Here’s what tea does for the world:
…of the sixty-some natural sources of caffeine, tea is the only plant in which this alkaloid is combined with other components so that it soothes the human system at the same time it stimulates it.
Once a person learns, usually from friends, how Tea is made a daily practice, it becomes more than just a product, but one’s ally in greeting the morn and companion solacing the midnight.
We are what we drink, no less than what we eat, after all, and tea has proven more healthful than anything else doctors know to prescribe as protection from cancer, heart attack, cholesterol, stroke and a myriad of lesser ailments.
From James Norwood Pratt of Tea Society, in his book New Tea Lover’s Treasury. See an interview with him via Samovar.
Many years ago my mom bought a new kettle. The box featured this story:
Before the British had tea, they had been using fine China, but had never been to China…
And so the Earl of Grey became famous for his Wonderful gift of tea.
…so they sent the Earl of Grey on a journey east from India to discover a passage to China. A year later, he returned with some wonderful Chinese tea as a gift for his wife. “What could be better than to serve this fine China tea in the family’s fine china!” he thought. Upon arriving home, the Earl opened the door of his English cottage, and called for his wife, “Honey, I’m home! And I’ve brought you a gift from China – put the kettle on!” Unfortunately, his wife had never made tea before, and misunderstanding his husband’s directive, proceeded to greet her husband with the kettle tied to her head.
“Oh dear,” sighed the Earl. “I meant for you to put the kettle on to boil, for I’ve brought a special gift from China – tea!”
“For two?” she exclaimed.
“But of course – and only the best for my Darjeeling!”
The tea plant:
My first time seeing a camellia sinensis in person.
United States Botanic Garden