I am not a big tea drinker, may be once in a while. Before leaving as I was googling for things that I can buy from China, I found out that China is the birthplace of tea and produces the world's finest green teas. The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression.
Green Tea contains a particular type of polyphenol - EGCG which is a very powerful anti-oxidant: it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue and is also effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots.
Green tea has the greatest benefits compared to other Chinese teas like Black or Oolong. All of them come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.
For more information read here and here.
With this information in hand, I couldn't come back without Green tea. I bought a bag of Chinese green tea from a local store in Shanghai. The lady in the store even put a pamphlet with the instructions to make the tea, of course written in Chinese (Not sure what made her think I can read that ;-) ).
Back in the States, I made my first ever green tea, not the regular Chinese style, but "Kashmiri Kahwa" style. This is Tarla Dalal's recipe with Kashmiri green tea, I replaced it with the Chinese version. This Chai helps to relieve headache and maintain fluid levels in the body.
Kashmiri Green tea - 4 tsp
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cardamom - 2 pods crushed
Cloves - 2
Ginger - 1" piece
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Water - 3 cups
Saffron - pinch (mixed in water)
Almonds - 8 blanched and chopped
- Add cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom to water and bring to a boil.
- Pour water over the tea and leave to infuse over a very low flame for about 10minutes. Add sugar and mix well.
- Strain the tea and add saffron water along with chopped almonds.
- Serve hot.
I have never had Kashmiri Kahwa before, so I can't say if Chinese green tea matches up to its taste. But it was definitely refreshing and you can taste all the different flavors going on in the tea.