Golden Flower: The "Super Tea"

For many centuries, the golden fungus in Hunan Province dark tea has been a dietary supplement to the people of Tibet.  This unique probiotic strain of dark tea is also called the probiotic of the Overlord Germ. Clinical studies have shown the bacteria can effectively inhibit the proliferation of colon, gastric and liver cancer cells. Under a high magnifying glass, the golden flower is golden yellow, shaped like a spherical mushroom. 

Golden Flower, also known as Fu-brick tea, has become the hot spot of various scientific research institutions in the world. Recent Hunan Agricultural University studies have found that eurotium cristatum (Golden Flower) can play an active role in prolonging the life span of human beings. In addition, it also has a very significant effect on the improvement of intestinal, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

BELOW ARE SOME OF THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF DARK TEA AND LINKS TO MEDICAL RESEARCH REPORTS:

1. Supplementing dietary nutrition
Dark tea contains abundant nutritional elements including vitamins, mineral substances, protein, amino acid, saccharides and so on. Dark tea is an important source for absorbing mineral substances and vitamins for the northwestern inhabitants who mainly live on beef, mutton and dairy and lack in taking in enough vegetables and fruit. Thus dark tea is called “tea of life”.

2. Aiding digestion, solving grease, cleaning up intestines and stomach
The caffeine, vitamin, amino acid and phospholipids in dark tea are helpful in digestion, regulating fat metabolism, stimulating gastric juice secretion and increasing appetite. Japanese scholars’ scientific research shows that dark tea has strong functions in cutting grease and digesting. This is the reason why the carnivorous nationalities particularly like this kind of tea.
Minorities in Northwest of China live mainly on beef, mutton and cheese. It is said that they would rather live without food than live without dark tea. The dark tea is vital for them because it has the effect of resolving animal meat, fat, grease.
Besides, dark tea can improve the microorganism environment of intestines and stomach and clean up intestines and stomach. In China, people keep the tradition to utilize dark tea to cure dysentery and indigestion.

3. Reducing fat, reducing weight, softening vessel and preventing CVD
Dark tea has excellent functions in lowering blood lipid, resisting blood clotting, promoting fibrinogen dissolution, inhibiting platelet aggregation , loosening vascular wall, increasing effective diameter of vessel, inhibiting the formation of atheromatous plaque in internal wall of aorta and coronary artery and achieve the goal of lowering blood pressure, softening vessel and preventing and curing of cardiovascular diseases.
Dark tea is rich in tea polysaccharide which has the effects of lowering blood fat and the activity of the peroxide in blood. In 1990, General Hospital of PLA had 55 veteran cadres who were hyperlipidemia patients drink dark tea constantly for 180 days(3g/d), the observation showed that 50 people had their blood fat and peroxide activity in blood obviously reduced.
An epidemiological survey shows that people who live in the northwest such as Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai keep the habit of drinking dark tea and benefit from dark tea for its outstanding functions in regulating blood fat, blood sugar, blood pressure and vascular sclerosis and controlling of body weight and shaping figure.

4. Anti-oxidation, anti-ageing, prolonging life
The theory of the relation between the free radical and ageing says that under normal physiological conditions, the free radicals in the human body constantly generate and are constantly eliminated and then keep its balance. Dark tea contains not only abundant anti-oxidation substances such as catechin, tea pigment, falconoid, vitamin C, E and D, carotene etc., but also plentiful anti-oxidation of trace elements such as zinc, manganese, copper and selenium. The catechin, tea pigment, theanine and tea polysaccharide especially the plentiful complex flavonoid in dark tea have the function of eliminating free radicals, thus dark tea does well in anti-oxidation and anti-ageing.

5. Anti-cancer and anti-mutation
Cancer is one of the deadly diseases of the world.
Since the late 1970s, scientists from various countries have successively found that teas or tea extracts have the function of inhibiting various cancers. Hunan Agricultural University has adopted cutting-edge high throughput screening technology to carry out the research on cancer cell model SGC7901 proving that dark tea has an obvious function in inhibiting tumor cells.

