter of tea ingested a day during the summer months removes 534 calories from the body, or one cup deducts fifth times the amount of heat from the body than its own heat.
From time immemorial, the Chinese used the tea as an analgesic and antipyretic. The dilatation of capillary veins permits the body heat to be expelled and the fever is reduces as proven by laboratory tests. This is true for the capillaries of both the brain and the skin, thus the antypretism and analgesism.
The tea plays a refulatory role in the digestive system. It facilitates the digestion (with the partial exception of meats) and permits the stomach to be emptied faster.
A properly brewed tea has been shown not to lead to gas generation and acid execration in the stomach. It is a good beverage also for the adjustment of the water balance in the body after extended diarrheas.
The tea removes the lethargy and apathy and is good for the mental fatigue. In a control test made on humans it was shown that the ingestion of tea after a certain period of time led to the reduction of rheumatic disturbances and chronics hepatitis, decreases the artariosclerosis and exerted an antibiotic effect in dysenteris and stomachal and intestinal problems.
The tea taken during the meals is believed, however, to reduce the absorption of the iron. For this reason, it should be taken sometime after the meals.
Professor Dr. Nurhan Akyuz declares that the vitamin P in the tea gives elasticity and health to the skin, and its folic acid which help the production of new blood cells.
Adding that the tea facilitates the functioning of the heart and stimulates the nervous system, Professor Akyuz states that there are more cardiac cases among the tea abstainers than among the drinkers.
You will obtain wonderful results if you add tea to your bath. First of all, your skin will become nicely tanned. It will be followed by the tea's rejuenating effects.
Prepare one liter of boiling water and add tour spoonfuls of tea in it and let it brew for about ten minutes. Pour this tea into your bathtub.
The tea has also a fat-cleaning effect. Those having fat skins may remain in the bathtub filled with as hot a water as can be tolerated and slay in it after throwing into the water the contents of a lOO gr packet of tea. You wit! come extremely relaxed out since the fat is cleaned from your skin and your pores are reopened. Such a bath is particularly good after a tiresome sportive activity and physical fatigue. You will feel as fresh as you were when you were born.
The tea is the best preventer of alopesia in obese persons. The results of rinsing the hair with tea are indeed wonderful.
Likewise, if you comb your hair after having it lightly wetted with tea, you will give the hair a beautiful brightness and vitality.
Adding a few drops of lemon wise a bottle of tea, you will obtain a nice lotion for fatty skins which, particularly in the summer months, will be further enhanced in a healthy bronze after the sunbathe. Don't forget the tea bath for your eyes, too, in order to keep your eye health.
TEA AS A MEAGERING AGENT
The tea which you will take without sugar after your breakfast or meals will facilitate the digestion and thereby prevent obesity and will even reduce your weight.
Let's now return to the brewing of the tea. It is an art to prepare a good brew, and requires craftsmanship from the brewer in addition to the quality of the materials used. The preparation of a tisane is subject to different ways and methods among different cultures; though the entire system is underlain by the three golden rules of having a high-quality tea, a good (preferably porcelain) teapot and the avoidance of using detergents in washing the pots and kettles, and the use of hot water only. Another rule which is dictated by a good brew is the use of fresh water devoid of lime and chlorine. The Chinese used to maintain that the best water for this purpose was the spring waters from the mountains. The crystal should be preferred in the tea glasses. A white and thin edged cup should be preferred if cups are used. it will let you to better appreciate the taste, aroma and tinge of the tea.
Brewing of Black Tea
Softer waters are more suitable for this purpose. The kettle is boiled first and removed from the fire afterward. Then boiling into the teapot and a teaspoonful of tea is added for each cup of tea, plus another for the pot itself.
The Chinese teas get brewed within 2 -1/2 minutes while the others require 5 minutes. The boiling water should never be poured on the tea. It must be remembered that the water boiling at 100"C of sea level will drop to 84'-C when poured into the pot and to 74°C at the end of the 5 minute brewing time. The boiling takes place at S7°C at an altitude of 1000 meters and 93°C in 2000. The boiling water destroys the vitamins in the tea and those which are left to brew for more than 5 minutes will start to acquire a bitter taste.
