Tea | Wikipedia audio article

By Brian Lemay 1 comment


Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared
by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen
shrub (bush) native to East Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed
drink in the world. There are many different types of tea; some,
like Darjeeling and Chinese greens, have a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour,
while others have vastly different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral or grassy
notes. Tea originated in Southwest China during the
Shang dynasty, where it was used as a medicinal drink. An early credible record of tea drinking dates
to the 3rd century AD, in a medical text written by Hua Tuo. It was popularized as a recreational drink
during the Chinese Tang dynasty, and tea drinking spread to other East Asian countries. Portuguese priests and merchants introduced
it to Europe during the 16th century. During the 17th century, drinking tea became
fashionable among Britons, who started large-scale production and commercialization of the plant
in India. Combined, China and India supplied 62% of
the world’s tea in 2016. The term herbal tea refers to drinks not made
from Camellia sinensis: infusions of fruit, leaves, or other parts of the plant, such
as steeps of rosehip, chamomile, or rooibos. These are sometimes called tisanes or herbal
infusions to prevent confusion with tea made from the tea plant.==Etymology==
The Chinese character for tea is 茶, originally written with an extra stroke as 荼 (pronounced
tú, used as a word for a bitter herb), and acquired its current form during the Tang
Dynasty. The word is pronounced differently in the
different varieties of Chinese, such as chá in Mandarin, zo and dzo in Wu Chinese, and
ta and te in Min Chinese. One suggestion is that the different pronunciations
may have arisen from the different words for tea in ancient China, for example tú (荼)
may have given rise to tê; historical phonologists however argued that the cha, te and dzo all
arose from the same root with a reconstructed pronunciation dra, which changed due to sound
shift through the centuries. There were other ancient words for tea, though
ming (茗) is the only other one still in common use. It has been proposed that the Chinese words
for tea, tu, cha and ming, may have been borrowed from the Austro-Asiatic languages of people
who inhabited southwest China; cha for example may have been derived from an archaic Austro-Asiatic
root *la, meaning “leaf”. The few exceptions of words for tea that do
not fall into the three broad groups of te, cha and chai are the minor languages from
the botanical homeland of the tea plant from which the Chinese words for tea might have
been borrowed originally: northeast Burma and southwest Yunnan. Examples are la (meaning tea purchased elsewhere)
and miiem (wild tea gathered in the hills) from the Wa people, letpet in Burmese and
meng in Lamet meaning “fermented tea leaves”, as well as miang in Thai (“fermented tea”). Most Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and
Cantonese, pronounce it along the lines of cha, but Hokkien and Teochew Chinese varieties
along the Southern coast of China pronounce it like teh. These two pronunciations have made their separate
ways into other languages around the world.Starting in the early 17th century, the Dutch played
a dominant role in the early European tea trade via the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch borrowed the word for “tea” (thee)
from Min Chinese, either through trade directly from Hokkien speakers in Formosa where they
had established a port, or from Malay traders in Bantam, Java. The Dutch then introduced to other European
languages this Min pronunciation for tea, including English tea, French thé, Spanish
té, and German Tee. This pronunciation is also the most common
form worldwide. The Cha pronunciation came from the Cantonese
chàh of Guangzhou (Canton) and the ports of Hong Kong and Macau, which were also major
points of contact, especially with the Portuguese traders who settled Macau in the 16th century. The Portuguese adopted the Cantonese pronunciation
“chá”, and spread it to India. However, the Korean and Japanese pronunciations
of cha were not from Cantonese, but were borrowed into Korean and Japanese during earlier periods
of Chinese history. A third form, the increasingly widespread
chai, came from Persian چای [tʃɒːi] chay. Both the châ and chây forms are found in
Persian dictionaries. They are derived from the Northern Chinese
pronunciation of chá, which passed overland to Central Asia and Persia, where it picked
up the Persian grammatical suffix -yi before passing on to Russian as чай ([tɕæj],
chay), Arabic as شاي (pronounced shay [ʃæiː] due to the lack of a /t͡ʃ/ sound in Arabic),
Urdu as چائے chay, Hindi as चाय chāy, Turkish as çay, etc. English has all three forms: cha or char (both
pronounced ), attested from the 16th century; tea, from the 17th; and chai, from the 20th. However, the form chai refers specifically
to a black tea mixed with sugar or honey, spices and milk in contemporary English.==Origin and history==Tea plants are native to East Asia, and probably
originated in the borderlands of north Burma and southwestern China. Chinese (small leaf) tea
Chinese Western Yunnan Assam (large leaf) tea
Indian Assam (large leaf) tea Chinese Southern Yunnan Assam (large leaf)
