Next only to water, Tea is the most popular drink consumed in the world, equaling the next 4 top drinks (coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol) combined! Tea is a beverage, a commodity, a culture, a philosophy, a way of life, a ceremony, a meal, a spiritual encounter, a fuel for thought and ideas, a binder of people, a pick-me-up, a drink of peace, a stimulant, a soother, and has shaped human history!
Types of Tea
There are thousands of teas based on the Tea plant (Camellia Sinensis), Plantation and Processing. Generally, tea is classified into 6 broad types by how its leaves are processed-- -White, Yellow, Green, Oolong, Black (or Red for the Chinese), and Post-Fermented (incl. Pu er). Herbal teas (Tisanes) are strictly NOT teas, are not from tea plants, and are infusion of herbs or fruits with steeps of Chamomile, Rosehip or Rooibos. The most common are white, green, oolong, and black.Tea is the new wine! Like wine, you can taste thousands of teas, pair it like a Sommelier with foods.
Tea and India
India is the largest tea-drinking nation in the world. British brought Tea to India around 1840s to break the Chinese monopoly, and offered land in Assam to any European who would cultivate and export tea. Unlike Coffee cafes, which bring images of a sophisticated place, tea in India is sadly perceived as a street drink. Did you know tea was originally savored only by Anglicized and elite Indians? In the 1950s, thanks to the Tea board, tea became widely popular in India.