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Everything you ever wanted to know about tea

Kelly Zajac at Tudor House Tea & Spice in Kalamazoo
Nancy Camden

Even on hot days like these, many of us still drink our morning coffee to get a daily dose of caffeine. But more people are starting to wake themselves up with a cup of tea. Nancy Camden went to Tudor House Tea in Spice in Kalamazoo to learn everything she could about coffee’s old nemesis.

Kelly Zajac is the owner of Tudor House Tea and Spice on the Mall in downtown Kalamazoo.

“Worldwide tea is the second most consumed beverage," says Zajac. "And, it’s second only to water. And, in most countries other than ours, it’s primarily men or men are also big tea drinkers. Here men seem to prefer their coffee; but, more and more are turning to tea.”

Zajac says real tea comes from the CameliaSinensis plant. It's an evergreen bush that produces all kinds of flavors and can be harvested several times a year. Zajac explains how to brew a cup of tea:

“We usually start with about a teaspoon of tea per cup," she says. "And, we have good quality mineral water here. I have it at 195 degrees, which is a pretty good temperature for all teas. And, we will give it a nice three-minute steep. Because this is an herbal tea, you can never have the wrong water temperature or steep it too long. Your white, your greens and you oolongs you can burn. And, any true tea, you can overstep and that’s when you get that bitter taste.”

Though tea is said to have less caffeine than coffee, Zajac says new studies say tea has the same amount. 

"But, it’s all of the antioxidants and polyphenols that are in the tea leaf that interact with the caffeine and change how your body absorbs that caffeine," says Zajac". And, you’re not getting the shakes and the jitters and the big ‘let down.’ I mean that’s why monks for centuries have used tea during meditation because it allowed them to be relaxed, yet kept their mind alert.”