TEA is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or
boiling water over cured leaves of the
Camellia sinensis , an
evergreen shrub native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely
consumed drink in the world. There are many different types of tea;
some teas, like
Darjeeling and Chinese greens, have a cooling,
slightly bitter, and astringent flavour, while others have vastly
different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral or grassy notes.
Tea originated in
Southwest China , where it was used as a medicinal
drink. It was popularized as a recreational drink during the Chinese
Tang dynasty , and tea drinking spread to other East Asian countries.
Portuguese priests and merchants introduced it to Europe during the
16th century. During the 17th century, drinking tea became
fashionable among Britons, who started large-scale production and
commercialization of the plant in
India to bypass the Chinese
The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs
made without the tea plant, such as steeps of rosehip , chamomile , or
rooibos . These are sometimes called tisanes or herbal infusions to
prevent confusion with tea made from the tea plant.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Origin and history
* 3 Cultivation and harvesting
* 4 Chemical composition
* 5 Processing and classification
* 5.1 Additions
* 5.1.1 Milk
* 5.1.2 Others
* 5.2 Pouring from height
* 6 Preparation
* 6.5 Premium or delicate tea
* 6.7 Cold brew and sun tea
* 6.8 Serving
* 8 Economics
* 8.1 Production
* 8.1.1 Labor and consumer safety problems
* 8.1.2 Certification
* 8.2 Trade
* 9 Packaging
* 9.2 Loose tea
* 9.3 Compressed tea
* 9.4 Instant tea
* 9.5 Bottled and canned tea
* 10 Storage
* 11 Gallery
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 External links
Etymology of tea 1885 illustration of Xiamen
(Amoy) by Edwin Joshua Dukes
Chinese character for tea is 茶, originally written with an
extra stroke as 荼 (pronounced tú, used as a word for a bitter
herb), and acquired its current form during the
Tang Dynasty . The
word is pronounced differently in the different varieties of Chinese ,
such as chá in Mandarin , zo and dzo in
Wu Chinese , and ta and te in
Min Chinese . One suggestion is that the different pronunciations may
have arisen from the different words for tea in ancient China, for
example tú (荼) may have given rise to tê; historical phonologists
however argued that the cha, te and dzo all arose from the same root
with a reconstructed pronunciation dra, which changed due to sound
shift through the centuries. There were other ancient words for tea,
though ming (茗) is the only other one still in common use. It has
been proposed that the Chinese words for tea, tu, cha and ming, may
have been borrowed from the
Austro-Asiatic languages of people who
inhabited southwest China; cha for example may have been derived from
an archaic Austro-Asiatic root *la, meaning "leaf". Most Chinese
languages, such as Mandarin and Cantonese, pronounce it along the
lines of cha, but Hokkien varieties along the Southern coast of China
and in Southeast Asia pronounce it like teh. These two pronunciations
have made their separate ways into other languages around the world.
Starting in the early seventeen century, the Dutch played a dominant
role in the early European tea trade via the Dutch East
. The Dutch borrowed the word for "tea" (thee) from
Min Chinese ,
either through trade directly from
Fujian or Formosa where they had
established a port, or from Malay traders in Bantam ,
Java . The
Dutch then introduced to other European languages this Min
pronunciation for tea, including English tea, French thé, Spanish
té, and German Tee. This pronunciation is also the most common form
worldwide. The Cha pronunciation came from the
Cantonese chàh of
Guangzhou (Canton) and the ports of
Hong Kong and
Macau , which were
also major points of contact, especially with the Portuguese traders
Macau in the 16th century. The Portuguese adopted the
Cantonese pronunciation "chá", and spread it to India. The Korean
and Japanese pronunciations of cha were borrowed into Korean and
Japanese during earlier periods of Chinese history.
A third form, the increasingly widespread chai, came from Persian
چای chay. Both the châ and chây forms are found in Persian
dictionaries. They are derived from the Northern Chinese
pronunciation of chá, which passed overland to Central Asia and
Persia, where it picked up the Persian grammatical suffix -yi before
passing on to Russian as чай ( , chay), Arabic as شاي
(pronounced shay due to the lack of a /t͡ʃ / sound in Arabic),
Urdu as چائے chay, Hindi as चाय chāy, Turkish as çay, etc.
The few exceptions of words for tea that do not fall into the three
broad groups of te, cha and chai are mostly from the minor languages
from the botanical homeland of the tea plant from which the Chinese
words for tea might have been borrowed originally. English has all
three forms: cha or char (both pronounced /ˈtʃɑː/ ), attested from
the 16th century; tea, from the 17th; and chai, from the 20th.
However, the form chai refers specifically to a black tea mixed with
honey, spices and milk in contemporary English.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
History of tea A 19th-century Japanese
Shennong : Chinese legends credit
Shennong with the
invention of tea.
Tea plants are native to East Asia, and probably originated in the
borderlands of north
Burma and southwest China. Statistical cluster
analysis , chromosome number , easy hybridization , and various types
of intermediate hybrids and spontaneous polyploids indicate that
likely a single place of origin exists for
Camellia sinensis, an area
including the northern part of
Burma , and
Yunnan and Sichuan
provinces of China.
