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Tea history, health benefits explored

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 6, 2015

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Ever wondered about the history of tea or why its popularity spans across cultures?

Barb and Rachel Gully, of the Troy-based Barb’s TEA Shop, will discuss the history, ceremonies and health benefits of tea, as well as how to brew a perfect pot, during the Friends of the West Bloomfield Township Public Library’s What’s Cooking? series from 7-9 p.m. April 30.

The What’s Cooking? Committee, which is a group of volunteers and the Friends of the Library, hosts events in the main meeting room. Registration is not needed; however, because presentations are heavily attended, the library suggests arriving a half hour early.

“The Friends, typically, for their cooking programs will feature ... a new restaurant in the greater West Bloomfield community. This particular one is due to the increased interest in tea as a beverage,” said Mary Killian, main branch manager.

Killian said the committee held a coffee program in the past that was popular, but because people’s interest in tea is deep, the committee decided to sponsor “Beyond the Tea Bag: Tea History and Tasting from Barb’s TEA Shop.”

Because tea is a “universally appreciated beverage,” Killian said, residents of West Bloomfield, a diverse community, will enjoy the educational discussion.

Barb’s TEA Shop is not a brick-and-mortar shop. It’s a traveling tea education business. Though it’s located in Troy, the Gullys travel, giving tea talks.

During the What’s Cooking? program, Barb Gulley said she and her daughter will discuss four different types of tea — black, green, oolong and white.

“We’ll talk about some brewing techniques and then some of the benefits of tea,” she said.

Barb Gulley said that while the Chinese tea ceremony is simple and intimate, a traditional afternoon English tea is fancier and includes china and dressing up.

One of the main reasons why tea has become more popular is its health benefits, Barb Gulley said. Tea contains less caffeine than coffee and is a “good alternative for people who are looking for something to add to their life and have a health alternative,” she added.

Tea also brings a quality of relaxation.

“Our lives have gotten so … fast paced … and you’re always going through drive-thrus and hurrying here and hurrying there,” Barb Gulley said. Relaxing with tea becomes a lifestyle.

Loose tea will be served during the What’s Cooking? program, and the mother-daughter team will discuss how to prepare it properly.

Killian said residents who have ideas for a future What’s Cooking? program can call the adult information desk at (248) 232-2290.

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