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Tea leaves steeping in a zhong čaj 05.jpg
Green Tea leaves in a Chinese gaiwan.
Type Hot or cold beverage
Country of origin China
Introduced approx. 10th century BC.[1]
A tea bush.
Plantation workers picking tea in Tanzania.
Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) from Köhler's Medicinal Plants.
Loose dried tea leaves

Tea is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the Camellia sinensis plant, prepared and cured by various methods. “Tea” also refers to the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water,[2] and is the common name for the Camellia sinensis plant itself. Although tea contains various types of polyphenols, “contrary to widespread belief, tea does not contain tannic acid.” [3]

After water, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world.[4] It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many enjoy.[5]

There are at least six varieties of tea; white, yellow, green, oolong, black and pu-erh[6] of which the most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong and black.[7] All tea are made from the same species of plant, though different varieties may be used, and the leaves are processed differently, and, in the case of fine white tea, grown differently. Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea, is also often used medicinally.[6]

The term “herbal tea” usually refers to an infusion or tisane of leaves, flowers, fruit, herbs or other plant material that contains no Camellia sinensis.[8] The term “red tea” refers to an infusion made from either black tea (mainly in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other East Asian languages) or the South African rooibos plant (containing no Camellia sinensis).


Traditional Chinese tea cultivation and technologies

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Nevertheless, some varieties can also tolerate marine climates and are cultivated as far north as Pembrokeshire in the British mainland[9] and Washington in the United States.[10]

Leaves of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant.

In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, tea plants require at least 50 inches of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils.[11] Traditional Chinese Tea Cultivation and Studies believes that high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft): at these heights, the plants grow more slowly and acquire a better flavour.[12]

Only the top 1-2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves are called flushes.[13] A plant will grow a new flush every seven to ten days during the growing season.

A tea plant will grow into a tree if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking.[14]

Two principal varieties are used: the China plant (C. sinensis sinensis), used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas (but not Pu-erh); and the clonal Assam plant (C. sinensis assamica), used in most Indian and other teas (but not Darjeeling). Within these botanical varieties, there are many strains and modern Indian clonal varieties. Leaf size is the chief criterion for the classification of tea plants:[15] tea is classified into (1) Assam type, characterized by the largest leaves; (2) China type, characterized by the smallest leaves; and (3) Cambod, characterized by leaves of intermediate size.[15]

Processing and classification

Tea leaf processing methods

A tea's type is determined by the processing which it undergoes. Leaves of Camellia sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize, if not dried quickly after picking. The leaves turn progressively darker as their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This process, enzymatic oxidation, is called fermentation in the tea industry, although it is not a true fermentation. It is not caused by micro-organisms, and is not an anaerobic process. The next step in processing is to stop oxidation at a predetermined stage by heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. With black tea, this step is executed simultaneously with drying.

Without careful moisture and temperature control during manufacture and packaging, the tea will grow fungi. The fungus causes real fermentation that will contaminate the tea with toxic and sometimes carcinogenic substances, as well as off-flavors, rendering the tea unfit for consumption.

Tea is traditionally classified based on the techniques with which it is produced and processed.[16]

Blending and additives

Tea weighing station north of Batumi, Russian Empire before 1915

Almost all teas in bags and most other teas sold in the West are blends. Blending may occur in the tea-planting area (as in the case of Assam), or teas from many areas may be blended. The aim is to obtain better taste, higher price, or both, as a more expensive, better-tasting tea may cover the inferior taste of cheaper varieties.

Some teas are not pure varieties, but have been enhanced through additives or special processing. Tea is highly receptive to inclusion of various aromas; this may cause problems in processing, transportation and storage, but also allows for the design of an almost endless range of scented and flavored variants, such as bergamot (Earl Grey), vanilla, caramel, and many others.


Tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant. In a freshly-picked tea leaf, catechins can compose up to 30% of the dry weight. Catechins are highest in concentration in white and green teas, while black tea has substantially fewer due to its oxidative preparation.[17][18] Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has suggested that levels of antioxidants in green and black tea do not differ greatly, with green tea having an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of 1253 and black tea an ORAC of 1128 (measured in μmolTE/100g).[19] Tea also contains theanine and the stimulant caffeine at about 3% of its dry weight, translating to between 30 mg and 90 mg per 8 oz (250 ml) cup depending on type, brand[20] and brewing method.[21] Tea also contains small amounts of theobromine and theophylline,[22] as well as fluoride[citation needed], with certain types of brick tea made from old leaves and stems having the highest levels.[23]

Dry tea has more caffeine by weight than coffee; nevertheless, more dried coffee is used than dry tea in preparing the beverage,[24] which means that a cup of brewed tea contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee of the same size.

Tea has no carbohydrates, fat, or protein.

Origin and history

According to Mondal (2007, p. 519): “Camellia sinensis originated in southeast Asia, specifically around the intersection of latitude 29°N and longitude 98°E, the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China and Tibet. The plant was introduced to more than 52 countries, from this ‘centre of origin’.”

Based on morphological differences between the Assamese and Chinese varieties, botanists have long asserted a dual botanical origin for tea; however, statistical cluster analysis, the same chromosome number (2n=30), easy hybridization, and various types of intermediate hybrids and spontaneous polyploids all appear to demonstrate a single place of origin for Camellia sinensis — the area including the northern part of Burma, and Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China.[25] According to this theory, tea plants in southeast Asia may have been the products of the 19th Century and 20th Century hybridizing experiments.[citation needed]

Yunnan Province has also been identified as “the birthplace of tea…the first area where humans figured out that eating tea leaves or brewing a cup could be pleasant.”[26] Fengqing County in the Lincang City Prefecture of Yunnan Province in China is said to be home to the world's oldest cultivated tea tree, some 3,200 years old.[27]

Origin myths

In one popular Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China and inventor of agriculture and Chinese medicine was drinking a bowl of just boiled water some time around 2737 BC when a few leaves were blown from a nearby tree into his water, changing the color. The emperor took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised by its flavor and restorative properties. A variant of the legend tells that the emperor tested the medical properties of various herbs on himself, some of them poisonous, and found tea to work as an antidote.[28] Shennong is also mentioned in Lu Yu's famous early work on the subject, Cha Jing.[29] A similar Chinese legend goes that the god of agriculture would chew the leaves, stems, and roots of various plants to discover medicinal herbs. If he consumed a poisonous plant, he would chew tea leaves to counteract the poison.[30]

A rather gruesome legend dates back to the Tang Dynasty. In the legend, Bodhidharma, the founder of Chan Buddhism, accidentally fell asleep after meditating in front of a wall for nine years. He woke up in such disgust at his weakness that he cut off his own eyelids. They fell to the ground and took root, growing into tea bushes.[31] Sometimes, another version of the story is told with Gautama Buddha in place of Bodhidharma.[32]

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 status symbol. It is not surprising, therefore, that theories of its origin are often religious or royal in nature.

A Ming Dynasty painting by artist Wen Zhengming illustrating scholars greeting in a tea ceremony
Lu Yu's statue in Xi'an
Illustration of the legend of monkeys harvesting tea.


The Chinese have consumed tea for thousands of years. People of the Han Dynasty used tea as medicine (though the first use of tea as a stimulant is unknown). China is considered to have the earliest records of tea consumption,[1][33] with records dating back to the 10th century BC.[1]

Laozi (ca. 600-517 BC), the classical Chinese philosopher, described tea as “the froth of the liquid jade” and named it an indispensable ingredient to the elixir of life. Legend has it that master Lao was saddened by society's moral decay and, sensing that the end of the dynasty was near, he journeyed westward to the unsettled territories, never to be seen again. While passing along the nation's border, he encountered and was offered tea by a customs inspector named Yin Hsi. Yin Hsi encouraged him to compile his teachings into a single book so that future generations might benefit from his wisdom. This then became known as the Dao De Jing, a collection of Laozi's sayings.

In 59 BC, Wang Bao wrote the first known book with instructions on buying and preparing tea.

In 220 , famed physician and surgeon Hua Tuo wrote Shin Lun, in which he describes tea's ability to improve mental functions.

During the Sui Dynasty (589-618 AD) tea was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks.

The Tang Dynasty writer Lu Yu's (simplified Chinese: 陆羽traditional Chinese: 陸羽pinyin: lùyǔ) Cha Jing (The Classic of Tea) (simplified Chinese: 茶经traditional Chinese: 茶經pinyin: chá jīng) is an early work on the subject. (See also Tea Classics) According to Cha Jing 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 which were often used as currency, especially further from the center of the empire where coins lost their value.

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 favored by 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.

Tea production in China, historically, was a laborious process, conducted in distant and often poorly accessible regions. This led to the rise of many apocryphal stories and legends surrounding the harvesting process. For example, one story that has been told for many years is that of a village where monkeys pick tea. According to this legend, the villagers stand below the monkeys and taunt them. The monkeys, in turn, become angry, and grab handfuls of tea leaves and throw them at the villagers.[34] There are products sold today that claim to be harvested in this manner, but no reliable commentators have observed this firsthand, and most doubt that it happened at all.[35] For many hundreds of years the commercially-used tea tree has been, in shape, more of a bush than a tree.[36] “Monkey picked tea” is more likely a name of certain varieties than a description of how it was obtained.[37]

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.

Greece and Cyprus

Through out Greece & Cyprus Greek tea, (Greek τσάι or Tsai), is made with (kanelles) or simply cinnamon & cloves.


Tea Garden in Assam, India
Panoramic view of the Munnar Tea Garden, Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, in South India
Tea Gardens of Munnar

The cultivation and brewing of tea in India has a long history of applications in traditional systems of medicine and for consumption. Tea had been known for millennia in India as a medicinal plant. The consumption of tea in India was first clearly documented in the ancient epic Ramayana (circa 500 BC)[citation needed]. Research shows that tea is also indigenous to eastern and northern India, and was cultivated and consumed there for thousands of years. However, commercial production of tea in India did not begin until the arrival of the British East India Company, at which point large tracts of land were converted for mass tea production.

The Chinese variety is used for Darjeeling tea, and the Assamese variety, native to the Indian state of Assam, everywhere else. The British started commercial tea plantations in India and in Ceylon: “In 1824 tea plants were discovered in the hills along the frontier between Burma and the Indian state of Assam. The British introduced tea culture into India in 1836 and into Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1867. At first they used seeds from China, but later seeds from the Assam plant were used.”[38] Only black tea was produced until recent decades.

India was the top producer of tea for nearly a century, but was displaced by China as the top tea producer in the 21st century.[39] Indian tea companies have acquired a number of iconic foreign tea enterprises including British brands Tetley and Typhoo.[39] While India is the largest consumer of tea worldwide, the per-capita consumption of tea in India remains a modest 750 grams per person every year.[39] A lot of huge companies have emerged including 'Golden Tips Tea Co', and many other major brands that specialise and emphasize on Darjeeling tea and tourism in Darjeeling, one of the prime beautiful locations famous for tea.

Tea gardens in South India


Top station, 41 km (1 Hour) from Munnar, is aptly named, as it is home to some of the highest tea plantations in India. It lies on the state border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu and commands a panoramic view of rolling green hills.


Ancient Tea Urns used by merchants to store tea.

Tea use spread to Japan about the sixth century.[40] 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 Saichō (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 Yōjōki (喫茶養生記?, How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea), was written by Eisai. The two-volume book was written in 1211 after his second and last visit to China. The first sentence states, “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete.” Eisai was also instrumental in introducing tea consumption to the warrior class, which rose to political prominence after the Heian Period.

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 tea ceremony of Japan was introduced from China in the 15th century by Buddhists as a semi-religious social custom. The modern tea ceremony developed over several centuries by Zen Buddhist monks under the original guidance of the monk Sen no Rikyū (千 利休?, 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 (煎茶?), literally roasted tea, which is an unfermented form of green tea. It is the most popular form of tea in Japan today. In 1835, Kahei Yamamoto developed gyokuro (玉露?), literally jewel dew, 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.


Darye, Korean tea ceremony

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. 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.


Tea plantation in Taiwan

Taiwan is famous for the making of Oolong tea and green tea, as well as many western-styled teas. Bubble Tea or “Zhen Zhu Nai Cha” (Mandarin: 珍珠奶茶) is black tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk and tapioca. Since the island was known to Westerners for many centuries as Formosa — short for the Portuguese Ilha Formosa, or “beautiful island” — tea grown in Taiwan is often identified by that name.


Thai tea or “cha-yen” (Thai: ชาเย็น) in Thailand, is a drink made from strongly-brewed black tea (“red tea” in East Asia). Other ingredients may include added orange blossom water, star anise, crushed tamarind seed or red and yellow food coloring, and sometimes other spices as well. This tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk.

Usually, Thai people drink Thai hot tea in the morning, frequently with Yau ja gwai or Pa-tong-ko (Thai: ปาท่องโก๋) as it is called by most Thais.

- *Thai hot tea (Thai: ชาร้อน, cha-ron) Thai tea served hot.

- *Dark Thai hot tea (Thai: ชาดำร้อน, cha-dam-ron) Thai tea served hot with no milk content, sweetened with sugar only.


Turkish tea

Turkey is traditionally one of the largest tea markets in the world. Turkish black tea is the most popular drink in Turkey, even more popular than Turkish coffee.


Vietnamese green teas have been largely unknown outside of mainland Asia until the present day. Recent free-enterprise initiatives are introducing these green teas to outside countries through new export activities. Some specialty Vietnamese teas include Lotus tea and Jasmine tea. Vietnam also produces black and oolong teas in lesser quantities.

Vietnamese teas are produced in many areas that have been known for tea-house “retreats.” For example some are, located amidst immense tea forests of the Lamdong highlands, where there is a community of ancient Ruong houses built at the end of the 18th century.