Tea drinking may have begun in the
Shang Dynasty in China, when it was used for medicinal
purposes. It is also believed that in Sichuan, "people began to boil
tea leaves for consumption into a concentrated liquid without the
addition of other leaves or herbs, thereby using tea as a bitter yet
stimulating drink, rather than as a medicinal concoction."
Chinese legends attribute the invention of tea to
Shennong in 2737
BC, although evidence suggests that tea drinking may have been
introduced from the southwest of
Yunnan area). The
earliest written records of tea come from China. The word tú 荼
appears in the
Shijing and other ancient texts to signify a kind of
"bitter vegetable" (苦菜), and it is possible that it referred to a
number of different plants such as sowthistle , chicory , or smartweed
, as well as tea. In the
Chronicles of Huayang , it was recorded
that the Ba people in
Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou king. The state
of Ba and its neighbour Shu were later conquered by the Qin , and
according to the 17th century scholar
Gu Yanwu who wrote in Ri Zhi Lu
(日知錄): "It was after the Qin had taken Shu that they learned how
to drink tea." Another possible early reference to tea is found in a
letter written by the Qin Dynasty general Liu Kun who requested that
some "real tea" to be sent to him.
The earliest known physical evidence of tea was discovered in 2016
in the mausoleum of
Emperor Jing of Han
Emperor Jing of Han in Xi\'an , indicating that
tea from the genus
Camellia was drunk by
Han Dynasty emperors as early
as the 2nd century BC. The Han dynasty work "The Contract for a
Youth", written by
Wang Bao in 59 BC, contains the first known
reference to boiling tea. Among the tasks listed to be undertaken by
the youth, the contract states that "he shall boil tea and fill the
utensils" and "he shall buy tea at Wuyang". The first record of tea
cultivation is also dated to this period (the reign of Emperor Xuan of
Han ), during which tea was cultivated on Meng Mountain (蒙山) near
Chengdu . Another early credible record of tea drinking dates to the
third century AD, in a medical text by
Hua Tuo , who stated, "to drink
bitter t'u constantly makes one think better." However, before the
mid-8th century Tang dynasty, tea-drinking was primarily a southern
Chinese practice. It became widely popular during the
Tang Dynasty ,
when it was spread to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. In India, tea has
been drunk for medicinal purposes for a long but uncertain period, but
apart from the Himalayan region it seems not to have been used as a
beverage until the British introduced tea-drinking there much later.
Through the centuries, a variety of techniques for processing tea,
and a number of different forms of tea, were developed. During the
Tang dynasty, tea was steamed, then pounded and shaped into cake form,
while in the
Song dynasty , loose-leaf tea was developed and became
popular. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, unoxidized tea leaves
were first pan-fried, then rolled and dried, a process that stops the
oxidation process that turns the leaves dark, thereby allowing tea to
remain green. In the 15th century, oolong tea, in which the leaves
were allowed to partially oxidize before pan-frying, was developed.
Western tastes, however, favoured the fully oxidized black tea , and
the leaves were allowed to oxidize further.
Yellow tea was an
accidental discovery in the production of green tea during the Ming
dynasty, when apparently sloppy practices allowed the leaves to turn
yellow, but yielded a different flavour as a result.
Tea-weighing station north of
Russian Empire before 1915
Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China
during the 16th century, at which time it was termed chá. The
earliest European reference to tea, written as Chiai, came from Delle
navigationi e viaggi written by a Venetian,
Giambattista Ramusio , in
1545. The first recorded shipment of tea by a European nation was in
1607 when the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company moved a cargo of tea from Macao
to Java, then two years later, the Dutch bought the first assignment
of tea which was from Hirado in
Japan to be shipped to Europe. Tea
became a fashionable drink in
The Hague in the Netherlands, and the
Dutch introduced the drink to Germany, France and across the Atlantic
New Amsterdam (New York).
The first record of tea in English came from a letter written by
Richard Wickham, who ran an
East India Company office in Japan,
writing to a merchant in
Macao requesting "the best sort of chaw" in
Peter Mundy , a traveller and merchant who came across tea in
Fujian in 1637, wrote, "chaa — only water with a kind of herb boyled
in it ".
Tea was sold in a coffee house in London in 1657, Samuel
Pepys tasted tea in 1660, and
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza took the
tea-drinking habit to the British court when she married Charles II in
1662. Tea, however, was not widely consumed in Britain until the 18th
century, and remained expensive until the latter part of that period.
British drinkers preferred to add sugar and milk to black tea, and
black tea overtook green tea in popularity in the 1720s. Tea
smuggling during the 18th century led to the general public being able
to afford and consume tea. The British government removed the tax on
tea, thereby eliminating the smuggling trade by 1785. In Britain and
Ireland, tea was initially consumed as a luxury item on special
occasions, such as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic work
gatherings. The price of tea in Europe fell steadily during the 19th
century, especially after Indian tea began to arrive in large
quantities; by the late 19th century tea had become an everyday
beverage for all levels of society. The popularity of tea also
informed a number of historical events – the
Tea Act of 1773
Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party that escalated into the American
Revolution , and the need to address the issue of British trade
deficit caused by the demand for
Chinese tea led to a trade in opium
that resulted in the
Opium Wars .
