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TEA is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis
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
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
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
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
India
to bypass the Chinese monopoly.

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.

CONTENTS

* 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

* 6.1 Black tea
Black tea
* 6.2 Green tea * 6.3 Flowering tea
Flowering tea
* 6.4 Oolong tea
Oolong tea
* 6.5 Premium or delicate tea * 6.6 Pu-erh tea * 6.7 Cold brew and sun tea * 6.8 Serving

* 7 Tea culture

* 8 Economics

* 8.1 Production

* 8.1.1 Labor and consumer safety problems * 8.1.2 Certification

* 8.2 Trade

* 9 Packaging

* 9.1 Tea
Tea
bags * 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

Main article: Etymology of tea 1885 illustration of Xiamen (Amoy) by Edwin Joshua Dukes

The Chinese character
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
Tang Dynasty
. The word is pronounced differently in the different varieties of Chinese , such as chá in Mandarin , zo and dzo in Wu Chinese
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 India
India
Company . The Dutch borrowed the word for "tea" (thee) from Min Chinese , either through trade directly from Fujian
Fujian
or Formosa where they had established a port, or from Malay traders in Bantam , Java
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
Cantonese
chàh of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
(Canton) and the ports of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau
Macau
, which were also major points of contact, especially with the Portuguese traders who settled Macau
Macau
in the 16th century. The Portuguese adopted the Cantonese
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

Further information: History of tea A 19th-century Japanese painting depicting Shennong : Chinese legends credit Shennong with the invention of tea.

Tea
Tea
plants are native to East Asia, and probably originated in the borderlands of north Burma
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
Camellia
sinensis, an area including the northern part of Burma
Burma
, and Yunnan
Yunnan
and Sichuan provinces of China. Tea
Tea
drinking may have begun in the Yunnan
Yunnan
region during the Shang Dynasty
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 China
China
(Sichuan/ Yunnan
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
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
Camellia
was drunk by Han Dynasty
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
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
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
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 Batumi
Batumi
, Russian Empire
Russian Empire
before 1915

Tea
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
Japan
to be shipped to Europe. Tea became a fashionable drink in The Hague
The Hague
in the Netherlands, and the Dutch introduced the drink to Germany, France and across the Atlantic to 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
Macao
requesting "the best sort of chaw" in 1615. Peter Mundy , a traveller and merchant who came across tea in Fujian
Fujian
in 1637, wrote, "chaa — only water with a kind of herb boyled in it ". Tea
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 provoked the 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
Chinese tea
led to a trade in opium that resulted in the Opium Wars
Opium Wars
.

Tea
Tea
was introduced into India
India
by the British in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. In 1841, Arthur Campbell brought seeds of Chinese tea
Chinese tea
from the Kumaun region and experimented with planting tea in Darjeeling
Darjeeling
. The Alubari tea garden was opened in 1856 and Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea
began to be produced. In 1848, Robert Fortune was sent by the East India Company on a mission to China
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 (1839–1842) and 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
Assam
and the northeast region of India
India
and that it was used by the local Singpho people , and these were then grown instead of the Chinese tea
Chinese tea
plant. Using the Chinese planting and cultivation techniques, the British launched a tea industry by offering land in Assam
Assam
to any European who agreed to cultivate it for export. Tea
Tea
was originally consumed only by anglicized Indians; however, it became widely popular in India
India
in the 1950s because of a successful advertising campaign by the India
India
Tea
Tea
Board.

CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING

Tea
Tea
plantation workers in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
, 2009

Camellia sinensis
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
Cornwall
in the United Kingdom, Perthshire in Scotland, Washington state in the United States, and Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
in Canada. In the Southern Hemisphere, tea is grown as far south as Hobart
Hobart
on the Australian island of Tasmania and Waikato
Waikato
in New Zealand.

Tea
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 flavour. Tea
Tea
plantation Darjeeling
Darjeeling
, India
India

Two principal varieties are used: Camellia sinensis
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 being, Assam
Assam
type, characterised by the largest leaves; China
China
type, 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 the tea.

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 .

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION

See also: Phenolic content in tea and Health effects of tea

Caffeine
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 significant difference.

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
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
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

Main article: 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
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
Chinese tea
culture); * Post-fermented : green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost (called 黑茶 "black tea" in Chinese tea
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
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 .

ADDITIONS

Further information: Tea blending and additives Black tea
Black tea
is often taken with milk

Tea
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.

Milk

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
Han Chinese
do not usually drink milk with tea but the Manchus do, and the elite of the Qing Dynasty
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.

Others

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 Mongolia
Mongolia
, Tibet
Tibet
and Nepal
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 Pakistan
Pakistan
.

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 (e.g. Morocco
Morocco
, Algeria
Algeria
, Mauritania
Mauritania
, Libya
Libya
and Western Sahara
Western Sahara
), but also in West Africa (e.g. Guinea
Guinea
, Mali
Mali
, Senegal
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 region. Tea
Tea
pouring in Malaysia has been further developed into an art form.

PREPARATION

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Teas of different levels of oxidation (L to R): green, yellow, oolong, and black

BLACK TEA

Popular varieties of black tea include Assam
Assam
, Nepal
Nepal
, Darjeeling
Darjeeling
, 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 any elevation.

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
Masala chai
, as a strong brew is preferred. Tea
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 tea ( ISO 3103 : Tea
Tea
— Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests), primarily intended for standardizing preparation for comparison and rating purposes.

