Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. There are over 3,000 varieties. Drinking for thousands of years and its consumption has spread to almost every country in the world.
The Spanish term "tea" derives from the Amoy dialect of Chinese, which is pronounced "tai". Emerged from the first contacts between Dutch and Chinese traders at the port of Amoy in Fujian Province.
According to Chinese legend, was the Emperor Shen Nung and scholar who discovered the beneficial properties of tea. One of its rules had been the wise provision that, during his reign, all water intended for human consumption was previously boiled.
They say that one day, when Shen Nung was resting next to a wild tea tree, a light breeze shook the branches, with such good fortune, some leaves fell in the water was boiling. The resulting infusion seemed delightfully refreshing and restorative and that was how he discovered the tea.
At that time, the infusion was prepared as a medicine and tonic, with leaves of wild trees. To adjust supply to meet increasing demand and ensure a regular harvest, farmers began to cultivate
tea bushes in their small properties and has developed a system for drying and manufacture.
The popularity of tea grew rapidly in China. Was given as a present to the emperor and began to meet in taverns, wine shops and inns. Even pressed pellets were used as barter in trade relations with the Turks.
tea merchants got rich and the potters, silversmiths and blacksmiths began to produce elegant items to take, which were an indicator of wealth and social status of owners.
The "golden age" of the tea is the time of the Tang dynasty. The tea was not only a medicinal tonic, but was drunk for its restorative properties, as for pleasure.
During this period align=justify>
which shows clear influences from the philosophy of Zen and Taoism. How to prepare tea, so poetic and beautifully described by Lu Yu, who saw in it a model of order and harmony that prevails in all things, it was subsequently introduced into Japan, because practitioners of Buddhist monks Zen
During the Tang dynasty, the collected leaves were boiled to steam, is crushed and mixed with prune juice, to obtain a compact paste is introduced into molds, where it is pressed to form a kind of pills that are baked to be dry. To prepare an infusion, are roasted until the tablet in order to soften ground and boiled the dust. The most common flavors are obtained by adding water to the sweet onions, ginger, orange peel, cloves or mint
Later, during the Song dynasty, is the preferred subtle aromas of essential oils of jasmine, lotus and chrysanthemum.
The impact tea has had on the history and culture of the Chinese people is enormous. Among the most remarkable aspects is its influence on the development of one of the most important traditional industries Chinese porcelain. Although the art of porcelain had been invented during the Tang dynasty, it was during the Song dynasty, when it was refined and characterized it for good.
Tea became a vehicle for spirituality and transcendence. However, its glory ended dramatically in 1279 when, under the command of Genghis Kahn, the Mongol hordes conquered Beijing and later managed to seize the whole country.
invaders were little interested in the culture and local customs. The ruling elite was immune to the subtleties and refinements of tea and it became a food more. The Mongols took it with cream, with rice or dried fruits. In fact, when Marco Polo came to China, even rioja andalusia once made indispensable ritual of tea. In his writings, describes the splendours of Chinese cities, but there is no reference to tea.
On the death of Kublai Khan, Genghis nephew began to govern China in the Ming Dynasty who attempted to revive the ancient splendors. S returned to practice the tea ceremony, while the manufacture of porcelain known a new boom. It was at this time when he invented the manufacturing process of green tea, as is still used at present.
In 1644, China was again conquered, this time by the Manchus, who established the Quing Dynasty, which would remain in power until 1912. During the domination Quing, different methods were invented to control the fermentation of tea, which resulted in black and Oolong varieties. Since then, the varieties of tea rose in a ceaseless.
But the fact is irreversible, at least in China, tea and never again to be regarded as a refined elixir, capable of stimulating poetry and spirituality more subtle. Became the popular drink par excellence, as it still remains today.
The Japanese never fully accepted the legend of the discovery of tea by the Chinese emperor Nong Sen. For them, the secrets of the tea were brought from India to China by Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism
is said that upon arrival in Guangzhou, we offer a cell Bodhidarma a temple in the mountains. He wished to stay awake and meditating nine years, but years later the dream it up. Upon waking up, disgusted by his weakness, the eyelids are pulled and furious, threw to the ground. In the place where they had fallen, was a plant, testimony both to the weakness and the sacrifice of Bodhidharma. Thus, the Zen monks recommend chewing the leaves shaped lid of this plant to stay alert during meditation.
is believed that the first seeds for cultivation led Dengyo Daishi, a monk who was studying in China and his return to the land planted in the monastery. Five years later, was made with an infusion of tea plantations to its first emperor Saga, who seem to like it so much that I ordered tea is grown in five provinces around the capital.