Tea was introduced into
India by the British in an attempt to break
the Chinese monopoly on tea. In 1841, Arthur Campbell brought seeds
Chinese tea from the
Kumaun region and experimented with planting
Darjeeling . The Alubari tea garden was opened in 1856 and
Darjeeling tea began to be produced. In 1848,
Robert Fortune was sent
East India Company on a mission to
China to bring the tea plant
back to Great Britain. He began his journey in high secrecy as his
mission occurred in the lull between the Anglo-Chinese First Opium War
Second Opium War
Second Opium War (1856–1860). The Chinese tea
plants he brought back were introduced to the Himalayas, though most
did not survive. The British had discovered that a different variety
of tea was endemic to
Assam and the northeast region of
India and that
it was used by the local
Singpho people , and these were then grown
instead of the
Chinese tea plant. Using the Chinese planting and
cultivation techniques, the British launched a tea industry by
offering land in
Assam to any European who agreed to cultivate it for
Tea was originally consumed only by anglicized Indians;
however, it became widely popular in
India in the 1950s because of a
successful advertising campaign by the
CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING
Tea plantation workers in
Sri Lanka , 2009
Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that grows mainly in tropical
and subtropical climates. Some varieties can also tolerate marine
climates and are cultivated as far north as
Cornwall in the United
Perthshire in Scotland, Washington state in the United
Vancouver Island in Canada. In the Southern Hemisphere,
tea is grown as far south as
Hobart on the Australian island of
Waikato in New Zealand.
Tea plants are propagated from seed and cuttings; about 4 to 12 years
are needed for a plant to bear seed and about three years before a new
plant is ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8 climate or
warmer, tea plants require at least 127 cm (50 in) of rainfall a year
and prefer acidic soils . Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated
at elevations of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level. Though at
these heights the plants grow more slowly, they acquire a better
Two principal varieties are used:
Camellia sinensis var. sinensis,
which is used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas, and C. s.
var. assamica, used in
Pu-erh and most Indian teas (but not Darjeeling
). Within these botanical varieties, many strains and modern clonal
varieties are known. Leaf size is the chief criterion for the
classification of tea plants, with three primary classifications
Assam type, characterised by the largest leaves;
characterised by the smallest leaves; and Cambodian type,
characterised by leaves of intermediate size.
A tea plant will grow into a tree of up to 16 m (52 ft) if left
undisturbed, but cultivated plants are generally pruned to waist
height for ease of plucking. Also, the short plants bear more new
shoots which provide new and tender leaves and increase the quality of
Only the top 1–2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds
and leaves are called 'flushes'. A plant will grow a new flush every
seven to 15 days during the growing season. Leaves that are slow in
development tend to produce better-flavoured teas.
Pests of tea include mosquito bugs of the genus
Helopeltis (which are
true bugs that must not be confused with the dipteran ) that can
tatter leaves, so they may be sprayed with insecticides . In addition,
there may be Lepidopteran leaf feeders and various tea diseases .
Phenolic content in tea and
Health effects of tea
Caffeine constitutes about 3% of tea's dry weight, translating to
between 30 mg and 90 mg per 8-oz (250-ml) cup depending on type,
brand, and brewing method. A study found that the caffeine content
of 1 g of black tea ranged from 22 to 28 mg, while the caffeine
content of 1 g of green tea ranged from 11 to 20 mg, reflecting a
The astringency in tea can be attributed to the presence of
polyphenols. These are the most abundant compounds in tea leaves,
making up 30-40% of their composition.
Tea also contains small amounts of theobromine and theophylline ,
which are stimulants , and xanthines similar to caffeine.
Because of modern environmental pollution, fluoride and aluminium
also sometimes occur in tea. Certain types of brick tea made from old
leaves and stems have the highest levels.
Black and green teas contain no essential nutrients in significant
content, with the exception of the dietary mineral , manganese at 0.5
mg per cup or 26% of the
Daily Value .
Tea leaves contain diverse
polyphenols , including flavonoids , epigallocatechin gallate
(commonly noted as EGCG) and other catechins .
It has been suggested that green and black tea may protect against
cancer or other diseases such as obesity or Alzheimer\'s disease ,
but the compounds found in green tea have not been conclusively
demonstrated to have any effect on human diseases. One human study
demonstrated that regular consumption of black tea over four weeks had
no beneficial effect in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Physically speaking, tea has properties of both a solution and a
suspension. It is a solution of all the water-soluble compounds that
have been extracted from the tea leaves, such as the polyphenols and
amino acids, but is a suspension when all of the insoluble components
are considered, such as the cellulose in the tea leaves.
