Tea? It's like a hug in a cup. Those warm words from character Patrick Jane, in an episode of The Mentalist, sum up the drink. On May 21, International Tea Day, the delicious drink will get all the attention for a day.
Tea is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world. Just as wine is made from the grape, tea is made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis. This tea plant originally comes from South-East Asia, mainly China. Nowadays, tea is grown all over the world in tropical and subtropical regions. The processing of the leaves after picking determines the type of tea, black, green and white teas being the best known. Black tea is the most widely consumed tea in the world. The oxidation – absorption of oxygen – of the leaves before the drying process creates the dark colour. With green tea, the leaves are dried immediately, retaining their original colour. White tea is the purest refined type of tea. It consists of the first young, silver-white leaves of the tea plant, which can only be picked early in the season.
To tea or not to tea?
Since tea takes on a flavour relatively quickly, it can be mixed with herbs, spices, blossom or the essential oil of flowers or fruit. This means fruit tea is tea to which flavourings have been added. If no leaves of the Camellia Sinensis appear in the mixture, we speak of herbal tea. It is an infusion made from dried plants, herbs and/or spices such as chamomile, rooibos, mint, lime, liquorice, rosehip, etc. Herbal tea is not officially a tea, even though it is often called that.
There are no rules for tea, just do what you like.
– Maarten Riebeek, thea sommelier
Tea no longer belongs on the breakfast table or at snack time. Nowadays, many starred restaurants serve a tea arrangement as an alternative to wine, carefully compiled by a true tea sommelier. Tea is the new wine as more and more people choose not to drink alcohol. Instead, restaurants are increasingly serving tea to go with their dishes.
Because of the economic value of tea for many countries, in 2019 the United Nations accepted China's request to establish an official international tea day on May 21. Previously, tea-producing countries celebrated the day on December 15. The UN took into account that tea often contributes to job creation in areas of poverty and hunger because not many other crops can grow there. As it is mainly women who work in the sector, it also supports the emancipation of women. International Tea Day calls for consideration of the impact and consequences of the global tea trade on workers and growers in the tea industry.
Of course, VIAGE goes along with this. In our Cinna bar, only ecological teas from Mondiano are on the menu. Tea Mondiano focuses on pure quality teas with unique and original flavours. No toxic pesticides or herbicides are used on the plantations. The workers use compost, natural organic waste and plants to enrich the soil with essential nutrients. Earthworms and microbes keep it fertile. The fight against weeds and pests is done with natural techniques such as rotation of different crops, mulch – decaying organic matter – and pest-controlling spiders.
The spirit of tea is one of peace, comfort and refinement.
– Arthur Gray
On your next visit , be sure to try one of these delicious drinks, enriched with a touch of honey. Because in addition to its delicious taste, tea boosts your health, stimulates your concentration and has a positive effect on restlessness and stress.