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more historical facts on tea

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The story of tea began in ancient China over 5,000 years ago. According to legend, Shen Nung, an early emperor was a skilled ruler, creative scientist and patron of the arts. His far-sighted edicts required, among other things, that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. One summer day while visiting a distant region of his realm, he and the court stopped to rest. In accordance with his ruling, the servants began to boil water for the court to drink. Dried leaves from the near by bush fell into the boiling water, and a brown liquid was infused into the water. As a scientist, the Emperor was interested in the new liquid, drank some, and found it very refreshing. And so, according to legend, tea was created. (This myth maintains such a practical narrative, that many mythologists believe it may relate closely to the actual events, now lost in ancient history.)
The Chinese Influence

The Chinese Influence

Tea consumption spread throughout the Chinese culture reaching into every aspect of the society. In 800 A.D. Lu Yu wrote the first definitive book on tea, the Ch’a Ching. This amazing man was orphaned as a child and raised by scholarly Buddhist monks in one of China’s finest monasteries. However, as a young man, he rebelled against the discipline of priestly training which had made him a skilled observer. His fame as a performer increased with each year, but he felt his life lacked meaning. Finally, in mid-life, he retired for five years into seclusion. Drawing from his vast memory of observed events and places, he codified the various methods of tea cultivation and preparation in ancient China. The vast definitive nature of his work, projected him into near sainthood within his own lifetime. Patronized by the Emperor himself, his work clearly showed the Zen Buddhist philosophy to which he was exposed as a child. It was this form of tea service that Zen Buddhist missionaries would later introduce to imperial Japan.
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The Japanese Influence

The first tea seeds were brought to Japan by the returning Buddhist priest Yeisei, who had seen the value of tea in China in enhancing religious mediation. As a result, he is known as the “Father of Tea” in Japan. Because of this early association, tea in Japan has always been associated with Zen Buddhism. Tea received almost instant imperial sponsorship and spread rapidly from the royal court and monasteries to the other sections of Japanese society.

Tea was elevated to an art form resulting in the creation of the Japanese Tea Ceremony (“Cha-no-yu” or “the hot water for tea”). The best description of this complex art form was probably written by the Irish-Greek journalist-historian Lafcadio Hearn, one of the few foreigners ever to be granted Japanese citizenship during this era. He wrote from personal observation, “The Tea ceremony requires years of training and practice to graduate in art…yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible”.

Such a purity of form, of expression prompted the creation of supportive arts and services. A special form of architecture (chaseki) developed for “tea houses”, based on the duplication of the simplicity of a forest cottage. The cultural/artistic hostesses of Japan, the Geishi, began to specialize in the presentation of the tea ceremony. As more and more people became involved in the excitement surrounding tea, the purity of the original Zen concept was lost. The tea ceremony became corrupted, boisterous and highly embellished. “Tea Tournaments” were held among the wealthy where nobles competed among each other for rich prizes in naming various tea blends. Rewarding winners with gifts of silk, armor, and jewelry was totally alien to the original Zen attitude of the ceremony.

Three great Zen priests restored tea to its original place in Japanese society:

  1. Ikkyu (1394-1481)-a prince who became a priest and was successful in guiding the nobles away from their corruption of the tea ceremony.
  2. Murata Shuko (1422-1502)-the student of Ikkyu and very influential in re-introducing the Tea ceremony into Japanese society.
  3. Sen-no Rikkyu (1521-1591)-priest who set the rigid standards for the ceremony, largely used intact today. Rikyo was successful in influencing the Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who became Japan’s greatest patron of the “art of tea”. A brilliant general, strategist, poet, and artist this unique leader facilitated the final and complete integration of tea into the pattern of Japanese life. So complete was this acceptance, that tea was viewed as the ultimate gift, and warlords paused for tea before battles.

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  Fuji Japan

England

Europe Learns of Tea

While tea was at this high level of development in both Japan and China, information concerning this then unknown beverage began to filter back to Europe. Earlier caravan leaders had mentioned it, but were unclear as to its service format or appearance. (One reference suggests the leaves be boiled, salted, buttered, and eaten!) The first European to personally encounter tea and write about it was the Portuguese Jesuit Father Jasper de Cruz in 1560. Portugal, with her technologically advanced navy, had been successful in gaining the first right of trade with China. It was as a missionary on that first commercial mission that Father de Cruz had tasted tea four years before.

The Portuguese developed a trade route by which they shipped their tea to Lisbon, and then Dutch ships transported it to France, Holland, and the Baltic countries. (At that time Holland was politically affiliated with Portugal. When this alliance was altered in 1602, Holland, with her excellent navy, entered into full Pacific trade in her own right.)
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Tea Comes to Europe

When tea finally arrived in Europe, Elizabeth I had more years to live, and Rembrandt was only six years old. Because of the success of the Dutch navy in the Pacific, tea became very fashionable in the Dutch capital, the Hague. This was due in part to the high cost of the tea (over $100 per pound) which immediately made it the domain of the wealthy. Slowly, as the amount of tea imported increased, the price fell as the volume of sale expanded. Initially available to the public in apothecaries along with such rare and new spices as ginger and sugar, by 1675 it was available in common food shops throughout Holland.

As the consumption of tea increased dramatically in Dutch society, doctors and university authorities argued back and forth as to the negative and/or positive benefits of tea. Known as “tea heretics”, the public largely ignored the scholarly debate and continued to enjoy their new beverage though the controversy lasted from 1635 to roughly 1657. Throughout this period France and Holland led Europe in the use of tea.

As the craze for things oriental swept Europe, tea became part of the way of life. The social critic Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, the Marquise de Seven makes the first mention in 1680 of adding milk to tea. During the same period, Dutch inns provided the first restaurant service of tea. Tavern owners would furnish guests with a portable tea set complete with a heating unit. The independent Dutchman would then prepare tea for himself and his friends outside in the tavern’s garden. Tea remained popular in France for only about fifty years, being replaced by a stronger preference for wine, chocolate, and exotic coffees.
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Tea Comes to America

By 1650 the Dutch were actively involved in trade throughout the Western world. Peter Stuyvesant brought the first tea to America to the colonists in the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later re-named New York by the English). Settlers here were confirmed tea drinkers. And indeed, on acquiring the colony, the English found that the small settlement consumed more tea at that time then all of England put together.
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England
England

Tea Arrives in England

Great Britain was the last of the three great sea-faring nations to break into the Chinese and East Indian trade routes. This was due in part to the unsteady ascension to the throne of the Stuarts and the Cromwellian Civil War. The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654. Tea quickly proved popular enough to replace ale as the national drink of England.