PROCESSING AND CLASSIFICATION
Tea processing Common processing methods of tea
leaves Fresh tea leaves in various stages of growth; the
smaller the leaf, the more expensive the tea
Tea is generally divided into categories based on how it is
processed. At least six different types are produced:
* White : wilted and unoxidized;
* Yellow : unwilted and unoxidized but allowed to yellow;
* Green : unwilted and unoxidized;
Oolong : wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized;
* Black : wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized; called
(called 紅茶 , "red tea" in
Chinese tea culture);
* Post-fermented : green tea that has been allowed to
ferment/compost (called 黑茶 "black tea" in
Chinese tea culture).
The most common are white, green, oolong, and black.
After picking, the leaves of C. sinensis soon begin to wilt and
oxidize unless immediately dried. An enzymatic oxidation process
triggered by the plant's intracellular enzymes causes the leaves to
turn progressively darker as their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins
are released. This darkening is stopped at a predetermined stage by
heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. In the production
of black teas, halting by heating is carried out simultaneously with
drying. Without careful moisture and temperature control during
manufacture and packaging, growth of undesired molds and bacteria may
make tea unfit for consumption.
Although single-estate teas are available, almost all tea in bags and
most loose tea sold in the West is blended. Such teas may combine
others from the same cultivation area or several different ones. The
aim is to obtain consistency, better taste, higher price, or some
combination of the three.
Tea easily retains odors, which can cause problems in processing,
transportation, and storage. This same sensitivity also allows for
special processing (such as tea infused with smoke during drying) and
a wide range of scented and flavoured variants, such as bergamot
(found in Earl Grey ), vanilla , and spearmint .
Tea blending and additives
Black tea is
often taken with milk
Tea is often consumed with additions to the basic tea leaf and water.
These can be grouped into flavourings added to the tea in processing
before sale and those added during preparation or drinking. The former
are often floral, herbal or spice flavourings and the latter include
milk, sugar, lemon, among other things.
The addition of milk to tea in Europe was first mentioned in 1680 by
the epistolist Madame de Sévigné . Many teas are traditionally
drunk with milk in cultures where dairy products are consumed. These
include Indian masala chai and British tea blends. These teas tend to
be very hearty varieties of black tea which can be tasted through the
milk, such as Assams, or the East Friesian blend. Milk is thought to
neutralise remaining tannins and reduce acidity. The
Han Chinese do
not usually drink milk with tea but the Manchus do, and the elite of
Qing Dynasty of the Chinese Empire continued to do so. Hong
Kong-style milk tea is based on British colonial habits. Tibetans and
other Himalayan peoples traditionally drink tea with milk or yak
butter and salt. In Eastern European countries (Russia, Poland and
Hungary) and in Italy, tea is commonly served with lemon juice. In
Poland, tea with milk is called a bawarka ("Bavarian style"), and is
often drunk by pregnant and nursing women. In Australia, tea with milk
is white tea.
The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea is a much-debated topic,
and can vary widely between cultures or even individuals. Some say it
is preferable to add the milk before the tea, as the high temperature
of freshly brewed tea can denature the proteins found in fresh milk,
similar to the change in taste of UHT milk , resulting in an
inferior-tasting beverage. Others insist it is better to add the milk
after brewing the tea, as black tea is often brewed as close to
boiling as possible. The addition of milk chills the beverage during
the crucial brewing phase, if brewing in a cup rather than using a
pot, meaning the delicate flavour of a good tea cannot be fully
appreciated. By adding the milk afterwards, it is easier to dissolve
sugar in the tea and also to ensure the desired amount of milk is
added, as the colour of the tea can be observed. Historically, the
order of steps was taken as an indication of class: only those wealthy
enough to afford good-quality porcelain would be confident of its
being able to cope with being exposed to boiling water unadulterated
with milk. Higher temperature difference means faster heat transfer
so the earlier you add milk the slower the drink cools. A 2007 study
published in the European Heart Journal found certain beneficial
effects of tea may be lost through the addition of milk.
Many flavourings are added to varieties of tea during processing.
Among the best known are Chinese jasmine tea , with jasmine oil or
flowers, the spices in Indian masala chai, and
Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea , which
contains oil of bergamot . A great range of modern flavours have been
added to these traditional ones. In eastern India, people also drink
lemon tea or lemon masala tea. Lemon tea simply contains hot tea with
lemon juice and sugar. Masala lemon tea contains hot tea with roasted
cumin seed powder, lemon juice, black salt and sugar, which gives it a
tangy, spicy taste. Adding a piece of ginger when brewing tea is a
popular habit of Sri Lankans, who also use other types of spices such
as cinnamon to sweeten the aroma.
Other popular additives to tea by the tea-brewer or drinker include
sugar, liquid honey or a solid Honey Drop, agave nectar , fruit jams,
and mint . In China, sweetening tea was traditionally regarded as a
feminine practice. In colder regions, such as
Nepal , butter is added to provide necessary calories. Tibetan butter
tea contains rock salt and dre, a butter made from yak milk, which is
churned vigorously in a cylindrical vessel closely resembling a butter
churn. The same may be said for salt tea, which is popular in the
Hindu Kush region of northern
POURING FROM HEIGHT
The flavour of the tea can also be altered by pouring it from
different heights, resulting in varying degrees of aeration. The art
of elevated pouring is used principally by people in Northern Africa
Western Sahara ), but
also in West Africa (e.g.
