The dark side of tea

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"While green tea is very refreshing and cold in nature and an ideal drink to reduce heat in summer, its high content of tea polyphenol is a little irritating to many people, especially on an empty stomach. But when black tea leaves are fermented, the polyphenol is reduced by more than 90 percent, so it can be quite agreeable to the stomach in every season," said Qi Xiu, who also goes by Yoyo, store manager assistant of The Garden of the World-Boarding Mountain Black Tea flagship shop.

"Boarding Mountain, Podingshan, which means 'top of the mountain,' stands for our pursuit of the ideal tea leaf paradise, Shangri-La, an aim we tried to reach," Qi said. Qi and the other women in the shop were wearing Victorian-style dresses with floral patterns in keeping with the shop's Victorian European décor, which is epitomized by ceramic angels, ornate candle holders, delicate candies and dried fruits from Hong Kong.

"Those are tea sides, which are very necessary to eat with tea," Qi said. "Some people can get tea-drunk, and those tea desserts help keep them awake."

Boarding Mountain's featured products include Indian Darjeeling and Assam, 480 yuan per 120-gram tin; Sri Lankan Ceylon, 680 yuan per tin (100 g); Keemun from Anhui Province, 1800 yuan per tin (100 g); and Souchong from Fujian Province, 680 yuan per tin (100 g). In the middle of the tea showroom is a set of white European-style tables and chairs, with a whole set of professional tea-making supplies and china tea pots and cups, so interested buyers can sample the teas they might like.

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