Middle Eastern tea

Tea spreads to the world

A conical urn-shaped silver-plated samovar used for boiling water for tea in Russia and some Middle eastern countries

The earliest record of tea in a more occidental writing is said to be found in the statement of an Arabian traveler, that after the year 879 the main sources of revenue in Canton were the duties on salt and tea. Marco Polo records the deposition of a Chinese minister of finance in 1285 for his arbitrary augmentation of the tea taxes. The travelers Giovanni Batista Ramusio (1559), L. Almeida (1576), Maffei (1588), and Teixeira (1610) also mentioned tea. In 1557, Portugal established a trading port in Macau and word of the Chinese drink “chá” spread quickly, but there is no mention of them bringing any samples home. In the early 17th century, a ship of the Dutch East India Company brought the first green tea leaves to Amsterdam from China. Tea was known in France by 1636. It enjoyed a brief period of popularity in Paris around 1648. The history of tea in Russia can also be traced back to the seventeenth century. Tea was first offered by China as a gift to Czar Michael I in 1618. The Russian ambassador tried the drink; he did not care for it and rejected the offer, delaying tea's Russian introduction by fifty years. In 1689, tea was regularly imported from China to Russia via a caravan of hundreds of camels traveling the year-long journey, making it a precious commodity at the time. Tea was appearing in German apothecaries by 1657 but never gained much esteem except in coastal areas such as Ostfriesland.[41] Tea first appeared publicly in England during the 1650s, where it was introduced through coffee houses. From there it was introduced to British colonies in America and elsewhere.

United Kingdom

Tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

The importing of tea into Britain began in the 1660s with the marriage of King Charles II to the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, who brought to the court the habit of drinking tea.[42] On 25 September 1660 Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary: “I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I never had drank before.”[43] It is probable that early imports came via Amsterdam or through sailors on eastern boats.[42]

Regular trade began in Guangzhou (Canton).[42] Trade was controlled by two monopolies: the Chinese Hongs (trading companies) and the British East India Company.[42] The Hongs acquired tea from 'the tea men' who had an elaborate supply chain into the mountains and provinces where the tea was grown.[42]

The East India Company brought back many products, of which tea was just one, but it was to prove one of the most successful.[42] It was initially promoted as a medicinal beverage or tonic.[42] By the end of the seventeenth century tea was taken as a drink, albeit mainly by the aristocracy.[42] In 1690 nobody would have predicted that by 1750 tea would be the national drink.[42] The origin of large trade in tea was the need for a return cargo from the East Indies. Merchantmen ships delivered fabrics manufactured in Britain to India and China but would return empty or partially full. To solve this problem the East India Company began a vigorous public relations campaign in England to popularize tea among the common people in Britain and develop it as a viable return cargo.

The escalation of tea importation and sales over the period 1690 to 1750 is mirrored closely by the increase in importation and sales of cane sugar: the British were not drinking just tea but sweet tea.[42] Thus, two of Britain's trading triangles were to meet within the cup: the sugar sourced from Britain's trading triangle encompassing Britain, Africa and the West Indies and the tea from the triangle encompassing Britain, India and China.[42]

Britain had to pay China for its tea, but China had little need of British goods, so much of it was paid for with silver bullion. Although the Chinese did not need the silver, China's government eventually accepted the silver as the payments for the first few good Chinese tea shipments.[citation needed]Critics of the tea trade at this time would point to the damage caused to Britain's wealth by this loss of bullion.[42] As one alternative, Britain began producing opium in the traditionally cotton-growing regions of India. Though illegal in China, British importation of opium in large amounts began in 1781 and between 1821 and 1837 import increased fivefold. The Qing government largely ignored the problem until the drug had spread widely in Chinese society.

With demand for the drug among the Chinese rising, the British forced China to trade tea for opium as part of several treaties after the Opium Wars. In another attempt to circumvent its dependence on Chinese tea, the East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to China to purchase and bring out of China tea plants, which were then taken to India, although it was the discovery of native varieties of tea plant in India whihc proved more important for the development of production there.

Tea became a very important item in Britain's global trade, contributing to Britain's global dominance by the end of the eighteenth century. To this day tea is seen worldwide as a symbol of 'Britishness', but also, to some, as a symbol of old British colonialism.[42]

The London 2012 section of the paralympic handover in Beijing included tea as part of the routine.[44] A cup or mug of tea in Britain is usually made in a different way than is common in China and other Eastern countries. Over 90% of tea consumed is black tea, often but not always with a small amount of milk and / or sugar added. Today the British mug of tea is often made by placing one tea bag in the mug and pouring boiling water on it till seven eighths of the mug is full. The mixture is then stirred to help the tea dissolve out of the tea bag into the hot water and often the tea bag is then squeezed against the inside of the mug with the spoon to dissolve still more tea before the tea bag is thrown away. The tea bag is not soaked in the tea for more than a minute otherwise the tea will be much too strong for most people's tastes. A little milk may well then be added and perhaps sugar according to the drinker's taste with another final stir of the mixture. A cup of tea may be made in the same way or just as likely will be poured out of a traditional tea pot where tea bags and hot water have already been mixed. The drinker then adding milk and sugar, if required, and stirring the ingredients together before gently, occasionally, sipping the hot beverage, often while talking, reading, working, watching TV, gazing out the window or simply day dreaming. On semi-formal occasions tea is almost always drunk from cups, and perhaps from the best china cups on really formal occasions. A mug of tea is the most common way of casually consuming tea at work and at home. Tea and coffee are the most popular hot beverages in the United Kingdom.

As of 2009 the UK can boast two commercial tea plantations, one in Cornwall owned by the Tregothnan Estate and a slightly more northern one in Pembrokeshire, Wales, owned by the Pembrokeshire Tea Company.

United States

While coffee is by far more popular, hot brewed black tea is enjoyed both with meals and as a refreshment by much of the population. Similarly, iced tea is consumed throughout. In the Southern states sweet tea, sweetened with large amounts of sugar or an artificial sweetener and chilled, is the fashion. Outside the South, sweet tea is sometimes found, but primarily because of cultural migration and commercialization.[citation needed]

The American specialty tea market has quadrupled in the years from 1993–2008, now being worth $6.8 billion a year.[45] Similar to the trend of better coffee and better wines, this tremendous increase was partly due to consumers who choose to trade up. Specialty tea houses and retailers also started to pop up during this period.[46]

Tea consumption decreased in America sharply after the American Revolution, as “The Americans love it very much, but they had resolved to drink it no longer, as the famous duty on the tea had occasioned the war. [47] The Boston Tea Party was an act of protest by American colonists against the British Government in which they destroyed many crates of tea from the British East India Company ships in Boston Harbor. The incident, which took place on Thursday, December 16, 1773, has been seen as the breaking point of the disapproval of the British and helping to spark the American Revolution.[48]

Sri Lanka/Ceylon

Tea Garden in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is renowned for its high quality tea and as the fourth biggest tea producing country globally, after China, India and Kenya (see the chart below) and has a production share of 9% in the international sphere. The total extent of land under tea cultivation has been assessed at approximately 187,309 hectares.[citation needed]

The plantations started by the British were initially taken over by the government in the 1960s, but have been privatized and are now run by 'plantation companies' which own a few 'estates' or tea plantations each.

Ceylon tea is divided into 3 groups as Upcountry, Mid country and Low country tea based on the geography of the land on which it is grown.[49]

Africa and South America

Africa and South America have seen greatly increased tea production in recent decades, the great majority for export to Europe and North America respectively, produced on large estates, often owned by tea companies from the export markets. Almost all production is of basic mass-market teas, processed by the Crush, Tear, Curl method. Kenya is now the third largest global producer (figures below), after China and India, and is now the largest exporter of tea to the United Kingdom. There is also a great consumption of tea in Chile[citation needed]. In South Africa, the non-Camellia sinensis beverage rooibos is popular. In South America, yerba mate, a tisane, is popular.


The only European plantation is Cha Gorréana, Ribeira Grande, São Miguel, Azores.

Sideritis (Ironwort)is a very common and immensely popular tea in Greece which grows in the mountains. It also goes by the name of “Mountain Tea” and “Shepherd's Tea.”

Health effects

The health benefits of tea is a controversial topic with many proponents and detractors. An article from the Nutrition (1999, pp. 946–949) journal as related on PubMed states:

The possible beneficial effects of tea consumption in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases have been demonstrated in animal models and suggested by studies in vitro. Similar beneficial effects, however, have not been convincingly demonstrated in humans: beneficial effects have been demonstrated in some studies but not in others. If such beneficial effects do exist in humans, they are likely to be mild, depending on many other lifestyle-related factors, and could be masked by confounding factors in certain populations. Another concern is that the amounts of tea consumed by humans are lower than the doses required for demonstrating the disease-prevention effects in animal models. Caution should be applied, however, in the use of high concentrations of tea for disease prevention. Ingestion of large amounts of tea may cause nutritional and other problems because of the caffeine content and the strong binding activities of tea polyphenols, although there are no solid data on the harmful effects of tea consumption. More research is needed to elucidate the biologic activities of green and black tea and to determine the optimal amount of tea consumption for possible health-beneficial effects.

In summary, the health benefits of tea have been shown in animal studies, but at doses much higher than regularly consumed by humans, at which dosage levels may prove to be harmful to health.

Several of the potential health benefits proposed for tea are outlined in this excerpt from Mondal (2007, pp. 519–520) as following:

Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, among which the compounds closely related to human health are flavanoides, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides. Moreover, tea drinking has recently proven to be associated with cell-mediated immune function of the human body. Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal microflora, as well as providing immunity against intestinal disorders and in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage. Tea also prevents dental caries due to the presence of fluorine. The role of tea is well established in normalizing blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity. Tea also possesses germicidal and germistatic activities against various gram-positive and gram negative human pathogenic bacteria. Both green and black tea infusions contain a number of antioxidants, mainly catechins that have anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumoric properties.

In a large study of over 11,000 Scottish men and women completed in 1993 and published in the 1999 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1999, pp. 481-487), there was an increase in the risk of coronary disease with the regular consumption of tea, although it disappeared after adjustment for confounding factors (age and occupational status).

The IARC list teas as under Group 3 carcinogens since injection of black tea concentrates under the skins of mice showed some cancerous growths. However, it has not been possible to prove that tea affects humans in similar ways through consumption.[50]

Etymology and cognates in other languages

The Chinese character for tea is , but it is pronounced differently in the various Chinese dialects. Two pronunciations have made their way into other languages around the world.[51] One common pronunciation is , which comes from the Hokkien dialect, spoken in Fujian Province, Taiwan and by expatriate Chinese in Indonesia, Malaya and Singapore. It reached the West particularly from the Amoy Min Nan dialect, spoken around the port of Xiamen (Amoy), once a major point of contact with Western European traders. This pronunciation is believed to come from the old words for tea (tú) or (tú). The other common pronunciation 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. This term was used in ancient times to describe the first flush harvest of tea. Yet another different pronunciation is zu, used in the Wu dialect spoken around Shanghai. The words for tea in Korea and Japan are and (ちゃ), respectively. Both are transliterated as cha. (In Japanese, it is sometimes 御茶 (おちゃ) or ocha, which is more polite.)

The derivatives from

Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name
Afrikaans tee Armenian, Catalan te Czech or thé (1) 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
Hungarian tea Icelandic te Indonesian teh Irish tae Italian or thè
Javanese tèh Korean 茶,다 da [ta](2) scientific Latin thea Latvian tēja Leonese
Limburgish tiè Low Saxon Tee [tʰɛˑɪ] or Tei [tʰaˑɪ] Malay teh Norwegian te Occitan
Sesotho tea,chá Scots Gaelic , teatha Sinhalese thé Spanish Scots tea [tiː] ~ [teː]
Sundanese entèh Swedish te [tʰeː] Tamil தேநீர் thenīr (nīr = water) "theyilai" means "tea leaf" (ilai=leaf) Telugu తేనీళ్ళు tēnīru Welsh te
  • Note: (1) or thé, but this term is considered archaic and literary expression. Since roughly second half of 20th century, čaj is used for “tea” in Czech language, see the following table (3).

(2) 차 (cha) is an alternative word for “tea” in Korean; see (4)

Derivatives from cha or chai

Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name
Albanian çaj Amharic ሻይ shai Arabic شاي shāy Aramaic pronounced chai Assamese saah
Azerbaijani çay Bangla চা cha Bosnian čaj Bulgarian чай chai Capampangan cha
Cebuano tsa Croatian čaj Czech čaj (2) English chai Persian chaay
Tagalog tsaa Georgian ჩაი, chai Greek τσάι tsái Gujarati ચા cha Hindi चाय chai
Japanese , チャ, cha Kannada ಚಹಾ Chaha Kazakh шай shai Kyrgyz чай, chai Khasi sha
Konkani चा cha Korean 茶,, cha Lao ชา, saa Macedonian чај, čaj Malayalam ചായ, "chaaya"
Marathi चहा chahaa Mongolian цай, tsai Nepali chiya चिया Oriya cha Pashto چای chai
Persian چای chai Punjabi چا chah Portuguese chá Romanian ceai Russian чай, chai
Serbian чај, čaj Slovak čaj Slovene čaj Somali shaah Swahili chai
Sylheti saah Tagalog tsaa Thai ชา, chaa Tibetan ཇ་ ja Tlingit cháayu
Turkish çay Turkmen çay Ukrainian чай chai Urdu چا ٔےchai Uzbek choy
Vietnamese *trà and chè Tamil *theyneer and tee cai kikuyu, (Kenyan language)
  • (5) They are both direct derivatives of the Chinese 茶; the latter term is used mainly in the north and describes 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, as well as Lithuanian arbata, was 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,“ as is pre-vowel-shift pronunciation “tay” (from which the Irish Gaelic word “tae” is derived). 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.

The British English slang word “char” for “tea” arose from its Mandarin Chinese pronunciation “cha” with its spelling affected by the fact that ar is a more common way of representing the phoneme /ɑː/ in British English.

In North America, the word chai is used to refer almost exclusively to the Indian masala chai (spiced tea) beverage.

