Excerpts from The Story of Tea
by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss
Oolong Tea Tasting
- In the days of the early Chinese emperors, legend tells us only virgins wearing white silk gloves were allowed to pluck the budsets that would become white tea.
- During the less-well-known second Boston Tea Party (March 7, 1774) sixteen more chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor.
- All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis bush, of which there are at least several hundred local varietals worldwide. The specific manufacture of the leaf determines whether the finished tea becomes black, green, oolong, white, yellow, or pu-erh.
- There are reputed to be more than three thousand types of green tea in China alone, so it rivals wine in diversity.
- Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess who wed Charles II of England in 1662, is most likely responsible for introducing tea to England. She hated both mead and ale (the afternoon beverages of the day) and couldn't wait until her personal effects arrived from her homeland, because they included her favorite beverage: tea. Soon her court was 'mad' for tea.
- At the Shizuoka Wholesale Tea Auction, people are allowed into the tasting room only if they have not used perfume, shampoo, or any form of aroma producing health or beauty aid that morning, to prevent tainting the olfactory appraisal of the unfinished tea being evaluated.
- The approximately 48,000 tea-producing acres of Darjeeling are currently divided into 75 famous gardens. This Burgundy-like specificity yields tea that is world-renown and a perfect example of terroir.
- There are 'Blue Mountains' famous for both coffee and tea: the Blue Mountains in Jamaica where exquisite coffee grows, and the Blue Mountains that are known as the Nilgiris in southern India, on which a very special tea thrives.
- In 2004, annual worldwide production was a staggering 3,233,216 metric tons of tea.
- The Story of Tea:
A Cultural History and Drinking Guide
- by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss
- Ten Speed Press 2007
- $29.95; hardcover; 432 pages; Full color
- ISBN-10: 1580087450
- ISBN-13: 978-1580087452
- Information provided by the publisher.
Buy The Story of Tea
This page created March 2008