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teapot.jpgRecently I read on another’s blog his puzzlement about tea viz. what does anyone see in it? Being a tea nut fanatic drinker, I feel obliged to rush to its defense. Most people have never tasted good tea. What goes into iced tea, or the nasty powdered bits in tea bags should not be compared to the real stuff. It is like comparing jug wine to first growth Bordeaux. “Real tea” means loose leaf tea, properly steeped, according to their properties. There are many different types and proper brewing instructions. The tea industry is not unlike the wine industry: there are ‘good years’ and terrior and white/red styles.

Tea has the advantage of being mild to moderately stimulating, relatively inexpensive, and with lots of medicinal properties. It is good for your health as well as enjoyable. How can you beat that? (No comments please from any of my brothers who are reading this and drinking nasty espresso)

There are five beverages that changed the world – beer, wine, tea, coffee, and coca-cola. The history of tea is fascinating as it shaped world history.

The English probably would not have gone to China and India as much as they did if there was no demand for tea. Did you know it was so important a commodity that the English traded opium for it? At first they used silver in exchange for tea. But with revolution in the New World, silver was cut off. The demand for tea accelerated. There was not enough silver. The solution emerged to exchange tea for opium.In 1758 Parliament gave the East India Company the monopoly on the production of opium in India. The British increased the export of opium by a 1000x up until 1830. All efforts by the Chinese government to curb the opium import failed. The Chinese burned the opium. War was declared. The “Opium War” of 1839-42 ended with Great Britain forcing China into all sorts of concessions including Hong Kong. The cumulative efforts of the mass addiction to opium and the political instability evolved into the massive mortality of the Taiping rebellion and later the Boxer uprising. Millions died.

For a pot of tea, Chinese culture was nearly destroyed.


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