The original pronunciation “cha” in the Cantonese and Mandarin languages has no [j] ending. The forms with this ending in many Eurasian languages come from the Chinese compound word denoting “tea leaves” (simplified Chinese: 茶叶traditional Chinese: 茶葉pinyin: chá yè).[citation needed] The different articulations of the word for tea into the two main groups: “teh-derived” (Min Chinese dialects) and “cha-derived” (Mandarin, Cantonese and other non-Min Chinese dialects) is an interesting one, as it reveals the particular Chinese local cultures where non-Chinese nations acquired their tea and “tea cultures.” Not surprisingly, India and the Arab world most likely got their tea cultures from the Cantonese or the Southwestern Mandarin speakers, whereas the Russians got theirs from the northern Mandarin speakers. The Portuguese, the first Europeans to import the herb in large amounts, took the Cantonese form “chá,” as used in their trading posts in the south of China, especially Macau. Conversely, other Western Europeans who copied the Min articulation “teh” probably traded with the Hokkienese while in Southeast Asia.

Quite recently, no earlier than 1980, “chai” entered North American English with a particular meaning: Indian masala black tea. Of course this is not the case in other languages, where “chai” usually just means black tea (as people traditionally drink more black tea than green outside of East Asia). English is thus one of the few languages that allow for the dual articulations of “tea” into a “teh-derived” word and a “cha-derived” one (though this was already the case - see mention of 'char' above), such as Moroccan colloquial Arabic (Darija): in the case of Moroccan Arabic, “ash-shay” means “generic, or black Middle Eastern tea” whereas “atay” refers particularly to Zhejiang or Fujian green tea with fresh mint leaves. The Moroccans are said to have acquired a unique penchant in the Arab world for East Chinese green tea after the ruler Mulay Hassan exchanged some European hostages captured by the Barbary Pirates for a whole ship of Chinese tea. They have thus acquired a word for this special tea different from the generic “ash-shay.” See Moroccan tea culture

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, yerba mate, was consumed there long before tea arrived.

Tea culture

In many cultures, tea is often had at high class social events, such as afternoon tea and the tea party. It may be consumed early in the day to heighten alertness; it contains theophylline and bound caffeine[5] (sometimes called “theine”), although there are also decaffeinated teas. In many cultures such as Arab culture tea is a focal point for social gatherings. Moreover, the history of tea in Iran - in the Persian culture- is another to explore. One source cites: “the first thing you will be offered when a guest at an Iranian household is tea.”[52]

There are tea ceremonies which have arisen in different cultures, Japan's complex, formal and serene one being one of the most well known. Other examples are the Chinese tea ceremony which uses some traditional ways of brewing tea. One form of Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu tea ceremony, which typically uses small Yixing clay teapots and oolong tea.

The American poet Wallace Stevens, a tea-fancier, is credited by Eleanor Cook with a “delicately implicit trope of drinking tea as a metaphor for reading (ingesting a drink from leaves).”[53] See for instance his “Tea.”


Korean tea kettle over hot coal

The traditional method of making a cup of tea is to place loose tea leaves, either directly, or in a tea infuser, into a tea pot or teacup and pour hot water over the leaves. After a couple of minutes the leaves are usually removed again, either by removing the infuser, or by straining the tea while serving.

Most green teas should be allowed to steep for about three minutes, although some types of tea require as much as ten. The strength of the tea should be varied by changing the amount of tea leaves used, not by changing the steeping time. The amount of tea to be used per amount of water differs from tea to tea but one basic recipe may be one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5 ml) for each teacup of water (200 ml) (8 oz) prepared as above. Stronger teas, such as Assam, to be drunk with milk are often prepared with more leaves, and more delicate high grown teas such as a Darjeeling are prepared with a little less (as the stronger mid-flavors can overwhelm the champagne notes).

The best temperature for brewing tea depends on its type. Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures, between 65 and 85 °C (149 and 185 °F), while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100 °C (212 °F).[54] The higher temperatures are required to extract the large, complex, flavorful phenolic molecules found in fermented tea, although boiling the water reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Type Water Temp. Steep Time Infusions
White Tea 65 to 70 °C (149 to 158 °F) 1–2 minutes 3
Yellow Tea 70 to 75 °C (158 to 167 °F) 1–2 minutes 3
Green Tea 75 to 80 °C (167 to 176 °F) 1–2 minutes 4-6
Oolong Tea 80 to 85 °C (176 to 185 °F) 2–3 minutes 4-6
Black Tea 99 °C (210 °F) 2–3 minutes 2-3
Pu-erh Tea 95 to 100 °C (203 to 212 °F) Limitless Several
Herbal Tea 99 °C (210 °F) 3–6 minutes Varied

Some tea sorts are often brewed several times using the same tea leaves. 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 drunk. 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 hot water to bring them to life.[55]

One 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 (known as “The Agony of the Leaves”) they give up various parts of themselves 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.[56]

Black tea infusion.

Black tea

The water for black teas should be added near boiling point 99 °C (210 °F). Many of the active substances in black tea do not develop at temperatures lower than 90°C (195°F). For some more delicate teas lower temperatures are recommended. The temperature will have as large an effect on the final flavor 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, it is 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 teas are usually brewed for about 4 minutes and should not be allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or more than about five minutes (a process known as brewing or mashing in Britain). It is commonly said that a steeping time above five minutes makes the tea bitter (at this point it is referred to as being stewed in Britain), but in reality the precise time depends on a number of factors, such as the type of tea and the water quality, and bitterness can occur as early as three minutes, or not at all even after prolonged steeping. When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the tastes of the drinker, it should be strained while serving. The popular varieties of black (red) tea include Assam tea, Nepal tea, Darjeeling tea, Nilgiri tea and Ceylon tea.

Green tea

Water for green tea, according to most accounts, should be around 80 to 85 °C (176 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. High-quality green and white teas can have new water added as many as five or more times, depending on variety, at increasingly high temperatures.

Oolong tea

Oolong teas should be brewed around 90 to 100 °C (194 to 212 °F), and again the brewing vessel should be warmed before pouring in the water. Yixing purple clay teapots are the traditional brewing vessel for oolong tea. For best results use spring water, as the minerals in spring water tend to bring out more flavor in the tea. High quality oolong can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves, and unlike green tea it improves with reuse. It is common to brew the same leaves three to five times, the third steeping usually being the best.

Premium or delicate tea

Some teas, especially green teas and delicate Oolong 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. However, black Darjeeling tea, the premium Indian tea, needs a longer than average steeping time. Elevation and time of harvest offer varying taste profiles, proper storage and water quality also have a large impact on taste.

Pu-erh tea (or Pu'er)

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 aging process. Infuse pu-erh at the boiling point (100 °C or 212 °F), and allow to steep for 30 seconds or up to five minutes.


In order to preserve the pre-tannin tea without requiring it all to be poured into cups, a second teapot may be used. 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 tannins 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.

Adding milk to tea

Tea is sometimes taken with milk

The addition of milk to tea in Europe was first mentioned in 1680 by the epistolist Madame de Sévigné.[57] 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 neutralize remaining tannins and reduce acidity.[58][59] The Chinese (Hans) do not usually drink milk with tea (or indeed use milk at all) but the Manchurians 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.

The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea is a much-debated topic. Some say that it is preferable to add the milk 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.[60] Others insist that it is better to add the milk after brewing the tea, as most teas need to be 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 that the delicate flavor 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 that the desired amount of milk is added, as the color of the tea can be observed.[citation needed]

Moroccan tea being served. It is poured from a distance to produce a foam on the tea.

A 2007 study published in the European Heart Journal found that certain beneficial effects of tea may be lost through the addition of milk.[61]

Other additives

Many flavourings are added to varieties of tea during processing. Among the best known are Chinese Jasmine tea, with jasmine oil or flowers, the spices in Indian Masala chai and Earl Grey tea, which contains oil of bergamot. A great range of modern flavours have been added to these traditional ones.In eastern India people also drink lemon tea or lemon masala tea. Lemon tea simply contains hot tea with lemon juice and sugar. Masala lemon tea contains hot tea with roasted cumin seed powder,lemon juice,black salt and sugar which gives it tangy, spicy taste.

Other popular additives to tea by the tea-brewer or drinker include sugar, liquid honey or a solid Honey Drop, lemon (traditional in Russia and Italy), fruit jams, and mint. In China sweetening tea was traditionally regarded as a feminine practice. In colder regions such as Mongolia, Tibet and Nepal, butter is added to provide necessary calories. Tibetan butter tea contains rock salt and dre (yak) butter, which is then churned vigorously in a cylindrical vessel closely resembling a butter churn. The same may be said for salt tea, which is consumed in some cultures in the Hindu Kush region of northern Pakistan.

Alcohol may also be added to tea, such as whisky or brandy.

The flavor of the tea can also be altered by pouring it from different heights, resulting in varying degrees of oxidization. The art of high-altitude pouring is used principally by people in Northern Africa (e.g. Morocco and Libya), but also in West Africa (e.g. Guinea, Mali, Senegal) and can positively alter the flavor of the tea, but it is more likely a technique to cool the beverage destined to be consumed immediately. In certain cultures the tea is given different names depending on the height it is poured from. In Mali, gunpowder tea is served in series of three, starting with the highest oxidization or strongest, unsweetened tea (cooked from fresh leaves), locally referred to as “bitter as death.” Follows 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,” informal social gathering that cuts across social and economic lines, starting in front of family compound gates in the afternoons, extending late in the night, and widely popular in Bamako and other large urban areas.

In Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, 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,” has a creamier taste than flat milk tea and is extremely popular in the region. Tea pouring in Malaysia has been further developed into an art form in which a dance is done by people pouring tea from one container to another, which in any case takes skill and precision. The participants, each holding two containers, one full of tea, pour it from one to another. They stand in lines and squares and pour the tea into each others' pots. The dance must be choreographed to allow anyone who has both pots full to empty them and refill whoever has no tea at any one point.

Economics of tea

Tea is the most popular drink in the world in terms of consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world — including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol — put together.[4] Most tea consumed outside East Asia is produced on large plantations in India or Sri Lanka, and is destined to be sold to large businesses. Opposite this large-scale industrial production there 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[39] although the per capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams per person every year. Turkey, with 2.5 kg of tea consumed per person per year, is the world's greatest per capita consumer.[62]


In 2003, world tea production was 3.21 million tonnes annually.[63] In 2008, world tea production reached over 4.73 million tonnes.[63] The largest producers of tea are The People's Republic of China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.

Percentage of total tea production in 2008       Less than 0.5% or non-significant quantities       From 0.5 to 1%.       From 1 to 5%.       From 5 to 10%.       From 10 to 20%.       More than 20%
Percentage of total global tea production by country in 2007

The follow table shows the amount of tea production (in tonnes) by leading countries in recent years. Data is generated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as of January 2010.[63]

Country 2006 2007 2008
 China 1,047,345 1,183,002 1,257,384
 India 928,000 949,220 805,180
 Kenya 310,580 369,600 345,800
 Sri Lanka 310,800 305,220 318,470
 Turkey 201,866 206,160 1,100,257
 Vietnam 151,000 164,000 174,900
 Indonesia 146,858 150,224 150,851
 Japan 91,800 94,100 94,100
 Argentina 72,129 76,000 76,000
 Iran 59,180 60,000 60,000
 Bangladesh 58,000 58,500 59,000
 Malawi 45,009 46,000 46,000
 Uganda 34,334 44,923 42,808
Other countries 189,551 193,782 205,211
Total 3,646,452 3,887,308 4,735,961

Tea production certification

There are a number of bodies that independently certify the production of tea. Tea from certified estates can be sold with a certification label on pack. The most important certification schemes are Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified, and Organic. All these schemes certify other crops (like coffee, cocoa and fruit) as well. 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 announce a partnership in 2008 with Sara Lee brand Pickwick tea.

Production of organic tea is rising; 3,500 tonnes of organic tea were grown in 2003. The majority of this tea (about 75%) is sold in France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.


According to the FAO, in 2007 the largest importer of tea, by weight, was the Russian Federation, followed by the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and the United States.[64] Kenya and China were the largest exporters of tea in 2007.[64] The largest exporter of black tea is Kenya.[65]


Tea bags

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 that they could simply leave the tea in the bag and re-use it with fresh tea. However, the potential of this distribution/packaging method would not be fully realized until later on. During World War II, tea was rationed. In 1953 (after rationing in the UK ended), Tetley launched the tea bag to the UK and it was an immediate success.

Tea leaves are packed into a small envelope (usually composed of paper) known as a tea bag. The use of tea bags is easy and convenient, making tea bags popular for many people today. 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, although this certainly is not true for all brands of tea, especially in the case of many specialty, high quality teas now available in bag form.[citation needed] 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 flavor. 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-flavored include:

  • Dried tea loses its flavor 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 flavored oils.
  • The small size of the bag does not allow leaves to diffuse and steep properly.
  • Some tea bags are made using a wet paper strength-reinforcing coating using epichlorohydrin, a known carcinogen.[66][67]

Pyramid tea bags

Pyramid tea bag

The “pyramid tea bag,” introduced by Lipton[68] and PG Tips in 1996,[69] has a unique design that addresses one of connoisseurs' arguments against paper tea bags, because its three-dimensional tetrahedron shape allows more room for tea leaves to expand while steeping. However, some types of pyramid tea bags have been criticized as being environmentally unfriendly, since their synthetic material does not break down in landfills as loose tea leaves and paper tea bags do.[70]

Loose tea

Loose-leaf tea

The tea leaves are packaged loosely in a canister or other container. Rolled gunpowder tea leaves, which resist 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 to 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

Some teas (particularly Pu-erh tea) are still compressed for transport, storage, and aging convenience. The tea brick remains in use in the Himalayan countries. The tea is prepared and steeped by first loosening leaves off the compressed cake using a small knife. Compressed teas can usually be stored for longer periods of time without spoilage when compared with loose leaf tea.

Instant tea

In recent times, “instant teas” are becoming popular, similar to freeze dried instant coffee. Instant tea was developed in the 1930s, but not commercialized until the late 1950s, and is only more recently becoming popular. These products often come with added flavors, 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 criticize these products for sacrificing the delicacies of tea flavor in exchange for convenience.

Canned tea

Canned tea was first launched in 1981 in Japan. As such, it is a fairly recent innovation, and it has mostly benefits in marketing.