As in Holland, it was the nobility that provided the necessary stamp of approval and so insured its acceptance. King Charles II had married, while in exile, the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza (1662). Charles himself had grown up in the Dutch capital. As a result, both he and his Portuguese bride were confirmed tea drinkers. When the monarchy was re-established, the two rulers brought this foreign tea tradition to England with them. As early as 1600 Elizabeth I had founded the John company for the purpose of promoting Asian trade. When Catherine de Braganza married Charles she brought as part of her dowry the territories of Tangier and Bombay. Suddenly, the John Company had a base of operations.
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The John Company

The John Company was granted the unbelievably wide monopoly of all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of Cape Horn. Its powers were almost without limit and included among others the right to:

  • Legally acquire territory and govern it.
  • Coin money.
  • Raise arms and build forts.
  • Form foreign alliances.
  • Declare war.
  • Conclude peace.
  • Pass laws.
  • Try and punish law breakers.

It was the single largest, most powerful monopoly to ever exist in the world. And its power was based on the importation of tea.

At the same time, the newer East India Company floundered against such competition. Appealing to Parliament for relief, the decision was made to merge the John Company and the East India Company (1773). Their re-drafted charts gave the new East India Company a complete and total trade monopoly on all commerce in China and India. As a result, the price of tea was kept artificially high, leading to later global difficulties for the British crown.
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Afternoon Tea in England

Tea mania swept across England as it had earlier spread throughout France and Holland. Tea importation rose from 40,000 pounds in 1699 to an annual average of 240,000 pounds by 1708. Tea was drunk by all levels of society.

Prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, the English had two main meals-breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was ale, bread and beef. Dinner was a long, massive meal at the end of the day. It was no wonder that Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) experienced a “sinking feeling” in the late afternoon. Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for “tea and a walking the fields.” (London at that time still contained large open meadows within the city.) The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses. A common pattern of service soon merged. The first pot of tea was made in the kitchen and carried to the lady of the house who waited with her invited guests, surrounded by fine porcelain from China. The first pot was warmed by the hostess from a second pot (usually silver) that was kept heated over a small flame. Food and tea was then passed among the guests, the main purpose of the visiting being conversation.
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Tea Cuisine

Tea cuisine quickly expanded in range to quickly include wafer thin crustless sandwiches, shrimp or fish pates, toasted breads with jams, and regional British pastries such as scones (Scottish) and crumpets (English).

At this time two distinct forms of tea services evolved: “High” and “Low”. “Low” Tea (served in the low part of the afternoon) was served in aristocratic homes of the wealthy and featured gourmet tidbits rather than solid meals. The emphasis was on presentation and conversation. “High” Tea or “Meat Tea” was the main or “High” meal of the day. It was the major meal of the middle and lower classes and consisted of mostly full dinner items such as roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas, and of course, tea.
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Coffee Houses

Tea was the major beverage served in the coffee houses, but they were so named because coffee arrived in England some years before tea. Exclusively for men, they were called “Penny Universities” because for a penny any man could obtain a pot of tea, a copy of the newspaper, and engage in conversation with the sharpest wits of the day. The various houses specialized in selected areas of interest, some serving attorneys, some authors, others the military. They were the forerunner of the English gentlemen’s private club. One such beverage house was owned by Edward Lloyd and was favored by shipowners, merchants and marine insurers. That simple shop was the origin of Lloyd’s, the worldwide insurance firm. Attempts to close the coffee houses were made throughout the eighteenth century because of the free speech they encouraged, but such measures proved so unpopular they were always quickly revoked.
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Tea Gardens

Experiencing the Dutch “tavern garden teas”, the English developed the idea of Tea Gardens. Here ladies and gentlemen took their tea out of doors surrounded by entertainment such as orchestras, hidden arbors, flowered walks, bowling greens, concerts, gambling, or fireworks at night. It was at just such a Tea Garden that Lord Nelson, who defeated Napoleon by sea, met the great love of his life, Emma, later Lady Hamilton. Women were permitted to enter a mixed, public gathering for the first time without social criticism. As the gardens were public, British society mixed here freely for the first time, cutting across lines of class and birth.

Tipping as a response to proper service developed in the Tea Gardens of England. Small, locked wooden boxes were placed on the tables throughout the Garden. Inscribed on each were the letters “T.I.P.S.” which stood for the sentence “To Insure Prompt Service”. If a guest wished the waiter to hurry (and so insure the tea arrived hot from the often distant kitchen) he dropped a coin into the box on being seated “to insure prompt service”. Hence, the custom of tipping servers was created.
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Russian Tea Tradition

Imperial Russia was attempting to engage China and Japan in trade at the same time as the East Indian Company. The Russian interest in tea began as early as 1618 when the Chinese embassy in Moscow presented several chests of tea to Czar Alexis. By 1689 the Trade Treaty of Newchinsk established a common border between Russia and China, allowing caravans to then cross back and forth freely. Still, the journey was not easy. The trip was 11,000 miles long and took over sixteen months to complete. The average caravan consisted of 200 to 300 camels. As a result of such factors, the cost of tea was initially prohibitive and available only to the wealthy. By the time Catherine the Great died (1796), the price had dropped some, and tea was spreading throughout Russian society. Tea was ideally suited to Russian life: hearty, warm, and sustaining.

The samovar, adopted from the Tibetan “hot pot”, is a combination bubbling hot water heater and tea pot. Placed in the center of the Russian home, it could run all day and serve up to forty cups of tea at a time. Again showing the Asian influence in the Russian culture, guests sipped their tea from glasses in silver holders, very similar to Turkish coffee cups. The Russians have always favored strong tea highly sweetened with sugar, honey, or jam.

With the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in 1900, the overland caravans were abandoned. Although the Revolution intervened in the flow of the Russian society, tea remained a staple throughout. Tea (along with vodka) is the national drink of the Russians today.
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Tea and America

It was not until 1670 that English colonists in Boston became aware of tea, and it was not publicly available for sale until twenty years later. Tea Gardens were first opened in New York City, already aware of tea as a former Dutch colony. The new Gardens were centered around the natural springs, which the city fathers now equipped with pumps to facilitate the “tea craze”. The most famous of these “tea springs” was at Roosevelt and Chatham (later Park Row Street).

