On the palate the hot infusion is relaxing on an otherwise stressful evening before America Chooses its future.
Every Tuesday I will post a choice between two teas to drink and review. But I will only drink one. Whichever tea has the most votes is the one I will brew. But the choice is up to you.
TEA DRINKERS RULE!
Pop culture is not kind to those who favor tea over coffee. Coffee drinkers chase terrorists, fight aliens and outrun earthquakes, while tea drinkers sit around nibbling cookies as they sip from fine china teacups with their pinkie extended. However, since tea is the second most popular beverage in the world after water, it’s safe to say this image hardly represents the average tea drinker. In fact, there’s plenty of proof they’re just as deserving of their own action movie as the java jockeys.
Tea can be traced back to the 3rd century, though legend places its origin as far back as 3000 B.C. The origin of coffee dates back to the 14th century, while legend says it was discovered in the 9th century. Either way tea predates coffee by hundreds of years, so it holds the distinction of being the first to give people a caffeine fix.
Tea was first brewed in China, while coffee debuted in the Middle East. Muslims made huge contributions to science, medicine and philosophy, but these volumes of knowledge could only be preserved thanks to paper, one of the many revolutionary inventions to come out of China. Add gunpowder, noodles, and toilet paper to China’s list and there’s no doubt who comes out ahead in the game-changing discoveries department.
Now let’s take a look at the most powerful civilizations in history. First, the Mongols. They tore through Asia and the Middle East like tissue paper, creating the world’s largest continuous empire. As they marched across the continent conquering folks left and right, they drank a fermented tea called kombucha for vitality and strength. If this tea was a person it would be less Indian yogi and more soccer hooligan, proving that tea can be just as tough as coffee can be pretentious (Exhibit A: Starbucks).
Next we have the British Empire. Brits are the ones most associated with the sissy tea drinker stereotype, but sissies could not have ruled over the largest empire in the history. Sissies could not have maintained said empire for almost 200 years by repelling invaders and crushing rebellions. Sissies couldn’t rock powdered wigs and lead-based makeup. At the height of their power the British pretty much ran the world, their influence shaping the political, social and economic climate of dozens of countries that is still evident to this day, and they still managed to make time for afternoon tea.
Okay, so maybe tea drinkers were a force to be reckoned with in the past, but what about today? If you look at the top five tea drinking countries you’ll find the U.K. and Ireland, neither of which can be considered dainty doilies. And number one on that list? Turkey. Yes, the same Turkey that invented coffee and coffee houses drinks more tea per capita than any other country. Be sure to savor the irony the next time you’re savoring a cup of nice, hot, manly cup of tea.
Dana Schellings is a freelance writer, avid swimmer, and pub trivia enthusiast. Check out her monthly column at absrdcomedy.com and follow her on Twitter @DanaSan88. If you want to hire her or just tell her how awesome she is, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
White tea is the youngest harvested buds of the Camellia sinensis plant almost exclusively in the Fujian province of China.
It would not be a proper lesson on tea without sitting down and discussing the origin of tea. Where is it grown? More importantly where can it grow?
Shu Pu-erh is also known as “ripened” Pu-erh, created in the 1970s to accommodate the growing need for aged Pu-erh in China and Taiwan.
Pu-erh tea: the wine of teas. I know by now that some of you know what Pu-erh is based on my article on Chinese Mythology: The Legend of Pu-erh.
While Americans still drink more coffee than tea, the popularity of our Camellia sinensis is rapidly growing. Most of its popularity is because of the supposed magic properties of tea.