Tea has a shelf life that varies with storage conditions and type of tea. Black tea has a longer shelf life than green tea. Some teas such as flower teas may go bad in a month or so. An exception, Pu-erh tea improves with age. Tea stays freshest when stored in a dry, cool, dark place in an air-tight container. Black tea stored in a bag inside a sealed opaque canister may keep for two years. Green tea loses its freshness more quickly, usually in less than a year. Gunpowder tea, its leaves being tightly rolled, keeps longer than the more open-leafed Chun Mee tea. Storage life for all teas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by vacuum sealing.

When storing green tea, discreet use of refrigeration or freezing is recommended. In particular, drinkers need to take precautions against temperature variation.[71]

Improperly stored tea may lose flavor, acquire disagreeable flavors or odors from other foods, or become moldy.

See also


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  21. ^ M. B. Hicks, Y-H. P. Hsieh, L. N. Bell, Tea preparation and its influence on methylxanthine concentration, Food Research International 29(3-4) 325-330 (1996)
  22. ^ Graham H. N.; Green tea composition, consumption, and polyphenol chemistry; Preventive Medicine 21(3):334-50 (1992)
  23. ^ "Environmental Pollution: Fluoride contents in tea and soil from tea plantations and the release of fluoride into tea liquor during infusion". ScienceDirect. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  24. ^ "Caffeine and Tea Information". Stash Tea. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  25. ^ Yamamoto, Kim & Juneja 1997:4 “For a long time, botanists have asserted the dualism of tea origin from their observations that there exist distinct differences in the morphological characteristics between Assamese varieties and Chinese varieties. Hashimoto and Shimura reported that the differences in the morphological characteristics in tea plants are not necessarily the evidence of the dualism hypothesis from the researches using the statistical cluster analysis method. In recent investigations, it has also been made clear that both varieties have the same chromosome number (2n=30) and can be easily hybridized with each other. In addition, various types of intermediate hybrids or spontaneous polyploids of tea plants have been found in a wide area extending over the regions mentioned above. These facts may prove that the place of origin of Camellia sinensis is in the area including the northern part of the Burma, Yunnan, and Sichuan districts of China.”
  26. ^ Fuller, Thomas (2008-04-21). "A Tea From the Jungle Enriches a Placid Village". The New York Times (New York: The New York Times Company): p. A8. 
  27. ^ The Oldest Tea Tree on the Earth, (Kunming, 2006).
  28. ^ Chow p. 19-20 (Czech edition); also Arcimovicova p. 9, Evans p. 2 and others
  29. ^ Lu Ju p. 29-30 (Czech edition)
  30. ^ "Chinese green tea health benefits". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  31. ^ Chow p. 20-21
  32. ^ Evans p. 3
  33. ^ "Tea". The Columbia Encyclopedia Sixth Edition. 2001-07. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  34. ^ George Staunton (1797). An Historical Account of the Embassy to the Emperor of China, Undertaken By Order of the King of Great Britain; Including the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants; and Preceded By an Account of the Causes of the embassy and Voyage to China. J. Stockdale. pp. 452. "The Chinese perceiving these dispositions in the monkey took advantage of the propensities of the animal and converted them to life in a domestic state which in that of nature were exerted to their annoyance." 
  35. ^ Robert Fortune (1852). A Journey to the Tea Countries of China; including Sung-Lo and the Bohea Hills. J. Murray. pp. 237. "I should not like to assert that no tea is gathered on these hills by the agency of chains and monkeys but I think it may be safely affirmed that the quantity in such is small." 
  36. ^ Constance Frederica Gordon Cumming. Wanderings in China. W. Blackwood and Sons. pp. 318. 
  37. ^ Laura C. Martin (2007). Tea: The Drink that Changed the World. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 133. ISBN 0804837244. 
  38. ^ tea. (2008). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008 Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.
  39. ^ a b c d Sanyal (2008)
  40. ^ Kiple & Ornelas 2000:4
  41. ^ Book of Tea By Kakuzō Okakura (pages 5 - 6). Published 1964. Courier Dover Publications. Sociology. 94 pages. ISBN 0486200701
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m (In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, 29 April 2004)
  43. ^ "The Diary of Samuel Pepys". Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  44. ^ "". Retrieved 30 October 2009. 
  45. ^ 'Tea finally making a stir in America' Times Online. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
  46. ^ Campbell, Polly (April 26, 2006). “Suited to a tea.” Cincinnati Enquirer.
  47. ^ page 117 of “Diary of Lady Riedesel, Letters and Journals relating the the War of Independence and the Capture of the Troops at Saratoga.” Published in Canada by the German-Canadian Museum. Lady Riedesel was Frederika Charlotte Riedesel, the wife of Friedrich Adolf Riedesel, commander of all German and Indian troops in Burgoyne's Saratoga campaign, and long-time prisoner of war in America during the Revolutionary War.
  48. ^ Tyler, John W., Smugglers & Patriots: Boston Merchants and the Advent of the American Revolution (Boston, 1986).
  49. ^ "Sri Lanka Tea Board". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  50. ^ IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 51 (1991)
  51. ^ Dahl, Östen. "The World Atlas of Language Structures Online". Max Planck Digital Library. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  52. ^ Andrew Burke; Mark Elliott, Kamin Mohammadi, Pat Yale (2004). Iran. Lonely Planet. pp. 75–76. ISBN 1740594258.,M1. 
  53. ^ Cook, p. 85
  54. ^ In Pursuit of Tea (2005). "Brewing Guide". Retrieved 2006-12-16. 
  55. ^ "Infusion Guide". Zhong Guo Cha. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  56. ^ "Agony of the Leaves". Margaret Chittenden. 1999. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  57. ^ "Brief Guide to Tea". BriefGuides. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  58. ^ “Some tea and wine may cause cancer — tannin, found in tea and red wine, linked to esophageal cancer” Nutrition Health Review, Fall, 1990
  59. ^ Tierra, Michael (1990). The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books. ISBN 0671724037. 
  60. ^ "How to make a perfect cuppa". BBC News. 2003-06-25. Retrieved 2006-07-28. 
  61. ^ Mario Lorenz, Nicoline Jochmann, Amélie von Krosigk, Peter Martus, Gert Baumann, Karl Stangl and Verena Stangl (2007). "Addition of milk prevents vascular protective effects of tea". European Heart Journal 28 (2): 219–223. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehl442. PMID 17213230. 
  62. ^
  63. ^ a b c Food and Agiculture Oraganization of the United Nations—Production FAOSTAT. Accessed January 9, 2010
  64. ^ a b Food and Agiculture Oraganization of the United Nations—Trade FAOSTAT. Accessed January 9, 2010
  65. ^ Thompkins, Gwen. "In Kenya, Tea Auction Steeped In Tradition, Gentility: NPR". Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  66. ^ "Oxirane, (chloromethyl)- (Epichlorohydrin) CAS No. 106-89-8". Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  67. ^ "EPA Consumer Factsheet on: EPICHLOROHYDRIN". Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  68. ^ "Lipton Institute of Tea - Interview of Steve, Tea technology manager, Chapter: A Culture of Innovation". Lipton. 2008.,180.aspx. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  69. ^ "PG Tips - About Us". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  70. ^ [ "The New Shape of Teabags"]. Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. 2005. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  71. ^ "Green Tea Storage" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-07-15. 


  • Jana Arcimovičová, Pavel Valíček (1998): Vůně čaje, Start Benešov. ISBN 80-902005-9-1 (in Czech)
  • Claud Bald: Indian Tea. A Textbook on the Culture and Manufacture of Tea. Fifth Edition. Thoroughly Revised and Partly Rewritten by C.J. Harrison. Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta 1940 (first edition, 1933).
  • Kit Chow, Ione Kramer (1990): All the Tea in China, China Books & Periodicals Inc. ISBN 0-8351-2194-1 References are to Czech translation by Michal Synek (1998): Všechny čaje Číny, DharmaGaia Praha. ISBN 80-85905-48-5
  • Cook, Eleanor. A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens. 2007: Princeton University Press.
  • John C. Evans (1992): Tea in China: The History of China's National Drink,Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-28049-5
  • C.R. Harler, C.R.: The Culture and Marketing of Tea. Second edition. Oxford University Press, New York and Bombay, Reprinted 1958 (First edition 1933, second edition 1956).
  • Eelco Hesse (1982), Tea: The eyelids of Bodhidharma, Prism Press. ISBN 0-907061-05-0
  • Hobhouse, Henry (2005). Seeds of Change: Six Plants that Transformed Mankind. Shoemaker & Hoard. ISBN 1593760493. 
  • Lu Yu (陆羽): Cha Jing (茶经) (The classical book on tea). References are to Czech translation of modern-day edition (1987) by Olga Lomová (translator): Kniha o čaji. Spolek milců čaje, Praha, 2002. (in Czech)
  • Roy Moxham (2003), Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire
  • Jane Pettigrew (2002), A Social History of Tea
  • Stephan Reimertz (1998): Vom Genuß des Tees: Eine heitere Reise durch alte Landschaften, ehrwürdige Traditionen und moderne Verhältnisse, inklusive einer kleinen Teeschule (In German)
  • Yamamoto, T; Kim, M; Juneja, L R (1997). Chemistry and Applications of Green Tea. CRC Press. .
  • James Norwood Pratt (2005), Tea Dictionary
  • Kiple, Kenneth F.; Ornelas, Kriemhild Coneè, eds (2000). The Cambridge World History of Food. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521402166. .
  • Mondal, T.K. (2007). "Tea". in Pua, E.C.; Davey, M.R.. Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry. 60: Transgenic Crops V. Berlin: Springer. pp. 519–535. ISBN 3540491600. .
  • Sanyal, Amitava (April 13, 2008). "How India came to be the largest tea drinking nation" (). Hindustan Times (New Delhi): pp. 12. .
  • Karmakar, Rahul (April 13, 2008). "The Singpho: The cup that jeers". Hindustan Times (New Delhi): pp. 12. .
  • Lester Packer, Choon Nam Ong, Barry Halliwell (2004): Herbal and Traditional Medicine: Molecular Aspects of Health, CRC Press, ISBN 0824754360
  • Nutrition (Nov-Dec 1999). Tea and Health.. 15. pp. 946–949. PMID 10575676. 
  • Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1999). Coffee and tea consumption in the Scottish Heart Health Study follow up: conflicting relations with coronary risk factors, coronary disease, and all cause mortality. 53. pp. 481–487. PMID 10562866. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes about Tea, a common beverage.

  • "The British Empire was built on cups of tea, and if you think i'm going into battle without one, you're sorely mistaken!" — Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • "If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." ~ William Gladstone
  • "Tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country." ~ George Orwell
  • "A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water." ~ Chinese proverb
  • "Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary." ~ Chinese proverb
  • "Picture you upon my knee, / Just tea for two and two for tea." ~ Irving Caesar, Tea for Two
  • "Matrons, who toss the cup, and see \ The grounds of fate in grounds of tea." ~ Charles Churchill, The Ghost (bk. I, l. 117)
  • "Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid, . . . thou female tongue-running, smile-smoothing, heart-opening, wink-tipping cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate." ~ Colley Cibber, Lady's Last Stake (act I, sc. 1)
  • "Tea's proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence." ~ Samuel Johnson
  • "Soft yielding Minds to Water glide away, / And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea." - Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (canto I)
  • "Bring me a cup of tea and ‘Times’” - Queen Victoria’s first command upon the throne
  • "Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, / Dost sometimes counsel take--and sometimes tea." ~ Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (canto III, l. 7)
  • "Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea." ~ Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 383)
  • "Tea does our fancy aid, / Repress those vapours which the head invade / And keeps that palace of the soul serene." ~ Edmund Waller, Of Tea
  • “I am so fond of tea that I could write a whole dissertation on its virtues. It comforts and enlivens without the risks attendant on spirituous liquors. Gentle herb! Let the florid grape yield to thee. Thy soft influence is a more safe inspirer of social joy." ~ James Boswell
  • “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" ~ C.S. Lewis
  • "Tea pot is on, the cups are waiting, Favorite chairs anticipating, No matter what I have to do, My friend there's always time for you" ~ Unknown
  • "Where there's tea there's hope." ~ Arthur W. Pinero
  • "Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things." ~ Chaim Potok
  • "Twinkle, twinkle little bat How I wonder what you're at! Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky" ~ Lewis Carroll
  • "Tea and books - Mmmmmm, two of life's exquisite pleasures that together bring near-bliss." ~ Christine Hanrahan
  • "Women are like tea bags, they don't know how strong they are until they get into hot water." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." ~ Nancy Reagan
  • "The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort and refinement." ~ Arthur Gray
  • "I view tea drinking as a destroyer of health, an enfeebler of the frame, an en-genderer of effeminancy and laziness, a debaucher of youth and maker of misery for old age. Thus he makes that miserable progress towards that death which he finds ten or fifteen years sooner than he would have found it if he had made his wife brew beer instead of making tea." — William Cobbett in Cottage Economy (1821).
  • "To an Englishman, tea is of far greater importance than toilet paper." — anon.
  • "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea" ~ Bernard-Paul Heroux

External links

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Look up tea in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by Saki

James Cushat-Prinkly was a young man who had always had a settled conviction that one of these days he would marry; up to the age of thirty-four he had done nothing to justify that conviction. He liked and admired a great many women collectively and dispassionately without singling out one for especial matrimonial consideration, just as one might admire the Alps without feeling that one wanted any particular peak as one’s own private property. His lack of initiative in this matter aroused a certain amount of impatience among the sentimentally-minded women-folk of his home circle; his mother, his sisters, an aunt-in-residence, and two or three intimate matronly friends regarded his dilatory approach to the married state with a disapproval that was far from being inarticulate. His most innocent flirtations were watched with the straining eagerness which a group of unexercised terriers concentrates on the slightest movements of a human being who may be reasonably considered likely to take them for a walk. No decent-souled mortal can long resist the pleading of several pairs of walk-beseeching dog-eyes; James Cushat-Prinkly was not sufficiently obstinate or indifferent to home influences to disregard the obviously expressed wish of his family that he should become enamoured of some nice marriageable girl, and when his Uncle Jules departed this life and bequeathed him a comfortable little legacy it really seemed the correct thing to do to set about discovering some one to share it with him. The process of discovery was carried on more by the force of suggestion and the weight of public opinion than by any initiative of his own; a clear working majority of his female relatives and the aforesaid matronly friends had pitched on Joan Sebastable as the most suitable young woman in his range of acquaintance to whom he might propose marriage, and James became gradually accustomed to the idea that he and Joan would go together through the prescribed stages of congratulations, present-receiving, Norwegian or Mediterranean hotels, and eventual domesticity. It was necessary, however to ask the lady what she thought about the matter; the family had so far conducted and directed the flirtation with ability and discretion, but the actual proposal would have to be an individual effort.