teaChinese (small leaf) type tea (C. sinensis var. sinensis) may have originated in southern
China possibly with hybridization of unknown wild tea relatives. However, since there are no known wild populations
of this tea, the precise location of its origin is speculative.Given their genetic differences
forming distinct clades, Chinese Assam type tea (C. sinensis var. assamica) may have two
different parentages – one being found in southern Yunnan (Xishuangbanna, Pu’er City)
and the other in western Yunnan (Lincang, Baoshan). Many types of Southern Yunnan assam tea have
been hybridized with the closely related species Camellia taliensis. Unlike Southern Yunnan Assam tea, Western
Yunnan Assam tea shares many genetic similarities with Indian Assam type tea (also C. sinensis
var. assamica). Thus, Western Yunnan Assam tea and Indian
Assam tea both may have originated from the same parent plant in the area where southwestern
China, Indo-Burma, and Tibet meet. However, as the Indian Assam tea shares no
haplotypes with Western Yunnan Assam tea, Indian Assam tea is likely to have originated
from an independent domestication. Some Indian Assam tea appears to have hybridized
with the species Camellia pubicosta.Assuming a generation of 12 years, Chinese small leaf
tea is estimated to have diverged from Assam tea around 22,000 years ago while Chinese
Assam tea and Indian Assam tea diverged 2,800 years ago. The divergence of Chinese small leaf tea and
Assam tea would correspond to the last glacial maximum.Tea drinking may have begun in the
region of Yunnan region, when it was used for medicinal purposes. It is also believed that in Sichuan, “people
began to boil tea leaves for consumption into a concentrated liquid without the addition
of other leaves or herbs, thereby using tea as a bitter yet stimulating drink, rather
than as a medicinal concoction.”Chinese legends attribute the invention of tea to the mythical
Shennong (in central and northern China) in 2737 BC although evidence suggests that tea
drinking may have been introduced from the southwest of China (Sichuan/Yunnan area). The earliest written records of tea come from
China. The word tú 荼 appears in the Shijing and
other ancient texts to signify a kind of “bitter vegetable” (苦菜), and it is possible that
it referred to many different plants such as sowthistle, chicory, or smartweed, as well
as tea. In the Chronicles of Huayang, it was recorded
that the Ba people in Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou king. The Qin later conquered the state of Ba and
its neighbour Shu, and according to the 17th century scholar Gu Yanwu who wrote in Ri Zhi
Lu (日知錄): “It was after the Qin had taken Shu that they learned how to drink tea.” Another possible early reference to tea is
found in a letter written by the Qin Dynasty general Liu Kun who requested that some “real
tea” to be sent to him.The earliest known physical evidence of tea was discovered in
2016 in the mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han in Xi’an, indicating that tea from the genus
Camellia was drunk by Han Dynasty emperors as early as the 2nd century BC. The Han dynasty work, “The Contract for a
Youth”, written by Wang Bao in 59 BC, contains the first known reference to boiling tea. Among the tasks listed to be undertaken by
the youth, the contract states that “he shall boil tea and fill the utensils” and “he shall
buy tea at Wuyang”. The first record of tea cultivation is also
dated to this period (the reign of Emperor Xuan of Han), during which tea was cultivated
on Meng Mountain (蒙山) near Chengdu. Another early credible record of tea drinking
dates to the third century AD, in a medical text by Hua Tuo, who stated, “to drink bitter
t’u constantly makes one think better.” However, before the mid-8th century Tang dynasty,
tea-drinking was primarily a southern Chinese practice. It became widely popular during the Tang Dynasty,
when it was spread to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Through the centuries, a variety of techniques
for processing tea, and a number of different forms of tea, were developed. During the Tang dynasty, tea was steamed,
then pounded and shaped into cake form, while in the Song dynasty, loose-leaf tea was developed
and became popular. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, unoxidized
tea leaves were first pan-fried, then rolled and dried, a process that stops the oxidation
process that turns the leaves dark, thereby allowing tea to remain green. In the 15th century, oolong tea, in which
the leaves were allowed to partially oxidize before pan-frying, was developed. Western tastes, however, favoured the fully
oxidized black tea, and the leaves were allowed to oxidize further. Yellow tea was an accidental discovery in
the production of green tea during the Ming dynasty, when apparently sloppy practices
allowed the leaves to turn yellow, but yielded a different flavour as a result. Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests
and merchants in China during the 16th century, at which time it was termed chá. The earliest European reference to tea, written
as Chiai, came from Delle navigationi e viaggi written by a Venetian, Giambattista Ramusio,
in 1545. The first recorded shipment of tea by a European
nation was in 1607 when the Dutch East India Company moved a cargo of tea from Macao to
