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 Home Cooking, Food & Wine > Drinks & Beverages  
Tea Leaves

"Pray thee, let it serve for table-talk."—­Merchant of Venice.

"A cup of tea!" Is there a phrase in our language more eloquently significant of physical and mental refreshment, more expressive of remission of toil and restful relaxation, or so rich in associations with the comforts and serenity of home life, and also with unpretentious, informal, social intercourse?

If rank in the scale of importance of any material thing is to be determined by its extensive and continued influence for good, to tea must be conceded a very elevated position among those agencies which have contributed to man's happiness and well-being.

Most remarkable changes have occurred in the production of tea during the past century.  About sixty years ago all the tea consumed on the globe was grown in China and Japan.  Our knowledge of the growth and manufacture of tea was then of an uncertain and confused character, and no European had ever taken an active part in the production of a pound of tea.  To-day, about one-half of the tea consumed in the world is grown and manufactured upon English territory, on plantations owned and superintended by Englishmen, who have thoroughly mastered every detail of the art, while nearly all the tea drank in Great Britain is English grown.  Twenty years ago, the suggestion that tea might yet be grown upon a commercial scale in the United States was received with derision by the Press and its readers; but one tea estate in South Carolina has during the past year grown, manufactured, and sold at a profit, several thousand of the tea of good quality, which brought a price equal to that of foreign fine teas.

A natural taste for hot liquid foods and drinks is common to all races of men, and they may be traced in the soups of meat and fish, and in their decoctions or infusions of vegetable leaves, seeds, barks, etc.

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 No. 301
 Posted on 8 June, 2006
 
 
 
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