GREEN TEA

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
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

Flowering tea
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

Oolong tea
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 teapot

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
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 taste.

PU-ERH TEA

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

See also: Cold brew tea and Iced tea
Iced tea

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 viscolactis .

SERVING

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.

TEA CULTURE

Main article: Tea culture Masala chai
Masala chai
from India
India
with garnishes Turkish tea
Turkish tea
served in typical small glass and corresponding plate Iced tea
Iced tea
with a slice of lemon

Tea
Tea
may be consumed early in the day to heighten calm alertness; it contains 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
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 tea .

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
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
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
Tea
is prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East. In Arab culture , tea is a focal point for social gatherings.

Turkish tea
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
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 Turkey
Turkey
had the highest per capita consumption in the world at 2.7 kg. As of 2013, the per-capita consumption of Turkish tea
Turkish tea
exceeds 10 cups per day and 13.8 kg per year. Tea
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
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
, which is where the Khyber Pass of the 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 Chitral
Chitral
and Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan
, a salty, buttered Tibetan-style tea is consumed.

In the transnational Kashmir
Kashmir
region, which straddles the border between India
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 tea

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 (India) , 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, Assam
Assam
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi
Tarun Gogoi
said a special package for the tea industry would be announced in the future to ensure its development. The History of tea in India
India
is especially rich.

In Burma
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
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.

ECONOMICS

Tea
Tea
factory in Taiwan
Taiwan
See also: List of countries by tea consumption per capita

Tea
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
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
India
is the world's largest tea-drinking nation, although the per capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams per person every year. Turkey
Turkey
, with 2.5 kg of tea consumed per person per year, is the world's greatest per capita consumer.

PRODUCTION

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, India, Kenya
Kenya
and Sri Lanka
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.

RANK COUNTRY 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

1 China
China
1,257,600 1,359,000 1,450,000 1,623,000 1,804,655 1,939,457

2 India
India
987,000 972,700 991,180 1,063,500 1,135,070 1,208,780

3 Kenya
Kenya
345,800 314,100 399,000 377,912 369,400 432,400

4 Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
318,700 290,000 282,300 327,500 330,000 340,230

5 Vietnam
Vietnam
173,500 185,700 198,466 206,600 216,900 214,300

6 Turkey
Turkey
198,046 198,601 235,000 221,600 225,000 212,400

7 Iran
Iran
165,717 165,717 165,717 162,517 158,000 160,000

8 Indonesia
Indonesia
150,851 146,440 150,000 142,400 143,400 148,100

9 Argentina
Argentina
80,142 71,715 88,574 96,572 82,813 105,000

10 Japan
Japan
96,500 86,000 85,000 82,100 85,900 84,800

TOTAL WORLD 4,211,397 4,242,280 4,518,060 4,321,011 5,034,968 5,345,523

Labor And Consumer Safety Problems

Multiple recent reports have found that most Chinese and Indian teas contain residues of banned toxic pesticides.

Tea
Tea
production in Kenya
Kenya
, Malawi
Malawi
, Rwanda
Rwanda
, Tanzania
Tanzania
, and Uganda
Uganda
has 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).

Certification

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 , Fairtrade , UTZ Certified , and Organic , which also certify other crops such as coffee, cocoa and fruit. Rainforest Alliance certified tea is sold by Unilever brands Lipton
Lipton
and PG Tips
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 Rembeng, Kondoli Tea
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.

TRADE

According to the FAO in 2007, the largest importer of tea, by weight, was the Russian Federation , followed by the United Kingdom, Pakistan , and the United States. Kenya, China, India
India
and Sri Lanka
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 India.

PACKAGING

TEA BAGS

Tea
Tea
bags Main article: Tea bag

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 on. During World War II
World War II
, tea was rationed in the United Kingdom. In 1953 (after rationing in the UK ended), Tetley
Tetley
launched the tea bag to the UK and it was an immediate success.

The "pyramid tea bag" (or sachet) introduced by Lipton
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 bags.

LOOSE 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 consumption.

COMPRESSED TEA

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
Song dynasty
, the tea powder would instead be whisked with hot water in the bowl. Although no longer practiced in China
China
today, the whisking method of preparing powdered tea was transmitted to Japan
Japan
by Zen
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
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

"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
Nestlé
introducing the first commercial product in 1946, while Redi- Tea
Tea
debuted instant iced tea in 1953.

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 observed:

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 away...

BOTTLED AND CANNED TEA

Main article: 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

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
Tea
must be kept at room temperature in an air-tight container. Black tea
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).

GALLERY

*

Da Hong Pao tea , an oolong tea *

Fuding 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 *

A spicy Thai salad made with young, fresh tea leaves *

Dried Elderberries ready to be steeped into tea

SEE ALSO

* 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 * Herbal tea * Phenolic content in tea * Tea classics , influential historical monographs of East Asian tea * Indian Tea Association * International Tea Day

REFERENCES

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* Benn, James A. (2015). Tea
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Thames & Hudson
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EXTERNAL LINKS

* Tea
Tea
at DMOZ
DMOZ
* * Tea
Tea
on In Our Time at the BBC
BBC
. * World Tea
Tea
Bag Catalogue at Wikibooks * Tea
Tea
at Wikibook Cookbooks

* v * t * e

Tea
Tea
( Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
)