Indispensible Instruments of Infusion
For those who might be new to the concept of Real Tea,
a brief over-view of the items that are needed
to infuse quality Black tea …
Boiling the water – for the ‘British’
method of brewing,
water should come off a rolling boil,
and will be around the 95 degree mark
when it hits the tea leaves.
2. A Quality Tea Pot
Whilst this one has an included infuser,
it is better still to allow the tea
full movement in the pot …
and use a strainer when pouring.
Pouring water from a high point
– hand and kettle held high,
allows the tea to move rapidly at the onset,
and continue to move freely and infuse properly.
The reliable British Standard (Brown) …
3. Tea Cups
Two examples from my own sets …
and Cast Iron
4. Tea Caddy
For storing quality teas,
reserve one tea caddy for one type of tea.
5. Tea Tools
for dispensing loose leaf tea.
A Taste for Tea – Defining Tea
Tea – – – It is not so much the actual drink
brewed from the leaves of Camilla senensis
or even South African Rooibos …
the period of time when the tea is being enjoyed,
that is meaningful to me.
It may be that you feel similarly.
I hope that – perhaps, in presenting the qualities
of real tea, I can encourage one or two people
to slow down and … MAKE time:
to prepare tea;
to take twenty minutes’ for thoughtful reflection;
to consider such questions as:
“Lying on my death bed, will whatever
I want to buy next … really matter?”
Tea (for me) is the act of meditating upon
what – honestly – is important in life.
I hope that these articles
may interest one or two folk enough
that they will Take The Time to isolate themself
from the mental and moral sewage of the TV
– or the mindless noise of the radio,
… and set aside part of a day to pause
long enough to … think.
Now, of course, it will not be a bad thing at all,
to define precisely what is meant, in these articles,
by the term … “tea”.
“Waste Disposal” or,
The BIN BAGS of Tea Production …
Let commercial, mass-production tea companies
say what they will:
there is — there most definitely is — a marked
and noticeable difference
between loose leaf tea … and tea bags.
Specifically for the purpose of preparing this article,
we purchased our regular breakfast tea,
along with that concession to impatience:
the (supposedly) ‘same’ tea …
in tea bag form.
I wanted to confirm (before composing this article),
what I and other tea aficionados
have long known to be true –
that loose leaf and tea bags:
are not ‘the same tea’.
Photo: A quality, specialised tea shop brand
of ‘Breakfast Tea” – loose and …
their “same” tea … in tea bag format …
In this sample (as in other comparisons made over the years)
the flavour of dust-like, bagged tea
bears no resemblance to the loose tea.
For anyone who may have always wondered,
please allow me to dispel any doubts:
There IS a difference between whole tea
and tea bags.
Yes – fair enough – tea bags may not be, literally,
the ‘sweepings off the floor’ …
but the fact of the matter is – really, little better.
When Black tea is picked, it is dried;
allowed to oxidize; and then inspected
in preparation for sale to tea-buyers.
Now – here is the fact:
In tea production,
the larger, best leaves and buds are selected
for quality tea buyers to purchase;
the leaf particles,
any bits of twig, chaff, or other refuse
that are picked or sieved out
and removed from the ‘choice’ tea crop
are ground together and crated
for use in … tea bags.
Commercial, western tea companies
may (?) be telling the truth when they vehemently insist that
their tea-bags are not made from “floor sweepings”
that are sold as cheaper tea by eastern tea warehouses …
… but what they ARE filled with,
is NOT the same quality as loose leaf tea.
Surely, common sense alone would be sufficient
to realise that tea-bags are cheap … for a reason?
And that reason is … Quality.
If you genuinely appreciate tea,
or want to appreciate tea,
do not imagine that tea bags represent … tea.
There IS a time and a place for tea bags:
of course there is !
Some of my most satisfying ‘meals’ have been
bread and cheese with a mug of tea
made from Yorkshire or Scottish Blend (teabags),
and enjoyed while sitting on a bale of straw,
in the shelter of the barn
during a thunderstorm.
But to appreciate tea … to share tea
with guests in your home:
The truth of the matter is …
there IS a difference.
The HEALTH BENEFITS of Tea
Tea is an anti-oxidant whose statins impede cholesterol
from being absorbed by the body.
It stimulates blood flow, which, in turn,
helps to prevent high blood pressure.
Tea helps to speed digestion
and helps raise the metabolism,
which facilitates the burning of fat.