6. Reducing blood pressure
It has been reported that tea has the function of reducing blood pressure. Recently, it is reported in Japan that theanine, a type of amino acid that is contained in tea can restrain the rise of blood pressure through activating dopaminergic neuron. In addition, it is found that caffeine and catechin in dark tea can soften vessel and diastole vessel to realize blood pressure reduction. Some authoritative experts including Professor Lou Fuqing found that tea pigment has outstanding functions in anti-coagulation, promoting fibrinolysis, preventing platelet from cling and gathering, restraining HASMC hyperplasia, and also has effective function in reducing triglyceride and LDL, heightening HDL and inhibiting ACE to realize blood pressure reduction.

7. Improving Saccharomyces, reducing blood sugar, preventing and curing diabetes
The tea Saccharomyces contained in dark tea is the major element that can reduce blood sugar. The tea Saccharomyces is a mixture of the same type of complex and changeable elements. The test result on tea Saccharomyces content of several kinds of tea shows that tea polysaccharide content of dark tea is the highest and its components’ activity is the strongest, because of the formation of comparatively short sugar chain and pep-tide chain which is easier to be absorbed and has stronger activity than short pep-tide chain through the action of glycosidase, pro-tease and hydro-lase contained in fermented tea. This is one of the reasons why fermented teas especially dark tea has a better effect of lowering blood sugar than other teas.

8. Sterilization and reducing inflammation
The major components of dark tea water are theaflavin and thearubigins. The research shows that theaflavin does not only act as an effective free radical scavenging agent and anti-oxidant, but also has effective anti-bacterial action against clostridium botulinum, intestine bacillus, staphylococcus aureus, bacillus capsulate and bacillus cereus. In addition, theaflavin has certain inhibiting effect against influenza virus, rotavirus virus and enter virus.

9. Diuresis, detoxication and reducing the harm made by tobacco and liquor
The diuretic function of Caffeine in dark tea is realized by boosting the leaching rates of water from the urine through the kidney. Meanwhile, caffeine cannot only stimulate the bladder and help urine, but also helps sober up and resolve toxins in tobacco and liquor. Moreover, tea polyphenols in dark tea helps the precipitation of nicotine and it can eliminate the free radicals contained in the smoke and reduce the toxic effects of smoke on the human body. Drinking dark tea can alleviate toxic effects of heavy metals as tea polyphenols has a strong adsorption function.

"Tea Art of China" now in paperback and Kindle

Tea Art of China contains information on tea legends, tea ceremonies, tea growing regions, tea tourism, tea selection, and brewing all varieties of tea.  Yin Na also shares from her personal experience with tea, and how the tea ceremony helped her find her more beautiful self.

Yin Na is a leading tea expert in China. She grew up in the tea-rich land of Chongqing, and is certified at the highest-level of Tea Art Specialist.  It is Yin Na’s wish to share her knowledge and love for tea with the world. In her book Tea Art of China, Yin Na illuminates the traditional culture of tea in China, and gives practical advise on selecting, brewing, and enjoying the perfect cup of tea. The paperback edition is 130 pages with color photos.

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Tea Art of China
By Yin Na

How to brew a good cup of Chinese tea

Tea is a very important part of the Chinese culture. Chinese have drunk tea since ancient times and so they have a wide range of knowledge and experience with tea and tea making. There are some very important steps in tea making. The first of which is to choose the right tea, the second, choosing good water and the third is to choose a tea container. The fourth step is to select the right temperature at which to brew the tea.     

There are five methods for choosing tea. The five methods are referred to as Xin, Gau, Jun, Xiang, and Jing. The Xin method is to choose fresh tea, never using bitter or dull-fragranced teas. Gan means that the tea leaves need to have low moisture content (less than 6%). When tea is rubbed between the fingers, it should be easily made into a fine powder that would quickly fly away. Jun is the fashion in which you choose the right tea leaves. In choosing tea leaves, knowing how to select the right thickness and color is very important. The thickness of the leaves should be even and the color should be without any burned marks (which could result from roasting). Also, the leaves should not display too many crumbs or any moles. Xiang means the fragrance of the tea should have a soft scent without any burnt or sour smells. Jing means that tea shouldn't contain any foreign substances. The best floral(herbal) teas have deep but fresh, pure scents. There are several ways to make good floral tea. One way is to collect the tea leaves and keep them in a special tight container, letting them sit as long as one year. Certain floral teas taste better and smell better the longer that they stay in the container. For example, Xi-lu-long-jing, Gi-qiang, and Mo-gan-huaug-ya teas are to remain in the container called Sheug-shi-hui-gang for 1-2 months. The color and scent of the tea improves as it stays in the container, compared to it's condition with no time spent in the container. However, teas like Yun-nan-ouer-cha produce deeper flavors with better fragrances when they remain in the containers for a year.

