Men Embrace Tea for Health and for Pleasure
Every year, for the last 10 years, consumption of soda has decreased and been supplanted by tea, especially among men. One influential reason is health. Tea of all types help reduce blood pressure and fight heart disease, the number one killer of men.
The upside of tea consumption for men is improved prostate health.
Cancer Prevention Research recently published a study that concluded that antioxidants in green tea, mainly EGCG, significantly reduced the levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) and two other indicators for prostate cancer in men who had the disease. The catechins in tea may also benefit men who have pre-cancerous prostate lesions, reduce the chance of developing prostate cancer, and ameliorate the risks in those who do. The hypothesis is that tea's antioxidants interfere with the enzyme that promotes cancer, slows the growth of cancer cells and prompts apoptosis, the condition in which cancerous cells die.
Teacups and Teapots; The Asian Classics or the European "Pretty"?
An ornately designed sterling spoon, a European porcelain cup of rich colors, and an heirloom teapot are often part of a typical tea service. More and more tea lovers, particularly men, are opting for the true classic, Chinese Yixing clay pots.
Yixing teapots make flavorful tea. They come in all sizes, from three inch pots for gigantic oolong leaves to family-sized pots for Keemun blacks. One must, however, dedicate these pots for one type of tea because the pots are unglazed clay inside and out. As a result, the tea flavor and aroma are easily absorbed. After time, perhaps 20 years, one can pour only water into the pots and produce a cup of "tea."
The Taiwanese custom of fragrance cups, small oolong pots and even smaller thimble cups, made in Yixing clay or porcelain, are the perfect first set for men. These tea sets offer the new or veteran tea drinker all the pleasures of tea, including wide-mouth bowls to show the shape of fresh dried tea leaves and offer the fragrance of the dried leaf before it is brewed. After brewing, the liquor is poured into 2-21/2" cylindrical cups which proffer the fragrance of the tea liquor before it is poured carefully into the waiting thimble cup.
For the man who loves everything modern, is eager to see the brewing process, and doesn't like the fuss and bother of conventional strainers, nothing appeals more than a self-brewing pots. Adagio's ingenuiTEA is perfect for the man who travels for work, or pleasure; or who enjoys his tea at work or in the man cave. Easy-peasy and precisely and accurately brews a delicious cup every time. It even has a fun factor; the clear BPA-free plastic enables him to see the tea brewing right before his eyes.
Tools for those who appreciate exactness and precision in tea-making.
While most veteran tea makers go by feel and smell and instinct, many men fully appreciate using the tools that can make each and every cup of tea the best it can be. Tools reflect the respect for the tea growing process and the premium we pay for teas. Tools also prevent the waste of a poorly prepared tea. These are the basic "tool kit" items for tea lovers:
Scale: Measuring loose leaf tea in grams or ounces is more accurate than measuring spoons.
Measuring spoon: No scale? No worry. Use a stainless steel or porcelain measuring spoon; both are great for level or heaping teaspoon measurements. Avoid plastic or aluminum that can compromise flavor.
Electric tea kettle: One with a dial for different temperatures is a must-have. The kettle will heat the water to the exact temperature for whites and greens, oolongs, blacks and puerhs. No guessing and accuracy guaranteed.
Thermometer: Helps to double check the temperature from a stovetop or electric kettle.
Measuring cup: Six ounces of water to each measure of tea is the standard. Be accurate and measure. Too much water will weaken the tea; too little, concentrate it.
Timer: Whether it's 30 seconds or 5 minutes, be sure that he's brewing the tea long enough to elicit the fullness of flavor without the bitterness of over-brewing.
Keeping that hot water hot is always a challenge.
Place the electric tea kettle on the table for easy-to-reach, perfectly-heated water, or pour the heated water into a Japanese-style iron pot. The strength and heat retention of the iron is ideal for sustaining the water temperature.
If the water is boiled in a conventional stovetop kettle, and is too hot, Japanese cooling cups come to the rescue. These cups, with the handy small spout at one end, are open-mouthed to allow the water to cool. When ready, pour directly into the brewing vessel.