By 1720 tea was a generally accepted staple of trade between the Colony and the Mother country. It was especially a favorite of colonial women, a factor England was to base a major political decision on later. Tea trade was centered in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, future centers of American rebellion. As tea was heavily taxed, even at this early date, contraband tea was smuggled into the colonies by the independent minded American merchants from ports far away and adopted herbal teas from the Indians. The directors of the then John Company (to merge later with the East India Company) fumed as they saw their profits diminish and they pressured Parliament to take action. It was not long in coming.
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America

Tea and the American Revolution

England had recently completed the French and Indian War, fought, from England’s point of view, to free the colony from French influence and stabilize trade. It was the feeling of Parliament that as a result, it was not unreasonable that the colonists shoulder the majority of the cost. After all, the war had been fought for their benefit. Charles Townshend presented the first tax measures which today are known by his name. They imposed a higher tax on newspapers (which they considered far too outspoken in America), tavern licenses (too much free speech there), legal documents, marriage licenses, and docking papers. The colonists rebelled against taxes imposed upon them without their consent and which were so repressive. New, heavier taxes were leveled by Parliament for such rebellion. Among these was, in June 1767, the tea tax that was to become the watershed of America’s desire for freedom. (Townshend died three months later of a fever never to know his tax measures helped create a free nation.)

The colonists rebelled and openly purchased imported tea, largely Dutch in origin. The John company, already in deep financial trouble saw its profits fall even further. By 1773 the John Company merged with the East India Company for structural stability and pleaded with the Crown for assistance. The new Lord of the Treasury, Lord North, as a response to this pressure, granted to the new Company permission to sell directly to the colonists, by-passing the colonial merchants and pocketing the difference. In plotting this strategy, England was counting on the well known passion among American women for tea to force consumption. It was a major miscalculation. Throughout the colonies, women pledged publicly at meetings and in newspapers not to drink English sold tea until their free rights (and those of their merchant husbands) were restored.
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The Boston Tea Party

By December 16 events had deteriorated enough that the men of Boston, dressed as Indians (remember the original justification for taxation had been the expense of the French and Indian War) threw hundreds of pounds of tea into the harbor: The Boston Tea Party. Such leading citizens as Samuel Adams and John Hancock took part. England had had enough. In retaliation, the port of Boston was closed and the city occupied by royal troops. The colonial leaders met and revolution was declared.
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Boston Tea Party

The Trade Continued in the Orient

Though concerned over developments in America, English tea interests still centered on the product’s source-the Orient. There the trading of tea had become a way of life, developing its own language known as “Pidgin English”. Created solely to facilitate commerce, the language was composed of English, Portuguese, and Indian words all pronounced in Chinese. Indeed, the word “Pidgin” is a corrupted form of the Chinese word for “do business”.

So dominant was the tea culture within the English speaking cultures that many of these words came to hold a permanent place in our language.

  • “Mandarin” (from the Portuguese “mandar” meaning to order) – the court official empowered by the emperor to trade tea.
  • “Cash” (from the Portuguese “caixa” meaning case or money box)-the currency of tea transactions.
  • “Caddy” (from the Chinese word for one pound weight)-the standard tea trade container.
  • “Chow” (from the Indian word for food cargo)-slang for food.

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The Opium Wars

Not only was language a problem, but so was the currency. Vast sums of money were spent on tea. To take such large amounts of money physically out of England would have financially collapsed the country and been impossible to transport safely half way around the world. With plantations in newly occupied India, the John Company saw a solution. In India they could grow the inexpensive crop of opium and use it as a means of exchange. Because of its addictive nature, the demand for the drug would be lifelong, insuring an unending market.

Chinese emperors tried to maintain the forced distance between the Chinese people and the “devils”. But disorder in the Chinese culture and foreign military might prevented it. The Opium Wars broke out with the English ready to go to war for free trade (their right to sell opium). By 1842 England had gained enough military advantages to enable her to sell opium in China undisturbed until 1908.
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America Enters the Tea Trade

The first three American millionaires, T. H. Perkins of Boston, Stephen Girard of Philadelphia, and John Jacob Astor of New York, all made their fortunes in the China trade. America began direct trade with China soon after the Revolution was over in 1789. America’s newer, faster clipper ships outsailed the slower, heavier English “tea wagons” that had until then dominated the trade. This forced the English navy to update their fleet, a fact America would have to address in the War of 1812.

The new American ships established sailing records that still stand for speed and distance. John Jacob Astor began his tea trading in 1800. He required a minimum profit on each venture of 50% and often made 100%. Stephen Girard of Philadelphia was known as the “gentle tea merchant”. His critical loans to the young (and still weak) American government enabled the nation to re-arm for the War of 1812. The orphanage founded by him still perpetuates his good name. Thomas Perkins was from one of Boston’s oldest sailing families. The Chinese trust in him as a gentleman of his word enabled him to conduct enormous transactions half way around the world without a single written contract. His word and his handshake was enough so great was his honor in the eyes of the Chinese.

It is to their everlasting credit that none of these men ever paid for tea with opium. America was able to break the English tea monopoly because its ships were faster and America paid in gold.
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Ship

The Clipper Days

By the mid-1800’s the world was involved in a global clipper race as nations competed with each other to claim the fastest ships. England and America were the leading rivals. Each year the tall ships would race from China to the Tea Exchange in London to bring in the first tea for auction. Though beginning half way around the world, the mastery of the crews was such that the great ships often raced up the Thames separated by only by minutes. But by 1871 the newer steamships began to replace these great ships.
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Global Tea Plantations Develop

Picking Tea

The Scottish botanist/adventurer Robert Fortune, who spoke fluent Chinese, was able to sneak into mainland China the first year after the Opium War. He obtained some of the closely guarded tea seeds and made notes on tea cultivation. With support from the Crown, various experiments in growing tea in India were attempted. Many of these failed due to bad soil selection and incorrect planting techniques, ruining many a younger son of a noble family. Through each failure, however, the technology was perfected. Finally, after years of trial and error, fortunes made and lost, the English tea plantations in India and other parts of Asia flourished. The great English tea marketing companies were founded and production mechanized as the world industrialized in the late 1880’s.
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Tea Inventions in America: Iced Tea and Teabags

America stabilized her government, strengthened her economy, and expanded her borders and interests. By 1904 the United States was ready for the world to see her development at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Trade exhibitors from around the world brought their products to America’s first World’s Fair. One such merchant was Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner. Originally, he had planned to give away free samples of hot tea to fair visitors. But when a heat wave hit, no one was interested. To save his investment of time and travel, he dumped a load of ice into the brewed tea and served the first “iced tea”. It was (along with the Egyptian fan dancer) the hit of the Fair.

