Friday, December 11, 2009

All about Tea

Most of you are aware about my love for tea! I have written couple of posts on this topic, usually about certain places where you get best of the tea possible. But this post is going to be slightly different, and maybe boring for many of you as i am going to talk about the history of tea and some general information!

Tea was discovered in China in as early as 2737 BC by Emperor Shen Nung – a divine healer. Ah, such a great discovery and no controversy to it? Not possible. A Japanese legend claims that tea was originally discovered by and Indian hermit called Bodhidharma or Daruma (as he is known in Japan). He is said to have travelled from India to China in 526 BC and was allotted a cave temple for him to meditate for nine years. He however fell asleep during meditation and on awaking he was so enraged at his own blunder that he tore of his tired eyelids and threw them away. A plant grew from the eyelid thrown away whose leaves were found to possess the unique property to drive away sleep! Yes, that plant was the tea plant.

There are couple of more such stories, all as or more weird than the Indian discovering it! Some Sanskrit scholar believes that the mythical Sanjeevani Plant mentioned in the Epic Ramayana was actually a tea plant! Another interesting thing is that tea was mentioned in the Chinese Dictionary in 350 BC. Chinese started using tea as medicine during the 4th Century!

Tea became a popular drink in England in 1664 and was introduced in India in the year 1780. The Assam Tea Plant was discovered in the year 1823, but large scale planting of tea in India started in the year 1834. Tea cultivation was started in South India in the year 1859. Today, India is the largest tea producer in the world.
Grades of Tea – there are mainly three classes of grades of tea; 1) Leaf, 2) Broken and 3) Dust. The leaf grades are large in size. In brewing, flavour and colour come out of these grades very slowly, but they produce flavoury liquor. The broken grades are of smaller size with fragmented leaves. They are quick in brewing and give a darker brew while the smallest particles ie dust (the name does not suggest anything derogatory to quality) brews very quickly and produce strong and coloured liquor.
Types of Tea – the Kanan Devan tea factory at Munnar, Kerala produces five types of tea – white tea, green tea, oolong tea, black orthodox and black CTC (Crush, tear and curl).

Medicinal value of tea – tea works as an anti-oxidant, stimulant, anti-bacterial agent and astringent. To use tea as a medicine, it should be prepared in the following manner:

  • Take fresh boiled water and heat it up till the first bubbles appear.
  • Meanwhile take one or two spoonfuls of tea of your choice in a preheated vessel.
  • Pour the boiled water on the tea leaves/dust.
  • Cover the vassel with a lid for 3 to 5 minutes for infusion. Strain the brew using a strainer.
  • Add milk and sugar/honey to taste.

Bored? Then pardon me. I love tea way too much that I couldn’t help but to share all the information I had with you! And this is just 1/3rd of information that I have.


  1. Thanks for the post and I want more!!!
    I have heard of this vague story of tea was discovered. But your information with all the dates is complete. Commendable!!

    More of tea please :-)

  2. wait wait..arree kaun hi uthar? ek cup garammmmmm chai lekye aana...jaldii...:) nahi re baba..not lipton..cutting sada...

  3. Thanks for the super history lesson on tea Neha. I loved it.

  4. @ Insignia, thanks a tonne buddy...i am glad you liked it...more? well, soon :)

    @ Ramesh, arre cutting chai? anytime :D

    @ SG, thanks...I knew you would appreciate it :))

  5. I don't drink tea at all but I found your post v interesting!! Do you know - there's a restaurant in B'lore called 'Infinitea' which caters to such special varieties of tea. Iced/Hot/Flavoured..all you can imagine. Think you should visit if you ever land in B'lore.


  6. i knew most of the stuff!!! I have NEVER drank tea (or coffee).

  7. Bored ? No
    Love tea ? Yes
    But I love my tea the way I make it.
    It seems there are N number of ways for making tea.
    Ought to write about it one day.

  8. That's it??
    I had just started reading it yar. :(
    You know whenever you write about tea and other eating (and drinking) joints, it feels so refreshing.
    Things related to eating and drinking always interest me. he he.. :D
    Write more and let me read more. :)

  9. Hey wow.... woke me up...:P

    quite refreshing post...:P

  10. The only thing missing is a cup of tea free with this post! ;)

  11. oh yeah..hav heard this story as well.... but then the dates!! nope...some how Indian tea's are the besttt!! :D

  12. yes since I knew that in the past you have written about tea and interestingly that is when I started reading you :) So the heading of this post made me wonder ...until read ahead...