Senegal ) and can positively
alter the flavour of the tea, but it is more likely a technique to
cool the beverage destined to be consumed immediately. In certain
cultures, the tea is given different names depending on the height
from which it is poured.
In Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, the
practice of pouring tea from a height has been refined further using
black tea to which condensed milk is added, poured from a height from
one cup to another several times in alternating fashion and in quick
succession, to create a tea with entrapped air bubbles creating a
frothy "head" in the cup. This beverage, teh tarik , literally,
"pulled tea" (which has its origin as a hot Indian tea beverage), has
a creamier taste than flat milk tea and is extremely popular in the
Tea pouring in Malaysia has been further developed into an art
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Teas of different levels of oxidation (L to R): green, yellow,
oolong, and black
Popular varieties of black tea include
Nilgiri , Rize ,
Keemun , and Ceylon teas.
Many of the active substances in black tea do not develop at
temperatures lower than 90 °C (194 °F). As a result, black tea in
the West is usually steeped in water near its boiling point, at around
99 °C (210 °F). The most common fault when making black tea is to
use water at too low a temperature. Since boiling point drops with
increasing altitude, it is difficult to brew black tea properly in
mountainous areas. Warming the tea pot before steeping is critical at
Western black teas are usually brewed for about four minutes and are
usually not allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or more than
about five minutes (a process known as brewing or mashing in Britain).
In many regions of the world, however, actively boiling water is used
and the tea is often stewed. In India, black tea is often boiled for
fifteen minutes or longer to make
Masala chai , as a strong brew is
Tea should be strained while serving.
A food safety management group of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) has published a standard for preparing a cup of
ISO 3103 :
Tea — Preparation of liquor for use in sensory
tests), primarily intended for standardizing preparation for
comparison and rating purposes.
In regions of the world that prefer mild beverages, such as the West
and Far East, green tea should be steeped in water around 80 to 85 °C
(176 to 185 °F), the higher the quality of the leaves the lower the
temperature. Regions such as North Africa or Central Asia prefer a
bitter tea, and hotter water is used. In
Morocco , green tea is
steeped in boiling water for 15 minutes.
The container in which green tea is steeped is often warmed
beforehand to prevent premature cooling. High-quality green and white
teas can have new water added as many as five or more times, depending
on variety, at increasingly higher temperatures.
Flowering tea or blooming tea should be brewed at 100 °C (212 °F)
in clear glass tea wares for up to three minutes. First pull 1/3 water
to make the tea ball wet and after 30 seconds add the boiling water up
to 4/5 of the capacity of the tea ware. The boiling water can help the
tea ball bloom quickly and with a strong aroma of the tea. The height
of glass tea ware should be 8–10 cm, which can help the tea and
flowers bloom completely. One tea ball can be brewed 4–5 times.
Oolong tea should be brewed around 82 to 96 °C (185 to 205 °F),
with the brewing vessel warmed before pouring the water. Yixing purple
clay teapots are the traditional brewing-vessel for oolong tea which
can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves, unlike green tea,
seeming to improve with reuse. In the Chinese and Taiwanese Gongfu tea
ceremony , the first brew is discarded, as it is considered a rinse of
leaves rather than a proper brew.
PREMIUM OR DELICATE TEA
A strainer is often used when tea is made with tea-leaves in a
Some teas, especially green teas and delicate oolong teas, are
steeped for shorter periods, sometimes less than 30 seconds. Using a
tea strainer separates the leaves from the water at the end of the
brewing time if a tea bag is not being used. However, the black
Darjeeling tea, a premium Indian tea, needs a longer than average
steeping time. Elevation and time of harvest offer varying taste
profiles; proper storage and water quality also have a large impact on
Pu-erh teas require boiling water for infusion. Some prefer to
quickly rinse pu-erh for several seconds with boiling water to remove
tea dust which accumulates from the ageing process, then infuse it at
the boiling point (100 °C or 212 °F), and allow it to steep from 30
seconds to five minutes.
COLD BREW AND SUN TEA
Cold brew tea and
While most tea is prepared using hot water, it is also possible to
brew a beverage from tea using room temperature or cooled water. This
requires longer steeping time to extract the key components, and
produces a different flavor profile. For best results, it is best to
use about 1.5 times the tea leaves that would be used for hot
steeping, and to refrigerate for 4–10 hours. The process of making
cold brew tea is much simpler than that for cold brew coffee .
Cold brewing has some disadvantages compared to hot steeping.
Firstly, if the leaves or source water contain unwanted bacteria, they
may flourish, whereas using hot water has the benefit of killing most
bacteria. This is less of a concern in modern times and developed
regions. Secondly, cold brewing may allow for less caffeine to be
extracted, which may or may not be desired.
