Let's Talk Tea
History of Tea
Emperor Shen of China is credited in Chinese legend datng back to 3727 B.C. for discovering the benefits of drinking tea. According to the legend a few tea leaves accidentally fell into a pot of boiling water. The Emperor decided to taste it and discovered the delights of a cup of tea.
Indian lore speaks of an Indian monk named Bodhidharma who fasted for seven days. At the end of his fast being weak he chewed on tea leaves and was revived immediately.. In spite of the legend no historical references to tea drinking in India exist before the nineenth century.
Types of Tea
Tea drinking became fashionable back in the mists of time in China and the Far East. As adventurers began exploring the reaches of known civilization they brought back stories of wonderful marvels, and an exotic drink made from the leaves of a plant called Camellia sinensis, which is an evergreen shrub that may grow up to 60 feet in the wild. Although this plant grows to giant proportions in the wild, cultivated plants are kept to three feet. There are over three thousand varieties of tea that have their own distinct characteristics.
You will discover that the naming and growing of tea has a number of similarities to the naming and growing of wine. For instance, Bordeaux wine is named after the Bordeaux region in France, so Assam is named after the Assam region in India where it is grown. Keemun is named after the Keemun region of China. As is so important in making; wine, where the tea is grown, climate, soil conditions, and how the tea is processed, determines the flavor characteristics.
Although there are thousands of types of teas in the world they can be broken down into four main types: black, green, oolong and white.
Green tea is currently prized for its healthful properties. Green tea was first exported in 1611 by the Dutch East India Company who established a factory on Hirado Island in Japan. Green tea is not oxidized, simply withered and dried. It has a delicate taste and pale green color.
Twinings recently celebrated 300 years of business serving the tea drinking world. It was Twinings in 1705 who introduced tea drinking to the English. This took place on The Strand in London where Thomas Twinings introduced this exotic new drink on his premises. Tea drinking quickly became all the rage. Earl Grey was the drink of choice for Charles II, and famous eighteenth century author Jane Austin who wrote Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and my personal favorite, Persuasion.
Top Tea Producers in the World
- Sri Lanka
- Viet Nam
There are 107 tea producing countries. Bangladesh is one of the largest producers. Tea is grown in the United States in Washington, South Carolina and some small growers in Hawaii.
More About Tea
Today tea is drunk around the world and is sold by the bag in many of the coffee shops along with many herbal blends that are not strictly classified as tea but at times are lumped together with actual tea by name.
Peppermint tea is given to new mothers after childbirth to reduce gas pains while chamomile is long known to relax and assist sleep and is used for sore stomach and irritable bowel syndrome.
Tazo makes an herbal infusion called Wild Sweet Orange that beguiles the senses. When you add hot water to the tea bag the fragrance of the sweet oranges floats up and is almost better than drinking the blend. Add a touch of sweetener and nothing else! Divine!
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