When relations between China and Japan deteriorated, the tea was no longer appreciated and consumed in the Japanese court, as a Chinese product. Early in the twelfth century, the situation improved and a Japanese monk named Eisai was the first to visit China. Turn, brought more tea seeds and the teachings of Zen Buddhism
consumption of tea and Buddhist beliefs evolved in parallel and the Japanese developed a complex and unique ceremony. To date, the Japanese tea ceremony, cha-no-yu, means a defined model of behavior designed to create a silent interlude during which the host and the guests are trying to revitalize itself spiritually and achieve harmony with the universe.
The tea ceremony captures the essential elements of artistic beauty and the Japanese philosophy. It combines four basic ideas: the harmony with people and with nature, respect for others, purity of heart and mind, and tranquility. The ceremony, which can last up to four hours, usually held at home in a special room designated for this purpose, or what is known as a "tea house".
The arrival of tea to Europe
trade with the East had always been centered in Venice. To this city came the exotic oriental treasures, mainly silk, dyes and spices, to be exchanged for European goods. Arab merchants were pioneers in coming to China with their caravans and the first news of the tea that Europeans knew they were transmitted.
When the Portuguese Vasco da Gama was able to realize the old dream of reaching China by sea, an established business relationship with China based in Macau. The Spanish, Dutch and English were incorporated into this new trade route, being received with great coolness provided by the Chinese authorities.
Dutch navigator Jan van Linschooten published an account of his travels to Japan, which detailed the Japanese tea ceremony. In 1606, the Dutch East Indies to Europe took the first shipment of tea from China.
By 1630, the high society of London, Amsterdam and Paris was completely andalusia tea aficionado. With the reduction of prices in the following decades, the tea was conquering all European countries, but many of them was a passing fad. Germany, for example, quickly returned to its traditional drink: beer. France, Spain and Portugal returned andalusia andalusia coffee and wine. However, in England, Ireland and Russia, the tea is here to stay.
is said that Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, was the one who had the idea of tea at five in the afternoon to avoid the hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. For its part, the Earl of Sandwich had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread, the sandwich that bears his name in English. This combination of tea and sandwiches soon served as a pretext for social gatherings.
Coffee Garraway of London was the first public institution in which tea was served. Its owner and announced the new and exotic beverage: "Turn the body, relieves headaches and heaviness, removes obstructions of the spleen, kidneys and debugging is beneficial to the calculations, facilitates breathing and protects the dreams of heavy alert the brain and enhances memory. "
Over time, tea became a popular drink, absolutely essential and vital part of culture in the British Isles. He was tied to the entertainment of young people, being famous teas dancers, who declined a bit during the Second World War, but in some regions remain to this day.
At first, all the tea consumed in England was provided by the Dutch, but the British finally decided to import them. Queen Isabella established the East India Company. Their ships, heavily armed to defend themselves against the pirates began to sail the seas of the South, bringing amounts of tea in China increased. His power was enormous, over 150 years to monopolize all trade with China English.
The British realized that their trade with China it was highly unprofitable. The imports of silk, porcelain and tea exceeded exports of wool, spices and some other minor products. The difference was big money. Therefore, in 1773 launched a plan to fan of Indian opium to China. The success was immediate.
Soon addiction to opium to offset the balance in the opposite direction of the treasure chests and Chinese began to empty. To stop the havoc caused opium among its people, the emperor in 1800 banned the trade, but the British ignored. In 1839 the Chinese authorities confiscated 20,000 boxes of opium in the port of Guangzhou. The British attacked the Chinese, thus initiating the first of four in the opium wars.
After each, the Chinese were forced to pay heavy reparations and to sign an armistice increasingly unfavorable. But misfortune for the Chinese did not end there. Was emerging on the horizon and what would end its monopoly over many centuries on the trade of tea: plantation in India.
In 1823, a native of northern India offered him a greater infusion andalusia Robert Bruce, of the garrison of Assam. Convinced that this was anything other than tea, asked to be shown the plant source and immediately sent a sample to the botanical gardens of Calcutta, where he was classified as Camellia assamica.
