Sira-sira store: Tea for two

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Friday, June 6, 2014


LET'S toast life! Let’s drink to that. Bottoms up. Salud. Cheers.

Keep the wine bottles stored in the dark room. Return the beer bottles to the refrigerator. Shun the punch. No to ladies drink.

It’s summer, although the city occasionally experiences “light, scattered rain showers,” to use a line from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa would have been simpler) when it explains why it rains in Lahug and not in Ramos, all of one day.

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Alcoholic beverages might raise blood pressure and sweat factor. Here’s cheering iced tea. Salud. Bottoms us. Let’s drink to that.

National Iced Tea Day is celebrated abroad every June 10. In the Philippines, tea-drinking is an imported culture (the English are richly associated with this drink) and taking iced tea is a recent addition to the drinking habit of Pinoys.

According to the Examiner, iced tea was first served in the United States in 1904. It was such a hit that vendors began selling the drink at events, fairs and festivals, a tradition that still holds today.

It is a drink worth toasting. WebMd lists five types of teas, and associates different benefits to each one.

Green tea is made with steamed tea leaves. According to the website, it has been widely studied. The tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.

I’m disappointed, though. They didn’t mention dandruff, headache and poverty.

Black tea is made with fermented tea leaves, and has the highest caffeine content among tea variants. Studies show that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke. What?! Nothing about toothache or headache?

White tea is uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas. I give up—no mention of, you know.

Oolong tea reportedly can lower bad cholesterol levels. Cheers!

Pu-erh tea is made from fermented and aged leaves. In one animal study, it was learned that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced bad cholesterol. Lucky animals.

There are as many iced teas as there are countries. In the United States, the first version of iced tea was made with green tea and was printed in the Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1879, according to the Daily Dish Magazine.

It was long process that required brewing green tea and then steeping it over the day. Today, we get our iced tea out of a sachet. Let’s toast instant iced tea.

Canada likes its iced tea flavored with lemon and sweetened to taste. Bottoms up.

We’re still using Daily Dish as source. In Hong Kong, many restaurants served iced tea, usually with Ceylon. I like the idea: Hong Kong drink using Ceylon tea. Salud!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 07, 2014.

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