I'm having a big tea moment right now. Pretty much every day at work, I'll come in, cold and grumpy, and turn to my friendly water heater to brew me a cup of cozy tea. I can't drink coffee (yes, I'm the only person you know who is allergic) so tea is a great alternative. From mango green, to vanilla chai and good old Lady Grey, I'm tasting the gamut of teas -- one for every mood! I really try to introduce green tea into my body as often as possible because I know it is so so good for you.
I always feel a bit more international and chi-chi when I drink tea. I mean, basically wars were fought all for this little drink -- and the sugar to plop in it.
Once European explorers "discovered" Asia -- and its plethora of exotic products -- the Western aristocracy became hooked on tea. The value of tea leaves grew astronomically, and Chinese traders used tea in place of coin money. The British East India Company was created in order to profit from the tea trade, and subsequently aided in the colonization of large swaths of Asia. They also created huge-scale tea farms in India, setting the stage for our much loved Chai tea drink (which in actuality is about 1% tea and 99% sweetened milk.)
|Tea fields in Laos from here.|
And, as colonization spread to the Caribbean and Latin America, a new cash crop joined the mix --- sugar. Hey, why not take two ridiculously expensive, exotic products and combine them into one drinkable symbol of wealth? Sounds good to me. So tea went from a warm drink to a hot one (to melt the sugar) and little handles were added to tea cups to preserve drinker's hands.
Stir in a couple hundred years and you have the British culture of tea drinking. Of course, then they bring their tea-drinkin' ways over to our American shores -- and it's still so valuable that throwing it off a ship causes quite a hullabaloo. Don't tax our tea, mofos.
For more info about the history of tea, check out this site.
PS just as I was writing this, I got an invitation to try the Teas Me Cafe in Indianapolis for Valentine's Day lunch. Can't wait!