The second step is to choose the right water. Choosing appropriate water is very important in making good tea. This water has different qualities, and they grade different types of water depending on where it came from. Certain mountain waters and rivers are famous for waters good for use in tea making. These five mountains and rivers are: the Jiang-su-zheu river, Wu-xi-hui mountain, Su-zhou-hu pond, and Hang-zhou pond. When making tea from well water, there are certain things that you should look for. Most well water is good for tea making, however some well water isn't appropriate this use. For example, some wells contain high levels of sodium, making it a poor choice for this purpose. Today, in cities, tap water is most convenient and easy to use. However, even tap water can contain high levels of sodium, so if this is the case the water must sit in a container over night or be boiled for an extended period of time. In addition, the water needs to meet the below conditions in order to make good tasting tea.

  1.  It should be close to neutral levels (about 7ph).
  2. The temperature should be below 25 degrees F.
  3. It must meet water safety standards.
  4. It should be clear and without odor.

Choosing appropriate tea sets also important in brewing tea. Chinese tea sets are referred to as tea pots, tea saucers, tea bowls, and tea trays. There are different types of tea sets that have certain characteristics and designs. Therefore, tea sets are considered a very important part of artistry. These highly valued tea sets are dedicated to the established 'tea culture' in China. Tea sets are divided into two. Those that have high artistic value and those for use in every day life. Here, we will talk about selecting the right tea sets and their use.

Selecting tea sets for every day use depends on the types of tea people drink and where they live. In the eastern and northern parts of China, they usually drink floral teas. In drinking floral tea, they use large tea pots to boil the tea in water. These tea pots are ceramic, and the size depends on the number of people to serve. In the Kangnam area, green tea is usually drunk, therefore, using a ceramic tea pot with a lid is appropriate. In Fujian, Taiwan and the Guangdong areas people drink oolong tea and a regular kettle is use to brew it. When brewing Gongfu tea or Hong tea, use a ceramic pot or a regular kettle. When drinking high quality tea such as Xihu-long-jing, Jun-shan-yin-zhen, and Ton- ting-bilei-chun clear glass cups go well. However, when drinking green tea or any tea that has fine leaves, they should be drunk from a small tea cup instead of a large cup. The reason being is that when these teas are poured into large cup there would be too much water. High levels of water brew fine leaves too fast, resulting in discolored tea leaves and influencing the fragrance and taste of the tea. Some people use a thermos to keep the green tea warm, which effects the color and flavor of the tea. This method may be appropriate for oolong or other types of tea instead. In addition, there are tea plates, tea set cover cloths, tea spoons, tea trays, and tea brewing containers.

Besides choosing good tea, water, and tea sets, the way of pouring the hot water is also a method to learn in making nice teas. There are three elements: amount of tea, temperature of water, and lastly, how to make the taste you want!

1. Amount of tea

There is no rule for using certain amounts of tea. It differs depending on its kind, size of tea cup and one's habit. As you might already know, there are many different kinds of tea and each one should be used in different amounts. Generally speaking, you use 3g of dried tea in 150-200 ml of water for red and green teas. Puer tea requires about 5-10g. Wulong is the one that needs the most amount of tea. Fill half or two thirds of the tea pot every time you brew.

2. Water Temperatures

The high quality of green tea, especially those with small sprouts, should avoid hot water of more than 100 degrees. It requires about 80 degrees (after boiling it should cool down a while). This way the color of the tea is a bright light green, the taste is better and has more more vitamin C in it. If the water gets too hot, the tea turns yellow and the taste will be bitter. Other mid-quality teas like Hua Tea or Red Tea might be brewed at 100 degrees. If the temperature is too low, the tea wouldn't brewed sufficiently, and it becomes too plain. Wulong tea and Puer tea also require hot water because there is a lot of tea used and it is normally kept for a long time. To keep the water hot, they even pouring water on the surface of the tea pot. Many minorities drink brick tea (its shape is like a brick), and they place it in the container to brew.

