What's Tea?

Tea as a brew is a luminous coloured liquid which possesses a pleasing aroma and is a delicious and fragrant beverage taken hot or cold. But what really lies behind this beverage which has managed to retain, and indeed, increase its popularity over millennia?

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Tea Production

The Plant
The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is a species of tree related to the camellia. Its flowers are yellow-white and its fruits small and hard-shelled, similar to a hazelnut. The evergreen leaves are leathery, dark and slightly serrated. Given minimum annual temperatures of 18 C, moderate and infrequent frosts, a uniform annual precipitation of 1600 and a good balance of sunshine, a tea plant can easily grow to become 100 years old. Wild tea plants are indeed reputed to reach an age of up to 1,700 years.

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Tea Facts

Why Does Tea Have Two Names Throughout the World? The English word tea and its many cousins (e.g. tay, thé, tey) trace their roots back to the name for tea in the Chinese Amoy dialect: Te (pronounced "tay"). On the other hand, cha – the Mandarin Chinese word for tea, gave birth to cha, chai, char and related names in use today.

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Cultivation of Tea

The first tea bushes of commercial quantity were planted in Sri Lanka by James Taylor, at Loolecondera Estate in Lower Hewaheta in the Kandy district, in 1867. Since then, following the coffee blight in the mid 1800s, all of the coffee which was grown in the mid and high grown district has been replaced with tea.

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Tea Tasting

Tea tasting, much like wine tasting, uses similar steps – visual, smell, taste and touch. You can tell a lot about a tea by examining the dry leaves. Gently press some dry leaves in your hand – most new teas are a little springier and less likely to crumble than older teas. Look for fibres, dust or stalks and note the leaf size.

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Glossary

Assam: The world's largest contiguous tea growing region, situated on either side of the Brahmaputra in Northern India.

Autumnal: The Darjeeling Autumnal begins after the second flush period (October/November) and has a more full-bodied taste than the second flush. The yields are not as high as during the peak times, however.

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History of Tea : Sri Lanka

The plantation industry in Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka, began in 1825 with the widespread planting of coffee In 1839,

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Types of Tea

Tea from Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
Sri Lanka has over 188,000 hectares under tea cultivation yielding about 298,000 tonnes of "made" tea, and accounting for more than 19% of world exports.

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The Beginings of Tea

Nothing predisposed the island of Ceylon, a British crown colony since 1802, to such a fate, for tea plants did not figure among the local flora. Yet from the early nineteenth century, several enthusiasts used their estates as experimental plots. In 1839, Dr. Wallich, head of the botanical garden in Calcutta, sent several Assam tea plant seeds to the Peradeniya estates near Kandy.

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About F&W

Forbes & Walker was set up in 1881 as a partnership between James Forbes and Chapmen Walker. Although there is no actual record of the date on which it was established the very first cash book, still in the possession of the Finance Director, indicates the brokerages were earned from 1st August 1881. In Sir Thomas Villiers' book “Mercantile Lore” the date of establishment of Forbes & Walker has been put down      Read More...

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