TEA-Riffic!

“Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt(TEA)…” 

(Illustration by yours truly!)

         Ahh, tea…What would the beverage life be without them?! Tea just happens to be the most aromatic beverage in the history of the Great American…Well, it’s not really an American beverage; In fact, it happens to come from another part of the world, while its history dates back to the times of Ancient China, the same country that has brought us paper… 
         Tea comes from a Chinese character pronounced tu, which had been used as a word for a bitter herb, and during the Tang Dynasty had acquired its current form; The word had been pronounced differently in the different varieties of Chinese, such as te and ta in Min Chinese. As to where tea had originated in the very first place, it had come from Southwest China, where it had been used as a medicinal drink; During the Chinese Tang Dynasty, it became very popular as a recreational drink.

         In the 16th century tea was introduced to Europe by Portuguese priests and merchants, while beginning in the 17th century, drinking tea became the most fashionable asset among the Britons, who would then start the large-scale production and commercialization of the tea plant in India to bypass the Chinese monopoly (while one would imagine Rich Uncle Pennybags in a Chinese robe…)
         Some people enjoy herbal tea, and that’s a pretty good thing, but where does it refer to? Well, it refers to the infusions of either the fruit or the herbs that are made simply without the tea plant, such as chamomile and rosehips…Rose hips?! A rose with hips?!(Insert your very own joke here)

(Illustration also by yours truly, with effects #MadeWithPixlr!)

         Tea has been around for centuries as well as even years; The plants of the tea are native to East Asia, and may have probably originated in the borderlands of north Burma and southwest China, while the drinking of tea might have gotten started in the Yunnan region during the Shang Dynasty in China, when it had been used for medicinal purposes. But one might really have to go back to 2737 BC, where Chinese legends attribute the tea’s invention to Shennong, even though there had been evidence that suggested the introduction of drinking tea may have come from southwest of China. 
         Throughout many centuries, tea had been processed in a variety of techniques, while a number of different forms of tea were developed; Tea had been steamed pounded, and then shaped into cake form during the Tang Dynasty while loose-leaf tea was developed in the Song Dynasty and became popular…Meanwhile, during the Yuan and Ming dynasties, unoxidized tea leaves had been pan-fried first, then rolled and dried; It is a process that actually stops the oxidation process that turns the tea leaves dark, and thereby allowing the tea to remain green. 

         Now, for the harvesting of the tea-It’s a little something called Camellia sinensis, and that happens to be an evergreen plant that mainly grows in the tropical and subtropical climates. The tea plants are then propagated from seed and cuttings; It takes about 4 to 12 years for a plant to bear seed while it takes about three years before a new plant is ready for harvesting. The tea plants should require, in addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, at least 127 cm(50 in) of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils…Many tea plants of the high-quality kind are cultivated at elevations of up to 1,500m above sea level. To acquire a better flavor of the tea, the plants grow more slowly. 
         And yes, just like coffee, tea has caffeine…Yes, you heard me correctly: C-A-F-F-E-I-N-E, caffeine, which constitutes about 3% of the tea’s dry weight, translating to between 30mg and 90mg per 8-oz(250-ml) cup depending on type, brand, and brewing method; A study had found that 1g of black tea contains 22 to 28 mg of that caffeine stuff(while other people would rather enjoy decaffeinated tea).

         Nevertheless, tea remains the most enjoyable drink of young and old alike, whether hot or iced; Whichever brand one chooses to drink the tea with, be it Lipton, 4C, Rosehips…Rosehips, again?!? But that’s NOT a brand…

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