Theanine, the Amino Acid found in Green Tea,
almost certainly produces an alert mind
whilst equally providing the very real sensation
of being relaxed.
( It will not be necessary to mention that Tea
– as with any aspect of daily life – is to be used
in moderation if its beneficial effects
are to promote all-round health.
Those who abuse herbs, food, or drink
will manifest side effects.
It will be self evident that, in such a case,
the fault lies with people – Not tea. )
Humidity and Light will spoil tea
Optimum Temperature for storage should be
‘room temperature’ – about 22 degrees Centigrade
A Summary HISTORY of Tea in Britain
As discerning men and women reach maturity,
they begin to realise that
not everything they were taught in school
was the truth.
Those whose consciences are activated by a moral standard
(rather than the disturbing-to-behold worship
of a piece of cloth mounted on a pole)
will even be offended
at the outright lies that they were taught
under the pretext of “history”.
In contrast, then, to the ‘history’ of “explorers” and “pioneers”
that I was taught as a British schoolboy in the 1960’s,
pause with me just long enough to quickly consider
the history … (the actual history) … of tea.
Tea found its way to Iran and Palestine
via the Silk Road trade route;
and from there, westward across the Mediterranean
as well as south into Arabia, Africa, and the Southern Ocean,
beginning somewhere around the first decade of the 1600’s.
The Opium Wars of the 19th century occurred
because Great Britain wanted tea –
which the Chinese would only sell in exchange for silver.
Greed and selfishness being the motivator
of all “successful” … “businessmen”,
the British did not want to deplete their supplies of silver
in order to get Chinese tea.
‘Superpowers’ achieve their ‘power’
by invading, stealing, and subjugating entire populations
to ‘western’ corruption and degradation:
which is precisely how Great Britain became ‘great’.
When it was made clear that the Qing government
was not interested in proffered British goods
(and insisted that tea be paid for in silver),
the British took it upon themselves
to began running drugs – specifically, Opium from India.
By the first decade of the 1800’s, Britain had succeeded
in creating a significant proportion of drug addicts … and therefore,
a “Need’ for their presence.
And when, in the late 1830’s, China banned
and then confiscated shipments of Opium
– and destroyed them,
the super-power – (rather than be filled with shame, remorse,
and a desire to respect another country’s rules and co-operate fairly);
and promptly initiated ‘war’ from which, they obtained
not only the ‘right’ to trade … but Hong Kong as well.
Chinese plants being superior to the wild,
naturally growing Assam of India,
it was at this time – the end of the 1830’s –
that the British began to grow tea in India
by using plants most probably out-rightly stolen from China,
by a thief named (ironically) ‘Fortune’.
‘British’ tea was born.
Privately owned (read, “corporation”) East India Company
exported vast quantities of tea to Britain
at the start of the 19th century after which,
the British government imposed a tea tax on the people.
IN 1773, the East India Company commenced
its highly successful endeavours
in the production of Opium via poppy cultivation.
Fifty years later, business was booming.
Ever chasing greed, the British East India Company
began taking Opium to China,
to the outrage of China’s government
who ordered them to stop.
Lord Napier endeavoured to coerce Chinese officials
to accept Opium and also give their Chinese tea
to the British.
China expelled them.
The British refused to leave, and called in
those who find glory in destruction:
the national death cult known as the military.
This is how a ‘great’ nation becomes “great” –
invasion, subjugation, imperial tyranny.
And ‘war’ against any nation who does not want to
‘go along’ with the despotic invaders.
All this while, of course,
continuing to run opium into China.
Chinese government officer Lin Zexu
wrote to Queen Victoria to inform her both
about what British drug runners were doing;
and demand that Britain stop the opium trade
Her Majesty was not amused.
( With the Chinese demands, that is:
nothing at all wrong with the drug-dealing
of the British East India company. )
China asked Portugal to expel British from Macao.
Which they did,
Whereupon the British fled to Hong Kong …
and called in the military fleet
which promptly bombarded Guangzhou
and continued on in a swath of destruction and carnage
Emperor had no choice but to ‘retract’
his opposition to Opium.
Britain then demanded ‘redress’ …
in which China paid a (somewhere around)
a 10 million pound equivalent in wealth;
as well as being forced to not only
give Hong Kong to the drug-dealing British,
but open an additional five mainland ports
in which they could freely “trade” (drugs
– amongst other items).
A sobering reminder of how “great” men
and “great” nations … become “great”.