Java, then two years later, the Dutch bought the first assignment of tea which was from
Hirado in Japan to be shipped to Europe. Tea became a fashionable drink in The Hague
in the Netherlands, and the Dutch introduced the drink to Germany, France and across the
Atlantic to New Amsterdam (New York).The first record of tea in English came from a letter
written by Richard Wickham, who ran an East India Company office in Japan, writing to
a merchant in Macao requesting “the best sort of chaw” in 1615. Peter Mundy, a traveller and merchant who
came across tea in Fujian in 1637, wrote, “chaa – only water with a kind of herb boyled
in it “. Tea was sold in a coffee house in London in 1657, Samuel Pepys tasted tea in
1660, and Catherine of Braganza took the tea-drinking habit to the British court when she married
Charles II in 1662. Tea, however, was not widely consumed in Britain
until the 18th century, and remained expensive until the latter part of that period. British drinkers preferred to add sugar and
milk to black tea, and black tea overtook green tea in popularity in the 1720s. Tea smuggling during the 18th century led
to the general public being able to afford and consume tea. The British government removed the tax on
tea, thereby eliminating the smuggling trade by 1785. In Britain and Ireland, tea was initially
consumed as a luxury item on special occasions, such as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic
work gatherings. The price of tea in Europe fell steadily during
the 19th century, especially after Indian tea began to arrive in large quantities; by
the late 19th century tea had become an everyday beverage for all levels of society. The popularity of tea also informed a number
of historical events – the Tea Act of 1773 provoked the Boston Tea Party that escalated
into the American Revolution. The need to address the issue of British trade
deficit caused by the Manchu Emperor Kangxi who proclaimed that “China was the center
of the world, possessing everything they could ever want or need and banned foreign products
from being sold in China!” He also decreed in 1685 “That all goods
bought from China must be paid for in Silver Coin or Bullion.” This caused all other Nation’s Traders to
find some other product, opium, to sell to China to earn back the silver they were required
to paid for tea, jade and silk. Later, Chinese Government attempts to curtail
the trade in opium with out relaxing trade restrictions on foreign goods, resulted in
the Opium Wars.Chinese small leaf type tea was introduced into India in 1836 by the British
in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. In 1841, Archibald Campbell brought seeds
of Chinese tea from the Kumaun region and experimented with planting tea in Darjeeling. The Alubari tea garden was opened in 1856
and Darjeeling tea began to be produced. In 1848, Robert Fortune was sent by the East
India Company on a mission to China to bring the tea plant back to Great Britain. He began his journey in high secrecy as his
mission occurred in the lull between the Anglo-Chinese First Opium War (1839–1842) and Second Opium
War (1856–1860). The Chinese tea plants he brought back were
introduced to the Himalayas, though most did not survive. The British had discovered that a different
variety of tea was endemic to Assam and the northeast region of India and that it was
used by the local Singpho people, and these were then grown instead of the Chinese tea
plant and then were subsequently hybridized with Chinese small leaf type tea as well as
likely closely related wild tea species. Using the Chinese planting and cultivation
techniques, the British launched a tea industry by offering land in Assam to any European
who agreed to cultivate it for export. Tea was originally consumed only by anglicized
Indians; however, it became widely popular in India in the 1950s because of a successful
advertising campaign by the India Tea Board.==Cultivation and harvesting==Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that
grows mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. Some varieties can also tolerate marine climates
and are cultivated as far north as Cornwall in England, Perthshire in Scotland, Washington
state in the United States, and Vancouver Island in Canada. In the Southern Hemisphere, tea is grown as
far south as Hobart on the Australian island of Tasmania and Waikato in New Zealand.Tea
plants are propagated from seed and cuttings; about 4 to 12 years are needed for a plant
to bear seed and about three years before a new plant is ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer,
tea plants require at least 127 cm (50 in) of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils. Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated
at elevations of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level. Though at these heights the plants grow more
slowly, they acquire a better flavour.Two principal varieties are used: Camellia sinensis
var. sinensis, which is used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas, and C. sinensis
var. assamica, used in Pu-erh and most Indian teas (but not Darjeeling). Within these botanical varieties, many strains
and modern clonal varieties are known. Leaf size is the chief criterion for the classification
of tea plants, with three primary classifications being, Assam type, characterised by the largest
