We seriously doubt there’s a human being on this planet who doesn’t know tea; this aromatic beverage is made with powdered tea leaves mixed with hot water. The correct name for the tea plant is Camellia Sinensis, which is found in East Asia between southern China and northern Myanmar; tea can be prepared in so many ways, hot and cold and with the addition of herbs & spices, distinct flavours are created.
Tea is discovered
While we can’t be sure when the qualities of tea were discovered by humans, we do know that tea was consumed around 2700 BC and in Yunan, tea was used as a medicine. It is thought that the first interaction with tea was chewing the leaves; it is a natural instinct to try everything when you live in a natural environment, so it’s no surprise that people picked a few leaves to chew when going on a journey.
This was a time when tea was used creatively; unoxidised leaves were stirred in a hot, dry pan, then rolled and dried in the air, which stops the oxidisation process. The interest in tea carried through to the Yuan and Ming Dynasties and different preparation methods were discovered. Today there are many types of tea, Assam tea being a popular one that is traditional with a full English breakfast.
Tea goes global
In the 16th century, tea found its way to Europe, thanks to the Dutch East India Company, which was commissioned to transport the cargo. European aristocracy fell in love with tea and ships brought tea to all major European cities, where it was eagerly consumed. In 16th century England, tea was served on special occasions such as religious festivals and it certainly wasn’t consumed by the working class.
In the 18th century, enterprising people flooded England with tea, which introduced this wonder drink to the ordinary people and that was the start of a love affair that is still going strong some 300 years later. Tea is without a doubt the national drink of the UK; just about every household has tea in the pantry and most partake daily.
If you are an avid tea fan who would like to sample a few varieties, search online for an Australian supplier of tea, herbs and spices. Order some samples and then you can place a bulk order of your favourite.
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