Not all kinds of tea taste bitter. And not all varieties of tea are dried leaves in form – attention Lipton enthusiasts. A visit at Tea and Therapy should set the facts straight and more.

Mary Ann Ojeda, who helps promote Tea and Therapy and in the process evangelizes the benefits of tea-drinking, was kind enough to clear common misconceptions among people. Admittedly, I am one of them.

“Teas are made out flowers, barks, stems and leaves,” she goes on, and adds that black tea is the bitterest kind and thus, most beneficial to diabetes. Yes, tea is not totally meant for casual drinking – unlike Starbucks, perhaps – which should explain the second “T” word. At Tea and Therapy, it’s exactly what you get.

Personally, I discovered that tea is not all boring and trite by name (like oolong or chamomile or jasmine). From among the more than 80 varieties of tea at Tea and Therapy, not a few carry rather sexy if not interesting titles – German wild lover (made of berries, improves circulation, eyesight and has phytochemicals), French pink rose (protects clear complexion and reduces wrinkles), Nirvana (helps cure rheumatism), Dragon’s Whiskers (clears sore throat) and Crouching Tiger (good for internal organs and improves sperm count).

And like an array of superheroes, tea can be grouped according to prescribed benefit – calmers, healers, rejuvenators, fortifiers and the like. A table with different varieties of tea in little teacups welcomes anyone seeking more information.

“We get our supply from different countries like England, Canada, Australia, India, Thailand,” says Ojeda, again debunking what could be yet another misconception that the best tea is grown in Third World territories.

And speaking of England, I asked her if the English custom of putting milk or cream in their tea has any therapeutic benefit at all. Her answer seems very clear. “Because by adding milk or cream, you are neutralizing the benefits,” she says.

“To bring out the maximum benefits of tea you have to drink it pure. Sometimes people like some lemon or honey. That’s alright as long as you do not put any other sugar substitutes.”

The secret to bringing out the flavor in tea – and deriving its intended benefits – lies in preparation as well. Say good-bye to boiling tea leaves in a kettle. “You never boil tea because it will lose its flavor and it’s going to kill it. You just infuse it in warm water then you steep it for about three minutes to get the exact flavor you want,” she instructs.

Naturally, a place like Tea and Therapy should attract loyal tea drinkers. Imelda Marcos is quite a patron; spending hours enjoying her favorite variety Wild Lingzhi Mushroom tea (helps prevent cancer and carries anti-ageing properties). Lately, however, Ojeda says the place has been attracting younger people as well, some of them having late afternoon tea.

“I’ve even seen groups of men who gather in a table drinking tea and maybe engaged in business deals,” she says. If customers do sound calm or rejuvenated, indeed, it must be the tea talking.

Tea and Therapy is located in Serendra at Bonifacio Global City. It’s open from 10AM to 11PM. Also serves dimsum and desserts.

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