Does Chai tea actually contain any cinnamon?

Chai is just the Hindi version of cha, the Chinese word for tea.  (I hadn't previously noticed that this was mentioned in http://www.quora.com/Does-Chai-tea-actually-contain-any-cinnamon/answer/Mary-Cheever/comment/2327 )

As noted in Sayeed Anjum's answer, masala chai (literally, "spiced tea") is a popular drink in India.  For whatever ridiculous reason, English speakers have decided to use the word chai to indicate masala chai, parallel to how we say latte ("milk") to indicate caffe latte ("coffee with milk"). [1]

Presumably, masala chai could indicate tea with any kind of spices in it whatsoever, but generally cinnamon will be among them.

[1] It's apparently an amusing pastime to sit in an Italian cafe, wait for an American tourist to order a "latte," and watch his face when he receives a glass of milk.  Personally, I wouldn't know — I haven't been to Europe, and in any case I'd be an American tourist myself.

What is the difference between theine and caffeine?

Theine IS caffeine, 1,3,7-trimethyl xanthine. When tea came to Britain, coffee houses had an unsavory reputation. It was known that both coffee and tea contained a stimulant of some form, but modern chemical methods would not be discovered for hundreds of years. Since tea was considered suitable for consumption by women and decent people (and women were not yet people), the stimulatory substance in tea was widely accepted culturally as different than that of coffee.

Fast forward a couple hundred years, and the means to determine chemical structure get their infancy in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Still not as capable as modern methods, the chemical identity seems similar, but because the expectation was that there must be some difference, it is given its own name on the assumption that once discovered, it will make the difference “make sense”

We have had the advantage of modern methods, but there is still this large body of copyright-free, older primary and secondary sources asserting and “proving” they are different. From a Wikipedia editor type point of view, there's enough secondary material easily sourced from seemingly reputable sources stating that there is a difference. I've seen researchers publish that the difference isn't chemical, per se, but due to theanine or tea catechins or some other factor that is different in tea a priori, but coincidence is not proof. So the theine shibboleth continues to propagate in primary and secondary literature, and is unextinguishable in Wikipedia like governance.

So again and again, these kinds of questions get asked. But don’t just take my word for it, because that too is a fallacious argument, argument by authority. This kind of problem is almost inevitable in modernity, where nothing is ever forgotten and long chains of evidence are costly to replicate. This sort of problem needs a different critical mode, in which we consider the historical chain of evidence as antithetical to gathering truth, even while closely examining it.

And, there's a limit on science, often referred to as scientism, where evidence presented in the form of scientific research (notably, when it is a ruse, like Nazi science, or less clearly a ruse, as the difference between theine and caffeine, and dozens of other examples I can name off the top of my head) is given higher standing and respect than other modes of thought. That is not to say there is a better way to do what science attempts to do (determine cause), but that in doing so we run the risk of creating or propagating error indefinitely due to false certainty. Because as we commit opinions to paper, it makes them indelible upon society.

Computerization and the redundancies of the Internet are making this worse. Detecting plagiarism, for example, is less a problem of comparison as it is a “p not np” type problem where comparison grows combinatorially, n!, even as infotech grows exponentially. Translation makes this worse: if a cultural word like theine or caffeine were explained to a space alien, the translator has an opportunity to side in that debate.

The difference between theine and caffeine, to the casual reader, seems petty and insignificant. But, it is a simple introduction to the problematic legacy of the twentieth century, and pervasive within that legacy, and potentially suicidal for “immortal” technology. Like racial epithets, we don't need them to communicate effectively, and what we need is a sort of memento mori, so that when future generations ask, we can cite these dead terms on proper grounds for dismissal.

Like this: the-ine: archaic, see caffeine.

Is white tea any better for you than green tea?

Beauty Benefits of White Tea

White tea may not be as popular as green tea and some other tea flavors but it certainly has inherited most, if not all of the tea health benefits every enthusiast enjoy. Most people might have not known that there's this magic-like benefit one could get by drinking every cup – that it helps keep one feeling young and youthful, plus the bonus of fighting off inflammatory and chronic diseases.

Anti-aging Benefits of White Tea

White tea contains very high amounts of antioxidants and very good anti-aging potentials. White tea helps retain and protect the body's protein components: collagen and elastin.