Sun tea is made by steeping the tea leaves in a jar of unheated tap
water left in the sun. It does not get hot enough to kill bacteria
present on the tea leaves or in the water, such as Alcaligenes
To preserve the pretannin tea without requiring it all to be poured
into cups, a second teapot may be used. The steeping pot is best
unglazed earthenware; Yixing pots are the best known of these, famed
for the high-quality clay from which they are made. The serving pot is
generally porcelain, which retains the heat better. Larger teapots are
a post-19th century invention, as tea before this time was very rare
and very expensive. Experienced tea-drinkers often insist the tea
should not be stirred around while it is steeping (sometimes called
winding or mashing in the UK). This, they say, will do little to
strengthen the tea, but is likely to bring the tannins out in the same
way that brewing too long will do. For the same reason, one should not
squeeze the last drops out of a teabag; if stronger tea is desired,
more tea leaves should be used.
Masala chai from
India with garnishes
Turkish tea served in typical small glass and corresponding
Iced tea with a slice of lemon
Tea may be consumed early in the day to heighten calm alertness; it
L-theanine , theophylline , and bound caffeine (sometimes
called theine ).
Decaffeinated brands are also sold. While herbal teas
are also referred to as tea, most of them do not contain leaves from
the tea plant. While tea is the second most consumed beverage on Earth
after water, in many cultures it is also consumed at elevated social
events, such as the tea party .
Tea ceremonies have arisen in different cultures, such as the Chinese
and Japanese traditions, each of which employs certain techniques and
ritualised protocol of brewing and serving tea for enjoyment in a
refined setting. One form of
Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu tea
ceremony , which typically uses small
Yixing clay teapots and oolong
In the United Kingdom, tea is consumed daily and often by a majority
of people, and indeed is perceived as one of Britain's cultural
beverages. It is customary for a host to offer tea to guests soon
after their arrival.
Tea is consumed both at home and outside the
home, often in cafés or tea rooms . Afternoon tea with cakes on fine
porcelain is a cultural stereotype. In southwest England, many cafés
serve a cream tea , consisting of scones, clotted cream , and jam
alongside a pot of tea. In some parts of Britain, \'tea\' may also
refer to the evening meal .
Ireland has long been one of the biggest per-capita consumers of tea
in the world. The national average is four cups per person per day,
with many people drinking six cups or more.
Tea in Ireland is usually
taken with milk or sugar and is slightly spicier and stronger than the
traditional English blend. The two main brands of tea sold in Ireland
are Lyons and Barry\'s .
Irish breakfast tea is blended for sale in
the United States.
Tea is prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East. In Arab culture
, tea is a focal point for social gatherings.
Turkish tea is an important part of that country\'s cuisine , and is
the most commonly consumed hot drink, despite the country's long
history of coffee consumption. In 2004
Turkey produced 205,500 tonnes
of tea (6.4% of the world's total tea production), which made it one
of the largest tea markets in the world, with 120,000 tons being
consumed in Turkey, and the rest being exported. In 2010
the highest per capita consumption in the world at 2.7 kg. As of
2013, the per-capita consumption of
Turkish tea exceeds 10 cups per
day and 13.8 kg per year.
Tea is grown mostly in
Rize Province on the
Black Sea coast.
In Iranian culture , tea is so widely consumed, it is generally the
first thing offered to a household guest.
Russia has a long, rich tea history dating to 1638 when tea was
introduced to Tsar Michael . Social gatherings were considered
incomplete without tea, which was traditionally brewed in a samovar ,
and today 82% of Russians consume tea daily.
In Pakistan, both black and green teas are popular and are known
locally as sabz chai and kahwah , respectively. The popular green tea
called kahwah is often served after every meal in the Pashtun belt of
Balochistan and in
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , which is where the Khyber Pass
Silk Road is found. In central and southern Punjab and the
metropolitan Sindh region of Pakistan, tea with milk and sugar
(sometimes with pistachios, cardamom, etc.), commonly referred to as
chai, is widely consumed. It is the most common beverage of households
in the region. In the northern Pakistani regions of
Gilgit-Baltistan , a salty, buttered Tibetan-style tea is consumed.
In the transnational
Kashmir region, which straddles the border
India and Pakistan, Kashmiri chai or noon chai , a pink,
creamy tea with pistachios, almonds, cardamom , and sometimes
cinnamon, is consumed primarily at special occasions, weddings, and
during the winter months when it is sold in many kiosks. Indian
Indian tea culture is strong – the drink is the most popular hot
beverage in the country. It is consumed daily in almost all homes,
offered to guests, consumed in high amounts in domestic and official
surroundings, and is made with the addition of milk with or without
spices, and usually sweetened. At homes it is sometimes served with
biscuits to be dipped in the tea and eaten before consuming the tea.
More often than not, it is drunk in "doses" of small cups (referred to
as "Cutting" chai if sold at street tea vendors) rather than one large
cup. On 21 April 2012, the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission
Montek Singh Ahluwalia , said tea would be declared as
national drink by April 2013. The move is expected to boost the tea
industry in the country. Speaking on the occasion,
Tarun Gogoi said a special package for the tea industry would
be announced in the future to ensure its development. The History of
India is especially rich.