leaves; China type, characterised by the smallest leaves; and Cambodian type, characterised
by leaves of intermediate size. The Cambod type tea (C. assamica subsp. lasiocaly) was originally considered a type
of assam tea. However, later genetic work showed that it
is a hybrid between Chinese small leaf tea and assam type tea. Darjeeling tea also appears to be hybrids
between Chinese small leaf tea and assam type tea.A tea plant will grow into a tree of up
to 16 m (52 ft) if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are generally pruned to waist height
for ease of plucking. Also, the short plants bear more new shoots
which provide new and tender leaves and increase the quality of the tea.Only the top 1–2
inches (2.5–5.1 cm) of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves are called ‘flushes’. A plant will grow a new flush every seven
to 15 days during the growing season. Leaves that are slow in development tend to
produce better-flavoured teas.Pests of tea include mosquito bugs of the genus Helopeltis
(which are true bugs that must not be confused with the dipteran) that can tatter leaves,
so they may be sprayed with insecticides. In addition, there may be Lepidopteran leaf
feeders and various tea diseases.==Chemical composition==Physically speaking, tea has properties of
both a solution and a suspension. It is a solution of all the water-soluble
compounds that have been extracted from the tea leaves, such as the polyphenols and amino
acids, but is a suspension when all of the insoluble components are considered, such
as the cellulose in the tea leaves.Caffeine constitutes about 3% of tea’s dry weight,
translating to between 30 milligrams (0.0011 oz) and 90 milligrams (0.0032 oz) per 8-oz
(250-ml) cup depending on the type, brand, and brewing method. A study found that the caffeine content of
1 gram (0.035 oz) of black tea ranged from 22–28 milligrams (0.00078–0.00099 oz),
while the caffeine content of 1 gram (0.035 oz) of green tea ranged from 11–20 milligrams
(0.00039–0.00071 oz), reflecting a significant difference. Tea also contains small amounts of theobromine
and theophylline, which are stimulants, and xanthines similar to caffeine. Black and green teas contain no essential
nutrients in significant amounts, with the exception of the dietary mineral, manganese
at 0.5 milligrams (1.8×10−5 oz) per cup or 26% of the Daily Value. Because of modern environmental pollution,
fluoride sometimes occur in tea. Certain types of brick tea made from old leaves
and stems have the highest levels.The astringency in tea can be attributed to the presence of
polyphenols. These are the most abundant compounds in tea
leaves, making up 30–40% of their composition. Polyphenols include flavonoids, epigallocatechin
gallate (EGCG), and other catechins.It has been suggested that green and black tea may
protect against cancer or other diseases such as obesity or Alzheimer’s disease, but the
compounds found in green tea have not been conclusively demonstrated to have any effect
on human diseases.==Processing and classification==Tea is generally divided into categories based
on how it is processed. At least six different types are produced: White: wilted and unoxidized;
Yellow: unwilted and unoxidized but allowed to yellow;
Green: unwilted and unoxidized; Oolong: wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized;
Black: wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized (called 紅茶 [hóngchá], “red
tea” in Chinese and other East Asian tea culture); Post-fermented (Dark): green tea that has
been allowed to ferment/compost (called 黑茶 [hēichá] “black tea” in Chinese tea culture).After
picking, the leaves of C. sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize unless immediately dried. An enzymatic oxidation process triggered by
the plant’s intracellular enzymes causes the leaves to turn progressively darker as their
chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This darkening is stopped at a predetermined
stage by heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. In the production of black teas, halting by
heating is carried out simultaneously with drying. Without careful moisture and temperature control
during manufacture and packaging, growth of undesired molds and bacteria may make tea
unfit for consumption.===Additional processing and additives===After basic processing, teas may be altered
through additional processing steps before being sold, and is often consumed with additions
to the basic tea leaf and water added during preparation or drinking. Examples of additional processing steps that
occur before tea is sold are blending, flavouring, scenting, and decaffeination of teas. Examples of additions added at the point of
consumption include milk, sugar and lemon.====Blending====
Tea blending is the combination of different teas together to achieve the final product. Almost all tea in bags and most loose tea
sold in the West is blended. Such teas may combine others from the same
cultivation area or several different ones. The aim is to obtain consistency, better taste,
higher price, or some combination of the three.====Flavouring====
Flavoured and scented teas add new aromas and flavours to the base tea. This can be accomplished through directly
adding flavouring agents, such as ginger or dried ginger, cloves, mint leaves, cardamom,
