Yes, yes, I’m weird. But I find it enjoyable to crank up the music on my earphones and go shopping…for food. I tend to take my sweet time too, meandering about checking out different items, picking out fresh ingredients and trying to decide what I want for dinner for the next week. Sometimes I’ll even look up recipes on my phone and play it by ear. Like today, I needed an idea for baking for tomorrow (last day of O&G woooo), and I was like hmmm…CHEESECAKE. So there’s a green tea cheesecake setting in my fridge right now.
I can’t wait for when I’m older and start shopping around farmer’s markets and gourmet ingredient shops (when I’m earning money OTL). It’s so fun looking at all kinds of food, smelling and tasting a myriad of ingredients and foods~ You know what they say: don’t forget to stop and smell the roses…and eat them.
Among the many hot beverages the world enjoys, tea is probably the number one. No matter how many people drink coffee, no beverage has a history like tea. From the tea ceremony cultures of the East to the Boston Tea Party of the West, the history of tea is long and full of stories. As everyone knows, tea is a drink made by boiling down the leaves of a plant. There are many types of tea: black, oolong, green, yellow and white being the most common. Teas made from more aromatic plants such as jasmine and chamomile are typically put in a separate category known as herbal teas. One surprising fact about tea is that most of them are derived from the same plant.
The plant Camellia sinensis is the source of all teas, with the aforementioned black, oolong, green, yellow and white teas all coming from the leaves of this one plant. However, what makes each tea unique is the way the leaves are processed. For example, if you steam freshly picked leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant then dry them out, you make green tea. If you wither the leaves then lightly crush and bruise them to promote oxidisation, you make black tea. The different ways of processing tea leaves gives each type of tea a unique flavour due to a variety in the ratio of various chemicals. For example, black tea is rich in tannin because of oxidisation, whereas green and oolong teas are milder as they have higher levels of catechins than tannin (the oxidised product of catechin). As catechins act as antioxidants in the human body, green tea is effective in slowing the aging process.
Although the source of the leaves are the same, the different ways of processing makes each tea unique in their ways of preparation. The milder white, yellow and green teas are best prepared by steeping them in water heated to (or cooled from boiling) 70~80°C for 1~2 minutes, while oolong and black tea should be steeped for 2~3 minutes in near-boiling water (80~99°C) for the best taste.
Coffee is a magical drink that can make a busy person’s morning. Coffee’s stimulant effect is due to the substance called caffeine. Caffeine can make the mind more alert and drives away sleepiness for about 3~4 hours. This is why students studying for an exam or people working late love to drink coffee.
There are many students who say they do not like coffee and drink energy drinks instead. These drinks tend to advertise that the substances guarana and taurine give energy, but an interesting fact is that guarana is just a plant where caffeine is extracted from. Taurine has many beneficial actions in the body, but has no effect as a stimulant. Therefore, an energy drink is simply made of caffeine and sugar and holds no advantage over coffee.
Although caffeine is beneficial in moderate amounts, excessive consumption leads to adverse effects. A normal adult can handle up to about 400mg of caffeine. Any more and they could suffer from anxiety, insomnia, headaches, dehydration, increased urination, fever, rising heart rate, stomach pain, nausea and many other symptoms. As everyone’s rate of caffeine metabolism is different, only they know how much caffeine they can consume. Furthermore, the more coffee or tea you drink, you build a tolerance towards caffeine and can consume much more without adverse effects.
The following is a list of the caffeine content in common drinks and foods:
- Drip coffee(200ml): 150mg
- Espresso(50ml): 100mg (this is because the cups are small, the concentration is about 3 times that of drip coffee)
- Caffeine tablet: 100mg
- Energy drink(250ml): 80mg
- Coca-cola(600ml): 60mg
- Chocolate(250g): 60mg
- Black tea(170ml): 50mg
- Green tea(170ml): 30mg
- Decaffeinated coffee(200ml): 10mg
However, the best method to drive away sleepiness is by sleeping. If you are tired, the only way to recover is by taking a 30 minute to 2 hour nap, especially if you will be driving or have a night shift.