The Way of Tea …

A Taste for Tea – 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 tea …

1. Kettle:

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

3. Tea Cups
Here are examples from my own two sets …

Ceramic or,

Cast Iron

4. Tea Caddy

For storing quality teas,
reserve one tea caddy for one type of tea …

A Gaiwan .. Chinese Tea Cup

A Summary HISTORY of Tea in Britain

The 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 began 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 give their Chinese tea to the British.
China expelled them.

The British refused to leave, and called in military.
This is how a ‘great’ nation becomes “great” –
invasion, subjugation, imperial tyranny.
And ‘war’ for any nation
who does not want to ‘go along’ with the despotic invaders.

Chinese government officer Lin Zexu wrote to Queen Victoria
to inform her of what British drug runners were doing;
and demanded that Britain stopopium trade into China.

Her Majesty was not amused.

China asked Portugal to expel British from Macao, which they did,
whereupon the British fled to Hong Kong;
called in the military fleet which promptly bombarded Guangzhou
and continued on in a swath of destruction and carnage towards Shanghai.

Emperor had no choice but to ‘retract’ his opposition to Opium.

Britain then demanded ‘redress’ – in which China paid a
(somewhere around) 10 million pound equivalent in wealth;
and were forced to give British Hong Kong,
as well as five mainland ports
in which they could freely “trade” (drugs, amongst other items).

A sobering reminder of how “great” men (and their nations)
actually become “great”.

A Taste for Tea – Defining Tea

Raspberry Tea

Tea – – – It is not so much the actual drink
brewed from the leaves of Camilla senensis
or even South African Rooibos …

but more,
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 – loose leaf and tea bags:

they are not ‘the same tea’.

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 ‘bits’,
the leaf particles,
the dust,
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.

Liquorice Rooibos

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. )

STORING TEA

Humidity and Light will spoil tea
Optimum Temperature for storage should be
‘room temperature’ – about 22 degrees Centigrade.

A specialised Tea Caddy provides the optimum storage
for high quality tea.

Tea is a drink for those of a self disciplined
and contemplative mind; it is for those who refuse to
follow the masses in their frenetic rush to pursue greed,
ambition, and vanity.

Whether you appreciate tea,
or would like to cultivate the practice,
I hope that the thoughts offered here
will have been of some interest.

Sincerely,

P Livingstone