bergamot (found in Earl Grey), vanilla, and spearmint. Alternatively, because tea easily retains
odours, it can be placed in proximity to an aromatic ingredient to absorb its aroma, as
in traditional jasmine tea.====Milk====The addition of milk to tea in Europe was
first mentioned in 1680 by the epistolist Madame de Sévigné. Many teas are traditionally drunk with milk
in cultures where dairy products are consumed. These include Indian masala chai and British
tea blends. These teas tend to be very hearty varieties
of black tea 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. The Han Chinese do not usually drink milk
with tea but the Manchus do, and the elite of the Qing Dynasty of the Chinese Empire
continued to do so. Hong Kong-style milk tea is based on British
colonial habits. Tibetans and other Himalayan peoples traditionally
drink tea with milk or yak butter and salt. In Eastern European countries, Russia and
Italy, tea is commonly served with lemon juice. In Poland, tea is traditionally served with
a slice of lemon and is sweetened with either sugar or honey; tea with milk is called a
bawarka (“Bavarian style”) in Polish and is also widely popular. In Australia, tea with milk is known as white
tea. The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea
is a much-debated topic, and can vary widely between cultures or even individuals. Some say it is preferable to add the milk
to the cup before the tea, as the high temperature of freshly brewed tea can denature the proteins
found in fresh milk, similar to the change in taste of UHT milk, resulting in an inferior-tasting
beverage. Others insist it is better to add the milk
to the cup after the tea, as black tea is often brewed as close to boiling as possible. The addition of milk chills the beverage during
the crucial brewing phase, if brewing in a cup rather than using a pot, meaning the delicate
flavour of a good tea cannot be fully appreciated. By adding the milk afterwards, it is easier
to dissolve sugar in the tea and also to ensure the desired amount of milk is added, as the
colour of the tea can be observed. Historically, the order of steps was taken
as an indication of class: only those wealthy enough to afford good-quality porcelain would
be confident of its being able to cope with being exposed to boiling water unadulterated
with milk. Higher temperature difference means faster
heat transfer, so the earlier milk is added, the slower the drink cools. A 2007 study published in the European Heart
Journal found certain beneficial effects of tea may be lost through the addition of milk.==Preparation=====
Black tea===Popular varieties of black tea include Assam,
Nepal, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Rize, Keemun, and Ceylon teas. Many of the active substances in black tea
do not develop at temperatures lower than 90 °C (194 °F). As a result, black tea in the West is usually
steeped in water near its boiling point, at around 99 °C (210 °F). Since boiling point drops with increasing
altitude, it is difficult to brew black tea properly in mountainous areas. Western black teas are usually brewed for
about four minutes. In many regions of the world, however, actively
boiling water is used and the tea is often stewed. In India, black tea is often boiled for fifteen
minutes or longer to make Masala chai, as a strong brew is preferred. Tea is often strained while serving. A food safety management group of the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a standard for preparing a cup of
tea (ISO 3103: Tea – Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests), primarily intended
for standardizing preparation for comparison and rating purposes.===Green tea===In regions of the world that prefer mild beverages,
such as the Far East, green tea is steeped in water around 80 to 85 °C (176 to 185 °F). Regions such as North Africa or Central Asia
prefer a bitter tea, and hotter water is used. In Morocco, green tea is steeped in boiling
water for 15 minutes. The container in which green tea is steeped
is often warmed beforehand to prevent premature cooling. High-quality green and white teas can have
new water added as many as five or more times, depending on variety, at increasingly higher
temperatures.===Oolong tea===Oolong tea is brewed around 82 to 96 °C (185
to 205 °F), with the brewing vessel warmed before pouring the water. Yixing purple clay teapots are the traditional
brewing-vessel for oolong tea which can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves,
unlike green tea, seeming to improve with reuse. In the southern Chinese and Taiwanese Gongfu
tea ceremony, the first brew is discarded, as it is considered a rinse of leaves rather
than a proper brew.===Pu-erh tea===Pu-erh teas require boiling water for infusion. Some prefer to quickly rinse pu-erh for several
seconds with boiling water to remove tea dust which accumulates from the ageing process,
then infuse it at the boiling point (100 °C or 212 °F), and allow it to steep from 30
seconds to five minutes.===Masala chai===Meaning “spiced tea”, masala chai tea is prepared
using black or green tea with milk (in which case it may be called a “latte”), and may
be spiced with ginger.===Cold brew tea===While most tea is prepared using hot water,
it is also possible to brew a beverage from tea using room temperature or cooled water. This requires longer steeping time to extract