Both proteins support the body's natural elasticity, and also help the lungs, arteries, ligaments and the skin to function properly. White tea prevents toxins and enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, therefore keeping the skin free from wrinkles, darkness, blemishes and dark spots.

White tea also helps keep hair healthy and strong. It helps prevent the formation of split ends, improves hair quality, making it look sleeker and moisturized.

Other White Tea Benefits

Researchers from South West London have been astounded by the effectiveness of white tea in warding off inflammations and chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers. By using just significantly small amounts of white tea, positive responses have already emerged.

White tea also contains high levels of catechins that are believed to help prevent stroke, diabetes and heart failure.

White tea might be new to your palate but this is definitely a fine drink for a good, youthful health.

What are the best ways to brew tasty tea?

Basic rules for brewing good tea:

  1. Use loose leaf, as opposed to tea bags
  2. Use a brewing vessel that lets the leaves expand as much as possible. Tea-ball infusers and some brewing baskets restrict the expansion of the leaves too much.
  3. Use the three factors in your control to get your desired taste:
  • water temperature (too bitter could mean water is too hot)
  • leaf quantity (too bitter and too strong could mean you're using too much leaf)
  • brewing time (again too bitter and too strong could mean you're brewing it for too long)

Those are the basics! My favorite brewing vessel is a gaiwan: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaiwan> 

This is the best for brewing Chinese-style teas and this is ideal for brewing Kung Fu style (aka Gong Fu Tea): http://www.chanteas.com/pages/ku…

What are your favorite teas?

For tea drunkedness* (this stuff is usually potent!)
– a good aged raw puer or a very good aged cooked puer
– yancha, or rock tea from wuyi (shuixian, dahongpao, tie luohan)
– well roasted tie guan yin

For flavour, taste and smells
– Fenghuang Dancong
– Qimen + Dianhong
– good green/modern style tie guan yin

For easy everyday drinking
– cooked puer
– liubao
– teh si (black tea with evaporated milk)
– teh halia (black tea infused with ginger)

For sentimental reasons, and the fact that restaurants don't tend to screw it up so easily, earl grey.

*I'm referring to a general sense of well-being and a high obtained from tea. A more detailed answer here: Quora User's answer to If I want to get drunk, but in as healthy a way as possible, what are the best beverages and strategies?

Other than caffeine, what psychoactive compounds exist in coffee and tea?

Theanine and to lesser amounts theobromine (the same psychoactive that's in chocolate) and theophylline.

Theobromine and theophylline both are methylated xanthines and are structurally very similar to caffeine (methyl groups are just positioned differently), sharing the same mild stimulating effect.

Theanine reduces stress and improves mood and cognition, but is not related to the aforementioned.

Side note: Caffeine is metabolized by the liver into paraxanthine, theobromine and theophylline

What is the origin of the Chinese tradition of tapping a couple of fingers on the table when being served tea by another guest?

Supposedly, the custom originated with Emperor Qian Long, who used to travel the country in disguise. On one such excursion, he was at a restaurant and poured his servant a cup of tea. Not wanting to reveal the emperor's identity by bowing, the servant instead bent his fingers on the table to express gratitude and respect.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi…

Why is it customary to pour milk into a teacup before pouring in the tea?

The question contains an inherent error: it is not necessarily
'customary' to pour the milk into a teacup first, this is a function of locality and socio-economic class.

If you're planning a social occasion, you need to know that tea service customs vary depending on country, region, and even class distinctions within the same country. Taking some time to ask, and even looking it up in a book at a local library, can save you embarrassment and faux pas.

When serving at an afternoon tea or tea party in the Anglo-American tradition, it is not proper to pour the milk first. Samantha Wolov is not quite correct that it is a sign of good breeding, because some people will look down their noses at you for it. According to Paul Burrell (former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales) on the programme Australian Princess there is an English sobriquet 'MIFs' (milk in first) used to denote people who do so. (It's alluded to in the film Gosford Park, e.g. when the police inspector (Stephen Fry) serves a cup of tea to the lady of the house.) One could argue that such snobs are not worth knowing, but there it is.

A slight amendment to Quora User's answer: this 'distinctly British' habit has made it to other places, such as Australia (and I daresay other 'colonies' as well 😉