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HISTORY OF TEA

Tea was popular in the Orient as far back as five thousand years ago. It was used as a medium for taking medication, as an aid to digestion and its health and therapeutic properties were well accepted. The Camellia Sinensis plant from which black and green tea is derived actually grew wild in the Brahamaputra Valley region of Assam in India. Tea was also popular in monasteries where it was used as an aid to meditation by monks. Elmstock Tea Company has a rich tradition of continuous involvement in the tea trade spanning five generations.

It was only after the Portuguese maritime powers opened up the trade routes to the Far East that tea was introduced to Europe. The Dutch, German and British then established trading houses such as the Dutch East India Company, that brought tea into the commercial world. China, India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) were the main sources of tea then and the best teas still come from these countries.

TEA CLIPPERS

Of course the story of the tea clippers, such as the famous 'Cutty Sark' racing the oceans to get their tea shipments into England are well known.

In the United States high taxes on tea imports levied by the British led to the 'Boston Tea Party' where ships carrying tea shipments were destroyed in Boston Harbor.  This was a significant event in the revolutionary war that led to American independence.

19TH CENTURY

Tea was rare and expensive in the nineteenth century and only drunk by the wealthy.  In England the poorer classes drank beer!  The establishment of large grocery chains by entrepreneurs such as Sir Thomas Lipton finally brought tea to the masses.

MODERN DAY

The medical benefits of tea, well known to the ancient world and countries of the Far East, have now been recognised by medical experts in Europe and the USA. Tea is enjoying a renaissance all over the world and its consumption is increasing.  The many varieties of tea available, its health benefits, the natural flavours being added to it and the fact that a cup of tea contains about a third of the caffeine contained in a cup of coffee, contribute to its popularity.

Tea is relatively cheap and is the most consumed beverage in the world after water.  Three thousand million (3 Billion) cups of tea are estimated to be drunk daily in various forms and environments.

This ancient, noble and sometime mystical beverage with its rich history, tradition and ceremony is playing an increasingly healthy and interesting role in the modern world.

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