Tea – Creektee Cafe
Who discovered tea?
Legend has it that tea ws first discovered in 2737 BC by the Chinese emperor and herbalist, Shennong who was sitting under a tree while his servant boiled water for him to drink.
Some dead leaves from the tree blew into the water causing it to turn a brownish color.
This went unnoticed by the servant and he proceeded to serve the beverage to the emperor.
Resting peacefully beneath the tree he began to sip his water.
He found the taste was unique and refreshing and continued to use it and to share it with others. It became popular among his people and its popularity soon spread across the land.
Being a herbalist he was pleased to have discovered a new use for this plant. S imply hot water with a herb in it!
Credit for the discovery of this drink went to the emperor
It became known as chaa the beverage that we know as tea.
How its grown
The tea plant is an evergreen shrub that is native to Southwest China and East Asia. It is called the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant gives us six varieties of tea, black, green, white, oolong, herbal and rooibos tea.
There are the two main types of tea plants China bush and Assam.
China bush, is a hardier plant which prefers cooler temperatures while the Assam bush prefers a warm and humid climate.
The Assam bush was discovered in 1826 close to the Indian state of Assam.
While many countries cultivate tea, the main producers are China, India and Sri Lanka.
Left unattended the plants can go to an amazing height of 52 feet, However for ease of picking they are kept at a waist high level.
Plants are pruned constantly during their growing season to encourage new shoots . Pruning is done by hand, picking just the top two leaves.
The leaves of the plants are not harvested until the plant reaches an age of 3 years. The leaves are then harvested by hand so as not to damage the delicate leaves and to preserve the quality . They are leaves harvested into large wicker baskets and then transported to the processing plant.
The processing plants are located right on the plantations. Ready to be processed the leaves then go through several stages. Those stages are withering, rolling, fermentation and drying.
About 4 percent of the solids in fresh leaf is caffiene.
Classification of the tea is determined during the manufacturing process.
There are three categories for classification:
- Fermented which gives us black tea.
- Unfermented, which results in green tea.
- Semifermented which produces oolong tea
Harvests occur twice a year. in spring and again in summer.
Tea or Coffee?
America by far drinks the most coffee despite the fact that tea is more popular and widely consumed worldwide. Tea is the national drink of China and India with both countries having populations topping a billion people.
Like coffee, tea can be hot or iced and comes in a variety of blends. So it is really up to your taste buds. I find people have a strong preference to either one or the other. You are either a coffee lover or a tea enthusiast. No matter which one, gives you that morning wake up call or warms you up on that cold blustery day, pick your favorite mug, sit back and enjoy!
“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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