In 1838, a consignment of Assam tea arrived in London, causing the most enthusiastic praise from the experts, then starting from a real "fever tea" in India.
also prospered on the island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, who had been a major producer of coffee, until a blight destroyed all the crops. So, farmers decided to opt for their tea. Currently, Sri Lanka is the third largest producer of tea in the world.
Due to modern farming methods established by the British and the mechanization of production processes, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century Indian tea exports had overtaken the Chinese, India remained until today as the largest producer and exporter of tea.
infusion officially came to Russia when the Chinese ambassador to Tsar Alexis gave him several chests of tea.
In 1689, Russia and China signed a treaty establishing its borders and trade agreements. To keep out the foreigners, the Chinese demanded that all transactions are carried out at a border post, about 2000 kilometers away from Beijing and Moscow 5000. The tea was loaded on mules through rugged mountains and then through the Gobi desert, was transported by a caravan of camels. Russians unloaded and loaded the camels skin with tea and silk, traveling
back through Mongolia and Siberia, for a year.
Because of this, the tea in Russia was a luxury item, until the inauguration of the Trans-Siberian railway in 1800 led to a drastic reduction in prices and the whole Russian people became a fervent devotee of the tea, remains as at present.
Tea transported on the backs of camels was not in wooden chests, but sacked. The smoke from the camps would slowly permeate the tea, giving it a special aroma, a little smoky, which was for many years the hallmark of Russian tea.
The tea was very popular among the English who settled the new American cities, especially Boston. But in 1773 an event occurred that forever changed the history of tea in the United States. Some settlers, known as "Sons of Freedom," to protest the high taxes on tea, dress up like Indians and a major water shed load of tea that was on board a ship of East India Company , anchored at the port of Boston. England
infuriated and retaliated because apparently tea taxes were intended precisely to the military garrisons of the colony. The fact is that the "Boston Tea Party" or "Boston Tea Party," as the incident is known, was one of the events that triggered the war of independence from the United States.
After the "Boston Tea Party," all patriots have changed the tea for the coffee, so unlike what happened in other countries colonized by Britain, consumption of tea in the U.S. was always minimal, but recently has become fashionable green tea, recommended as a healthy drink.
In 1904 appeared in the United States two inventions that would revolutionize casual forever the tea trade in the Western world.
In that year, the New York merchant Thomas Sullivan sent samples of its clients blends muslin tea bags. The surprising ease with the preparation of the tea bags with those made in a few weeks
received hundreds of orders. The first to patent a teabag was Thomas Lipton.
Moreover, in the St. Louis World Fair, Richard English Blenchynden offered tea at their booth in India. Due to the intense heat prevailing, the sales were not developing as he expected, so he came to serve the tea with ice. The success was instant iced tea, creating a flourishing industry.
Types of Tea
All teas come from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, a perennial plant of the family of the camellias growing in subtropical climates. They are classified into three types, depending on how the process: black, green and Oolong. 3000 varieties of tea are due to differences such as climate, region and soil conditions.
Green tea is unfermented. The leaves are heated with steam, allowing the color and flavor are as close as possible to those of green tea leaves.
The black tea is obtained by grinding freshly harvested leaves and leaving them exposed to air. The fermentation process changes the color of the leaves from green to brown and, once dry, black, producing a delicious flavor and deep color.
processing tea oolog is equal to that of black tea, except that the enzymatic processing time is shorter, resulting in a color and a taste intermediate between green tea and black.
The flavored teas are the result of mixing tea and processed with spices, herbs, flower petals or fruit oils.
The flavored teas are the classics of jasmine and roses. Among the new flavored teas, there is great variety. The most popular are cherry, citrus, cinnamon, mint and fruit in the forest.
The Earl Gray, after 100 years, remains the most famous scented tea in the world. It is a mixture that is added to the essence of bergamot. Earl Gray is Gray Conde and said that was mixed by a Mandarin Chinese for this individual, who was British prime minister, in gratitude for having ended the monopoly of the East India Company.
tasting tea made by the tea brokers, who tasted before the auction. The taster is acting similar to the wine taster: Sorbe tea quickly, so it gets to the taste buds and then circulates the liquid in your mouth to appreciate the taste, before you miss a special cuspidor.
Great teas are packaged and sold cigars, are of excellent quality, with the name of the plantation. Other teas are mixed with other crops or production areas. The reason is that every tea plantation
, like wine, can vary in taste and quality from year to year. Some prefer pure teas and enjoy these subtle changes, while others prefer that every time you buy a type of tea, taste of the infusion is identical.
after water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Each day takes 1500 million cups of tea. Their preparation is open to the imagination and taste of each people.