the key components, and produces a different flavour profile. Cold brews use about 1.5 times the tea leaves
that would be used for hot steeping, and are refrigerated for 4–10 hours. The process of making cold brew tea is much
simpler than that for cold brew coffee. Cold brewing has some disadvantages compared
to hot steeping. If the leaves or source water contain unwanted
bacteria, they may flourish, whereas using hot water has the benefit of killing most
bacteria. This is less of a concern in modern times
and developed regions. Cold brewing may also allow for less caffeine
to be extracted.===Pouring from height===
The flavour of tea can also be altered by pouring it from different heights, resulting
in varying degrees of aeration. The art of elevated pouring is used principally
to enhance the flavour of the tea, while cooling the beverage for immediate consumption.In
Southeast Asia, the practice of pouring tea from a height has been refined further using
black tea to which condensed milk is added, poured from a height from one cup to another
several times in alternating fashion and in quick succession, to create a tea with entrapped
air bubbles, creating a frothy “head” in the cup. This beverage, teh tarik, literally, “pulled
tea” (which has its origin as a hot Indian tea beverage), has a creamier taste than flat
milk tea and is common in the region.==Tea culture==Tea may be consumed early in the day to heighten
calm alertness; it contains L-theanine, theophylline, and bound caffeine (sometimes called theine). Decaffeinated brands are also sold. While herbal teas are also referred to as
tea, most of them do not contain leaves from the tea plant. While tea is the second most consumed beverage
on Earth after water, in many cultures it is also consumed at elevated social events,
such as the tea party. Tea ceremonies have arisen in different cultures,
such as the Chinese and Japanese traditions, each of which employs certain techniques and
ritualised protocol of brewing and serving tea for enjoyment in a refined setting. One form of Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu
tea ceremony, which typically uses small Yixing clay teapots and oolong tea. In the United Kingdom 63% of people drink
tea daily and is perceived as one of Britain’s cultural beverages. It is customary for a host to offer tea to
guests soon after their arrival. Tea is consumed both at home and outside the
home, often in cafés or tea rooms. Afternoon tea with cakes on fine porcelain
is a cultural stereotype. In southwest England, many cafés serve a
cream tea, consisting of scones, clotted cream, and jam alongside a pot of tea. In some parts of Britain and India ‘tea’ may
also refer to the evening meal. Ireland has long been one of the biggest per
capita consumers of tea in the world. The national average is four cups per person
per day, with many people drinking six cups or more. Tea in Ireland is usually taken with milk
or sugar and is slightly spicier and stronger than the traditional English blend.Tea is
prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East. In Arab culture, tea is a focal point for
social gatherings.Turkish tea is an important part of that country’s cuisine, and is the
most commonly consumed hot drink, despite the country’s long history of coffee consumption. In 2004 Turkey produced 205,500 tonnes of
tea (6.4% of the world’s total tea production), which made it one of the largest tea markets
in the world, with 120,000 tons being consumed in Turkey, and the rest being exported. In 2010 Turkey had the highest per capita
consumption in the world at 2.7 kg. As of 2013, the per-capita consumption of
Turkish tea exceeds 10 cups per day and 13.8 kg per year. Tea is grown mostly in Rize Province on the
Black Sea coast.In Iranian culture, tea is so widely consumed, it is generally the first
thing offered to a household guest.Russia has a long, rich tea history dating to 1638
when tea was introduced to Tsar Michael. Social gatherings were considered incomplete
without tea, which was traditionally brewed in a samovar, and today 82% of Russians consume
tea daily. In Pakistan, both black and green teas are
popular and are known locally as sabz chai and kahwah, respectively. The popular green tea called kahwah is often
served after every meal in the Pashtun belt of Balochistan and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,
which is where the Khyber Pass is found. In central and southern Punjab and the metropolitan
Sindh region of Pakistan, tea with milk and sugar (sometimes with pistachios, cardamom,
etc.), commonly referred to as chai, is widely consumed. It is the most common beverage of households
in the region. In the northern Pakistani regions of Chitral
and Gilgit-Baltistan, a salty, buttered Tibetan-style tea is consumed. In the transnational Kashmir region, which
straddles the border between India and Pakistan, Kashmiri chai or noon chai, a pink, creamy
tea with pistachios, almonds, cardamom, and sometimes cinnamon, is consumed primarily
at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter months when it is sold in many
kiosks. Indian tea culture is strong – the drink
is the most popular hot beverage in the country. It is consumed daily in almost all houses,
offered to guests, consumed in high amounts in domestic and official surroundings, and
