HistoryTea L. Golender, Tea, 2003

History of Tea

* Version to print

* What is Tea?

The leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of Camellia sinensis, cured by various methods, are infused in hot or boiling water. This beverage is called tea. The southwestern part of China is the native place of Camellia sinensis (tea trees) in the world and * Yunnan province is the center of China's tea tree origination. Then tea was developed mainly in * Canton(Guangdong, or Kwangtung, or Kuang-tung) and * Fukien(Fujian) regions.


* China *

* Japan *

* Sri Lanka (Ceylon)(the success of Thomas Lipton...) *

Europe *

Along the trade routes of antiquity went caravans with as many as 4,000 camels bearing spices and the rich merchandise of the East, plodding along from * Goa, Calicut and the Orient to spice markets in * Nineveh and * Babylon, * Carthage, * Alexandria and * Rome.

* The routes had been traveled for hundreds, almost thousands of years, bringing * pepper and * cloves from India, * cinnamon and * nutmeg from * the Spice Islands (or Moluccas), * ginger from China.

For hundreds of years frail ships clawed their way along the Indian coast, past * the pirate-infested * Persian Gulf, along the coast of South Arabia and through the Red Sea to Egypt. Those were typical ways of bringing spices from the Orient to the Western world in ancient times.

Suddenly European merchants realized these places could be reached by ship. Much of the mystery had had been removed from the lands of spicery, and Europe was awakened to a new quest.

* Venice *

* Portugal *

* Holland *

* England *

* Russia *

* America (tea bags, iced tea...)*

* Tea Shipping(Ships, Clippers...)*

Global Tea Plantations Develop

The Scottish botanist/adventurer * Robert Fortune, who spoke fluent Chinese, was able to sneak into mainland China the first year after * the first Opium War. His second journey to China was for the East India company to obtain the finest tea plants to establish plantations in India. He obtained some of the closely guarded tea seeds and made notes on tea cultivation. With support from the Crown, various experiments in growing tea in India were attempted. Many of these failed due to bad soil selection and incorrect planting techniques, ruining many a younger son of a noble family. Through each failure, however, the technology was perfected. Finally, after years of trial and error, fortunes made and lost, the English tea plantations in India and other parts of Asia flourished. The great English tea marketing companies were founded and production mechanized as the world industrialized in the late 1880's.

* Manufacture process

* Camellia sinensis, the common tea plant, was first cultivated in the 4th century CE, after wild specimens were brought to China from India. Actually an evergreen tree which may grow up to 50 feet, the domesticated plant is pruned to a bush-like state and kept at a height of five feet. After three to five years of growth, its leaves may be harvested to make tea. Today, women constitute the majority of pickers, and there is no machine that can exceed the 60 to 70 pounds of leaves per day that an experienced worker can collect. These 60 to 70 pounds of fresh leaves produce approximately 20 pounds of dry tea, or 2800 cups of tea.

All classes of tea come from the same plant. The different classes of tea (e.g. Black tea, Green tea, Pouchong tea, Oolong tea) are the result of differences in the tea manufacturing process, and not due to different types of tea plants. However, from experience, tea manufacturers have discovered that certain varieties, locations, and seasons tend to produce Camellia Sinesis (tea plants), which produce better qualities of certain classes of tea.

Production of Black Tea

  1. The tea leaves are withered for about 24 hours under controlled temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees farenheit.
  2. After the withering step, the procedures for orthodox and CTC (cut, tear, and curl) methods diverge. Following the orthodox method, the leaves are then gently rolled for 1 to 3 hours depending on the reduction in weight from withering in a machine to bruise, crush or thereby release the leaf's juices and chemicals. Using the CTC method the leaves are machine chopped into uniform and very small pieces. After that both methods similarly complete the process.
  3. The leaves are spread out in thin layers in a cool environment to oxidize; to preserve the liquor (briskness) of the final tea product, temperatures during this step should be below 70 degrees farenheit.
  4. The leaves are dried in oven-like machines which blow heat of approximately 200 degrees farenheit; the drying time is less for leaves that have been more fully withered during Step 1.

Production of Green Tea (basic Japanese method)

  1. Tea leaves are packed into large, revolving containers that are blasted with hot air; the leaves' moisture is reduced to about 60 percent.
  2. A machine is used to roll the leaves without further drying them.
  3. The leaves are again turned in a container until the moisture is reduced to about 30 percent.
  4. The leaves are rolled in a ridged trough until the moisture is reduced to 10 percent of its original level.


Oolong Tea Black Tea

One of the key steps in the tea manufacturing process, that determines the type of tea that is produced, is the degree of fermentation the tea leaves are allowed to undergo. The term fermentation when applied to tea is something of a misnomer, as the term actually refers to how much a tea is allowed to undergo enzymatic oxidation by allowing the freshly picked tea leaves to dry. This enzymatic oxidation process may be stopped by either pan frying or steaming the leaves before they are completely dried out. Teas are generally classified based on the degree of fermentation: a) Non-fermented, b) Semi-fermented, c) Fully-fermented.

* Black Tea

ThisRingSurf Tea With Friends Net Ring
owned by History of Tea.

|Previous | Next| Random Site|
Next5|List Sites|
We Have The Best Tea Sites. Please Join Our Little Friends For Tea.
R.S.V.P.Click Here.

Tea Leaf
Leaves of Tea
[Previous | Random site| Next]
Leaves of Tea Ring website
is owned by History of Tea

Welcome to all lovers of the leaf!
[ List all sites| Ring home | Join us! ]
The Pleasures of Herbs and Tea
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]
The History Ring
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]
The Tea Ring
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]
Click on the graphic to vote for this
page as a Starting Point Hot Site.

Flags courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.

Changing LINKS

Last updated : 23-Feb-09