How, after all, to drink tea correctly in order to get the maximum pleasure and benefit from it?
Here, of course, it is impossible to approach only from the point of view of individual nations, because habits are very relative. So, from the point of view of the Chinese or Japanese, who have retained the most classic tea drinking techniques, i.e. accustomed to drinking tea in its pure form, without any impurities, snacks, etc., all other methods seem barbaric.
Already in the first code of tea, in the "Book of Tea" by Liu-Yu, at the end of the 8th century, the principles of purity of tea were formulated, i.e. prohibition to mix this drink with anything. In addition, the Chinese and Japanese drink tea very often, several times a day, but in very small portions.
Indians willingly mix tea with milk, and also drink tea with lemon and sugar.
Tea with lemon is also drunk in Iran and Turkey, eating raisins, figs and almonds instead of sugar. They do not refuse here to flavor the already prepared tea infusion with ginger, cardamom, star anise, allspice (a grain per glass), cinnamon and other spices.
In the Arab countries of North Africa, they drink hot green tea, infusing it with peppermint and then adding sugar (but not always). Sometimes, like other peoples of the East, North African Arabs drink green tea with ice and in this case add citrus juices (lemon, orange, grapefruit) to it.
In Europe, tea is drunk almost everywhere with sugar, but usually not particularly sweet. Sweets are not consumed with tea at all.
In Russia, due to the fact that tea was not perceived as an independent drink and was always prepared rather liquid, in the past, even in the wealthy layers, it was necessary to "embellish" tea not only with sugar, but also with all sorts of other confectionery products: syrups, jams, cookies, cakes, rich loaves, plain bread with butter, as well as sweets, lemon and in some cases figs, spices and milk. Thus, in Russia, all types of tea drinking existing in the East and West were perceived, combined and significantly supplemented, as a result, their own, Russian, national way of tea drinking was created.
It would, of course, be absurd to condemn any form of tea drinking or to call for its abandonment on the grounds that it does not conform to the classical or scientific model. In addition, it would be wrong to dismiss everything that the centuries-old experience of other peoples has given. It is much more reasonable to point out the rational that contains all kinds of ways to use tea, and what they should not be unconditionally followed. As we have seen, the foods with which tea is consumed can be grouped into the following five groups:
Sugar and other sweets (sweets, jam, honey)Milk and dairy products (cream, butter)Flour, cereals (rice, millet) and flour products (bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, gingerbread, etc.) Lemon and other citrus fruits, natural juices and fruits (apples, berries).Spices (ginger, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, star anise, mint, cumin).How does tea interact with these products, do they increase or decrease the beneficial, healing or taste properties of tea?
1. Tea and sugar
Tea and sugar... Since childhood, these two words, two concepts are perceived by us as inseparable, closely connected, just like bread and salt, cabbage soup and porridge. So they entered our consciousness not only from domestic life, but also from literature, from folk tales. But do they really have to be born for each other, as we are used to it? After all, the custom of sweetening tea is far from universal. It is used only in Europe and in some places in the Middle East. And in Europe, this "invention" came into use only three hundred years after the advent of tea, in the middle of the 18th century, when they decided to sweeten tea by analogy with ... cocoa. Indeed, sugar added to tea, especially in small doses, improves the taste of tea infusion, and a variety of sugars, which are part of the tea leaf in small quantities, participate in the formation of its aroma during the production of black tea, since they caramelize during heat treatment. .
On the other hand, too large doses of sugar worsen the taste of tea infusion, muffle the specific tea aroma. In addition, studies by German scientists have shown that sugar acts as an absorber of vitamin B1 when we put an excessive amount of refined sugar into the infusion. Therefore, one should get into the habit of drinking tea with very little sugar or with sweets such as raisins or honey. It is advisable to do this for those who suffer from B1 vitamin deficiency, nervous diseases, especially depletion of the nervous system. As for other sweets (sweets, oriental sweets, chocolate), it must be taken into account that they all contain sugar and, in addition, a number of odorous substances, the aroma of which inevitably drowns out the natural delicate aroma of tea. That is why it is impossible to get genuine pleasure from real, properly prepared tea by eating it at the same time with sweets or other sweets. It is better to drink unsweetened tea with sweets so that a sip of tea follows after.