Four years later, Thomas Sullivan of New York developed the concept of “bagged tea”. As a tea merchant, he carefully wrapped each sample delivered to restaurants for their consideration. He recognized a natural marketing opportunity when he realized the restaurants were brewing the samples “in the bags” to avoid the mess of tea leaves in the kitchens.
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Ice Tea

Tea Rooms, Tea Courts, and Tea Dances

Beginning in the late 1880’s in both America and England, fine hotels began to offer tea service in tea rooms and tea courts. Served in the late afternoon, Victorian ladies (and their gentlemen friends) could meet for tea and conversation. Many of these tea services became the hallmark of the elegance of the hotel, such as the tea services at the Ritz (Boston) and the Plaza (New York).

By 1910 hotels began to host afternoon tea dances as dance craze after dance craze swept the United States and England. Often considered wasteful by older people they provided a place for the new “working girl” to meet men in a city, far from home and family. (Indeed, the editor of Vogue once fired a large number of female secretarial workers for “wasting their time at tea dances”).
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Tea Room

Afternoon Tea Today in the USA

Afternoon Tea Today in the USA

Tea is more popular than ever in America today. Currently, there is a re-awakening of interest in tea as many Americans seek a more positive, healthy lifestyle. Fine hotels throughout the United States are re-establishing or planning for the first time afternoon tea services.
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processing. Leaves of Camellia sinensis, if not dried quickly after picking, soon begin to wilt and oxidize. The leaves turn progressively darker, as chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. The next step in processing is to stop the oxidation process at a predetermined stage by deactivating the enzymes responsible by heating, which in black tea is done simultaneously with drying.

The term fermentation is still used in tea process to describe this process, even though no true fermentation happens (i.e., the process is not driven by microorganisms). Without careful moisture and temperature control, however, fungi will grow on tea. The fungi cause real fermentation which will contaminate the tea with toxic and sometimes carcinogenic substances as well as off-flavours, so that the tea must be discarded.

Tea is traditionally classified based on the degree or period of “fermentation” (actually enzymatic oxidation) the leaves have undergone[2][3][4]:

White tea
Young leaves (new growth buds) that have undergone no oxidation; the buds may be shielded from sunlight to prevent formation of chlorophyll. White tea is produced in lesser quantities than most of the other styles, and can be correspondingly more expensive than tea from the same plant processed by other methods. It is also less well-known in countries outside of China, though this is changing with increased western interest in organic or premium teas.
Green tea
The oxidation process is stopped after a minimal amount of oxidation by application of heat; either with steam, a traditional Japanese method; or by dry cooking in hot pans, the traditional Chinese method. Tea leaves may be left to dry as separate leaves or rolled into small pellets to make gun-powder tea. The latter process is time-consuming and is typically done only with pekoes of higher quality. The tea is processed within one to two days of harvesting.
Oolong
Oxidation is stopped somewhere between the standards for green tea and black tea. The oxidation process will take two to three days. In Chinese, semi-oxidized teas the are collectively grouped as blue tea (青茶, literally: blue-green tea), while the term “oolong” is used specifically as names for certain semi-oxidized teas[5]
Black tea/Red tea
The tea leaves are allowed to completely oxidize. Black tea is the most common form of tea in southern Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.) and in the last century many African countries including Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The literal translation of the Chinese word is red tea, which may be used by some tea-lovers. The Chinese call it red tea because the actual tea liquid is red. Westerners call it black tea because the tea leaves used to brew it are usually black. However, red tea may also refer to rooibos, an increasingly popular South African tisane. The oxidation process will take around two weeks and up to one month. Black tea is further classified as either orthodox or CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl, a production method developed about 1932). Unblended black teas are also identified by the estate they come from, their year and the flush (first, second or autumn). Orthodox and CTC teas are further graded according to the post-production leaf quality by the Orange Pekoe system.
Pu-erh
(also known as Póu léi (Polee) in Cantonese), Two forms of pu-erh teas are available, “raw” and “ripened”. “Raw” or “green” pu-erh may be consumed young or aged to further mature. During the aging process, the tea undergoes a second, microbial fermentation. “Ripened” pu-erh is made from green pu-erh leaf that has been artificially oxidized to approximate the flavour of the natural aging process. This is done through a controlled process similar to composting, where both the moisture and temperature of the tea are carefully monitored. Both types of pu-erh tea are usually compressed into various shapes including bricks, discs, bowls, or mushrooms. While most teas are consumed within a year of production, pu-erh can be aged for many years to improve its flavour, up to 30 to 50 years for raw pu-erh and 10 to 15 years for ripened pu-erh, although experts and aficionados disagree about what the optimal age is to stop the aging process. Most often, pu-erh is steeped for up to five minutes in boiling water. Additionally, some Tibetans use pu-erh as a caloric food, boiled with yak butter, sugar and salt to make yak butter tea. Teas that undergo a second oxidation, such as pu-erh and liu bao, are collectively referred to as black tea in Chinese. This is not to be confused with the English term Black tea, which is known in Chinese as red tea.
Yellow tea
Either used as a name of high-quality tea served at the Imperial court, or of special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase.
Kukicha
Also called winter tea, kukicha is made from twigs and old leaves pruned from the tea plant during its dormant season and dry-roasted over a fire. It is popular as a health food in Japan and in macrobiotic diets.
Genmaicha
Literally “brown rice tea” in Japanese, a green tea blended with dry-roasted brown rice (sometimes including popped rice), very popular in Japan but also drunk in China.
Flower tea
Teas processed or brewed with flowers; typically, each flower goes with a specific category of tea, such as green or red tea. The most famous flower tea is jasmine tea (hua chá, literally “flower tea”, in Mandarin; h­eung pín in Cantonese), a green or oolong tea scented (or brewed) with jasmine flowers. Chrysanthemum, osmanthus, lotus, rose, and lychee are also popular flowers.
Faux Tea
Fake tea is made by unscrupulous traders. It is made using bitter tasting plants or recycled tea leaf. The colour and taste of the final product comes from an artificial additive.

[edit] Blending and additives

Tea weighing station north of Batumi, before 1915

Tea weighing station north of Batumi, before 1915

Main article: Tea blending and additives

Almost all teas in bags and most other teas sold in England are blends. Blending may occur at the level of tea-planting area (e.g., Assam), or teas from many areas may be blended. The aim of blending is a stable taste over different years, and a better price. More expensive, better tasting tea may cover the inferior taste of cheaper tea.

There are various teas which have additives and/or different processing than “pure” varieties. Tea is able to easily receive any aroma, which may cause problems in processing, transportation or storage of tea, but can be also advantageously used to prepare scented teas.

