blossoming chrysanthemum in cup of green tea on textbook

The Little Book Of Tea – Check Out Which Country Consumes The Most Tea And Why? (2022)

Marylyn Monroe, who was known for many things, including her passion for tea, is credited as saying something along the lines of “World Peace would be with us if politicians drank tea during meetings” or words to that effect. And she was quite correct in what she said; in fact, she was absolutely correct. A wandering mind is certain to be induced in anybody who drinks tea.
Did you know that people in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland drink the most tea per capita of any other countries in the world? I had always assumed it was Japan or China, but then I saw that their cups are far smaller than ours. It is also fascinating to learn that more than 2,000,000,000 cups of tea are consumed every single day all across the globe. That is an incredible number of cups, and I can only estimate how many of them I have contributed to the total — probably about one, if I had to guess. When expressed in terms of weight, this equates to 2.5 million tonnes of tea being drank annually around the globe. When seen from the perspective of the British, this equates to little under 6 pounds of tea being consumed by each individual annually.
Where does tea originate from, who is credited with making the first cup, and why is it that so many people like drinking it? The solution does not come from a grocery store; rather, it comes from my mother and the fact that it is economical and simple to prepare. Tea is associated with a rich history and culture that runs deep into its roots; this is something that serious tea drinkers need to be familiar with.
During the seventeenth century, tea achieved widespread acceptance among the nobility of the United Kingdom. It was at this time when tea first gained widespread popularity and began to be seen as an act of upper-class elitism. Tea was exclusively cultivated in China throughout this historical period, and its cultivation was a tightly kept secret of the Chinese Emperors who ruled during this era. Tea was purchased in China and then transported to other parts of the globe, including Japan, Taiwan, India, the United States of America, and Europe, aboard a variety of ships that belonged to a number of different nations. To transport tea to areas of the British Empire that need it the most, Dutch and Spanish ships competed with the enormous fleets of the British Empire. Companies such as the Dutch East Indian Company and the British East India Company, who were responsible for the first importation of tea to Europe, controlled the majority of the market for themselves for the most part.
This tea was brought from China to the Western World in ever-increasing quantities, but no matter how many ships were built or how much tea was grown, they were unable to keep up with the demand from the Western World. This tea was brought on anything from an old sailing ship to specially built clippers. The names of well-known ships such as the Cutty Sark are likely to be familiar to most people. This ship is typical of many that were used only for the purpose of transporting tea from China to Europe and, as a result, to the Tea Rooms of affluent people. Large vessels resembling barrels that are optimised to transport the most amount of cargo feasible and were constructed with quantity rather than speed in mind. Ships like as the Cutty Sark were gradually superseded by ships that were sleeker and quicker in the early decades of the nineteenth century. In 1834, a ship named The Oriental accomplished a journey from Canton to London in a time span of 95 days. 15 days less than the Cutty Sark would have needed to complete the journey.
Tea was the third most significant import into the United States throughout the eighteenth century, and it was tea that ignited the conflict that would eventually lead to the independence of the United States and Britain in the form of the War of Independence. Does the name “Boston Tea Party” seem familiar to you? At this location, armed immigrants disguised as Indians covertly boarded three clipper ships in Boston Harbor and tossed all of the imported tea overboard into the water. This event is known as the Boston Tea Party. Throwing tea into the fire as a symbolic act of defiance against the exorbitant taxes imposed by the British government on American settlers, which ultimately led to the outbreak of war between the two countries. That’s right, the Boston Tea Party, which took place in December of 1773. Perhaps they should have all simply taken a moment to relax with a cup of tea and thought about the situation, but then again, if they had done so, Britain would still have authority over the colonies in America! Wow, if it weren’t for the Tai, history may have turned out quite differently.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the United States of America and Europe rose to prominence as key actors in the tea trade. The competition was severe, as ships raced against one another across the ocean in an effort to be the first to set sail, achieve the highest possible speed, and reach their destination port first. Even if larger ships, quicker ships, and an increased number of ships were deployed, they were never able to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. Tea’s price was falling quickly, and it was becoming more accessible to people of all social backgrounds and statuses. Now, both the wealthy and the impoverished have the opportunity to unwind with a nice cup of tea, but this is contingent on the construction of quicker ships or the discovery of more boats. The Chinese sought to maintain the commerce level with all nations, but Britain, in a display of resolve, wooed the Chinese with incoming opium from India, therefore crushing any remnants of revolt that may have existed. For a great number of years, the British controlled tea supplies both out of China and to the rest of the globe by means of opium shipments. This resulted in a lack of direction on the part of the Chinese people due to the effect that narcotics had on them.
In compared to the ships of today, the ships of the past were both larger and quicker, yet they were still still relatively tiny and sluggish. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 marked the beginning of the end for the Clipper shipping period since it significantly cut the amount of time required to travel from Asia to Europe. Then, when the steam ship was invented, daring rushes and courageous men who had fought the seas to carry tea to our shores on wooden sailing ships were forced to bid farewell.