    Interesting stuff here..I too am tea lover but I'm sure like me there would be many who would not have bothered to find out more about it..tnx for this readymade info.. :)

  13. now do a post on how to make tea as well :) would be beneficial :)

  14. @ lostworld, oh for sure I will visit that place whnever i m there...i have a few friends there anyways...thanks...i am glad u liked the post :)

    @ Zeba, oh good to know that...thanks :)

    @ Haddock, even i make tea differently...but this is the best method to get the maximum benefits of tea as medicine..looking forward to ur post :)

    @ Karthik, oops, I thought people would be bored by this much, so stopped...i have a lot of information about tea...i will for sure share it all with u on this space soon :) hmmm things related to eating and drinking interest most of us right? thanks buddy..:)

  15. @ Sid and Ramit, thanks :)

    @ Hary, indian tea with onion pakodas...yummmm..

    @ Nu, this info came my way when i was at Munnar Tea Museum...amazing place it is u a tea lover u will love it...:)
    one method of making tea is already all, well if Haddock doesn't come up with it, maybe i will :D

  16. Neha, this wasnt a boring post (so no need for the last line). It was infact interesting and informative. I never knew the origin of tea. That story is interesting and Sanjeevani was tea? Hmm, should read more about it. I dont drink tea much because I catch cold easily by drinking it and hence drink the horrible tasting coffee. But taste-wise, I like tea more than coffee.
    Oh btw have you been to Darjeeling? Visit the tea gardens there. I had visited when I was very young and I have a pic of mine, dressed up as a worker in the tea plantation and I am plucking a tea leaf in that pic :D Oh I love Darjeeling Tea :)

  17. Hello Neha,

    My day begins with three cups of tea along with three newspapers! I enjoyed reading about Tea.

    Tea leaves at lower altitude give colour while those at higher altitude give flavour.

    Your post is making me run to kitchen to make a cup of tea for myself!

    Thanks, Enjoyed it,


  18. One visit to Munnar can make ur year IO understand..I hope u've been there neha.. :) nice place,I must say and you get souvenirs from Kanna Devan too.. :D

    Nice facts about it, a good read even though am not a big tea buff.. :)



  19. *runs for a cup of tea*
    *rushes back to comment*

    This was a very chai-genius post :P

  20. I had attended once a meet on tea auction at UPASI and did learn few things about tea.
    Your post has only added to my limited knowledge.
    Thanks.Good job.
    Keep writing such informative post.

  21. Very informative

    BTW, have u heard about "Irani chai..."?

  22. What an informative post Neha..enjoying the post with my cup of tea right now.Loved every single detail you wrote here.As i live in Assam i am fortunate that i get to taste various kinds of tea leaves...visiting a tea garden is very interesting too.I am very new to your blog but i am impressed by the variations in your writing.KUDOS!!

  23. Hi Neha!

    Hey u took me to my old classroom...
    as usual,always bored of such historical facts,but ur eyelid history was interesting... :)

  24. Love my tea -- desi wala with masala. So - so about black tea or herbal or iced tea.

    This was a great post Neha.


    Your cold maybe a coincidence and you maybe able to enjoy tea after all.

    Per a bunch of doc friends there is no co-relation between the food/beverage/ice cream/or being out in cold and the common cold infection. Unless of course any of those items had the cold virus and exposed you to the infection. Oprah had a big episode on it a few years ago..

    In most cases of colds,fever,coughs,diarrhea we are told by our pediatrician to give our kids popsicles to help hydration..

  25. Tea or Coffee
    can we live without it ?
    thanks for the sharing details.

  26. Inforamtive post on tea. Everyone love to drink tea and to read about it. :)

    Best wishes.

  27. Thanks for the info Neha. Never knew so many varieties of tea existed. But then they aren't available in the common market.

  28. I love tea!! Masala tea is my favorite!!
    And this informative post on Tea, makes me yearn for my cup, even at this hour!! :p

  29. Refreshing post, more to know about tea, eh? Bring it on...

  30. Phew ! Thats a whole lot of information on Tea ! :)

    A personal favourite for me too. And goes to prove that you indeed have been to Kerela !

    The most important piece of information however is that the Chinese had dictionaries in 350 BC ! hmm !


  31. It's my first visit to your blog Neha, and I loved a refreshing post full of information on something I love- Tea.

    You've got a wonderful blog. I am enjoying reading your articles.

    Keep up the good work. Hope to see you around.


  32. That was some info! Never knew about the sage tearing off his eyelids! I didn't feel fact, waitign for the remaining 2/3rd info! :)

  33. That's great! I am crazy about teas. Become my follower Neha!!!