The Wide World of Tea
Consumed as a beverage for the past two to three thousand years in southeast China, tea has an extensive past (Eden 1). The first Chinese tea leaves were believed to be brewed in open pans, however during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) it was discovered steeping the leaves in hot water produced the most flavorful drink (Tillberg). Since the heat of the water was an essential component to producing a desirable beverage, a lidded vessel was created to contain the heat during the steeping process. This vessel evolved into the teapot most of us are familiar with today.
The cultivation of tea plants is believed to have originated in China, but it soon spread to other areas of Asia. Green tea was brought to Japan in the eighth century to be used for medicinal purposes (Yamamoto, et al. 1). By the 15th century it had progressed to a drink for people of a certain social status. Now green tea is an integral part of the daily lives of the Japanese people. Between 1818 and 1834 the British in India, both in the private and governmental sectors, began looking into the possibility of starting tea cultivation in the northeast region of the country. Their drive was mainly based on possible revenues, but the trade relationship with China was shaky and tea trade was suspended from time to time. Local “wild” tea plants were discovered in the region and used to begin cultivation in India. From this point forward, Chinese imports were discontinued (Eden 2). Tea is now grown in 20 countries around the world, ranging from the Republic of Georgia to New Zealand (Yamamoto 4). However, its roots will always remain in Asia.
Three main varieties of the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, are …
…ent ensures that the packaged tea will not be subject to accelerated deterioration during shipping and storage.
Every cup of tea consumed in the world originated from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, yet depending upon the plant variety and processing method, each cup of tea can taste very different. Consumed across the globe, tea holds special importance in the Asian nations. Not only has it become an integral part of their culture; it has also become a means of subsistence for them.
Works Cited for
Eden, Thomas. Tea. London, England: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd, 1965.
Harler, Campbell R. Tea Growing. London, England: Oxford University Press, 1966.
Tillberg, Max. ‘The Way of Tea.” 2001. 24 Nov. 2002
Yamamoto, Takehiko. Chemistry and Applications of Green Tea. New York, NY: CRC Press, 1997.