3. Way to Brew

No one can find certain rules for drinking tea because it depends on the time, brewing methods, types of tea, water temperature, amount of tea and personal preference. Approximately 3g of red or green tea could be used for a regular cup with about 200 ml of water. Water shouldn't be too hot or too cool. You have to remember color, smell, and taste. There are convenient ways to enjoy your tea! Put small amounts of tea in your cup and pour just enough hot water to covers the tea. Let it brew for 3 minutes, then pour water up to 70-80% of the cup and drink it before it cools down. When 1/3 of the tea remains, pour more hot water to balance out the cool water in your cup. You can enjoy the tea in this manner up to 3 times. If you drink Hongsui Tea or Lusui Tea (the particles are very small), leave it for 3-5 minutes. It's not a good idea to re-brew it because it would have already used up its effectiveness, as with instant tea bags. When you drink Oolong Tea, it is better to have a Zisha tea pot. Use a lot of tea and throw away the brewed water - the first brew is for 1 minute, second is for 15 seconds more than the first, and the third is 1 minutes and 40 seconds. The fourth is 2 minutes and 15 seconds. As you saw, the brewing time gets longer and will even out the density and concentration depending on the water temperature of and actual amount of tea. The hot water means shorter time, and in contrast, lower temperatures and smaller amounts of tea mean longer brewing times. Make sure to find the appropriate brewing times for your preferred density and taste! 

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Yellow Tea
Yellow tea is a rare type of tea only grown in China that is slowly gaining recognition in western countries.  This tea is yellow in color with the leaves and infusion.  The color comes from adding an extra step in production called “Sealed Yellowing” which is a slow oxidation process of tea polyphenols such as catechin.  This unique step makes it wet, mellow and bright yellow.  It retains all healing and other characteristics of green tea but is slightly more relaxing for the stomach.  It has no hint of grassy taste characteristic of green tea. History: Yellow tea was first produced in Anhui and Sichuan in the 17th century.  Yellow tea became unpopular due to the expense both in time and money of the sealed yellowing process.  It recently has made a comeback due to the fact it was a favorite of Mao Zedong.
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Fermented Pu'erh Tea
Fermented Pu'erh Tea should be washed twice by adding boiling water for one or two seconds then discarding.  The first removes dust and dirt, the second “wakes up” the leaves and prepares them for producing tea.  From this point, add boiling water and allow it to cook for ten seconds prior to pouring and drinking.  You can continue this process up to twenty times without adversely affecting the flavor.  Add five seconds to the original ten seconds from after every five makings of the tea.  The amount of tea to use is 8g-10g or so

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Pu'Erh:

  • Water temperature:  boiling
  • Wash the leaves twice - meaning put a little water in with them - wait a couple of seconds then throw it away.
  • Use about six to eight grams of tea
  • Fill the making cup with water then let cook for ten seconds.  Then enjoy.  You can continue making tea with the same leaves up to fifteen times.
  • After every five times, you may elect to add five seconds to each cooking.

Oolong:

  • Two hundred degree water at least.
  • Wash leaves once
  • Use six to eight grams of tea
  • Fill the making cup with water, let it cook for ten seconds.  Then enjoy.  You can continue making tea with the same leaves up to seven times
  • After three times, you might add five seconds for cooking

Green Tea - Long Leaf

  • Choose tall clear glass
  • Water one hundred ninety five
  • No washing leaves
  • Put three to five grams of tea in the glass
  • Put hot water to the top of the leaves in the glass
  • Wait ten seconds to cook
  • Pour water out or drink - then can repeat up to three to five times

Green Tea - Other and Yellow Tea

  • Choose tall clear glass
  • Water one hundred ninety
  • No washing leaves
  • Prepare three to five grams of tea in the glass
  • Put one inch of hot water into the glass
  • Shake several times
  • Put hot water up to one inch from the top of the glass
  • Watch the leaves dancing for thirty seconds

White tea - Aged three to seven years

  • Boil to taste - then drink

White tea - fresh

  • Two hundred degree water
  • Five to eight grams of tea
  • Cook for fifteen seconds
  • Repeat up to seven times
  • Enjoy
  • Can repeat three to five times
  • After third time, you may add five seconds to cooking

Jasmine tea

  • One hundred ninety degree water
  • Three to five grams of tea
  • Cook ten seconds
  • Repeat five to seven times
  • After the third time, you may add five seconds to cooking

Black tea

  • Boiling water
  • three to five grams of tea
  • Cook three to five seconds
  • Repeat up to seven times
  • After the third time, you can add one to two seconds.