A Short History of Tea

This post is written by Linus Hammarstrand:

Tea is the by far most popular drink in China, even though more and more Chinese are taking to drinking coffee, particularly as Starbucks and various native knock-offs are gaining in popularity. The origin of tea can be traced back to the Middle Kingdom and the Chinese have been drinking tea for close to 5 000 years. According to the legend, tea was invented as a drink by Shen Nong, the Divine Farmer, around 3 000 BC. According to legend, Shen Nong was very health-conscious and personally tested thousands of medicinal herbs to see which ones could benefit his people. Among these herbs, he found that the tea plant had numerous benefits, aside from its pleasant taste.

The tea plant is called Camellia Sinensis and is related to our own camellia, Camellia Japonica. In the wilds, the plant can grow to a height of up to 20 meters. In most plantations however, it seldom grows beyond two meters. The tea plant is evergreen and is currently grown in more than 40 countries. About 90% of all tea that is grown is grown in Asia and China is the oldest tea growing nation on the planet, with a tea tradition stretching back more than 2 000 years.

The Chinese word for tea, cha, is encountered in numerous languages. In Nepal, India and in the Middle East, it is typically referred to as Chai, whereas in Japan it still goes by its original name of cha. Etymologically, the English word tea can be linked to cha.

Tea drinking is typically something one typically connects with Japan, but it was not until the 8th century AD when it was introduced to Japan and the imperial court in Nara, from Tang dynasty China. In the 17th century, tea drinking spread to Europe through the care of Portuguese and then Dutch merchants. From Europe it spread to the New world and to the colonies.

England was one of the last seafaring nations to succumb to tea drinking and it was only through the influence of King Charles II, who grew up in Amsterdam and later married a Portuguese princess, that tea became introduced to the British nobility. From the nobles, tea drinking spread to the lower classes and it was mainly due to the commoners appetite for tea that the East India companies were founded. Some historians claim that the later Industrial revolution was fueled by the worker’s sumptuous consumption of tea with milk and sugar in it, which allowed them to work for long hours in the factories.

Tea can be divided into a number of types: green tea, Oolong and black tea. The difference lies in the degree of oxidation and fermentation. Oxidation happens when the tea leaves turn brown from lack of sap. Oxidation can be artificially induced by rolling the tea leaves so that the sap and the enzymes are freed. Through subsequent heating of the leaves, the oxidation process can then be stopped at any time. Tea, and especially green tea is known to contain copious amounts of antioxidants, as well as numerous vitamins and minerals. It thus constitutes a healthy drink of choice. Thus, next time you sit down to relax with a nice cup of tea, bear in mind not only that it is healthy, but also that it is a drink with a long history!

A Short History of Tea0Martin Lindeskog2012-06-25 15:06:57This post is written by Linus Hammarstrand:

Tea is the by far most popular drink in China, even though more and more Chinese are taking to drinking…

GOT Starbucks

Great news! Starbucks is coming to Gothenburg (GOT is the name for the Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport). I look forward to explore the range of Tazo tea products.

From Starbucks’s newsroom:

Starbucks Comes to Gothenburg

SSP will operate new Starbucks store at Gothenburg Central Station

Gothenburg: January 23, 2012 – Tomorrow, Starbucks will open its first store at Sweden’s Gothenburg Central Station. Starbucks licensed partner, SSP, will manage the day to day operations. This store is the first Starbucks store in Sweden located in a city centre and accessible to non-travelling customers. SSP opened the first Swedish Starbucks store at Arlanda airport in 2010.

“We are delighted to open our first store in this landmark location in Gothenburg,”said Arjan Oudejans, Director of Licensed Stores, Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We are grateful for the warm welcome we received at Arland airport and we are sure customers throughout the city will enjoy our coffees and the “third place” environment, a place between work and home to relax, meet friends and just be yourself over a great cup of coffee.”

The store will be located in the Central Station of Gothenburg, adjacent to the former entrance facing Nordstan. This new location will offer local customers, commuters and travellers high-quality coffee, innovative products an inviting and relaxed atmosphere and the legendary Starbucks Experience.

(http://news.starbucks.com/, January 23, 2012.)

GOT Starbucks0Martin Lindeskog2012-01-24 05:15:37Great news! Starbucks is coming to Gothenburg (GOT is the name for the Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport). I look forward to explore the range of Tazo tea…

The World of Fine Teas Blog

I recommend that you check out The World of Fine Teas Blog by Hartley E. Johnson, co-owner, Mark T. Wendell Tea Company. Here is an excerpt from the post, The Giants of the Tea Industry:

Tea is currently only the 7th most consumed beverage in the U.S. but it’s the most consumed in the world. As the U.S. is the leading consuming nation in the world, these market forces are converging and it won’t be long before tea overtakes coffee as America’s hot drink of choice. Starbucks and Tazo definitely have this goal in their sites and we can only imagine the endless possibilities that lay ahead of them.

(http://blog.worldoffineteas.com/, October 20, 2011.)

Mark T. Wendell Tea Company
Mark T. Wendell Tea Company

In the news: Is Tea the New Coffee? – The Motley Fool.

The World of Fine Teas Blog0Martin Lindeskog2011-12-10 01:36:05I recommend that you check out The World of Fine Teas Blog by Hartley E. Johnson, co-owner, Mark T. Wendell Tea Company. Here is an excerpt from the p…

Argo Tea – The Apple of Tea


Anita Hamilton
at TIME has written a great article titled “Teapuccino Anyone? How Argo Got Americans to Drink Tea

It’s about the tea café chain Argo Tea which was founded in June 2003 by Arsen Avakian.
Today, backed by Chicaco money, it’s the largest tea focused cafe chain.

The vision of Argo is to be the Apple of Tea:

“When I started Argo, I had the vision of being the Starbucks of tea, but in the last few years I realized that is no longer our inspiration,” he said. “Starbucks is more like PC—it’s old, less healthy and designed for everyone—and we want to be more like Mac: young, healthy, cool and a more unique, innovative brand.”

(http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100802/REAL_ESTATE/100809980#ixzz1a8CcxNVl)

Argo Tea – The Apple of Tea0Palle Frid Svensson2011-10-11 12:21:17
  by  steven n fettig 

Anita Hamilton at TIME has written a great article titled “Teapuccino Anyone? How Argo Got Americans to Drink Tea”

TANSTAAF Tea

Do you think that we should add a micro-donation widget like Flattr to our site in order to get a free cup of tea now and then? Have you heard about the Italian tradition called caffè sospeso?

Do you think that Jonathan’s Card is a slick marketing campaign endorsed by Starbucks, or is it the real deal? Here is an excerpt from Jonathan Stark’s post, Broadcasting Mobile Currency:

The next time I went to Starbucks, I launched the gallery app on my Nexus S and successfully paid for my venti Pike Place with the photo. In other words, I bought a coffee with a picture. The ramifications of this sorta blew my mind. I mean, I had just paid for physical goods with a digital photo.

In a very real sense, photos are becoming a form of currency. When you consider how easy it is to transport, send, and share photos and how hard it is to do the same with traditional forms of payment, this is pretty radical.

If this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, try this… download the following image to your device and use it to pay for your next Starbuck purchase. Seriously, try it. I’m broadcasting money.

(JohnatanStark.com, July 14, 2011.)

sbux-card

Jonathan Stark's coffee card

Image source: http://jonathanstark.com/card/

Food [Editor's comment: "Beverage"?] for thought reading material: “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

TANSTAAF Tea0Martin Lindeskog2011-08-10 14:56:03Do you think that we should add a micro-donation widget like Flattr to our site in order to get a free cup of tea now and then? Have you heard about t…