Cushat-Prinkly walked across the Park towards the Sebastable residence in a frame of mind that was moderately complacent. As the thing was going to be done he was glad to feel that he was going to get it settled and off his mind that afternoon. Proposing marriage, even to a nice girl like Joan, was a rather irksome business, but one could not have a honeymoon in Minorca and a subsequent life of married happiness without such preliminary. He wondered what Minorca was really like as a place to stop in; in his mind’s eye it was an island in perpetual half-mourning, with black or white Minorca hens running all over it. Probably it would not be a bit like that when one came to examine it. People who had been in Russia had told him that they did not remember having seen any Muscovy ducks there, so it was possible that there would be no Minorca fowls on the island.

His Mediterranean musings were interrupted by the sound of a clock striking the half-hour. Half-past four. A frown of dissatisfaction settled on his face. He would arrive at the Sebastable mansion just at the hour of afternoon tea. Joan would be seated at a low table, spread with an array of silver kettles and cream-jugs and delicate porcelain tea-cups, behind which her voice would tinkle pleasantly in a series of little friendly questions about weak or strong tea, how much, if any, sugar, milk, cream, and so forth. “Is it one lump? I forgot. You do take milk, don’t you? Would you like some more hot water, if it’s too strong?”

Cushat-Prinkly had read of such things in scores of novels, and hundreds of actual experiences had told him that they were true to life. Thousands of women, at this solemn afternoon hour, were sitting behind dainty porcelain and silver fittings, with their voices tinkling pleasantly in a cascade of solicitous little questions. Cushat-Prinkly detested the whole system of afternoon tea. According to his theory of life a woman should lie on a divan or couch, talking with incomparable charm or looking unutterable thoughts, or merely silent as a thing to be looked on, and from behind a silken curtain a small Nubian page should silently bring in a tray with cups and dainties, to be accepted silently, as a matter of course, without drawn-out chatter about cream and sugar and hot water. If one’s soul was really enslaved at one’s mistress’s feet how could one talk coherently about weakened tea? Cushat-Prinkly had never expounded his views on the subject to his mother; all her life she had been accustomed to tinkle pleasantly at tea-time behind dainty porcelain and silver, and if he had spoken to her about divans and Nubian pages she would have urged him to take a week’s holiday at the seaside. Now, as he passed through a tangle of small streets that led indirectly to the elegant Mayfair terrace for which he was bound, a horror at the idea of confronting Joan Sebastable at her tea-table seized on him. A momentary deliverance presented itself; on one floor of a narrow little house at the noisier end of Esquimault Street lived Rhoda Ellam, a sort of remote cousin, who made a living by creating hats out of costly materials. The hats really looked as if they had come from Paris; the cheques she got for them unfortunately never looked as if they were going to Paris. However, Rhoda appeared to find life amusing and to have a fairly good time in spite of her straitened circumstances. Cushat-Prinkly decided to climb up to her floor and defer by half-an-hour or so the important business which lay before him; by spinning out his visit he could contrive to reach the Sebastable mansion after the last vestiges of dainty porcelain had been cleared away.

Rhoda welcomed him into a room that seemed to do duty as workshop, sitting-room, and kitchen combined, and to be wonderfully clean and comfortable at the same time.

“I’m having a picnic meal,” she announced. “There’s caviare in that jar at your elbow. Begin on that brown bread-and-butter while I cut some more. Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things.”

She made no other allusion to food, but talked amusingly and made her visitor talk amusingly too. At the same time she cut the bread-and-butter with a masterly skill and produced red pepper and sliced lemon, where so many women would merely have produced reasons and regrets for not having any. Cushat-Prinkly found that he was enjoying an excellent tea without having to answer as many questions about it as a Minister for Agriculture might be called on to reply to during an outbreak of cattle plague.

“And now tell me why you have come to see me,” said Rhoda suddenly. “You arouse not merely my curiosity but my business instincts. I hope you’ve come about hats. I heard that you had come into a legacy the other day, and, of course, it struck me that it would be a beautiful and desirable thing for you to celebrate the event by buying brilliantly expensive hats for all your sisters. They may not have said anything about it, but I feel sure the same idea has occurred to them. Of course, with Goodwood on us, I am rather rushed just now, but in my business we’re accustomed to that; we live in a series of rushes—like the infant Moses.”

“I didn’t come about hats,” said her visitor. “In fact, I don’t think I really came about anything. I was passing and I just thought I’d look in and see you. Since I’ve been sitting talking to you, however, rather important idea has occurred to me. If you’ll forget Goodwood for a moment and listen to me, I’ll tell you what it is.”

Some forty minutes later James Cushat-Prinkly returned to the bosom of his family, bearing an important piece of news.

“I’m engaged to be married,” he announced.

A rapturous outbreak of congratulation and self-applause broke out.

“Ah, we knew! We saw it coming! We foretold it weeks ago!”

“I’ll bet you didn’t,” said Cushat-Prinkly. “If any one had told me at lunch-time to-day that I was going to ask Rhoda Ellam to marry me and that she was going to accept me I would have laughed at the idea.”

The romantic suddenness of the affair in some measure compensated James’s women-folk for the ruthless negation of all their patient effort and skilled diplomacy. It was rather trying to have to deflect their enthusiasm at a moment’s notice from Joan Sebastable to Rhoda Ellam; but, after all, it was James’s wife who was in question, and his tastes had some claim to be considered.

On a September afternoon of the same year, after the honeymoon in Minorca had ended, Cushat-Prinkly came into the drawing-room of his new house in Granchester Square. Rhoda was seated at a low table, behind a service of dainty porcelain and gleaming silver. There was a pleasant tinkling note in her voice as she handed him a cup.

“You like it weaker than that, don’t you? Shall I put some more hot water to it? No?”

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TEA (Chinese cha, Amoy dialect te), the name given to the leaves of the tea bush (see below) prepared by decoction as a beverage The term is by analogy also used for an infusion or decoction of other leaves, e g. camomile tea; and similarly for the afternoon meal at which tea is served.

Table of contents


The early history of tea as a beverage is mainly traditional. The lack of accurate knowledge regarding the past of the Chinese Empire may possibly some day be supplied, as European scholars become more able to explore the unstudied stores in the great Chinese libraries, or as Chinese students ransack the records of their country for the facts of earlier periods. It may then be learnt who made the first cup of tea, who planted the earliest bushes, and how the primitive methods of manufacture were evolved. In the meantime knowledge on the subject is mingled with much that is obviously mythical and with gleanings from the casual references of travellers and authors.

According to Chinese legend, the virtues of tea were discovered by the Emperor Chinnung, 2137 B.C., to whom all agricultural and medicinal knowledge is traced. It is doubtfully referred to in the book of ancient poems edited by Confucius, all of which are previous in date to 550 B.C. A tradition exists in China that a knowledge of tea travelled eastward to and in China, having been introduced S43 A.D. by Bodhidharma, an ascetic who came from India on a missionary expedition, but that legend is also mixed with supernatural details. But it is quite certain, from the historical narrative of Lo Yu, who lived in the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.), that tea was already used as a beverage in the 6th century, and that during the 8th century its use had become so common that a tax was levied on its consumption in the 14th year of Tih Tsung (793). The use of tea in China in the middle of the 9th century is known from Arab sources (Reinaud, Relation des Voyages, 1845, p. 40). From China a knowledge of tea was carried into Japan, and there the cultivation was established during the 9th century. Seed was brought from China by the priest Miyoye, and planted first in the south island, Kiushiu, whence the cultivation spread northwards till it reached the high limit of 39° N.

It is somewhat curious that although many of the products of China were known and used in Europe at much earlier times, no reference to tea has yet been traced in European literature prior to 1588. No mention of it is made by Marco Polo, and no knowledge of the substance appears to have reached Europe till after the establishment of intercourse between Portugal and China in 1517. The Portuguese, however, did little towards the introduction of it into Europe, and it was not till the Dutch established themselves at Bantam early in the 17th century that these adventurers learned from the Chinese the habit of tea drinking and brought it into Europe.

The earliest mention of tea by an Englishman is probably that contained in a letter from Mr Wickham, an agent of the East India Company, written from Firando in Japan, on the 27th June 1615, to Mr Eaton, another officer of the company, resident at Macao, and asking for "a pot of the best sort of chaw." How the commission was executed does not appear, but in Mr Eaton's subsequent accounts of expenditure occurs this item - "three silver porringers to drink chaw in." It was not till the middle of the century that the English began to use tea, and they also received their supplies from Java till in 1686 they were driven out of the island by the Dutch. At first the price of tea in England ranged from £6 to £10 per lb. In the Mercurius Politicus, No. 435, of September 1658, the following advertisement occurs: - "That excellent and by 'all Physitians approved China Drink called by the Chineans Tcha, by other nations Tay, alias Tee, is sold at the Sultaness Head, a cophee-house in Sweetings Rents, by the Royal Exchange, London." Thomas Garway, the first English tea dealer, and founder of the well-known coffee-house, "Garraway's," in a curious broadsheet, An Exact Description of the Growth, Quality and Virtues of the Leaf Tea, issued in 1659 or 1660, writes, "in respect of its scarceness and dearness, it hath been only used as a regalia in high treatments and entertainments, and presents made thereof to princes and grandees." In that year he purchased a quantity of the rare and much-prized commodity, and offered it to the public, in the leaf, at fixed prices varying from 15sto 50s. the lb, according to quality, and also in the in. fusion, "made according to the directions of the most knowing merchants and travellers into those eastern countries." In 1660 an Act of the first parliament of the Restoration imposed a tax on "every gallon of chocolate, sherbet and tea, made and sold, to be paid by the maker thereof, eightpence" (12 Car. II. C. 23).

Pepys's often-quoted mention of the fact that on the 25th September 1660, "I did send for a cup of tee, a China drink, of which I never had drunk before," proves the novelty of tea in England at that date. In 1664 we find that the East India Company presented the king with 2 lb and 2 oz. of "thea," which cost 40s. per lb, and two years afterwards with another parcel containing 224 lb, for which the directors paid 50s per lb. Both parcels appear to have been purchased on the Continent. Not until 1677 is the Company recorded to have taken any steps for the importation of tea. The order then given to their agents was for "teas of the best kind to the amount of Too dollars." But their instructions were considerably exceeded, for the quantity imported in 1678 was 4713 lb, a quantity which seems to have glutted the market for several years. The annals of the Company record that, in February 1684, the directors wrote thus to Madras: - "In regard thea is grown to be a commodity here, and we have occasion to make presents therein to our great friends at court, we would have you to send us yearly five or six canisters of the very best and freshest thea." Until the Revolution no duty was laid on tea other than that levied on the infusion as sold in the coffee-houses. By 1 William and Mary, c. 6, a duty of 5s. per lb and 5 per cent. on the value was imposed. For several years the quantities imported were very small, and consisted exclusively of the finer sorts. The first direct purchase in China was made at Amoy, the teas previously obtained by the Company's factors having bean purchased in Madras and Surat, whither it was brought by Chinese junks after the expulsion of the British from Java. During the closing years of the century the amount brought over seems to have been, on the average, about 20,000 lb a year. The instructions of 1700 directed the supercargoes to send home 300 tubs of the finer green teas and 80 tubs of bohea. In 1703 orders were given for "75, 000 lb Singlo (green), 10,000 lb imperial, and 20,000 lb bohea." The average price of tea at this period was 16s. per lb.

As the 18th century progressed the use of tea in England rapidly increased, and by the close of the century the rate of consumption exceeded an average of 2 lb per person per annum, a rate in excess of that of to-day of all people except those of Mongol and Anglo-Saxon origin. The business being a monopoly of the East India Company, and a very profitable one, the company at an early stage of its development endeavoured to ascertain whether tea could not be grown within its own dominions. Difficulties with China doubtless showed the advisability of having an independent source of supply. In 1788 Sir Joseph Banks, at the request of the directors, drew up a memoir on the cultivation of economic plants in Bengal, in which he gave special prominence to tea, pointing out the regions most favourable for its cultivation. About the year 1820 Mr David Scott, the first commissioner of Assam, sent to Calcutta from Kuch Behar and Rangpur - the very districts indicated by Sir Joseph Banks as favourable for tea-growing - certain leaves, with a statement that they were said to belong to the wild tea-plant. The leaves were submitted to Dr Wallich, government botanist at Calcutta, who pronounced them to belong to a species of Camellia, and no result followed on Mr Scott's communication. These very leaves ultimately came into the herbarium of the Linnean Society of London, and have authoritatively been pronounced to belong to the indigenous Assam tea-plant. Dr Wallich's attribution of this and other specimens subsequently sent in to the genus Camellia, although scientifically defensible, unfortunately diverted attention from the significance of the discovery. It was not till 1834 that, overcome by the insistence of Captain Francis Jenkins, who maintained and proved that, called by the name Camellia or not, the leaves belonged to a tea-plant, Dr Wallich admitted "the fact of the genuine tea-plant being a native of our territories in Upper Assam as incontrovertibly proved." In the meantime a committee had been formed by Lord William Bentinck, the governor-general, for the introduction of tea culture into India, and an official had already been sent to the tea districts of China to procure seed and skilled Chinese workmen to conduct operations in the Himalayan regions. The discovery and reports of Captain Jenkins led to the investigation of the capacities of Assam as a tea-growing country by Lord William Bentinck's committee. Evidence of the abundant existence of the indigenous tea-tree was obtained; and the directors of the East India Company. resolved to institute an experimental establishment in Assam for cultivating and manufacturing tea, leaving the industry to be developed by private enterprise should its practicability be demonstrated.

