Coffee & Tea: Treasured Beverages

Common and perhaps little-known facts on two of our most treasured beverages: Coffee and Tea.

Intro to Tantalizing Tea

A beverage prepared by infusion of the young leaves, leaf buds and internodes of varieties of Camellia sinensis and C. assamica, originating from China. Green tea is dried without further treatment. Black tea is fermented (actually an oxidation) before drying; Oolong tea is lightly fermented.

Among the black teas, flowering Pekoe is made from the top leaf buds, orange Pekoe from first opened leaf, Pekoe from third leaves, and Souchong from next leaves. Earl Grey is flavored with bergamot; lapsang souchong was originally produced by burning tarry ropes near the tea during processing. Up to 30 percent of the dry weight may be various polyphenols that have been associated with protection against cardiovascular disease.

Tea Facts

  • All tea is grown from one species of shrub, Thea, the leaves of which constitute the tea of commerce. Climate, elevation, soil, cultivation and care in picking and curing all go to make up the differences. First-quality tea is made from young, whole leaves.
  • Although tea is not a substitute for food, it appears so for a considerable period of time, as its stimulating effect is immediate. It is certain that less food is required where much tea is taken, for by its use there is less wear of the tissues, consequently need of repair. When taken to excess, it so acts on the nervous system as to produce sleeplessness or insomnia, and finally makes a complete wreck of its victim. Taken in moderation, it acts as a mild stimulant, and ingests a considerable amount of water into the system.
  • Tea heats the body in winter and cools the body in summer.
  • Children should never be allowed to drink tea and it should be avoided by the young. It may be indulged in by the aged, as it proves a valuable stimulant as the functional activities of the stomach become weakened.
  • Tea was originated in China and then was introduced to Japan.
  • Mexican tea is called Epazote.
  • Teaseed oil is oil from the seed of Thea sasangua, cultivated in China; used as salad oil and for frying.
  • Iced tea and coffee can be greatly improved if the ice cubes are made of coffee or tea instead of water.
  • You can avoid cloudiness in iced tea by letting freshly brewed tea cool to room temperature before refrigerating it. If the tea does become cloudy, pour a little boiling water into it until it becomes clear.
  • For a new taste in tea, add a small bit of dried orange peel to the teapot.
  • The Island of Celon is the world’s leading producer of tea.
  • An experienced picker can pluck about 40 pounds of tea leaves a day.
  • Salada Tea and Bigelow English Tea time are two of the highest caffeine content teas. They average about 60 mg. of caffeine per 8 ounce cup.
  • When drinking tea, never use polystyrene cups with lemon. The combination of the hot tea and the lemon will corrode the cup away releasing carcinogens into your drink. It will actually eat right through the cup.
  • Tannin, found in tea and red wine may interfere with the body’s use of iron, thiamin and vitamin B12.
  • At present there is no risk factor related to drinking tea and heart disease.
  • Black teas are the most popular in the U.S., importing 130 million pounds per year. The yearly consumption is 35 billion servings.
  • Iced tea was first created at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.
  • One pound of tea will brew approximately 200 cups (200 teabags).
  • The U.S. imports approximately 72 percent of its tea from India.

Classifications of Tea

Black Tea:  Turns black due to oxidation. This is the best quality tea. Includes Organic Assam Tea, Ceylon, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Keemun, Lapsang and Lapsang Souchong Tea.

Green Tea:  Oxidation is omitted. The natural color is green. Two main types: Basket Fired and Gunpowder Tea.

Oolong Tea:  Semi-processed, makes the leaves partly green and brown. Two types: Formosa Style Oolong Tea and Organic Tea Jasmine.

Outdoor Tea Facts and Tips

  1. Tea bags, new or used, can be placed on the soil around plants in garden beds and planters to fertilize. Cover the tea bags with mulch. Every time you water the plants, the nutrients from the decomposing tea leaves work their way into the soil. You could also use instant iced tea. Mix up a quart according to directions. Don’t add sugar or ice. Use the solution to fertilize your plants. Or, sprinkle the powdered mix directly on the soil. As the tea decomposes, the nutrients work their way into the soil.
  2. Water azaleas with cold, strongly brewed tea to increase nitrogen content in the soil for healthy leaf growth. You can also split open tea bags and sprinkle the leaves on the soil. If preferred, you could use instant iced tea mix in place of the brewed tea.


