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Newsletter #16: White Tea, China and Olympic
August 22, 2008


A Monthly Newsletter About Gourmet Teas
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2008 22 August 2008 Issue #16:



>> White Tea Caffeine Paradox
>> China & Olympic Beijing 2008
>> Would China Ever Give Up On Tibet?
>> Tea Forum - Unanswered Questions and Interesting Threads


As we head towards the grand finale of Olympic Beijing 2008, I thought I would use this opportunity to talk about tea (as we usually do!) and Chinese politics and history.

First I shall start with the tea...

In the previous issue, I spoke about white tea processing. To recap, unlike green tea, white tea is NOT roasted or rolled. It is made by a process called withering. During this process, tea leaves are left on its own to undergo chemical changes. Room temperature, humidity and air-flow are carefully controlled to facilitate the right type of enzymatic reactions.

The result, is a soothing cup of white tea that is sweet and flavourful. The question is - how much caffeine does it contain?

Western tea experts have always insisted that white tea contains less caffeine. The evidence is more physiological than chemical, because white tea does indeed feel less caffeinated!

The truth about white tea chemistry is complex. Chinese studies have shown that the higher the tea grade, the more caffeine it contains. However, higher grades contain far more theanine than caffeine, which explains why higher grade is more soothing to drink!

White Tea Caffeine - The Complex Truth

Theanine is the best kept secret of high grade teas. Big tea companies don't promote it as much as they should because the average green tea found in America or Europe contains too little of theanine to make a difference. If you are caffeine sensitive, drinking high grade teas could help because studies have found that if 8 times more theanine is given than caffeine, the effects of caffeine is completely blunted.

This, perhaps, is a topic for another issue!

Julian Tai

>>Coming Next... Understanding different types of white tea...

>> Feedback: mailto


For someone not familiar with Chinese history, the Olympic opening ceremony may seem like an opulent soap opera. With its rampant use of special effects and highly prescriptive measures (all volunteers have been asked to smile a lot and said hello, and NOT to asked foreigners embarassing questions like how much salary they take home each month), it may look like one gigantic effort to deceive and impress.

That may be the views of some skeptical Westerners, but I have to confess, I watched the ceremony holding back tears in my eyes. You see, in the broad swept of human history, it doesn't matter whether the event is staged or spontaneous. Imagine what my forefathers would say about this event 500 years before? This occasion marks the coming of age of modern (capitalist) China. Celebrations like this doesn't come very often in Chinese history. And I am just too lucky to live through it.

What's the significance of the Olympic to the 1.3 billions Chinese people? What makes them so vain so as to spend hundreds of billions to please the foreign visitors?

You see, critics of China often forget how far the country has come in the last 30 years since reform started in the 1980a.

This is a country overran by the Mongolian hoardes in the 14th century, conquered by the Manchurian nomads in the 16th century, invaded by the European powers in the 19th century (culminating in the country being force-fed opium in order to pay for the Western tea import) and finally utterly humiliated by the Japanese in the Second World War. Lives weren't any better during Chairman Mao either (20 millions people died from famine during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s). It really was as bad as it could get. This is typical Chinese history.

Compared to their neighbours the Korean and the Japanese, the Chinese have never been proud of themselves. Patriotism has been in short supply. Migration is seen as a way to better life elsewhere. Foreign goods and ideas are preferred (people prefer Starbuck coffee to Chinese tea!). So when Olympic arrived in Beijing in 2001, the entire country gasped in anticipation - could they, the ex-communist lot, did it as well as the predecessors?

As far as I can tell, the answer is yes. They have done it, and with such style that it will be unmatched for many years to come.

The occasion marks the coming of age of modern China.

>> Feedback: mailto


Earlier this year, the procession of the Olympic torch had attracted much protests from pro-Tibetan movements. All said, would they ever succeed? Are they wasting their time and if so, why?

As a Tibetan Buddhist, I feel for their plight. But as an ethnic Chinese familiar with China's internal pressure, I know only too well what is realistically possible. No matter what happens, China will never give up on Tibet.

This article by Stratfor explains why Chinese is an island to itself and maintaining the border is critical for its internal stability. If you are in anyway politically inclined, it is not to be missed.

The Geopolitics Of China

>> Feedback: mailto


Aug 21, 2008, Tea Storage - Fresh For Less Than 3 Months?

A 2008 study conducted by Purdue University found that green tea powders degrade significantly in 3 months at various humidity levels.

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Aug 21, 2008, Green Tea and Thyroid Medications

What are some of the things you look for if you are taking a thyroid medication and drink green tea?

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Aug 21, 2008, Green Tea and Drug Testing - EGCG and Morphine

I will be doing a drug screening test today to be a substitute teacher for one of our local schools. I take 300 milligrams of green tea extract a day

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Aug 21, 2008, Chinese Jasmine Tea - Where To Find A Good One?

I purchased tea from you in the past. It's excellent!! I just recently was introduced to chinese Jasmine tea. I am looking for information about this

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Aug 20, 2008, Green Tea Plant - Grow and Make Your Own Tea

I was able to buy some Camellia Sinensis seeds, and I want to know how should I handle the leaves so that I can make some green tea.

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Aug 17, 2008, Best Green Tea to Reduce Weight and Blood Pressure

Ok...let me begin by admitting that I am a total tea 'virgin'..seriously, the only tea I've ever really drunk is (please don't cringe)Crystal Light,

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Aug 12, 2008, Green Tea Detox Cleansing - EGCG Boost Anti-Cancer Enzymes

12 August 2007 - In a study of 42 people, green tea was found to boost the production of detoxifying enzymes, which belong to the glutathione

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Jul 17, 2008, Tai Ping Hou Kui Tea - How To Brew?

I have just bought some Tai Ping Hou Kui (Monkey King) (as I first saw it translated) sold to me as Tai Ping Chou Gui, in the Czech Republic.

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More recently published articles can be found at


The World's Best Green Tea...

The Highest Grade of The Most Fragrant Oolong Tea...

Best Value Silver Needle White Tea...



Everyone has his or her own cup of tea. What do you like and dislike about the teas?

Dragonwell green tea:

Iron Goddess oolong tea:


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Drinking green tea: Ten frequently asked questions

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