In 1834 the monopoly of the East India Company was abolished and an era of rapid progress in the new industry began. In 1836 there was sent to London i lb of tea made from indigenous leaves; in 1837 5 lb of Assam tea were sent; in 1838 the quantity sent was 12 small boxes, and 95 boxes reached London in 1839. In 1840 there were grown, and offered at public auction in Calcutta early the following year, 35 packages, chiefly green teas, stated to have been manufactured by a chief of the Singpho tribe aided by the government establishment. In the same auction catalogue were included 95 packages, "the produce of the Government Tea Plantation in Assam," many of which bore the Chubwa mark, one well known to this day. This auction is most interesting as being the first of British-grown tea, and it included about 6000 lb. It is of interest also for the reference to the Singpho tribe, who are even now in small numbers in the same district, where they still produce in a primitive manner tea plucked from the indigenous trees growing in their jungles.

In January 1840 the Assam Company was formed to take over the early tea garden of the East India Company, and this, the premier company, is still in existence, having produced up to 1907 no less than 117,000,000 lb of tea and paid in dividends X1,360,000 or 730 per cent. on capital. It is no longer the first company in extent of yield, as the Consolidated Tea and Lands Company produced in 1907 about 15,000,000 lb of tea, besides other products. The introduction of Chinese seed and Chinese methods was a mistake, and there seems little reason to doubt that, in clearing jungle for tea planting, fine indigenous tea was frequently destroyed unwittingly in order to plant the inferior China variety. The period of unlearning the Chinese methods, and replacing the Chinese plants, had to be lived through. Vicissitudes of over-production and inflation came to interfere with an even course of success, but the industry developed and has increased enormously. From its point of origin in Assam, it has gradually spread to other districts with varying commercial success. The aggregate total of capital of the tea-producing companies in India and Ceylon now amounts to about 25,000,000.

The Dutch were rather earlier than the English in attempting to establish tea growing in their eastern possessions. A beginning was made in Java in 1826, but probably because of the even more marked influence of Chinese methods and Chinese plant, the progress was slow and the results indifferent. Of late years, however, by the introduction of fine Assam seed and the adoption of methods similar to those in use in India, a marked improvement has taken place, and there seems little reason to doubt that, with the very rich soil and abundant cheap labour that the island of Java possesses, the relative progress there may be greater in future than in any other producing land.

Somewhere about 1860 the practical commercial growing of tea was introduced into the island of Formosa. The methods of cultivation and manufacture followed there differ in many ways from those of the other large producing countries, but the industry has been fairly successful throughout its history. Attempts were repeatedly made to introduce tea culture in Ceylon, under both Dutch and British authority. No permanent success was attained till about 1876, when the disastrous effects of the coffee-leaf disease forced planters to give serious attention to tea. Since that period the tea industry has developed with marvellous rapidity, and now takes first rank in the commerce of the island.

Several plantations have been successfully put out both by the Russian government and private enterprise in the Caucasus, but it is doubtful whether they could exist long but for the high rate of duty on tea entering Russia from foreign countries. Natal has now about 5000 acres under tea giving a fairly large yield, but of quality pot highly esteemed outside of South Africa, where it benefits to the extent of 4d. per pound of protection in the tariff. A small plantation exists in South Carolina under circumstances not conducive to financial success on a large scale of production. Attempts at tea growing have been made in the West Indies, Brazil, Australia, Nyassaland, Mauritius, the Straits Settlements, Johore, Fiji and at San Miguel in the Azores without marked success. In addition to favourable conditions of soil and climate, abundant cheap labour is an absolute necessity if satisfactory commercial results are to be obtained.


The tea bush or tree is a member of the natural order Ternstroemiaceae and is closely allied to the well-known ornamental shrub the camellia. As cultivated in China it is an evergreen shrub growing to a height of from 3 to 5 ft. The stem is bushy, with numerous and very leafy branches; the leaves are alternate, leathery in texture, elliptical, obtusely serrated, strongly veined and placed on short channelled footstalks. The flowers are white, axillary and slightly fragrant, - often two or three together on separate pedicels. The calyx is small, smooth and divided into five obtuse sepals. The corolla has from five to nine petals, cohering at the base. The stamens are short, numerous and inserted at the base of the corolla; the anthers are large and yellow, and the long style ends in three branches. The fruit is a woody capsule of three cells, each containing one large nearly spherical seed, which consists mainly of two large hemispherical cotyledons.

As is commonly the case with plants which have been long under cultivation, there has been some doubt as to specific distinctions among the varieties of tea. The plant was originally described by Linnaeus as one species, Thea sinensis. Later Linnaeus established two species, viz. Thea Bohea and Thea viridis, and it was erroneously assumed that the former was the source of black teas, while Thea viridis was held to yield the green varieties. In 1843, however, Mr Robert Fortune found that, although the two varieties of the plant existed in different parts of China, black and green tea were produced from the leaves of the same plant by varying the manufacturing processes.

Sir George Watt (Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, vol. xxxii.) describes with ample illustrations the recognized varieties, placing all of them under Camellia Thea, with the following subdivision: - r. Assam Indigenous.

2. Lushai.

A. Variety Viridis: - races 3. Naga Hills.

4. Manipur.

5. Burma and Shan.

6. Yunnan and Chinese.

B. Bohea.

C. Stricta.

D. Lasiocalyx.

Of the foregoing, the teas of commerce are derived almost entirely from the varieties Viridis and Bohea. The Assam Indigenous, in its two sub-races of Singlo and Bazalona, and the Manipur, originally found wild in the jungles of the native state of that name, have, with various intermixtures and crossings, been used to cover the greatest areas of all the more modern planting in India, Ceylon and Java. The great size of leaf when fully developed (4 to q ins. in length and 2 to 32 in breadth) has made them in demand because of the heavy yields. From the variety Bohea, or from hybrids of descent from it, came the China teas of former days and the earlier plantings in India grown from imported China stock. The FIG. I. - Bohea variety.

leaves of this variety are generally, roughly speaking, about half the size of those of the Assam Indigenous and Manipur sorts. The bush is in every way smaller than the Assam types. The latter is a tree attaining in its natural conditions, or where allowed to grow unpruned in a seed garden, a height of from 30 to 40 ft. and prospering in the midst of dense moist jungle and in shady sheltered situations.

The Bohea variety is hardy, and capable of thriving under many different conditions of climate and situation, while the indigenous plant is tender and difficult of cultivation, requiring for its success a close, hot, moist and equable climate. In minute structure it presents highly characteristic appearances.

The under side of the young leaf is densely covered with fine one-celled thick-walled hairs, about i mm. in length and o15 mm. in thickness. These hairs entirely disappear with increasing age. The structure of the epidermis of the under side of the leaf, with its contorted cells, is represented (X 160) in fig. 3.

A further characteristic feature of the cellular structure of the tea-leaf is the abundance, especially in grown leaves, of large, branching, thick-walled, smooth cells (idioblasts), which, although they occur in other leaves, are not found in such as are likely to be confounded with or substituted for tea. The minute structure of the leaf in section is illustrated in fig. 4. .

Constant controversy has existed as to what is the actual original home of the tea-plant, and probably no one has given to the subject more careful study than Professor Andreas Krassnow, of Kharkoff University. By order of the Russian government, he visited each of the great tea-growing countries, and the results of his observations were published in a book entitled On the Tea-producing Districts of Asia. He holds the opinion that the tea-plant is indigenous, not to Assam only, but to the whole monsoon region of eastern Asia, where he found it growing wild as far north as the islands of southern Japan. He considers that the tea-plant had, from the remotest times, two distinct varieties, the Assam and Chinese, as he thinks that the period of known cultivation has been too short to produce the differences that exist between them.


What may be termed the chemistry of production, viz., that relating to soils, manures, manufacturing processes, &c., has of recent years received great attention from the scientific FIG. 3. - Epidermis of Tea-leaf (under side): X 160.

experts appointed in India and Ceylon to assist and guide the tea planters. The chemistry of the completed teas of commerce does not appear to have been subjected to adequate scientific study. There cannot be said to be any standard or recognized analysis. Many such have been made, and they may be found in chemical text-books of high authority, but they are defective because of the lack of commercial knowledge in association with the chemical skill. More attention seems to have been given to the matter in the United States of America and in Germany and Russia than in England, but the infinite variety of samples known to the commercial expert, and the impossibility of standardizing those in such a manner as to make readily recognizable what the chemist has treated, renders most of the recorded analyses of uncertain value. There seems to be no relationship between the commercial value and the analysis, the arbitrary personal methods of the expert tea-taster being controlled by factors that chemistry does not appear to deal with. One reason may be that analyses are generally made of tea liquors produced by distilled water, which is the very worst possible from the point of view of the commercial expert or in domestic usage.

The principal chemical constituents of tea of practical interest are: caffeine, tannin and essential oil, on which depend respectively the physio logical effects, the strength and the flavour. The commercial value appears to depend on the essential oil and aroma, not on the amount of caffeine, tannin or extract.

The following is suggested as a typical analysis sample of black tea: Albuminous matters Gummy matters. Cellulose Chlorophyll and wax Caffeine .

Tannin .

Essential oil .

Resin .

Mineral matter (ash) Moisture Extractive matter .

Missing image

100 Also a trace ( I to. 2 per cent.) of boheic acid, a vegetable acid peculiar to tea. The amount of tannin found in green teas appears to be FIG. 2. - Bohea Tealeaf, full size.

Missing image

FIG. 4. - Section through Tea-leaf.

of an average Per cent.

24202 3 10 0.75 3 6 7 20.25 about half as much again as in black, and the former always yield less moisture, doubtless because of the harder fibre produced by the method of manufacture and the frequent use of a facing medium. A large percentage of moisture found in any sample would indicate improper condition. At the stage of final firing, tea is supposed to be desiccated as completely as possible, and it is then sealed up to exclude air entirely. It is, however, most liable to absorb moisture upon subsequent exposure. Caffeine (formerly known as theme) is the alkaloid of tea, and is identical with that of coffee, guarana, mate and kola nut. It is closely allied to theobromine, the alkaloid of cocoa, and also to uric acid. In large quantities it is a poison, but in smaller quantities it acts as a stimulant. It exists in greater percentage in Indian and Ceylon teas than in those from Java, and is lowest in China and Japan teas. Tannin is a hardening and astringent substance, and in large quantities impairs digestion. Prolonged infusion increases the amount extracted. The essential oil of tea is of a citron yellow colour; it is lighter than water and possesses the distinctive odour of tea. Extract varies from 26 to 40 per cent., and is no guide to quality. Ash averages 5.7 per cent., about half of which is soluble in water. About 8 per cent. of ash is proof of adulteration.


There is probably no article of large consumption the commerce in which has been so revolutionized during a single generation. In 1877, except to the initiated, tea meant China tea., India and Java were producing a little, but practically for use only in Great Britain and Holland. Formosa and Japan were beginning to attract attention in America, but China supplied the world, and almost entirely through the medium of the London market. The days of sailing ships from China had not entirely passed, and the steamers of the period were built for rapidity of transit to London. The Australasian colonies got their supplies direct, and part of the Russian supplies went by the caravan routes.

By 1907, however, the greatly increased production in India and Ceylon, with the willingness of many nations to drink such teas, in preference to those of China, had left to her Russia as a customer for nearly half her export of the article, a proportion rapidly diminishing, as that country too turned in the direction of using the stronger varieties.

China .

Ja p an .



„ (Burma)

Shan States

Ceylon. .

Java .

Natal .

Acreage under tea.


(Brick tea for Tibet) 1



(mostly pickled tea) 1














26, 215,000





China and Japan have hitherto been regarded as the chief producers of tea, and the reputed large domestic consumption of those Mongolian peoples has led to assumptions of vast internal productions. There exist absolutely no data, and it is doubtful whether such can ever be gathered, for forming trustworthy estimates. In both of those countries tea is grown principally in a retail manner, and much of it simply for family consumption. The country cultivator has, as a rule, only a small area - perhaps a corner of his farm or garden - planted with tea, the produce of which is roughly sun-dried and cured in a primitive manner. Any surplus not needed for the family is sold in its sun-dried state to the collector, who takes it to the hong, where it is fired, blended and packed for exportation. Excluding therefore from any record the quantities produced for internal consumption in China and Japan (that from the former alone has been estimated at a total of 2,000,000,000 lb), the following are the acreage and production of the world as taken from the latest recorded statistics available in 1908: - 726, 601,000 The quantity from China includes about 16,000,000 lb imported from India, Ceylon and Java, and worked up with China teas into bricks and tablets.

The modern developments of production and consumption have rendered the subject of China tea one of subordinate interest, except China. to students of commercial evolution. In several of the earlier editions of this work very ample details are furnished regarding the same, with malty interesting pictorial illustrations of the processes of production. The conservative tendencies of the Chinese people have prevented them adopting the modern methods of extensive cultivation based on scientific principles, and the manipulation of crops by machinery in place of hand labour. Consequently, their export trade has been for many years a China diminishing one. Of the exported quantity referred to tea. above, only 81,000,000 lb were the ordinary black tea black known to the English consumer (collectively described in the United States of America and Canada as "English Breakfast 1 Areas unascertained. 2 Official figure, but accuracy doubtful.