You may add white Candice sugar or mil to the tea to suit your preferences. The can-dice sugar will not after the tea's taste.
The green tea may be brewed according to the Touareg and Russian methods.
A small amount of boiling water is poured on the green tea which is then filtered out and boiling water is again poured on the leaves. There minutes are needed for this brew. Two or three fresh mint leaves are placed in tooth service cups into which tea and sugar is poured.
Small tea leaves are put into a small teacup and the water boiling in a samover is directly poured into the cup.
The iced tea, not very well-known in our country, is quite widespread in Greece, Italy and Egypt. The shortest and easy way to make iced tea is to let the brewed tea to cool off. But the tea loses much of its aroma during the evaporation. The refore, many people let the tea leaves to brew within the cold water, although it will not be so tasty as that one obtained with the hot water. Some fruits and cubes of ice may also be added to the service cups. To keep the tea brewed in cold water for three days in the refrigerator will go a long way to enhance its taste.
The tea drinking is a ritual by itself in Japan where the group of guests consisting of tour to live persons are admitted to a special tea-room. After washing their hands and rinsing their mouths, they go into this room on their knees. Sweets are served before the tea which is specially brewed just at the threshold of the door. This custom, dating back to the Zen tradition, still continues today in a somewhat modified form.
TEA IN TURKISH THADITION
There are five different ways of tea drinking in the Turkish tradition: With or without sugar, with sugar lump inside the cheek, looking to the sugar and chieftain's order.
Drinking the tea by looking at the sugar placed into a jar, a custom from the deprivation years dating back to the first world war, is a consolation approach, in the chieftain's shout tradition, he utters "sugar" and everybody in the room takes one sip.
TEA IN THE LITTERATURE
Let's terminate our tea talk with some poems and jokes on the tea, together with some expressions used.
There is a four lip rule in the tea ritual under which the tea should be;
3- Up-full, and
In this rule, the tea should have the color of lips, served and drunk at a temperature which may be tolerated by the lips from a glass filled to the lip and it should leave a somewhat bitter taste to the lips and palate.
This four lip rule dictates the strength of the brew, the temperature at which it should be served, the amount of tea to be put into the glass and the taste to be imparted to the mouth.
There is also a three-health rule in the amount of tea to be taken.
This rule reminds us the samovar on which the tea is brewed within a porcelain pot.
The word samovar contains three syllables. The first "sa" or "se" means three in Persians, "ma" is the Arabic word for water and "ver" denotes "give". Added together, this becomes "give three waters" or "serve three glass.
In his samovar poem, a troubadour says:
Samovar has its master,
A lot is in Caucasia,
Tall ones in Bukhara,
Lemon, sugar churn samovar.
Heal in tea, live in tea,
Good in tea, taste in tea,
Gourmet knows what is the tea.
Let's have the tea, let's have the tea,
Let's live the go given by tea.
The scribent Mustala Necadettin of Erzurum was reported to have said:
Say the prayer, and take the teacup,
Amber-colored is what we sip
Well-brewed is healthy the tea.
Flute drones the elegy we have,
Join this batch of drinkers of tea,
Let our tea abundant like the sea,
So is the prayer of Mustafa, drinker the tea,
Be it the eden 's pray our last cup of tea.
For those who gourmet are, rule is three cups of tea, Those who look after healing four and even five may be well.
A local saint, who had grown too old and wanted to ablute himself from his wine-drinking sins, uttered the following verses:
Came and went the days of good,
Let's put a side all days of sin,
Rubies are in wine and tea alike,
Let's drink tea, let's drink tea.
I finish my talk with the words of Okakuro Kakuza's word which said that the tea drinking is a prayer expressing the beauty of respect amidet the evils of the day, embracing the purity and harmony, representing the grace, embodying the romantism of the wilterness. The famous British statesman William Gladstone said that the tea warms you if you're cold and cools you if you're warm, relaxes you if you're under stress and quietens you if you're nervous.