In China, the most popular teas are green and flavored. In households always offer tea to visitors, and is served in restaurants before the meal and digestif. In factories and offices there are large kettles with boiling water and tea bags on each desktop. Farm workers are taking tea pots or gourds to take during the day.
Almost all traditional tearooms were closed during the Cultural Revolution, in which tea was considered a "leisure activity unproductive", but now the most famous rooms have been renovated and restored the popularity of old.
In Japan, tea is the preferred leaf green and thousands of men and women attending a special school to learn how to perform the tea ceremony. But things are changing, and many people drink black tea with milk, British style.
In Tibet, tea is considered a sacred gift and is prepared daily with great care. To prepare the green tea salt or tsampa, it grinds a piece of pressed tea, boil a few minutes in water, and gets mixed with yak butter, an animal resembling a cow, and salt. Served with a cake of barley or corn.
Tea is the favorite drink of the Indians. Served British style, or boiled with water, milk and spices. In street stalls sold very strong tea with sugar and milk. It is also taken at stations or on trains in India.
In Turkey, drink more tea than coffee, despite popular belief. Infusion, black and strong, and gets served in small glasses bent. It takes any time at home, in restaurants or at the office. Tea is so important in domestic life, the mothers find that the future daughter-in-law know how to prepare an infusion.
In Iran and Afghanistan, tea is the national drink. Green tea is drunk to quench thirst, while black tea is taken to come into heat, both with a lot of sugar. Diners sit with legs crossed on the floor mats and slurp some tea in a porcelain vessel colors.
In Russia, both green tea and black are made without milk, in glasses with a metal handle. Prior to slurp tea, the Russians put into the mouth or a lump of sugar a spoonful of jam.
The Egyptians are big tea drinkers, lovers of the infusion strong, sweet and without milk. In the coffee is served in glasses on a tray with a glass of water, sugar, mint and a spoon.
In Morocco, tea is served in glasses on a silver platter. In Moroccan homes, the man is responsible for serving tea and it does so from a certain height so that the surface of each cup of tea
is slightly frothy.
tea remains the favorite drink of the British, although its consumption is experiencing a slight decrease. The custom of adding milk to tea originated at the end of the seventeenth century and now, almost all the mixes for the UK market are designed to be taken with milk.
Caffeine is one of the most important components of the tea and serves as a gentle stimulant. All types of tea contain it, but green tea is less than the latter unless Oolong and black. Tea contains half the caffeine of coffee. The body quickly absorbs the caffeine from coffee, which causes an immediate increase in cardiovascular activity. In contrast, the effects of caffeine in tea are slower but are more durable.
tea makers say they can stimulate or calm, depending on the occasion. Others see it as a refreshing drink. These effects are apparently known as the "3're" Tea:
revives, relaxes and refreshes, summarized as "restoration."
The wisdom attributed to tea health benefits. The latest research has found that consumption contributes to a lower risk of heart disease, as it contains beneficial antioxidants called flavonoids, that help maintain healthy cells and tissues.
Tea contains no calories, but several vitamins and minerals, including fluoride, which helps protect tooth enamel from decay and strengthens bones.
In recent years there has been a growing interest in tea and increased demand for pure quality teas, which has led to increased variety in the market. Individual choice of tea must be based solely on personal preferences and tastes.
Those who prefer a lighter tea with a mild taste, opt for Oolong teas. For those who appreciate the fresh and aromatic qualities of green tea are great teas of China and Japan. Infusions fans will choose the strongest black tea.
As it and take it
The tea should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from strong odors, and absorbs flavors very easily.
quality tea bags has improved over recent years as some companies made with the pure high-quality teas, aware of the demand, given its convenience.
The tea bags provide a faster and stronger infusion, but without the sophistication and quality loose leaf tea. Lose their flavor and quality more quickly than loose leaf tea, the last two years kept up the bags and only 4 to 6 months.
The tea should be prepared with boiling water, not hot, since it requires a high temperature to extract the essence of the book.
Although the addition of milk to a cup of tea is a simple matter of personal taste, you should bear in mind that milk spoils the flavor of the tea light.
On the question of what should be served first in the cup, tradition insists that the milk should be to reduce the risk of break porcelain andalusia pouring hot tea. In addition, it mixes better. In any case, there are no strict rules.