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All the tea in China


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Theres a Wonderful article in the guardian about the history of tea in China, Britain and around the world.

In the 1800s Britain had 100,000 licensed tea dealers. There are now probably 5,000 supermarkets and a limited number of corner shops. Even 50 years ago large town grocers would do their own blending, and take pride in particular combinations. Even though all the big tea companies now produce speciality teas, the quality, Ginsberg believes, is still diminishing. 'Supermarkets require tighter and tighter margins, so some of the flavour is inevitably lost as companies look for cheaper blends. We require milk and sugar because the tea is so bitter but that should never be the case, and that is far removed from the drink that is understood in parts of the world where tea is still revered. We need,' he said, sitting by the West Lake where it all began, 'to find a way of going back to the spirit when the whole act of drinking tea was a ritual based on the elaborate arrangement of utensils.' He set some of these out between us: 'You listened to the water boiling, you opened your tea caddy, you spooned the tea into your China pot, you added the water at the perfect temperature, and so on. You waited. And while you waited you talked, and you had a jolly good time. Tea is the princess of all plants. We need to go back to treating it with reverence.'

PS: I am a guy.

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