The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences recently hosted the “Time for Tea Workshop” which invited staff from The Spice & Tea Exchange® of San Antonio to give a detailed presentation about six types of loose leaf tea–white tea, green tea, matcha tea, oolong tea, black tea, herbal tea and pu’erh tea.
“Tea is grown all over the world and is predominately grown in elevation on steep slopes,” explained Nabeel Siddiqui, a staff member at The Spice & Tea Exchange.
He explained that there are five basic steps in tea processing which involves plucking, withering, rolling, oxidizing and then drying. He also explained that each tea has different health benefits and proper steeping techniques. For instance, matcha tea has a bright color and has a lot of benefits because you consume the entire leaf.
“I learned about the different steps involved in making tea and how each contribute to the tea’s characterization,” explained Liesl Lawrence, a student in the Cell Biology, Genetics, and Molecular Medicine discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program.
While most people are familiar with the concept of the tea bag, the origin of the tea bag has a curious story.
“Most people don’t know that the creation of the tea bag was actually an accident, a tea and coffee importer Thomas Sullivan from New York shipped his silk tea bags. He intended for the loose tea to be removed from the bags by customers but they used it directly in their tea,” he explained.
Siddiqui explains that tea bags account for 95 percent of purchases with the favorite being black tea from Assam, India which is popular in the United States for its use of iced tea.
“I learned about the complexity behind the process of tea-making. There is so much more to a simple cup of tea that is left untold,” said Angie Salinas, a student in the Neuroscience discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program.
After the presentation, students made their own blend to take home using a plethora of spices, herbs and flowers.
Samantha Yee, a student in the Physiology and Pharmacology discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program, enjoyed the event.
“It was a wonderful event where we learned from a local tea connoisseur and we were able make our own tea blend which was really fun. I am grateful that the GSBS provides us opportunities like these,” Yee said.