Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Looking for Gold Among The Yunnans

On the porch of the Amalfi Cathedral, looking at the hills, of which there
are more than you want to count.

Those of you who read this blog often know that one of my all-time favorite teas is Yunnan, preferably Yunnan Gold. I got some from Jing Tea in a tea swap and finally tried it. I brewed it as usual, although there may not have been quite enough for the size of my cup. I am not convinced it was all that fresh either, as the dry leaves did not have that characteristic “fresh wash on the line” smell I associate with Yunnans. It brewed up to a deep amber and the liquor did have some of the usual scent, but not much. It also had some of the typical taste, but it was very muted, almost bland, with not much earthiness or pepper. Again, there may have been too little for the size of my cup. Sadly, that's all there was. Maybe I'll order some when this year's stock arrives in the fall and give it another try.

A whole new rash of studies about the benefits of tea is making the rounds and I have to say, I really take them all with a grain of salt. I know tea is at least better for us than coffee and I am willing to agree that green tea may be the best of all. However, we need to read these studies with care. I suffered through a course in statistics in college and while I don't remember a whole lot, I remember enough to be able to tell if a study makes sense or is a lot of hooey.

So, what should you look for? If the study is trying to prove tea is a health benefit, you need to ask - “Who is doing it”? If it's a tea company or institute, forget it, they're already biased. How many people were in it? There was one making the rounds that only had 10 people – far too few. "Is what they are looking for measurable?" , not just based on how a subject feels. Along with that, is what they are trying to discover reasonable or silly? How long a time period does it cover? This can be tricky as some things happen right away. However, if a short – time period thing is only studied once, beware – there are lots of factors being left out. Again, who is doing it – are they published scientists or doctors? So, good luck in your sifting through studies, if that is what you're up to. I know there are many good holistic and alternative medicine folk out there and you need to ask the same questions of them, especially, are they credible in their field?

For now, I am just going to drink tea because I like it and it gives me a lot of pleasure.

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