[edit] Content

Tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant. In fresh tea leaf, catechins can be up to 30% of the dry weight. Catechins are highest in concentration in white and green teas while black tea has substantially less due to its oxidative preparation. Tea also contains the stimulants caffeine (about 3% of the dry weight, translating to between 30mg and 90mg per 8oz cup depending on type and brand [1]), theophylline and theobromine, the latter two being present in very small amounts.[6] Tea also contains fluoride, with certain types of brick tea made from old leaves and stems having the highest levels. [2] Regular drinking of tea can prevent dental cavity in some extent. However, excessive consumption of tea (brick tea in particular) has led to cases of fluorosis.[3][4] Finally, as a dried plant, tea preserves some vitamins and played an important role in keeping Chinese sailors’ health in history, such as the voyage led by Zheng He.

[edit] Origin and history

The cradle of the tea plant is a region that encompasses eastern and southern China, northern Myanmar, and Assam in northeastern India. Spontaneous (wild) growth of the assamica variant is observed in an area ranging from the Indian state of Assam to the Chinese province Yunnan and the northern part of Myanmar. The variant sinensis grows naturally in eastern and southeastern regions of China.[7] Recent studies and occurrence of hybrids of the two types in wider area extending over mentioned regions suggest the place of origin of the Camellia sinensis variant is in an area consisting of the northern part of Myanmar and the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China.[8]

Origins of human use of tea are described in several myths, but it is unknown as to where tea was first created as a drink.

[edit] Creation myths

In one popular Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China, inventor of agriculture and Chinese medicine, was on a journey about five thousand years ago. The Emperor, known for his wisdom in the ways of science, believed that the safest way to drink water was by first boiling it. One day he noticed some leaves had fallen into his boiling water. The ever inquisitive and curious monarch took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised by its flavour and its restorative properties. Variant of the legend tells that the emperor tried medical properties of various herbs on himself, some of them poisonous, and found tea works as an antidote.[9] Shennong is also mentioned in Lu Yu’s Cha Jing, famous early work on the subject.[10]

A Chinese legend, which spread along with Buddhism, Bodhidharma is credited with discovery of tea. Bodhidharma, a semi-legendary Buddhist monk, founder of the Chan school of Buddhism, journeyed to China. He became angered because he was falling asleep during meditation, so he cut off his eyelids. Tea bushes sprung from the spot where his eyelids hit the ground.[11] Sometimes, the second story is retold with Gautama Buddha in place of Bodhidharma[12] In another variant of the first mentioned myth, Gautama Buddha discovered tea when some leaves had fallen into boiling water.[13]

Whether or not these legends have any basis in fact, tea has played a significant role in Asian culture for centuries as a staple beverage, a curative, and a symbol of status. It is not surprising its discovery is ascribed to religious or royal origins.

[edit] China

Further information: History of tea in China

The Chinese have enjoyed tea for centuries if not millennia. While historically the origin of tea as a medicinal herb useful for staying awake is unclear, China is considered to have the earliest records of tea drinking, with recorded tea use in its history dating back to the first millennium BC. The Han Dynasty used tea as medicine. The use of tea as a beverage drunk for pleasure on social occasions dates from the Tang Dynasty or earlier.

Lu Yu's statue in Xi'an.

Lu Yu‘s statue in Xi’an.

The Tang Dynasty writer Lu Yu‘s 陸羽 (AC729-804) Cha Jing 茶經 is an early work on the subject. (See also Tea Classics) According to Cha Jing writing, around AC760, tea drinking was widespread. The book describes how tea plants were grown, the leaves processed, and tea prepared as a beverage. It also describes how tea was evaluated. The book also discusses where the best tea leaves were produced. Teas produced in this period were mainly tea bricks.

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), production and preparation of all tea changed. The tea of Song included many loose-leaf styles (to preserve the delicate character favoured by the court society), but a new powdered form of tea emerged. Steaming tea leaves was the primary process used for centuries in the preparation of tea. After the transition from compressed tea to the powdered form, the production of tea for trade and distribution changed once again. The Chinese learned to process tea in a different way in the mid-13th century. Tea leaves were roasted and then crumbled rather than steamed. This is the origin of today’s loose teas and the practice of brewed tea.

In 1391, the Ming court issued a decree that only loose tea would be accepted as a “tribute.” As a result, loose tea production increased and processing techniques advanced. Soon, most tea was distributed in full-leaf, loose form and steeped in earthenware vessels.

In 17th century China numerous advances were made in tea production. In the southern part of China, tea leaves were sun dried and then half fermented, producing Black Dragon teas or Oolongs. However, this method was not common in the rest of China.

[edit] Korea

Further information: History of tea in Korea

The first historical record documenting the offering of tea to an ancestral god describes a rite in the year 661 in which a tea offering was made to the spirit of King Suro, the founder of the Geumgwan Gaya Kingdom (42-562). Records from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) show that tea offerings were made in Buddhist temples to the spirits of revered monks.

During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the royal Yi family and the aristocracy used tea for simple rites, the “Day Tea Rite” was a common daytime ceremony, whereas the “Special Tea Rite” was reserved for specific occasions. These terms are not found in other countries. Toward the end of the Joseon Dynasty, commoners joined the trend and used tea for ancestral rites, following the Chinese example based on Zhu Xi’s text formalities of Family.

Stoneware was common, ceramic more frequent, mostly made in provincial kilns, with porcelain rare, imperial porcelain with dragons the rarest. The earliest kinds of tea used in tea ceremonies were heavily pressed cakes of black tea, the equivalent of aged pu-erh tea still popular in China. However, importation of tea plants by Buddhist monks brought a more delicate series of teas into Korea, and the tea ceremony. Green tea, “chaksol” or “chugno,” is most often served. However other teas such as “Byeoksoryung” Chunhachoon, Woojeon, Jakseol, Jookro, Okcheon, as well as native chrysanthemum tea, persimmon leaf tea, or mugwort tea may be served at different times of the year.

[edit] Japan

Further information: History of tea in Japan

The earliest known references to green tea in Japan are in a text written by a Buddhist monk in the 9th century. Tea became a drink of the religious classes in Japan when Japanese priests and envoys sent to China to learn about its culture brought tea to Japan. Ancient recordings indicate the first batch of tea seeds were brought by a priest named Saicho (最澄; 767-822) in 805 and then by another named Kūkai (空海; 774-835) in 806. It became a drink of the royal classes when Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇), the Japanese emperor, encouraged the growth of tea plants. Seeds were imported from China, and cultivation in Japan began.