Burma (Myanmar), tea is consumed not only as hot drinks, but also
as sweet tea and green tea known locally as laphet-yay and
laphet-yay-gyan, respectively. Pickled tea leaves, known locally as
laphet , are also a national delicacy. Pickled tea is usually eaten
with roasted sesame seeds, crispy fried beans, roasted peanuts and
fried garlic chips.
In Mali, gunpowder tea is served in series of three, starting with
the highest oxidisation or strongest, unsweetened tea, locally
referred to as "strong like death", followed by a second serving,
where the same tea leaves are boiled again with some sugar added
("pleasant as life"), and a third one, where the same tea leaves are
boiled for the third time with yet more sugar added ("sweet as love").
Green tea is the central ingredient of a distinctly Malian custom, the
"Grin", an informal social gathering that cuts across social and
economic lines, starting in front of family compound gates in the
afternoons and extending late into the night, and is widely popular in
Bamako and other large urban areas.
In the United States, 80% of tea is consumed as iced tea . Sweet tea
is native to the southeastern US , and is iconic in its cuisine.
Tea factory in
Taiwan See also: List of countries by tea
consumption per capita
Tea is the most popular manufactured drink consumed in the world,
equaling all others – including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and
alcohol – combined. Most tea consumed outside
East Asia is produced
on large plantations in the hilly regions of
India and Sri Lanka, and
is destined to be sold to large businesses. Opposite this large-scale
industrial production are many small "gardens," sometimes minuscule
plantations, that produce highly sought-after teas prized by gourmets.
These teas are both rare and expensive, and can be compared to some of
the most expensive wines in this respect.
India is the world's largest tea-drinking nation, although the per
capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams per person every
Turkey , with 2.5 kg of tea consumed per person per year, is the
world's greatest per capita consumer.
In 2003, world tea production was 3.21 million tonnes annually. In
2010, world tea production reached over 4.52 million tonnes after
having increased by 5.7% between 2009 and 2010. Production rose by
3.1% between 2010. In 2013, world tea production reached over 5.34
million tonnes after having increased by 6.17% between 2012 and 2013.
The largest producers of tea are the People's Republic of China,
Sri Lanka . Percentage of total tea production
in 2008 Less than 0.5% or insignificant quantities From 0.5 to 1%.
From 1 to 5%. From 5 to 10%. From 10 to 20%. More than 20%
Percentage of total global tea production by country in 2013
The following table shows the amount of tea production (in tonnes) by
leading countries in recent years. Data are generated by the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as of February 2014.
Labor And Consumer Safety Problems
Multiple recent reports have found that most Chinese and Indian teas
contain residues of banned toxic pesticides.
Tea production in
Tanzania , and
been reported to make use of child labor according to the U.S.
Department of Labor 's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced
Labor (a report on the worst forms of child labor).
Workers who pick and pack tea on plantations in developing countries
can face harsh working conditions and may earn below the living wage .
A number of bodies independently certify the production of tea. Tea
from certified estates can be sold with a certification label on the
pack. The most important certification schemes are Rainforest Alliance
UTZ Certified , and Organic , which also certify other
crops such as coffee, cocoa and fruit.
Rainforest Alliance certified
tea is sold by Unilever brands
PG Tips in Western Europe,
Australia and the US.
Fairtrade certified tea is sold by a large
number of suppliers around the world.
UTZ Certified announced a
partnership in 2008 with Sara Lee brand
Pickwick tea .
Production of organic tea has risen since its introduction in 1990 at
Tea Estate, Assam. 6,000 tons of organic tea were
sold in 1999. About 75% of organic tea production is sold in France,
Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
According to the FAO in 2007, the largest importer of tea, by weight,
Russian Federation , followed by the United Kingdom, Pakistan
, and the United States. Kenya, China,
Sri Lanka were the
largest exporters of tea in 2007 (with exports of: 374229, 292199,
193459 and 190203 tonnes respectively). The largest exporter of
black tea is Kenya, with the largest producer, (and consumer) being
Tea bags Main article:
In 1907, American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan began distributing
samples of his tea in small bags of
Chinese silk with a drawstring.
Consumers noticed they could simply leave the tea in the bag and reuse
it with fresh tea. However, the potential of this
distribution/packaging method would not be fully realised until later
World War II
World War II , tea was rationed in the United Kingdom. In
1953 (after rationing in the UK ended),
Tetley launched the tea bag to
the UK and it was an immediate success.
The "pyramid tea bag" (or sachet) introduced by
Lipton and PG Tips
/Scottish Blend in 1996, attempts to address one of the connoisseurs'
arguments against paper tea bags by way of its three-dimensional
tetrahedron shape, which allows more room for tea leaves to expand
while steeping. However, some types of pyramid tea bags have been
criticised as being environmentally unfriendly, since their synthetic
material is not as biodegradable as loose tea leaves and paper tea
A blend of loose-leaf black teas
The tea leaves are packaged loosely in a canister, paper bag, or
other container such as a tea chest . Some whole teas, such as rolled
gunpowder tea leaves, which resist crumbling, are sometimes vacuum
packed for freshness in aluminised packaging for storage and retail.