The story of Tea does not end with the demise of the sailing ships and clippers. Long before that happened many a budding tea drinker found great interest in Tea Growing. How was tea grown, where does it come from and many asked the simple question of ìwhy do we have to buy it from China?î Of course, if the secret of ìhow to grow teaî could be found then all would be so much simpler. If somebody could get that secret from the Chinese then tea could be grown in other places and closer to the demands of European and American Tea drinkers. If somebody could steal the secret and grow it in India, Ceylon, Turkey and other such places where ships could ply their trade on shorter and therefore more frequent voyages and where tea was closer to the places it was needed in, life would be so much better.
Tea was first used in China a thousand or so years before the rest of the world even knew about it. It took a ëthiefí in 1849 disguised as a Chinese Merchant to go to the Tea regions in China, to learn how the closely guarded tea was produced and eventually to bring back samples of the plants. In fact this ëthiefí was Robert Fortune a Botanist from England and he was commissioned by the Tea Commission to steal from the Chinese and observe their secretive methods of Tea Making. Wow, what a brave man he must have been! He managed to watch and gain valuable insight into the arts of growing tea, to appropriate various tea plants and to take them to Calcutta. A Botanist to Thief to Tea Grower ñ an excellent career move!
He noted that: Tea needs loose, deep and acidic soil and high altitudes to grow best and he eventually saw his dream come alive with the planting of twenty thousand tea tree saplings at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains. And from this point we come across some of the famous names in Tea. Those that are with us today and who were at that time referred to as ìgentlemanly Tea Merchantsî. To name but a few: Thomas Lipton, Thomas Twining and James Taylor. Through Robert Fortunes thieving skills the Tea Island of Cyprus sprang into being, India became famous for its Assam Tea and Darjeeling and today Tea is now a major revenue earner for over forty countries.
Tea Drinking is a ritual in many a society. In China guests must be greeted with a bowl of tea, tea is synonymous with Buddhism in the Far East and to the Zen faith in Japan. Russians love of tea is depicted through the Samovar, in Morocco we have the famous Mint Tea and in Europeís Tea Houses history and culture lives on deep and faithful as part of life itself. And in Japan one can gain a Diploma in Tea Mastery from one of three schools dedicated to the teachings in the ìWay of Teaî (cha-do) So Tea culture is very strong all over the world but why is this so?
Why do we drink tea? Why do we insist on drinking tea every day of every week? What is it that makes us sit down and slowly consume a cup when there are things to do, shopping to get and kids to feed? Why do we suddenly give up all that is necessary and sit back with a cup of tea and smile as if we have not a care in the world?
The answer is in itself. People love Tea for its calming essence and the culture that goes with it. Tea is used in times of trouble and to escape from life, not because of any association but because Tea does have many a body altering ingredient, even if we know nothing about them. We in the Western World drink cups of Black Tea and do not associate such with any medical or body altering feature but little do we know. Even those thousands of years ago when China alone drank tea, they drank it to cure many an ailment or problem that they might suffer from. It is known today that certain teas can cure headaches, reduce cholesterol or improve ones sight amongst many hundreds of other cures and results. These are specialty teas and not the ones we associate with morning or afternoon Tea-time but they are readily available should one look into it. Our Western culture is sparked from the calming essence associated with the Black Tea, more from a cultural point of view than from its physical properties. For your information though; the average Tea contains vitamins A, B and E. A cup of tea is rich with minerals of iron, copper, zinc, sodium and contains fluoride to fight the cavities. So much, all in a cup? Yes, it is true that so much can be in so little! So whilst you are sitting back and relaxing, you can now think about what it is doing for you!
Two points that tea drinkers often struggle with is the question of milk! The first is the question of, ìwith or without Milkî? First of all Green teas and Mint Teas do not go with milk. They are kept well away from that sort of thing. Milk goes with Black Tea to dilute itís often bitter and harsh taste and has stemmed from there into an everyday requirement. The second is that of milk before or after pouring the tea into the cup? Does one pour the milk in first and then the tea, or the tea first and then top up with milk? Each to his/her own way, I say, but there is a rather more rooted reason for milk first. Milk was originally placed in the cup first to prevent the gentle porcelain from cracking when the hot tea was poured into it. What becomes more important is whether or not the Tea is brewed in a Teapot or it is being infused in the Cup itself. I say this with regard to people who place a Tea Bag in the cup, then pour milk onto the tea bag and then add the boiling water. This is not allowed! This way destroys all the culture associated with Tea and needless to say the Tea itself does not infuse correctly. In this case the Milk must be added after the water and infusion has taken place.
Whilst writing all the above a certain picture kept coming into my mind, a piece of ìTea Cultureî that is depicted in the famous Asterix and Obelix Cartoon Series. It is in the one where The Romans come to Britain to expand their Empire and are very upset because the British always stop fighting at ëTea Timeî. The picture in my mind is of the Romans hanging around impatiently, wanting to attack and conquer the British, but they are all sitting back and sipping Tea ñ not fighting until they have finished their brews!
Beware though folks of the tea today! Tea bags are produced and made for the simple reasons of economy and ease of transportation to your supermarket shelves. Tea bags are easy to use but do be suspicious of a tea that as soon as it is in contact with water turns black! I am sure that it cannot be Tea. Stick to the real stuff that has taste. If you have any further questions please do go to the Tea Council Web Site to dialogue with the experts or to gain extra information to what has been given above. Failing that an excellent Book on Tea is available and called ìThe Little Book of Teaî and published by Flammarion. A French Publisher ñ good excuse to go to France and taste some wine!
ìIíll put the Kettle on and we can talk all about itî

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