In 1191, the famous Zen priest Eisai (栄西; 1141-1215) brought back tea seeds to Kyoto. Some of the tea seeds were given to the priest Myoe Shonin, and became the basis for Uji tea. The oldest tea specialty book in Japan, Kissa Yojoki (喫茶養生記; how to stay healthy by drinking tea) was written by Eisai. Eisai was also instrumental in introducing tea consumption to the warrior class, which rose to political prominence after the Heian Period.

Japanese tea ceremony

Japanese tea ceremony

Green tea became a staple among cultured people in Japan — a brew for the gentry and the Buddhist priesthood alike. Production grew and tea became increasingly accessible, though still a privilege enjoyed mostly by the upper classes. The modern tea ceremony developed over several centuries by Zen Buddhist monks under the original guidance of the monk Sen-no Rikyu (1522-1591). In fact, both the beverage and the ceremony surrounding it played a prominent role in feudal diplomacy.

In 1738, Soen Nagatani developed Japanese sencha (Japanese: 煎茶), which is an unfermented form of green tea. In 1835, Kahei Yamamoto developed gyokuro (Japanese: 玉露), by shading tea trees during the weeks leading up to harvesting. At the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912), machine manufacturing of green tea was introduced and began replacing handmade tea.

[edit] Tea spreads to the world

As the Venetian explorer Marco Polo failed to mention tea in his travel records, it is conjectured that the first Europeans to encounter tea were either Jesuits living in Beijing who attended the court of the last Ming Emperors, or Portuguese explorers visiting Japan in 1560. Russia discovered tea in 1618 after a Ming Emperor of China offered it as a gift to Czar Michael I.

Soon imported tea was introduced to Europe, where it quickly became popular among the wealthy in France and the Netherlands. English use of tea dates from about 1650 and is attributed to Catherine of Braganza (Portuguese princess and queen consort of Charles II of England).

The high demand for tea in Britain caused a huge trade deficit with China, leading the British to try to produce their own in the mid-nineteenth century. Using seeds smuggled from China (there was an official ban on foreigners entering tea-growing areas), the British went through some failed experiments but finally succeeded in setting up productive plantations in parts of colonial India with suitable climates and soil[14][15]. This created the modern tea industries of Assam tea, Ceylon tea, Darjeeling tea, and Nilgiri tea. The British also tried to balance the trade deficit by selling opium to the Chinese, which later led to the First Opium War in 1838–1842.

The Boston Tea Party was an act of uprising in which Boston residents destroyed crates of British tea in 1773, in protest against British tea and taxation policy. Prior to the Boston Tea Party, residents of Britain’s North American 13 colonies drank far more tea than coffee. In Britain, coffee was more popular. After the protests against the various taxes, British Colonists stopped drinking tea as an act of patriotism. Similarly, Britons slowed their consumption of coffee.

Iced Tea has been popular in North America since the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

These days, contradicting tea economies do exist. Tea farmers in Japan, Taiwan and China often enjoy better incomes compared to farmers in black tea producing countries.

[edit] Health benefits

Main article: Health benefits of tea

Several health benefits have been claimed and some are supported by independent research.

[edit] The word tea

The Chinese character for tea is 茶, but it is pronounced differently in the various Chinese dialects. Two pronunciations have made their way into other languages around the world. One is ‘te’ (Taiwanese (linguistics): tê) which comes from the Min Nan dialect spoken around the port of Xiamen (Amoy). The other is Chá, used by the Cantonese dialect spoken around the ports of Guangzhou (Canton), Hong Kong, Macau, and in overseas Chinese communities, as well as in the Mandarin dialect of northern China. Yet another different pronunciation is ‘zu’, used in the Wu dialect spoken around Shanghai.

Languages that have Te derivatives include Afrikaans (tee), Armenian, Catalan (te), Czech ( or thé, but these words sound archaic, čaj is used nowadays, see the next paragraph), Danish (te), Dutch (thee), English (tea), Esperanto (teo), Estonian (tee), Faroese (te), Finnish (tee), French (thé), (West) Frisian (tee), Galician (), German (Tee), Hebrew (תה, /te/ or /tei/), Hungarian (tea), Icelandic (te), Indonesian (teh), Irish (tae), Italian (), scientific Latin (thea), Latvian (tēja), Malay (teh), Norwegian (te), Polish (herbata from Latin herba thea), Scots Gaelic (, teatha), Singhalese, Spanish (), Swedish (te), Tamil (thè), Welsh (te), and Yiddish (טיי, /tei/).

Those that use Cha or Chai derivatives include Albanian (çaj), Arabic (شَاي/shi/chai), Assyrian (pronounced chai), Azeri: (çay), Bengali (চা), Bosnian (čaj), Bulgarian (чай), Capampangan (cha), Cebuano (tsa), Croatian (čaj), Czech (čaj), Greek (τσάι), Gujarati (cha), Hindi (चाय)chai, Japanese (茶, ちゃ, cha), Kazakh (шай), Korean (차), Macedonian (čaj), Malayalam, Nepali (cheeya), Persian (چاى), Punjabi (ਚਾਹ), Portuguese (chá), Romanian (ceai), Russian, (чай, chai), Serbian (чај), Slovak (čaj), Slovene (čaj), Somali (shaax), Swahili (chai), Tagalog (tsaa), Thai (ชา), Tibetan (ja), Turkish (çay), Ukrainian (чай), Urdu (چاى), Uzbek (choy) and Vietnamese (trà and chè are both direct derivatives of the Chinese 茶; the latter term is used mainly in the north and depicts a tea made with freshly-picked leaves).

The Polish word for a tea-kettle is czajnik, which could be derived directly from Cha or from the cognate Russian word. However, tea in Polish is herbata, which was probably derived from the Latin herba thea, meaning “tea herb”.

It is tempting to correlate these names with the route that was used to deliver tea to these cultures, although the relation is far from simple at times. As an example, the first tea to reach Britain was traded by the Dutch from Fujian, which uses te, and although later most British trade went through Canton, which uses cha, the Fujianese pronunciation continued to be the more popular.

In Ireland, or at least in Dublin, the term “cha” is sometimes used for tea, with “tay” as a common pronunciation throughout the land (derived from the Irish Gaelic tae), and “char” was a common slang term for tea throughout British Empire and Commonwealth military forces in the 19th and 20th centuries, crossing over into civilian usage. In North America, the word “chai” is used to refer almost exclusively to the Indianchai” (or “masala chai”) beverage.