is made with the addition of milk with or without spices, and usually sweetened. At homes it is sometimes served with biscuits
to be dipped in the tea and eaten before consuming the tea. More often than not, it is drunk in “doses”
of small cups (referred to as “Cutting” chai if sold at street tea vendors) rather than
one large cup. On 21 April 2012, the Deputy Chairman of Planning
Commission (India), Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said tea would be declared as national drink
by April 2013. The move is expected to boost the tea industry
in the country. Speaking on the occasion, Assam Chief Minister
Tarun Gogoi said a special package for the tea industry would be announced in the future
to ensure its development. The history of tea in India is especially
rich. In Burma (Myanmar), tea is consumed not only
as hot drinks, but also as sweet tea and green tea known locally as laphet-yay and laphet-yay-gyan,
respectively. Pickled tea leaves, known locally as laphet,
are also a national delicacy. Pickled tea is usually eaten with roasted
sesame seeds, crispy fried beans, roasted peanuts and fried garlic chips.In Mali, gunpowder
tea is served in series of three, starting with the highest oxidisation or strongest,
unsweetened tea, locally referred to as “strong like death”, followed by a second serving,
where the same tea leaves are boiled again with some sugar added (“pleasant as life”),
and a third one, where the same tea leaves are boiled for the third time with yet more
sugar added (“sweet as love”). Green tea is the central ingredient of a distinctly
Malian custom, the “Grin”, an informal social gathering that cuts across social and economic
lines, starting in front of family compound gates in the afternoons and extending late
into the night, and is widely popular in Bamako and other large urban areas.In the United
States, 80% of tea is consumed as iced tea. Sweet tea is native to the southeastern US,
and is iconic in its cuisine.==Production==In 2016, global production of tea was about
6 million tonnes, led by China with 40% and India with 22% of the world total (table). Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Turkey were other major
producers.==Economics==Tea is the most popular manufactured drink
consumed in the world, equaling all others – including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks,
and alcohol – combined. Most tea consumed outside East Asia is produced
on large plantations in the hilly regions of India and Sri Lanka, and is destined to
be sold to large businesses. Opposite this large-scale industrial production
are many small “gardens,” sometimes minuscule plantations, that produce highly sought-after
teas prized by gourmets. These teas are both rare and expensive, and
can be compared to some of the most expensive wines in this respect. India is the world’s largest tea-drinking
nation, although the per capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams (26 oz)
per person every year. Turkey, with 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lb) of tea
consumed per person per year, is the world’s greatest per capita consumer.===Labor and consumer safety problems===
Multiple recent reports have found that most Chinese and Indian teas contain residues of
banned toxic pesticides.Tea production in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda
has been reported to make use of child labor according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s
List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (a report on the worst forms of child
labor).===Certification===
Workers who pick and pack tea on plantations in developing countries can face harsh working
conditions and may earn below the living wage.A number of bodies independently certify the
production of tea. Tea from certified estates can be sold with
a certification label on the pack. The most important certification schemes are
Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified, and Organic, which also certify other crops
such as coffee, cocoa and fruit. Rainforest Alliance certified tea is sold
by Unilever brands Lipton and PG Tips in Western Europe, Australia and the US. Fairtrade certified tea is sold by a large
number of suppliers around the world. UTZ Certified announced a partnership in 2008
with Sara Lee brand Pickwick tea. Production of organic tea has risen since
its introduction in 1990 at Rembeng, Kondoli Tea Estate, Assam. 6,000 tons of organic tea were sold in 1999. About 75% of organic tea production is sold
in France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.===Trade===
In 2013, China – the world’s largest producer of tea – exported 325,806 tonnes, or 14%
of their total crop. India exported 254,841 tonnes or 20% of their
total production.In 2013, the largest importer of tea was the Russian Federation with 173,070
tonnes, followed by the United Kingdom, the United States, and Pakistan.==Packaging=====
Tea bags===In 1907, American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan
began distributing samples of his tea in small bags of Chinese silk with a drawstring. Consumers noticed they could simply leave
the tea in the bag and reuse it with fresh tea. However, the potential of this distribution
and packaging method would not be fully realised until later on. During World War II, tea was rationed in the
United Kingdom. In 1953, after rationing in the UK ended,
