Today we would like to tell you about the most popular in Russia herbal tea-is Ivan chai or epilobium angustifolium. This drink was popular in Russia long before the appearance of Chinese black tea, exported to Europe by thousands of pounds, but later was undeservedly forgotten as a result of the underhand dealing of the English East India company, which lost the market for black Indian tea due to the popularity of Ivan tea. In modern Russia, interest in this delicious and healthy national drink has been growing up for several years.
What is Ivan-tea made of?
What is Ivan tea or fireweed? It is a perennial herb up to two meters tall with narrow long leaves and purple flowers. Fireweed grows in large fields, often the first to grow in places of forest fires, for which it received the popular name "Burning grass" or "Fire-grass". Cypress flowers are an excellent honey plant. Ivan-tea grows throughout the Northern hemisphere; in Russia it is common in the zone of coniferous forests of the European part of the country and in Siberia.
History of the drink.
The first mention of the drink from the leaves of cypress belongs to the Chronicles of the XII century. According to legend, Alexander Nevsky taste it in the village of Koporye (now - Lomonosovsky district of the Leningrad region), where there were extensive fields of fireweed. After that, the drink was called "koporsky tea". Since the XV century, kopor tea has been actively exported to Europe and England, as well as consumed in huge quantities in Russia, and by all segments of the population. The triumphal procession of the national Russian drink in Europe slowed down, and then stopped as a result of what would now be called "black PR" in relation to Ivan tea by the English East India Company. They began to establish regular deliveries of black tea from India and decided to eliminate a popular opponent from the marketplace. Rumours were spread that Russians added white dirt to tea, as well as other fables. As a result, the Russian drink was forced out of the marketplace. And then the revolution began in Russia, and everyone was not remembering the tea. In modern Russia, there were an enthusiast who remembered the national drink, introduced modern technologies, and at the moment the production of Ivan tea is rapidly developing, offering a high-quality and useful product.
1. Unfermented. These are leaves of fireweed that have not passed fermentation, but simply dried at a temperature of 20-25 degrees in the air in the shade. Dried kipreya leaf is usually used for making herbal teas and fees. In its pure and simple form, it does not have a bright taste, but the useful properties of Ivan tea are present in it.
2. Fermented. The tradition of fermentation of cypress leaves came to Russia from China in the XV century, along with the supply of Chinese tea. During the fermentation process, a fresh leaf of kipreya is first crushed to release the juice, then left for a certain time (the taste and aroma of tea depend on the fermentation time), during which the fermentation process takes place in the tea leaf. The next stage of the fermentation process is interrupted by drying at a high temperature. Drying was carried out initially in a burnt-out Russian oven, now more often used drying chambers with a controlled temperature mode. In the end is a large-leaf fermented leaf of Ivan-tea, which has a bright taste and smell, while preserving all the useful properties of the plant. Depending on the size of the tea leaf, the grade of tea is determined. This Ivan-tea may contain the flowers of the plant, but it is not necessary.
3. With natural additives. Ivan-tea perfectly combines with other useful plants that can be found in Russia. For example, Ivan-tea with sage and St. John's wort can be used in the treatment and prevention of colds, in combination with mint and thyme can calm, if you mix Ivan-tea with Sagan-delay, you will get an excellent invigorating drink. Ivan-tea with wild berries will increase the immune system.
4. Granular. After fermentation, you can grind the resulting product and turn it into granules. By analogy with black tea, granulated Ivan tea is brewed faster, gives a richer color and taste of the tincture, but loses in flavor. Another disadvantage of this type of tea is the inability to assess the quality of raw materials that the manufacturer used for pellets. There may be small dirt or overgrown lower leaves.
Speaking about the useful properties of Ivan tea, first of all, it should be mentioned that it does not contain caffeine, unlike tea and coffee. This allows drinking Ivan-tea for children, pregnant and nursing women (of course, after consulting a doctor). Folk medicine recommends drinking Ivan tea for the treatment and prevention of the following diseases:
Contraindications to the use of Ivan-tea may be individual intolerance to the plant (hypersensitivity). Do not mix Ivan-tea with sedatives, antipyretics or laxatives, because the drink can multiply their effect. It is not recommended to drink Ivan tea for people with increased blood clotting. Do not drink Ivan-tea constantly because of the presence of coumarin in the composition, which is toxic to the liver.
How to correctly make and drink Ivan tea.
For brewing Ivan tea, it is recommended to use a ceramic glass or brewing teapot. A 500 ml teapot requires 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of fermented Ivan tea leaves. The teapot should be rinsed with hot water, pour the tea leaves and fill with water that has not been brought to a boil (the so-called "white key" step). Ideally, you should use spring water or at least filtered water. It is advisable to infuse tea for 10-15 minutes, and then shake the kettle slightly, after which the tea is ready for use. Do not add sugar to Ivan-tea, it is better to drink it "holding a lump of something in" with honey, jam or dried fruits. Ivan-tea can be consumed cold and re-brewed.