Tea"). Out of that total, Great Britain consumed only about 5,000,000 Ib, against a consumption of 126,000,000 lb of China tea in 1879. Green tea is represented by 28,000,000 lb, and this went chiefly to the United States of America, to Central Asia and to North Africa. The remainder, 80,000,000 lb, is brick China and tablet tea sent entirely to Asiatic and European green tea, Russia. The method of compressing tea into tablets 8 or bricks is unfamiliar in western Europe. It doubtless arose from the necessity of reducing bulk to a minimum for conveyance by caravan across the great trade routes of Asia, and now B r cks a ad that the railway and the steamship have supplemented tablets. more primitive methods of transit, the system is still continued to meet the wants of the consumer who would not recognize his tea in any other shape. The preparation of the tea in the requisite form has, however, largely left Chinese hands. The Russians have themselves established several important factories at Hankow, which is the chief seat of this industry, and to which place they import in large quantities tea-dust and small broken tea from India, Ceylon and Java. Those are freely the preparation of small tablets, compressed to such a condition of hardness as to resemble wood or stone, and commonly passed round as currency in certain districts of Russia. Of a somewhat different nature is the brick tea prepared chiefly at Ya-chou in Brick t ea the province of Ssu-chuan, for overland transit to Tibet, for Tibet. to investigate the commerce in which Mr James Hutchi son, M.A., was sent in 1906 as a special commissioner for the Indian Tea Cess Committee. This tea is mostly prepared from exceedingly rough leaf, including even bush prunings, which would not be plucked for manufacturing purposes in India or Ceylon. It is "panned," rolled, fermented and divided into various classes or qualities. It is then steamed and placed in a moulding frame of wood to compress it into the size and shape of brick wanted. The bricks are wrapped in paper bearing hong marks, or some writing in Tibetan. For transit they are packed twelve together in hides sewn up while moist, which contract to make a strong tight package of 60 to 70 lb weight. These bales are carried on the backs of coolies for great distances across very high passes into Tibet, and the trade is estimated at an average of 19,000,000 lb per annum, of which 8,000,000 is a subsidy from the emperor of China to the Tibetan monasteries.

The Japanese production is almost entirely green tea for North American use. It is prepared in two distinctive classes named by the final process of manufacture applied in each in Japan. stance, viz. basket-fired, i.e. dried over a hot stove in a basket, and pan-fired, i.e. in machine-made pans. The industry is a declining one, because of change in the American taste, and the area under cultivation has diminished by nearly 20 per cent. in the ten years since 1896. The mulberry leaf for the more profitable silk trade has taken its place. The export production of the island of Formosa is limited to a particular class of tea termed Formosa Oolong, practically all produced for the United States Oolong. rmo of America. It is scarcely known in England save by experts. The Tea Cess Committees of India and Ceylon have both sent representatives in recent years to study the manner of growth and production, but in neither country has there been so far any successful attempt to produce commercially tea of the class. A radical difference exists in connexion with the method of growth, in that the plants are never grown from seed, but are always propagated from layerings. Soil, situation and climatic conditions have doubtless much influence on the peculiar character of the tea produced. The manufacturing methods are elaborate and careful, and the produce has in its choicest qualities a particular delicacy and bouquet possessed by no other variety of tea.

As the planting, productive and manufacturing processes of India may be taken to be generally representative of Indian tea Ceylon and Java also, and therefore of the tea of modern trade. commerce in most lands outside of China and Japan, the methods followed will be described with some fullness.

A rich and exuberant growth of the plants is a first essential of successful tea cultivation. This is only obtainable in warm and moist localities where rains are frequent and copious. Climate. The climate indeed which favours tropical profusion of jungle growth - still steaming heat - is that most favourable for the cultivation of tea, and such climate, unfortunately, is often trying to the health of Europeans. It was formerly supposed that comparatively temperate latitudes and steep sloping ground afforded the most favourable situations for planting, and much of the disaster which attended the early stages of the tea enterprise in India is traceable to this erroneous conception. Tea thrives best in light friable soils of good depth, through which water percolates freely, the plant being specially impatient of marshy situations and stagnant water. Undulating well-watered tracts, where the rain escapes freely, yet without washing away the soil, are the most valuable for tea gardens. Many of the original Indian plantations were established on hill-sides, after the example of known districts in China, where hill slopes and odd corners are commonly occupied with tea-plants.

bearing, 4 to 5 oz. would be considered a good return. The annual

production per acre from matured plants was in 1906 in the prin-

cipal producing districts of India: -

Darjeeling .

317 1b


402 „







54 2

5 6 9


The methods described hereafter are those generally followed in India and Ceylon in the manner of the most modern application, but variations must take place according to district and elevation. Propagation is from seed only. The seed is rather larger than a hazel nut, with a thicker and darker shell and per- Planting fectly spherical shape. When ripe (about the month of out. November) the seeds are placed a few inches apart in carefully prepared nurseries, which are watered, shaded and weeded till the regular rains of May and June admit of the shading being removed. The seedlings should then be 6 ins. to 8 ins. high and ready to plant out in the fields. These are prepared by cutting down and burning the jungle, which is afterwards hoed, lined and staked in parallel rows running both ways. The intervals of planting vary, but 42 ft. by 42 ft. is a very common distance. Pits 15 ins. to 18 ins. deep are dug for each plant, and refilled loosely - then the seedlings are carefully placed in them. With favourable weather they should be 15 ins. to 18 ins. high by the end of the first year. Sometimes the plants are grown in the nursery for a whole year or more and put out during the cold weather. After two years' growth the bushes should be 4 to 6 ft. high. They are then cut down to about 8 ins. and are allowed to grow again up to 2 or 3 ft. before, towards the end of their third year, being plucked regularly. The object of this cutting down is to cause the bushes to spread out and cover the ground area usually allowed to each plant, i.e. about 20 sq. ft. The yield in the third year is small, probably less than oz. finished tea per bush. At 7 to 10 years old, when in full Individual estates of large area gave as much as 1280 lb per acre. In Ceylon the average yield per acre was 440 Ib, but there are verified records of 996 lb per acre within the year from an estate of 458 acres. On the same property an area of loo acres gave 1100 lb per acre on the average over a period of 18 years.

Cultivation in the northern parts of India is done by digging over the soil - locally termed hoeing - once in the winter quarter and Cultiva- six times in the nine months of the harvesting season.

Cul t i To keep an estate clean and in good cultivation it re quires to be gone over every six weeks. The labourers being barefooted, a spade is useless, so a "khodalee" or hoe (much like a very heavy and long-bladed garden Dutch hoe) is used. It is raised well over the head and dropped forcibly into the ground, then pulled towards the wielder to turn over the soil. In southern India and Ceylon clean hand-weeding is the method of cultivation, almost no hoeing being done. In northern India the plucking season begins in April. During the first flush (i.e. the breaking out of young green shoots after pruning and the rest of winter) the bush is encouraged to grow by leaving 3 or 4 fully developed leaves after removing the cip of the shoot. It takes about 6 weeks to remove entirely the whole of the first and succeeding flushes, going round the estate once a week. In the second flush two leaves only are left. In the third and fourth flushes only one large leaf, and after that - say during October, November and part of December - no soft leaf growth is left that can be harvested in good order. In northern India, where the weather in the winter months is cold and dry, growth practically ceases, and then the whole area is pruned and cut down to about 16 ins. high all over, but in Travancore and Ceylon it grows continuously and is only pruned when found expedient at intervals of 15 months to 2 years. In certain cases of highlying estates, where the growth is slow, it is allowed to run 3 years from pruning. The finest teas are produced at high elevations in Darjeeling and Ceylon and in the plains of Assam, but the quality from individual estates varies much from season to season, and even from week to week. There are at times marked differences between the produce of adjoining estates, with apparently identical conditions of soil and situation. Tea grows and thrives from about sea-level in the tropics to 7000 ft. in more temperate conditions. The life of a well-cared-for bush has been estimated at 50 years, in spite of its numerous enemies. Those include mites, termites (or white ants), thread blight, grey blight, caterpillars (naked or in bags) and caterpillars armed with stinging hairs to protect them, and borers, red and black, some of which eat the core out of the wood, while others content themselves with eating only the bark.

During recent years in India a new development has taken place in planting tea upon what are termed "bheels," - lands resembling to a great extent the peat bogs of Ireland and Scotland. When opened up by an elaborate and complete system of drainage, they have been found to possess the power of producing enormously heavy yields, and it is from such estates that the greatest yields in India have come.

In Ceylon, and to some extent in India, the careful and systematic application of chemical manures, compounded on scientific lines, has been found to increase largely the yield of leaf, and much interplanting of nitrogen-producing growths has been done with a view to restoring to the soil the most necessary constituents.

In the early days an attempt was made to copy the Chinese methods, and the various processes were manual. Now, from the. plucking stage onwards, almost everything is done by machinery. During the season of yield the flushes are tore. plucked every 7 to 10 days, and, as a rule, in India the opening bud and two leaves below it are plucked. To take more than this would he considered coarse and less would be fine plucking. These are of course quite immature, the longest rarely being one inch in length. The lower leaves on the young shoots are too old and hard to manufacture into tea. The plucking is done by women and children, and is now practically the only part of the work where the tea is touched by hand. The plucking season continues in some districts of India till December. As they are plucked, the green leaves are thrown into baskets, and twice daily the pluckings are taken into the factory. They are then spread out thinly on trays or racks made of bamboo, canvas or wire netting, under cover, for some 18 or 30 hours (according to the temporary weather conditions) to wither, after which they are in a soft, flaccid condition ready for rolling. On a successful wither the amount of the tea ferment or enzyme is dependent. The object of rolling is to crush the leaves and to break their cells so as to liberate the juices. The leaves are passed repeatedly through a machine driven by steam or other power giving a rotary motion, the operation occupying about 40 to 60 minutes. The next process is familiarly termed fermentation, but is really an oxidation of the leaves. Should the leaf be intended to be cured as green tea, the fermenting process is omitted and some other processes applied, but in India very little green tea is manufactured. Many people still Cherish the antiquated belief that black and green teas are grown upon different varieties of the tea-plant, which is quite a mistake, the difference being merely one of preparation. After being rolled, the leaves are spread out in layers of I to 2 ins. thick in a cool house, and left to undergo the chemical action resulting from their condition. This process is checked after from 2 to 3 hours, according to climatic conditions. A further brief rolling to close up the open leaves is followed by the first firing, which is effected by subjecting the leaves to the gradual action of hot air up to a temperature of 240° F. Various applications of the same system are in use, but the most popular is to place the leaves on trays of wire network in a high temperature for about twenty minutes, after which they are firm and crisp. Up to this point of the manufacture the leaf has been in the stalk, the leaves and bud being unseparated. They are now broken apart and sorted by mechanical sifters into the various grades or qualities, which are described as Orange Pekoe, Pekoe, Pekoe Souchong and Souchong, each of which names represents approximately the leaf-bud and the three lower leaves. In addition to these four classes, out of each are sifted all the smaller fragments of leaf broken in the process of manufacture, which are termed Broken Orange Pekoe, &c. These broken grades are frequently objected to by the consumer, under the impression that they are inferior in quality, but in the opinion of experts, the more the leaf is broken up, the better is the liquor upon infusion. Upon completion of the sifting, the tea is again fired, and while warm it is packed tightly into lead-lined chests, and the lead covers completely soldered over it, so that it may be kept perfectly air-tight until required for use.

The machinery in use is very varied in character, and it has been evolved principally by practical planters of a mechanical turn. Many estate superintendents have begun their careers Machinery. as engineers, and it is not unusual for a large estate, or group of estates, to have one member of the European staff who is a qualified engineer. The motive power is generally a steam engine, but the greater economy and facility of oil engines have led to their fairly wide adoption. Where water power is available, turbines of a variety of types are in use. The machines to be driven are airfans, rollers, roll-breakers, sifters, cutters and packers, and there are besides numerous types of driers or desiccators. The names associated with the most successful and widely used machines are those of the Messrs Jackson (makers, Marshalls of Gainsborough) and Mr S. C. Davidson, of the Sirocco Works, Belfast. The production of the empty boxes for packing, called chests or half-chests, is in itself a large industry. The heavy old-fashioned country-made packages are rapidly being replaced by light-tared Boxes made from several thicknesses of veneer pressed closely together, most of which come from Russia.

A production temporarily in excess of the world's demand of several years ago, led to the offering of bonuses for the production in India and Ceylon of green teas, with a view to lessening the black tea output. The methods adopted were successful, and Green tea. after some vicissitudes a satisfactory business has been established, especially with the United States of America and Canada. The methods of producing this tea are not so complicated as those followed in China and Japan. The principal difference from the manner described of making black tea lies in the omission of the withering and fermenting, and the substitution for those of a steaming or panning process. The effect of either is to destroy the possibility of fermentation by subjecting the leaf, as soon as it is plucked, to a brief period of great heat. This completely destroys the ferment or enzyme, and renders it possible to conserve the tea in what is really nearer its natural form than the black tea that is so well known to the consumer.

Tea Consumption.-The following table gives particulars relative to the principal consuming countries, from which it will be seen that Great Britain and its English-speaking dependencies are the great consumers: Tea Consumption of Chief Consuming Countries in 1906.


per Annum.

Rate per


of Popu-


Rate of Duty

per lb.


United Kingdom.. .







Certain kinds free

for Asiatic Rus-

sia or over

Asiatic frontier

-others 24d.

to Is. 114d.

United States of America




Dominion of Canada. .



Commonwealth of Aus-




Dominion of NewZealand






(If British grown)





9d. (surtax 21d. if

not direct im-






South Africa



4d (Natal tea free)

Argentine Republic. .






131 lb

High,but uncertain.

India (estimated)




Burma (average about) .



Persia (average about) .



41d. to 7d.


China Unknown Japan The countries of smallerconsumption absorbed about 25,000,000 lb but there is a considerable excess in the returns of production over those of consumption. This arises partly from the latter, relating in certain instances to an earlier period, and partly from the fact 48?

Peru 65%% ad val. and Io%.

Portugal 2s. old.

Rumania 31d. and 41d. excise.

Sierra Leone. 10% ad val.

Spain 62d. (if tran - shipped in a European port Is. 71d. cwt. additional) .

St Helena. Free.

Straits Settle ments Free.

Sweden 3d.

Switzerland In receptacles weighing less than 5 kilos.

1 4d. over I - I od. Tobago and Trinidad 6d.

Turkey 11%. %.

Uganda Io %.

Uruguay 54d.

Venezuela 6d.

