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Tea

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Tea leaves steeping in a zhong caj.jpg

Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many enjoy.

There are at least six varieties of tea: white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and post-fermented teas of which the most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong, and black. Some varieties, such as traditional oolong tea and Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea, can be used medicinally.

The term "tea" is sometimes loosely used to refer to "herbal teas", which are an infusion or tisane of leaves, flowers, fruit, herbs, or other plant material that contains no Camellia sinensis. In East Asian culture, the term "red tea" has always been used to represent what the West understands as "black tea". This can be confusing in the English speaking world because the same term is now also used to represent the drink made with the South African rooibos plant which contains no Camellia sinensis.

The health benefits of tea is a controversial topic with many proponents and detractors.

In many cultures, tea is often had at high class social events, such as afternoon tea and the tea party. It may be consumed early in the day to heighten alertness; it contains theophylline and bound caffeine (sometimes called "theine"), although there are also decaffeinated teas.

Tea is prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East.

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References

Tea, en.wikipedia.org

Tea: Medical Benefits, www.farsinet.com

What is Tea?, www.wisegeek.com