Chinese teas: fending off the winter cold

December 13, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

"Red tea" -- or black tea, to non-Chinese -- is a very popular wintertime drink in China

According to traditional Chinese medicine, tea is a great way to fend off the health dangers of wintertime. Traditional Chinese medicine observes winter weather is very cold, many things on earth are in hibernation, and the physiological function of people's bodies often declines. Therefore, traditional Chinese medicin contends the way to keep in good health is keeping out the cold and keeping warm. Besides wearing thick winter clothes and eating proper foods, drinking tea is considered a great way to stay in good health during the cold winter months.

Top two recommended teas

The first kind of tea recommended by practictioners of traditional Chinese medicine is black tea -- known in Chinese as "red tea." Since the "red tea" is moderate and rich in protein and sugar, it is believed to be good for resisting frost. To make the most of red tea's enjoyment and health benfits, Chinese people start with boilng water and always use a cup cover. It is not unusual for people in China to drink red tea with milk and sugar -- similar to English tea-drinking habits -- while in some parts of China, people drink red tea with sesame as well as milk and sugar.

Chinese "black tea" is different than what English speakers call "black tea"

Other than "red tea," what Chinese call "black tea" is another common winter tea. Some people may be unfamiliar with the term "black tea," of which Pu'er Tea is the most famous. Moreover, Oolong Tea can also be regarded as a kind of "black tea," although some tea experts may consider it to be separate. Traditional Chinese thought reasons that "black tea" is suitable to drink during the cold winter because it rids the body fatness included in all kinds of meat people like to eat in the winter. What's more, black tea is known to have less caffeine than green tea, which means that even if you drink it at night, there is no need to worry about losing sleep.

Other tea drinking tips?

Tea culture in China is rich with complexity and can take a lifetime or more to master. However, Chinese use a number of different rules of thumb when it comes to drinking teas like the black and red described above. It is reasoned that since the two teas spend lots of time on the shelf, one should quickly wash the leaves before drinking. It is also generally accepted that the teas are best consumed before 4pm every one or two hours. Lastly, Chinese will tell you not to drink tea immediately after a meal on account that it supposedly interferes with digestion -- therefore one is encouraged to enjoy a hot cup of tea at least one hour after eating.

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