Sparkling Green Tea Soda
Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills
- steep :
to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.
- Microwave or saucepan to heat water
- Liquid measuring cup
Sparkling Green Tea Soda
- 2 decaf green tea bags
- 2 C hot water
- sugar/agave/stevia, to taste
- 1/2 liter sparkling water
- crushed ice
Sparkling Green Tea Soda
brew + steep + stir
Brew 3 decaf green tea bags in 2 cups of hot water and let steep for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags. Have your kids add the brewed tea to your pitcher and stir in sugar to taste. Top the tea with 1/2 liter of sparkling water and crushed ice. Stir and Enjoy!
Hi, I'm Tea!
"I'm a drink made from plant parts, like leaves and flowers. I like to think I'm sweet enough, but some tea drinkers like to add honey or sugar to me, and some add milk to black tea to cool it down. You can drink tea hot or iced!"
- The history of tea began in China as far back as 5,000 years ago.
- An old Chinese legend says a man was out walking one day when he accidentally tasted the juices from a tea plant leaf. He thought it tasted great and felt the tea had unique medicinal properties.
- Another legend suggests it was a mythical emperor called Shennong who discovered tea when a tea blossom fell into a cup of hot water he was drinking.
- At that time, tea was drunk fresh with the new leaves being mixed with hot water. In those days, the tea leaves were not allowed to oxidize (to combine with oxygen, causing darker leaves), so the leaves remained green. It was only later that oolong and black or red teas were developed. Black tea is fully oxidized, and oolong is semi-oxidized.
- Tea drinking grew in popularity and became a pastime for the rich. Fine teas were only available to those who could afford them, and green teas were even used as currency.
- Elaborate tea ceremonies developed involving large sets of tea-making equipment. Tea houses sprung up, and tea connoisseurs prided themselves on the quality of their leaves and their tea-making skills.
- In the 1600s, merchants brought tea to Europe and the United States. Since then, tea drinking has blossomed.
- Tea is the most-consumed beverage on the planet, other than water. It is even more popular than coffee and cola!
- China is the largest producer of tea, followed by India and Kenya.
Anatomy & Etymology
- Tea comes from the cured or fresh leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen growing mainly in warmer and humid climates.
- Although the plants can grow up to 52 feet, they are usually kept no higher than waist level to make picking the tender leaves at the top easier.
- Tea should be kept dry and stored in an airtight container, away from light and heat if possible. Black teas last longer than green teas. Teas made from flowers have an even shorter shelf life.
- The word "tea" comes from the mid-17th century Malay "teh" or the Chinese (Min) "te."
How to Buy & Use
- Tea can be purchased in various forms. Tea bags are often used today; however, you can still buy loose tea. Cans and bottles of brewed tea, sweetened or unsweetened, are also available, with fruit flavors sometimes added to the tea.
- Crushed tea leaves and brewed tea can be used in savory and sweet recipes.
- Herbal teas are made from the various parts of edible plants, including fresh or dried flowers, fruit, roots, or seeds.
- Teas from the Camellia sinensis plant (white, green, oolong, and black) have high levels of antioxidants which help prevent cancer. Flavonoids in tea help heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Another health benefit of tea is improving gut health by promoting good bacteria and inhibiting harmful bacteria.
- Teas from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant contain varying amounts of caffeine. Black tea has the most, followed by oolong, green, and white.
- Most herbal teas do not contain caffeine; however, they are not necessarily more healthy than black tea. Always check for plant allergies and herb and drug interactions before ingesting herbal teas.
Let's Learn About Japan!
- Japan is an East Asian island country with more than 6,800 islands! However, there are five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu (called "Hondo" or "mainland"), Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku.
- The country is governed by a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with an emperor, a prime minister, and a legislature.
- Japanese is the official language, with English becoming more widespread in business and education.
- Japan lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," contributing to its island geography. There are more than 111 active volcanoes, and Japan has the most earthquakes every year. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain and volcano in Japan at 12,389.2 feet.
- Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city. Japan's total area is 145,937 square miles, and its population is over 125.5 million.
- The Japanese word for Japan is "Nihon" or "Nippon." The Japanese or "kanji" characters used for its name mean "origin of the sun." This is the source of Japan's nickname, "Land of the Rising Sun." The red circle in the center of the Japanese flag represents the rising sun, or "circle of the sun."
- "Kanji" is a Japanese writing system that uses characters derived from Chinese writing. Each character represents a word or words.
- Ancient warriors of Japan were known as Samurai and were highly skilled swordsmen and fighters.
- Japan's national flower is the cherry blossom. The symbolism of the cherry blossom is abundant in Japan. The cherry blossom tree is also known as the Japanese cherry or "Sakura" (which means "cherry blossoms").
- Haiku poetry originated in Japan. Haiku consists of just three lines, with the first line being 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the 3rd line 5 syllables.
- Shigeichi Negishi, a Japanese engineer, created the first karaoke-like machine in 1967, using 8-track tapes and booklets for the lyrics. However, he was not successful in distributing his "Sparko Box" machines.
- Then, in the early 1970s, a Japanese musician, Daisuke Inoue, marketed tape machines, taped music, and amplifiers to bars to accompany regular people who wanted to get up on stage and sing, and his karaoke business model took off.
- Japan produces the most robotics globally. The ASIMO is a human-like robot created by Japanese engineers of Honda Motor Company in 2000. The acronym stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.
- Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport, and like sumo, other martial arts originated in Japan, including karate, judo, kendo, jujutsu, and aikido. Western sports such as baseball, basketball, and soccer are also popular.
- Since the 8th century, Coming of Age Day has been a holiday to celebrate a young person reaching the age of maturity—20 years old in Japan. Their special day serves to encourage them as they realize their adulthood.
- The Japanese tea ceremony is considered a traditional art in Japan, and some practice it as a hobby to share with family and friends. Tea was brought to Japan from China in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk. It is said that the ritual of drinking green tea began as a way for the monks to keep awake during meditation.
- Japan has about four million vending machines, the highest per capita worldwide. The machines sell everything from hotdogs to underwear and soup to umbrellas!
- In addition to sushi, other Japanese dishes include "soba" (thin buckwheat noodles), "teriyaki" (broiled or grilled seafood or meat with a soy sauce glaze), "tempura" (battered and deep-fried seafood, meat, and veggies), and yakitori (skewered grilled chicken).
- Many kids and adults enjoy bento boxes, which are lunch boxes filled with sushi and other snacks. Bento boxes are an experience with texture, shapes, and flavors!
What's It Like to Be a Kid in Japan?
- Most school children in Japan wear uniforms, and their school breaks are shorter than in other countries.
- Kids have to learn 1,026 basic kanji characters by the time they finish sixth grade.
- Parents and schools teach kids to respect their elders, teachers, and each other.
- Primary school kids eat lunch together in their classrooms. A few students are assigned to get the lunches, serve them to their classmates, and return the dirty dishes to the school kitchen. Every student prepares themselves for lunch by cleaning their desks and washing their hands. In some schools they even put on a lunch uniform—a white garment and hat—to protect their clothes.
- Some of the sports and martial arts kids participate in are baseball, soccer, swimming, judo, kendo, and karate.
- School lunch may consist of rice or noodles, soup, fish or meat, fruit, salad, a cup of tea, and always a bottle or carton of milk.
- Two popular sweet treats kids in Japan like are "mochi," a molded cake made of rice, sugar, cornstarch, and water, sometimes with a sweet red bean filling, and "Pocky," a brand of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks.