Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holly tea!

I was bent on writing an article about tea. You see, tea :) is a word often used instead of "infusion", but the definition of the word says it is specifically an infusion of Camellia sinensis, or the tea plant. I drink tea a lot, although I prefer to alternate the different tastes as much as possible. Tea plant

But the tea and coffee plants are far from being the only ones used for energizing drinks. In the Theaceae family alone there are a few species that are traditionally used for infusions.

Then there is the mate, from Yerba Mate, a species of the Holly (Ilex) family. Ilex paraguariensis, the mate plant
Other members of the Ilex family are used for traditional drinks.

The Roiboos infusion is an African tea made from a plant that is part of the legume family! I've tried it and I didn't enjoy it much.Aspalathus linearis, or the roiboos

How about a little Coca to boost the spirit? The "Coca tea" or "mate de coca" is a traditional drink in the Andes. Coca Erythroxylum, the coca plant

You can try Bubble tea made from Tapioca, the processed root of the Cassava plant.Manihot esculenta, the manioc, yuca or cassava

All these links are giving me headaches, but there is more! The stuff above is just the tip of the iceberg, or the most famous plant infusions that are known as tea, because there are all the other plant infusions that are covered by the more generic term "Herbal tea". On that particular page you can find over 60 herbal infusions not made from the tea plant, including mate.

Please follow the plethora of links as I can assure you you will find a lot of interesting things there. This also got me thinking of the way the markets are functioning right now. I drank about every possible tea I could commercially find without looking too deep and I've only experienced tea and mate infusions. How about all the others? When will I be able to drink tapioca tea or coca tea? The plant itself is not illegal! Perhaps deeper digging in the commercial part of the Internet will help me find sources for some of the drinks above. Also, if I only had the time, I would try to learn about herbalism.

Eh, enough of this. Now I must add the images to the post and hopefully someone will read it.


Madalina said...

What about fruits tea with cinnamon. I suggest 'Winter Fairy Tale'...a lot better than coca....cola :P

Anonymous said...

Coca tea Rocks! Just read all the reviews and now is available through ... Yes, they ship from the US

harukittie said...

Simply amazing. Following your link about Bubble Tea and tapioca, I learned and put to rest a long-standing argument between me and my fellow Tapioca (Bubble) Tea drinkers. Before the modernization of the tea's moniker, it was called Pearl Milk Tea. Now I know the "pearls" could have been tapioca, sago, or (more commonly now) simply flour! Thanks!