The loose tea must be individually measured for use, allowing for
flexibility and flavor control at the expense of convenience.
Strainers, tea balls , tea presses, filtered teapots, and infusion
bags prevent loose leaves from floating in the tea and over-brewing. A
traditional method uses a three-piece lidded teacup called a gaiwan ,
the lid of which is tilted to decant the tea into a different cup for
Compressed tea (such as
Pu-erh ) is produced for convenience in
transport, storage, and ageing. It can usually be stored longer
without spoilage than loose leaf tea.
Compressed tea is prepared by loosening leaves from the cake using a
small knife, and steeping the extracted pieces in water. During the
Tang dynasty, as described by Lu Yu, compressed tea was ground into a
powder, combined with hot water, and ladled into bowls, resulting in a
"frothy" mixture. In the
Song dynasty , the tea powder would instead
be whisked with hot water in the bowl. Although no longer practiced in
China today, the whisking method of preparing powdered tea was
Zen Buddhist monks, and is still used to
prepare matcha in the
Japanese tea ceremony
Japanese tea ceremony .
Compressed tea was the most popular form of tea in
China during the
Tang dynasty. By the beginning of the Ming dynasty, it had been
displaced by loose leaf tea. It remains popular, however, in the
Himalayan countries and Mongolian steppes. In Mongolia, tea bricks
were ubiquitous enough to be used as a form of currency. Among
Himalayan peoples, compressed tea is consumed by combining it with yak
butter and salt to produce butter tea .
"Instant tea", similar to freeze-dried instant coffee and an
alternative to brewed tea, can be consumed either hot or cold. Instant
tea was developed in the 1930s, with
Nestlé introducing the first
commercial product in 1946, while Redi-
Tea debuted instant iced tea in
Delicacy of flavour is sacrificed for convenience. Additives such as
chai , vanilla, honey or fruit, are popular, as is powdered milk .
During the Second World War British and Canadian soldiers were issued
an instant tea known as 'Compo' in their Composite Ration Packs. These
blocks of instant tea, powdered milk, and sugar were not always well
received. As Royal Canadian Artillery Gunner, George C Blackburn
But, unquestionably, the feature of Compo rations destined to be
remembered beyond all others is Compo tea...Directions say to
"sprinkle powder on heated water and bring to the boil, stirring well,
three heaped teaspoons to one pint of water."
Every possible variation in the preparation of this tea was tried,
but...it always ended up the same way. While still too hot to drink,
it is a good-looking cup of strong tea. Even when it becomes just cool
enough to be sipped gingerly, it is still a good-tasting cup of tea,
if you like your tea strong and sweet. But let it cool enough to be
quaffed and enjoyed, and your lips will be coated with a sticky scum
that forms across the surface, which if left undisturbed will become a
leathery membrane that can be wound around your finger and flipped
BOTTLED AND CANNED TEA
Canned tea is sold prepared and ready to drink. It was introduced in
1981 in Japan.
The first bottled tea introduced by Indonesian tea company PT. Sinar
Sosro in 1969 with brand name Teh Botol Sosro (or Sosro bottled tea).
In 1983, Swiss-based Bischofszell Food Ltd., was the first company to
bottle ice tea on an industrial scale.
Storage conditions and type determine the shelf life of tea. Black
tea's is greater than green's. Some, such as flower teas, may last
only a month or so. Others, such as pu-erh, improve with age.
To remain fresh and prevent mold, tea needs to be stored away from
heat, light, air, and moisture.
Tea must be kept at room temperature
in an air-tight container.
Black tea in a bag within a sealed opaque
canister may keep for two years.
Green tea deteriorates more rapidly,
usually in less than a year. Tightly rolled gunpowder tea leaves keep
longer than the more open-leafed
Chun Mee tea .
Storage life for all teas can be extended by using desiccant or
oxygen-absorbing packets, vacuum sealing, or refrigeration in
air-tight containers (except green tea, where discrete use of
refrigeration or freezing is recommended and temperature variation
kept to a minimum).
Da Hong Pao tea , an oolong tea
Bai Hao Yinzhen tea , a white tea
Green pu-erh tuo cha , a type of compressed raw pu-erh
Huoshan Huangya tea , a yellow tea
Loose dried tea leaves
Taiwanese High Mountain oolong
Thai salad made with young, fresh tea leaves
Dried Elderberries ready to be steeped into tea
* Drink portal
Tea leaf grading
* Chifir\' , Russian extra-strong tea brew
Frederick John Horniman
Kombucha , drink produced from bacteria and yeast grown on tea
List of Chinese teas
List of hot beverages
List of tea companies
Phenolic content in tea
Tea classics , influential historical monographs of East Asian tea
Indian Tea Association
International Tea Day
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