The rate per head of population within the United Kingdom has not increased much during recent years, and in the Australasian colonies it has apparently fallen greatly as compared with recorded averages of 12 lb per head in Victoria and 9 lb in New South Wales in 1884. ' The modern statistics of the commonwealth may be more accurately kept, and there may be less waste in use, but it is not supposed that there is any diminution in the free use of the beverage which has always characterized the antipodean colonist. One important factor in keeping down the amount per person is the substitution in use, which for a generation has been in progress, of the stronger teas of India and Ceylon for the old-fashioned weaker produce of China. The progressive increase in the consumption of tea in Great Britain and Ireland during 50 years from 1836 to 1886 is shown in the table below. The dotted line represents the average monthly consumption in each year; the fluctuations in price of good sound China congou are traced by the black line; and the years in which reduced customs duty came into operation are indicated along the base. From 1860 onwards, the amount of Indian tea entered for home consumption is shown in monthly average by a black column. This column brings out the remarkable fact that the Indian tea alone consumed in 1886 equalled the consumption of all kinds in 1860, and was double the quantity of all kinds in 1836. The table, however, shows merely the general development of con British Guiana .... 8d.

Bulgaria 44d. plus 44d. ex - cise and octroi I id.

Chile 9d.

Cyprus 4d.

Denmark .. 4d.

Ecuador 22d.

Egypt 8% ad val.

Fiji 6d.

Gibraltar.. Free.

Greece I id.

Grenada 6d.

Honduras 22d.

Italy 'id.

Jamaica IS.

Lagos 1 d.

Malta Free.

Mauritius 3d.

Mexico 6d. .

Morocco 10% ad val. Newfoundland 33% ad val.

Nigeria rod.

Norway Is.

U O N d ? ? 0 ?





a N




v- c°

¦ FIG. 5.

that much of the yield of 1906 was afloat or undespatched at the close of that year.

The following table gives the approximate rates of duty per English lb during 1907 in places not referred to above:- Austria and91d. imported by Belgium Free.

Hungary ? sea, by land IId. Bermuda 64% ad val.

Bahamas 6d. Brazil 50% ad val.

Barbados 3d. and 20% ad British E.

val. Africa 10% ad val.

sumption, but a similar one on next page, bringing the figures up to 1907, shows the gradual and almost total displacement of China tea by that grown in the English dependencies. In both, the price fluctuations and fiscal changes are shown that their effect upon consumption may be judged. The prices below are the annual averages for all Indian teas sold in the London public auction market during the years stated. Lowness of price has not been the only factor in increasing the rate of consumption. The lean years and the fat years of the general labour market always tell, and the low range 127¦??r??1: !1??1. ' ! 1 3 2 of prices for sugar during recent times has undoubtedly assisted in increasing the amount available for expenditure on tea. In Russia tea costs more to the consumer than in any country where modern transit by railway and steamer exists. The reason is the enormous proportion of the retail selling price which is exacted by the government by way of duty. But in return the government, with a paternal care for its people, makes absolutely certain that the tea reaches their hands as pure and unadulterated as when it first entered the country. Russian tea has always had a high reputation - largely a sentimental one, however. The quantity taken by the country is very large, but when spread over the enormous population the rate of consumption per person is not great. The extreme poverty of the great body of the people and the high price doubtless explain this. The method of use differs much from that followed in England. The samovar, or urn for boiling the water, is always much in evidence. Tea that makes a dark, strong liquor is preferred - not that such liquor is used, but that the greatest possible quantity of tea-coloured water may be drained from the teapot by refilling it over and over again from the samovar. The tea is generally drunk from glasses and while very hot, with a liberal addition of sugar and a flavouring of lemon. The method of use is Indian Tea Ceylon Tea China Tea ° wvwy Jaua. Tea ------- FIG. 6. - Diagram showing the alterations in the relative proportions of different growths of tea consumed during the 21 years ended the 31st of December 1907; the variations in the London average prices for Indian teas, and the changes in the English rate of duty. Vertical lines show the average monthly consumption in Great Britain and Ireland in millions of pounds. The diagonal line shows the average price per lb of all Indian tea sold in the London public auctions.

probably a more healthy one than that followed in many parts of the United Kingdom, where strong infusions of powerful teas are indulged in too frequently.

The United States of America and the great colonial dependencies follow generally the English way of using the beverage.

France, considering that it is England's nearest neighbour, has a remarkably small tea consumption: 06 lb per person per annum, or about i hth only of the English rate. The increase in consumption there has been so small that it probably arises mainly from the increasing number of English and English-colonial visitors that spend portions of each year in the country.

Germany, and the Germanic peoples, take slightly more per person, but the statistics are rather indefinite. Holland, in Europe, comes next to England, and uses principally the product of her dependency Java. The other nations of Europe are very small consumers. Some of the peoples of eastern Europe take their tea with an admixture of rum. In Morocco and generally throughout North Africa there is a considerable demand for green tea, which is drunk hot out of glasses, the liquor being almost saturated with sugar and strongly flavoured with mint.

In China and Japan tea is generally drunk without any other qualifying or flavouring addition. Exceedingly delicate teas can therefore be used unimpaired. In Japan the ceremony of serving tea has, among the better classes, been raised to a high art, which the girls have to study at school for protracted periods.

In Mongolia and other parts of Central Asia tea is made into a kind of soup, somewhat on the lines of the following written regarding tea in Tibet by Colonel Waddell in his book Lhasa and its Mysteries. Writing of the Tibetan he states: "As a beverage he drinks, all day long, cupfuls of, hot buttered tea, which is really a soup or broth made by boiling tea-leaves with rancid butter and balls of dough, and adding a little salt, and straining - a decoction which was invariably nasty to our taste, though no doubt it is wholesome; for it is not merely a stimulating hot drink in the cold, but overcomes the danger of drinking unboiled water in a country where the water supply is dangerously polluted." Geography of Tea. - The successful commercial production of tea on a large scale is confined to a strictly limited area enclosed by about 40° of latitude (5° S. to 35° N.) and about 73° of longitude (67° to 140° E.), while the consumption shows itself to a large extent to have strictly geographical limitations. The southern hemisphere ranks lightly in the matter of consumption, the only other country worth mentioning there besides the Australasian and Cape dependencies being Argentina. A straight line of latitude runs through all of these. In the northern hemisphere (excluding the races who consume their own produce) the material consumption of tea is in regions lying 40° N. and above it, but here there is an interesting subdivision to be made. In the United States of America and Canada, in some portions of Europe and of Asia, and along the north of Africa, there is a free use made of green or unfermented teas with pale, pungent infusions. The demand for such, as a general rule, lies principally in lower latitudes, while the farther north the consumer lives he seems to require more of the black or fermented tea of India, Ceylon or China, with the dark, thick, heavy liquor its infusion produces.


In the early part of the 19th century the tea shipped to England was destined to supply many countries, as London was then, and until comparatively recent times, the common warehouse and central market for the world, and England the common carrier. Throughout that century fairly steady and rapid progress was shown - especially in its earlier periods - in the trade from China, which reached its maximum in 1879. And it is here that some of the romance of commerce comes in. As the trade grew in importance, the advantages of rapid transit for the tea of new season's production began to be appreciated, and the slow and stately progress of the old East Indiaman became out of date. A type of vessel, specially designed for the rapid carrying of tea from China to England via the Cape of Good Hope, was introduced, known as the "China Clipper," and the competition was always keen as to which ship should make the most rapid passage. This culminated in the year 1866, when nine ships sailed almost simultaneously from Foochow, three of them crossing the bar in company. These three were all built by the same builders in. Greenock, and came in ahead of all the others, making the long voyage of fully 16,000 m. in 99 days. They each docked in a separate dock in London upon the same day, and all within two hours of each other. The two leading ships had not seen each other for 70 days and met off the Lizard, from which point they ran a neck-and-neck race before a strong westerly wind, with every rag of canvas set.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 soon changed the course of all trade with the East, and in a few years the sending of tea per sailing ship round the Cape of Good Hope was a thing of the past. Romance was no more, although there was extreme competition in building steamers with great power and speed to land their cargoes rapidly by the new route. This reached its height in 1882, when the s.s. "Stirling Castle" made the phenomenal run, for those times, of 28 days from Woosung to London.

But England, which formerly supplied almost everything to her own colonies and to many foreign countries besides, has, under the modified conditions of abundant steam tonnage everywhere, become less and less of a distributive country. Consequently, direct shipments are made now from the countries of production to those of consumption. America gets its tea largely through its western seaboard from China, Japan, Ceylon and India, while not a little is reaching it of recent years by steamers running direct from those countries via the Suez Canal to New York. The Australian demand is fed by steamers from Calcutta and Colombo, with some additions direct from China and Java.

The extensive Russian trade is now largely conducted over the Siberian railroad, and this, next to the transit to London, represents the largest volume of tea traffic passing in one channel. This route has displaced much of the protracted caravan business through Manchuria and Mongolia. A most interesting and adventurous episode in connexion with Russian trade was the effort repeated over several successive years by the late Captain Wiggins to convey tea entirely by sea from Chinese ports around the North Cape and through the Kara Sea to the Obi and Yenisei rivers. When successful, the journey, although about seven times the mileage of the old direct caravan route, took four months instead of eighteen, and was of course much less expensive.

The only protracted camel or mule caravan journeys remaining in connexion with the tea trade are those in Persia and Morocco, where the conservatism of race delays the introduction of even wheel roads, not to mention railways.



8 °

1 I -1111 I ' 24 a 4 4° 60 s° Tea Adulteration. - In the earlier days of the tea trade, adulteration, especially prior to importation, was frequent, because the prices obtainable made it remunerative. Now, intentional adulteration is practically non-existent, chiefly because of the fact that in the places of production the price obtainable is so low that any possible adulterant would be too costly to collect. Most countries have a close check upon this at the time of importation, and the customs authorities in Great Britain submit to analysis all samples of a doubtful character. Impure teas are not permitted to pass into consumption, but the quantity condemned after analysis as unfit for food in the year 1906 was 41 packages, out of a total of 317,000,000 lb.

Effect on Health

The effect of the use of tea upon health has been much discussed. In the days when China green teas were more used than now, the risks to a professional tea-taster were serious, because of the objectionable facing materials so often used. In the modern days of machine-made black tea, produced under British supervision, both the tea-taster and the ordinary consumer have to deal with a product which, if carefully converted into a beverage and used in moderation, should be harmless to all normal human beings. There has been constant controversy as to whether China tea is better than that of other growths, but the verdict first of all of Great Britain, and subsequently of all the other large consuming countries, has relegated the produce of the Celestial Empire to a very subordinate position. A limited section of medical opinion has recommended China tea for reasons of health, and undoubtedly the inferior strength it possesses reduces the risk arising from improper use, but it also reduces the stimulating and comforting effects the ordinary tea-drinker hopes to experience. Next to water, tea is the beverage most widely in use throughout the world as regards the number of its votaries as well as the total liquid quantity consumed.


The statistics given are taken as far as possible from official returns, and where such are unavailable they have been carefully compiled from reliable data.

The literature of tea is very copious, but scattered in pamphlet form to a great extent. In addition to the books quoted in the text, the following may be mentioned: - Bontekoe, Tractat van het excellenste Kruyd Thee (The Hague, 1679); Sylvestre Dufour, Traites Nouveaux et Curieux du Café, du The, et du Chocolat (2nd ed., Lyons, 1688; translation of 1st edition by John Chamberlayne, London, 1685; translations also in Spanish and Latin); J. G. Houssaye, Monographie du The (Paris, 1843); Robert Fortune, Three Years' Wanderings in China (London, 1847); Id., A Journey to the Tea Countries of China (London, 1852); S. Ball, Tea Cultivation in China (London, 1848); J. J. L. L. Jacobson, Handboek voor de Kultuur en Fabrikatie van Thee (3 vols., 1843); S. A. Schwarzkopf, Dienarkotischen Genussmittel - i. Der Thee (Halle, 1881); Lieut.-Colonel E. Money, Cultivation and Manufacture of Tea (3rd ed., London, 1878); F. T. R. Deas, Young Tea Planter's Companion (London, 1886). See also parliamentary papers and official publications of Indian government; Monographs on brick tea, Formosa tea and other special studies, prepared for the Tea Cess Committees of India and Ceylon; Journals of the Royal Asiatic Society, Journal of the Society of Arts, Geographical Journal, Tea and Coffee Trade Journal (New York), &c. For practical planting details, see Tea; its Cultivation and Manufacture, by David Crole (1897), with a full bibliography; also Rutherford's Planter's Handbook. For scientific aspects see Chemistry and Agriculture of Tea, by M. Kelway Bamber (1893). (J. McE.)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also tea




Short form of Dorotea (Dorothea). Cognate with Scandinavian and English Thea.

Proper noun


  1. A female given name.

Related terms


Proper noun


  1. A female given name shortened from Dorotea ( =Dorothea).


Related terms

Simple English

File:Tea leaves steeping in a zhong čaj
Tea leaves steeping in a Chinese gaiwan.

Tea is a drink that is popular all over the world. It is made by soaking the dried leaves or flowers of the plant Camellia sinensis in hot water. Tea can have other herbs, spices, or fruit flavours in it, like lemon.

Sometimes the word "tea" is used for other drinks that have been made by soaking fruit or herbs in hot water, like "rosehip tea" or "camomile tea".

Types of tea

There are two main types of tea: black and green tea.

To make black tea workers take the leaves and spread them out on shelves where they can dry. Next they are rolled and broken into pieces and put into a room where they absorb oxygen. Chemical reactions change the taste and style of the tea. Finally the leaves are dried with hot air until they turn brown or black. Most black tea comes from Sri Lanka , Indonesia and eastern Africa.

Green tea is made by putting freshly picked leaves into a steamer. This keeps them green. Then they are crushed and dried in ovens. India is the biggest maker and user of green tea.[1]

Tea is mainly grown in China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, Australia, Argentina and Kenya.

Tea can also be used as another word for an afternoon meal (mostly in the Commonwealth countries), as in "I am having tea in a short while." The word also applies to "Afternoon tea", a meal served sometimes, usually featuring sandwiches, cakes and tea.


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