  • Coffee manufacturers do not have to disclose their method of decaffeination.
  • Brazil has experienced two major frosts in 1994 that destroyed over 1 billion pounds of coffee, approximately 10 percent of supply in the entire world. The result was an increase in the price of coffee worldwide.
  • The United States consumes about one-third of all coffee worldwide, approximately 400 million cups per day.
  • The only coffee grown in the United States is Kona coffee, which is grown on the island of Hawaii. The coffee is grown in volcanic soil and has the richest coffee flavor in the world.
  • Black salsify is a hardy perennial sometimes used roasted as coffee substitute.
  • If you give up coffee and are drinking two cups a day or more, you will probably have withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, nausea and possibly depression.
  • The safest way to prepare coffee is to boil it in water instead of filtering it. This is the way it is prepared in the Scandinavian countries.
  • Mocca is a mixture of coffee and cocoa used in bakery and confectionery products.
  • Mocha means a few things:
    1. A variety of arabica coffee
    2. Flavored with coffee
    3. In the USA, a combination of coffee and chocolate flavorings.
  • Fresh roasted coffee beans are usually packed in non-airtight bags to allow the carbon monoxide formed during the roasting process to escape. If the carbon monoxide does not escape, the coffee may have a poor taste.
  • The Swiss Water decaffeinated process is the safest. Check decaf labels. Other water processed methods are not as good.
  • The freshness of a cup of coffee only survives 10 to 30 minutes in a coffee warmer.
  • Coffee will taste better if you start with quality cold water, not hot tap water.
  • Purchase only unbleached brown coffee filters. The chemical digoxin is used to bleach filters white and may leave a residue.
  • Dripped coffee has almost twice the caffeine as instants.
  • Beverages that contain caffeine may cause your skin to become dehydrated and promotes premature aging.
  • The polyphenols in coffee and the tannins in tea may reduce the amount of iron available for the body to use. One cup of coffee consumed with a hamburger reduces the amount of iron absorbed by approximately 40 percent tea by 90 percent.
  • Caffeine takes approximately 30 minutes to affect your brain and lasts for two to six hours.
  • Two cups of coffee will cause an increase in hydrochloric acid in the stomach for at least an hour.
  • Coffee reduces the healing time of ulcers.
  • One cup of coffee or one cigarette will cause a rise pressure in blood.
  • Caffeine may affect zinc absorption which may adversely affect the prostate gland and possibly reduce sexual urges in some people.
  • Withdrawal symptoms will appear if caffeine is discontinued. These usually start with headaches but only last for three to five days. The cells become dependent on the caffeine.
  • If you consume more than 300mg of caffeine a day, it can over stimulate the central nervous system and may cause insomnia, nervousness, diarrhea and increase your heart rate.
  • Coffee drinkers have a higher incidence of heart disease; however, there is no positive proof of a connection. It could just be that the percentage of coffee drinkers is so much higher than non-coffee drinkers, this is the way the statistics play out.
  • Caffeine causes chemical changes in cells that cause excess triglycerides to be released into the blood stream.
  • Caffeine reduces the ability of the body to handle stress.
  • A dash of salt added to coffee that has been over cooked or re-heated will freshen the taste.
  • Coffee trees originally came from Africa.
  • The first people known to actually drink the beverage known today as coffee were the Arabs who would not allow the beans to be exported. They were finally smuggled to Holland in 1660 and then to Brazil in 1727.
  • Opened coffee cans should be stored in the refrigerator upside down. The coffee will retain its freshness and flavor longer.
  • Leftover coffee and tea can be frozen in ice cube trays then used to cool hot coffee or in tea or other beverages.
  • Tiramisu is an Italian dessert made from coffee flavored sponge or biscuit filled with sweetened cream cheese (mascarpone) and cream, doused with syrup.
  • For a fast cup of coffee, have a cup of fresh coffee in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Coffee will warm up and have an excellent taste.
  • Hills Brothers Coffee was the first commercial company to sell vacuum packed coffee in 1900.
  • Coffee trees require 70 inches of rainfall per year.
  • Ground coffee oxidizes very fast and coffee is best purchased in vacuum cans.
  • Americans consume 4,848 cups of coffee per second, 24 hours a day.
  • A coffee tree produces approximately one to twelve pounds of coffee cherries from a six year old tree.
  • Approximately 2000 coffee cherries are required to produce one pound of coffee, the crop of one tree.
  • The U.S. is the largest consumer of coffee. About three billion pounds are used annually.
  • When reheating coffee, never boil, as this will cause an undesirable flavor.
  • Coffee is a significant source of niacin.
  • Viennese coffee: Ground coffee containing dried figs.

Outdoor Tips

  • Fire ants? Sprinkle coffee grounds on fire ant nests to kill the ants. They eat the grounds and seem to implode. Carefully pouring three gallons of boiling water on a fire ant mound kills the colony easily, safely and effectively.
  • Fertilize blueberries and cranberries by working used coffee grounds into the soil around the base of the plants once a month. They love the acid.
  • Did you know? Coffee grounds are full of nutrients that plants love. Instead of tossing your used coffee ground, give them to your house plants and garden plants. Just work the grounds into the soil. If you are really feeling ambitious, you can fertilize your entire lawn this way.

Green Coffee Bean Extract

Natural green coffee bean extract provides and acts as a potent antioxidant towards harmful free radical damage. It promotes healthy weight loss, burns both sugar and fat, and slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

A clinical study by top universities and medical establishments showed promising weight loss properties with green coffee bean extract. The conclusion of the study stated that within three months of use, without any change to diet or exercise, green coffee bean extract produced profound results.

The conclusion stated chlorogenic acid is the active ingredient that makes it so effective. Chlorogenic acid helps improve lipid metabalism and obesity related hormone levels.

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