The Art and Culture of Tea Around the World
It’s easy to run to the grocery store to pick up a package of tea, but have you ever considered the complex history and traditions of tea around the world?
According to Chinese legend, Emperor Shennong was greatly pleased with the improved flavor of his water when a dried leaf from a plant fell into his cup. Whether this story is true or not, drinking tea is a custom that dates back many thousands of years. Tea is enjoyed for relaxation, health benefits, as well as dying fabric and paper!
Tea Bags – Tea has been packaged in paper packets for transport for many, many years, but it was only in the early 1900’s that tea bags were packaged for the purpose of steeping in water. The earliest bags were small sacks made of fabric, but later paper, silk and synthetic fabrics became popular. Tea bags were packed by hand until 1929 when a machine was invented in Germany to make the process much easier.
England – Would you believe me if I told you taking tea is a relatively new custom in England? If you consider the nation’s lengthy history, it’s fascinating to realize afternoon tea was introduced in the mid-1800’s. It became popular with the upper classes to have a light, late afternoon meal consisting of small sandwiches and cakes with tea. Note: Tea was introduced to England in the 17th century, but it took a while to catch on.
Japan – The preparation and serving of tea has been an important cultural tradition in Japan for many years. A traditional Japanese tea ceremony, known as The Way of Tea, requires a skilled server to prepare powdered green tea (matcha) with special tools in a tranquil setting. It takes many years to study tea ceremony and perfect the art.