Tetley launched the tea bag to the UK and it was an immediate success. The “pyramid tea bag” (or sachet), introduced
by Lipton and PG Tips/Scottish Blend in 1996, attempts to address one of the connoisseurs’
arguments against paper tea bags by way of its three-dimensional tetrahedron shape, which
allows more room for tea leaves to expand while steeping. However, some types of pyramid tea bags have
been criticised as being environmentally unfriendly, since their synthetic material is not as biodegradable
as loose tea leaves and paper tea bags.===Loose tea===The tea leaves are packaged loosely in a canister,
paper bag, or other container such as a tea chest. Some whole teas, such as rolled gunpowder
tea leaves, which resist crumbling, are sometimes vacuum-packed for freshness in aluminised
packaging for storage and retail. The loose tea must be individually measured
for use, allowing for flexibility and flavour control at the expense of convenience. Strainers, tea balls, tea presses, filtered
teapots, and infusion bags prevent loose leaves from floating in the tea and over-brewing. A traditional method uses a three-piece lidded
teacup called a gaiwan, the lid of which is tilted to decant the tea into a different
cup for consumption.===Compressed tea===
Compressed tea (such as pu-erh) is produced for convenience in transport, storage, and
ageing. It can usually be stored longer without spoilage
than loose leaf tea. Compressed tea is prepared by loosening leaves
from the cake using a small knife, and steeping the extracted pieces in water. During the Tang dynasty, as described by Lu
Yu, compressed tea was ground into a powder, combined with hot water, and ladled into bowls,
resulting in a “frothy” mixture. In the Song dynasty, the tea powder would
instead be whisked with hot water in the bowl. Although no longer practiced in China today,
the whisking method of preparing powdered tea was transmitted to Japan by Zen Buddhist
monks, and is still used to prepare matcha in the Japanese tea ceremony.Compressed tea
was the most popular form of tea in China during the Tang dynasty. By the beginning of the Ming dynasty, it had
been displaced by loose-leaf tea. It remains popular, however, in the Himalayan
countries and Mongolian steppes. In Mongolia, tea bricks were ubiquitous enough
to be used as a form of currency. Among Himalayan peoples, compressed tea is
consumed by combining it with yak butter and salt to produce butter tea.===Instant tea===
“Instant tea”, similar to freeze-dried instant coffee and an alternative to brewed tea, can
be consumed either hot or cold. Instant tea was developed in the 1930s, with
Nestlé introducing the first commercial product in 1946, while Redi-Tea debuted instant iced
tea in 1953. Delicacy of flavour is sacrificed for convenience. Additives such as chai, vanilla, honey or
fruit, are popular, as is powdered milk. During the Second World War British and Canadian
soldiers were issued an instant tea known as “Compo” in their Composite Ration Packs. These blocks of instant tea, powdered milk,
and sugar were not always well received. As Royal Canadian Artillery Gunner, George
C Blackburn observed: But, unquestionably, the feature of Compo
rations destined to be remembered beyond all others is Compo tea…Directions say to “sprinkle
powder on heated water and bring to the boil, stirring well, three heaped teaspoons to one
pint of water.” Every possible variation in the preparation
of this tea was tried, but…it always ended up the same way. While still too hot to drink, it is a good-looking
cup of strong tea. Even when it becomes just cool enough to be
sipped gingerly, it is still a good-tasting cup of tea, if you like your tea strong and
sweet. But let it cool enough to be quaffed and enjoyed,
and your lips will be coated with a sticky scum that forms across the surface, which
if left undisturbed will become a leathery membrane that can be wound around your finger
and flipped away…===
Bottled and canned tea===Canned tea is sold prepared and ready to drink. It was introduced in 1981 in Japan. The first bottled tea introduced by Indonesian
tea company PT. Sinar Sosro in 1969 with brand name Teh Botol
Sosro (or Sosro bottled tea).In 1983, Swiss-based Bischofszell Food Ltd., was the first company
to bottle iced tea on an industrial scale.==Storage==
Storage conditions and type determine the shelf life of tea. Black tea’s is greater than green’s. Some, such as flower teas, may last only a
month or so. Others, such as pu-erh, improve with age. To remain fresh and prevent mold, tea needs
to be stored away from heat, light, air, and moisture. Tea must be kept at room temperature in an
air-tight container. Black tea in a bag within a sealed opaque
canister may keep for two years. Green tea deteriorates more rapidly, usually
in less than a year. Tightly rolled gunpowder tea leaves keep longer
than the more open-leafed Chun Mee tea. Storage life for all teas can be extended
by using desiccant or oxygen-absorbing packets, vacuum sealing, or refrigeration in air-tight
containers (except green tea, where discrete use of refrigeration or freezing is recommended
and temperature variation kept to a minimum).==Gallery====See also

1 Comment

Sally Smith

Oct 10, 2019, 2:57 am Reply

Stays busy legs. We should see this as a stigmata. In growth with older veins as they collapse.

Leave a Reply