Perhaps the only place in which a word unrelated to tea is used to describe the beverage is South America (particularly Andean countries), because a similar stimulant beverage, hierba mate, was consumed there long before tea arrived. In various places of South America, any tea is referred to as mate.

[edit] Tea culture

Main article: Tea culture

Tea is often drunk at social events, such as afternoon tea and the tea party. It may be drunk early in the day to heighten alertness; it contains theophylline and bound caffeine (sometimes called “theine”), although there are also decaffeinated teas.

There are tea ceremonies which have arisen in different cultures, Japan’s complex, formal and serene one being the most known. Other examples are the Korean tea ceremony or some traditional ways of brewing tea in Chinese tea culture.

[edit] Preparation

For a more detailed treatment of tea preparation and serving habits, particularly in non-western countries, see Tea culture.

Taiwanese tea kettle over hot coals

Taiwanese tea kettle over hot coals

This section describes the most widespread method of making tea. Completely different methods are used in North Africa, Tibet and perhaps in other places. In the American South, iced tea is also prepared differently.

The way to prepare tea is usually thought to be with loose tea placed either directly in a teapot or contained in a tea infuser, rather than a teabag. However, perfectly acceptable tea can be made with teabags. Some circumvent the teapot stage altogether and brew the tea directly in a cup or mug. This method is becoming more popular. For an acceptable quality, however, it is necessary to obey the rules for preparation such as sufficient infusion time by placing the teabag in the cup before pouring the hot water.

Historically in China, tea is divided into a number of infusions. The first infusion is immediately poured out to wash the tea, and then the second and further infusions are had. The third through fifth are nearly always considered the best infusions of tea, although different teas open up differently and may require more infusions of boiling water to bring them to life.

Typically, the best temperature for brewing tea can be determined by its type. Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures around 80 °C, while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100 °C [16][17].

The amount of tea to be used per amount of water is obviously of critical importance, yet is the subject of some confusion. One reason is to do with knowledge in popular culture (one spoon per person and one for the pot etc),another to do with the varying nature and quality amongst different teas and within the same garden from season to season. One basic recipe may be one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5mLs) for each 200mLs of water prepared as above. This may be varied acording to tea and taste, with a stronger Assam to be drunk with milk prepared with more leaf, and a more delicate high grown tea such as a Darjeeling prepared with a little less (as the stronger mid-flavours will overwhelm the champagne notes). For tea, as with many such things, there is no right or wrong answer, only the quest for perfection. Another way to taste a tea, throughout its entire process, is to add hot water to a cup containing the leaves and after about 30 seconds to taste the tea. As the tea leaves unfold (“the Agony of the Leaves”) it gives up various parts of itself to the water and thus the taste evolves. Continuing this from the very first flavours to the time beyond which the tea is quite stewed will allow an appreciation of the tea throughout its entire length.

Black tea infusion.

Black tea infusion.

Black tea 
The water for black teas should be added at the boiling point (100 °C or 212 °F), except for more delicate teas, where lower temperatures are recommended. This will have as large an effect on the final flavour as the type of tea used. The most common fault when making black tea is to use water at too low a temperature. Since boiling point drops with increasing altitude, this makes it difficult to brew black tea properly in mountainous areas. It is also recommended that the teapot be warmed before preparing tea, easily done by adding a small amount of boiling water to the pot, swirling briefly, before discarding. Black tea should not be allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or more than about five minutes (a process known as brewing or [dialectally] mashing in the UK, Specifically in Yorkshire.). After that, tannin is released, which counteracts the stimulating effect of the theophylline and caffeine and makes the tea bitter (at this point it is referred to as being stewed in the UK). Therefore, for a “wake-up” tea, one should not let the tea steep for more than 2-3 minutes. When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the tastes of the drinker, it should be strained while serving.
Green tea 
Water for green tea, according to most accounts, should be around 80 °C to 85 °C (176 °F to 185 °F); the higher the quality of the leaves, the lower the temperature. Hotter water will burn green-tea leaves, producing a bitter taste. Preferably, the container in which the tea is steeped, the mug, or teapot should also be warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down.
Oolong tea 
Oolong teas should be brewed around 90 °C to 100 °C (194 °F to 212 °F), and again the brewing vessel should be warmed before pouring in the water. Yixing purple clay teapots are the ideal brewing vessel for oolong tea. For best results use spring water, as the minerals in spring water tend to bring out more flavour in the tea.
Premium or delicate tea 
Some teas, especially green teas and delicate Oolong or Darjeeling teas, are steeped for shorter periods, sometimes less than 30 seconds. Using a tea strainer separates the leaves from the water at the end of the brewing time if a tea bag is not being used.
Serving 
In order to preserve the pre-tannin tea without requiring it all to be poured into cups, a second teapot is employed. The steeping pot is best unglazed earthenware; Yixing pots are the best known of these, famed for the high quality clay from which they are made. The serving pot is generally porcelain, which retains the heat better. Larger teapots are a post-19th-century invention, as tea before this time was very rare and very expensive. Experienced tea-drinkers often insist that the tea should not be stirred around while it is steeping (sometimes called winding in the UK). This, they say, will do little to strengthen the tea, but is likely to bring the tannic acids out in the same way that brewing too long will do. For the same reason one should not squeeze the last drops out of a teabag; if stronger tea is desired, more tea leaves should be used.
Additives  
The addition of other items such as milk and sugar to tea is primarily a European invention[18], though it has also spread to 19th and 20th century British colonies such as Hong Kong[19] or India. Some connoisseurs eschew cream because it overpowers the flavour of tea. Many teas are traditionally drunk with milk. These include Indian chai, and British tea blends. These teas tend to be very hearty varieties which can be tasted through the milk, such as Assams, or the East Friesian blend. Milk is thought to neutralise remaining tannins and reduce acidity.

Sugar cubes ready to be added to a cup of tea

Sugar cubes ready to be added to a cup of tea

When taking milk with tea, some add the tea to the milk rather than the other way around when using chilled milk; this avoids scalding the milk, leading to a better emulsion and nicer taste.[20] The socially ‘correct’ order is tea, sugar, milk, but this convention was established before the invention of the refrigerator. It is worth noting that this convention was only universally established in the 20th century – prior to this, the common earthenware mugs used were unable to withstand the temperature of the tea, and so the convention was to add the tea to the milk. This was not the case with bone china.
Adding the milk first also makes a milkier cup of tea with sugar harder to dissolve as there will be no hot liquid in the cup. In addition, the amount of milk used is normally determined by the colour of the tea, therefore milk is added until the correct colour is obtained. If the milk is added first, more guesswork is involved. If the tea is being brewed in a mug, the milk is generally added after the tea bag is removed (however, it is arguably better to add milk before removing the tea bag than it is to remove the tea bag too soon: the tea will continue to brew even with milk added).
Other popular additives to tea include sugar or honey, lemon, and fruit jams.
In colder regions such as Mongolia, Tibet and Nepal, butter is added to provide necessary calories. Tibetan butter tea contains rock salt and yak butter, which is then churned vigorously in a cylindrical vessel closely resembing a butter churn. The flavour of this beverage is more akin to a rich broth than to tea, and may be described as a very acquired taste to those unused to drinking it.

