The Perfect Dunk

  • THE AMAZING NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY SERIES, THE LAST DANCE, TELLS OF THE INCREDIBLE BASKETBALL CAREER OF MICHAEL JORDAN AND THE CHICAGO BULLS. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A DUNK IN BASKETBALL TERMS, I SUGGEST YOU WATCH IT. HERE WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT TEA AND BISCUITS, SORRY BASKETBALL FANS. TEA LOVERS, YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO FETCH THE BISCUIT TIN FOR THIS ONE…

    I don’t know about you, but working from home and writing my thesis has led to an awful lot of tea drinking and biscuit dunking. We British LOVE a cup of tea, drinking upwards of 165 million cups a day (enough to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools). If you want to learn more about the history of tea follow this LINK. Whilst tea varies depending on where in the world it originated, chemistry plays a large role in the types of tea, influenced by environment, cultivation, weather and processing. “No food material is more fascinating and chemically diverse and complex [than tea]” says Nikolai Kuhnert, professor of chemistry at Jacobs University Bremen, “tea is the ultimate mystery…to food and analytical chemists”.

    Tea leaves are packed with compounds, minerals, vitamins, caffeine, more than 700 aroma compounds, and the main component, polyphenols (or tannins). Tannins largely provide the dry mouth feeling (astringency), as well as colour and flavour; a strong cup of tea can hold 240mg of tannins. Amongst the other compounds in tea, flavinoids are the most important group (some of which are studied for health benefits). Of these, theflavins and thearubigins (which are formed during tea processing) also give tea flavour and colour, whilst theobromine (which is also found in chocolate) contributes to the bitter taste of tea. Most interestingly, tea is both a stimulant (caused by caffeine) and a relaxant (caused by theanine), which reduces mental anxiety and increases our sense of wellbeing by increasing gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) production and promoting alpha brainwave activity. GABA inhibits (blocks) chemical messages in the brain, decreasing nervous system activity, whilst alpha brainwaves are dominant in a resting state of the brain. (That’s why I find sitting down with a cuppa so calming…)

    To read he full article go to https://ashortscientist.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/the-perfect-dunk/