[edit] Packaging

Tea Bags

Tea Bags

Tea bags

During World War II Tea was rationed so in 1953 after rationing finished, Tetley launched the tea bag to the UK and it was an immediate success. The convenience of the tea bag revolutionized how Britons drank their tea and now the traditional tea pot has given way to making tea in a cup using a tea bag.

Tea leaves are packed into a small (usually paper) tea bag. It is easy and convenient, making tea bags popular for many people nowadays. However, the tea used in tea bags has an industry name — it is called “fannings” or “dust” and is the waste product produced from the sorting of higher quality loose leaf tea. It is commonly held among tea aficionados that this method provides an inferior taste and experience. The paper used for the bag can also be tasted by many which can detract from the tea’s flavour. Because fannings and dust are a lower quality of the tea to begin with, the tea found in tea bags is less finicky when it comes to brewing time and temperature.

Additional reasons why bag tea is considered less well-flavoured include:
  • Dried tea loses its flavour quickly on exposure to air. Most bag teas (although not all) contain leaves broken into small pieces; the great surface-area-to-volume ratio of the leaves in tea bags exposes them to more air, and therefore causes them to go stale faster. Loose tea leaves are likely to be in larger pieces, or to be entirely intact.
  • Breaking up the leaves for bags extracts flavoured oils.
  • The small size of the bag does not allow leaves to diffuse and steep properly.
Triangle Tea Bags
A new infuser has recently come onto the market with an unusual design. The mesh triangle bags are made of a gossamer mesh and have been criticized of being environmentally unfriendly. [citation needed] The shape is designed to allow the tea leaves to expand more when steeping, and not leave flavours (such as paper) in the tea, addressing two of connoisseurs’ arguments against tea bags. As such, the flavours available tend towards more gourmet selections such as white tea rather than blends.
Loose tea 
The tea leaves are packaged loosely in a canister or other container. Rolled gunpowder tea leaves, that resists crumbling, are commonly vacuum packed for freshness in aluminized packaging for storage and retail. The portions must be individually measured by the consumer for use in a cup, mug or teapot. This allows greater flexibility, letting the consumer brew weaker or stronger tea as desired, but convenience is sacrificed. Strainers, “tea presses”, filtered teapots and infusion bags are available commercially to avoid having to drink the floating loose leaves and prevent over-brewing. A more traditional, yet perhaps more effective way around this problem is to use a three-piece lidded teacup, called a gaiwan. The lid of the gaiwan can be tilted to decant the leaves while pouring the tea into a different cup for consumption.
Compressed tea 
A lot of tea is still compressed for storage and aging convenience. Commonly Pu-Erh tea is compressed and then drunk by loosening leaves off using a small knife. Most of the time compressed tea can be stored longer than loose leaf tea.
Tea sticks 
One of the more modern forms of tea consumption, an alternative to the tea bag, is tea sticks.

Currently, Serengeti Tea Company manufactures a tea stick named Ticolino. Ticolino are dubbed as single serving tea sticks which use an infusing technology to brew the tea leaves inside, releasing the flavour and aroma.

Instant tea 
In recent times, “instant teas” are becoming popular, similar to freeze dried instant coffee. Instant tea was developed in the 1930’s, but not commercialized until the late 1950’s, and is only more recently becoming popular. These products often come with added flavours, such as vanilla, honey or fruit, and may also contain powdered milk. Similar products also exist for instant iced tea, due to the convenience of not requiring boiling water. Tea connoisseurs tend to criticise these products for sacrificing the delicacies of tea flavour in exchange for convenience.
Canned tea 
This latest method of marketing tea was first launched in 1981 in Japan.

[edit] Storage

Tea storage is essential to keeping the taste of tea pure. Tea absorbs moisture and odours very easily so it is necessary to keep it in some kind of container away from strong odours. One way to store a small amount of loose leaf tea is to keep it in a tin or glass container. These containers will keep the tea free from moisture and also keep odours out so the tea will keep its original flavour. Other ways to store tea include air tight bags. When storing the tea keep it away from sun light, strong odours, and moisture. For larger amounts of tea it would be good to put it into a cooler type of container. First wrap the tea in brown paper then wrap the paper again with brown paper to keep out any moisture. Then place the tea into a cooler that has nothing in and has a good seal. Next take the tea to a cool place away from moisture and odours. The length of time you can store tea depends on its type. Some teas such as flower teas will go bad in a month or so, but others may get better with age.

nature and tea

0 042007131 2007-01-04T16:28:57+02:00pmThu, 04 Jan 2007 16:28:57 +0200+02:00

nature2.jpgplaces you should drink tea there.

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0 042007131 2007-01-04T16:13:42+02:00pmThu, 04 Jan 2007 16:13:42 +0200+02:00

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tea

0 042007131 2007-01-04T16:08:32+02:00pmThu, 04 Jan 2007 16:08:32 +0200+02:00

oceans_006.jpg

Tea is a beverage made by steeping processed leaves, buds, or twigs of the tea bush (Camellia sinensis) in hot water for a few minutes. The processing can include oxidation (fermentation), heating, drying, and the addition of other herbs, flowers, spices, and fruits.There are four basic types of true tea: black tea, oolong tea, green tea, and white tea. The term “herbal tea” usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs (such as rosehip, chamomile, or jiaogulan) that contain no C. sinensis. (Alternative terms for herbal tea that avoid the word “tea” are tisane and herbal infusion). This article is concerned exclusively with preparations and uses of the tea plant C. sinensis.Tea is a natural source of methylxanthines such as caffeine [1], catechins, and theanine. It has almost no carbohydrates, fat, or protein. It has a cooling, slightly bitter and astringent taste. 

0 042007131 2007-01-04T16:08:07+02:00pmThu, 04 Jan 2007 16:08:07 +0200+02:00

tea is the best and if you dont agree so dont see my blog and get out.

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