THE SUBJECT IN BRIEF
TEA is a treasure of the world. Originally the tea plant was an exclusive Chinese possession that resisted all attempts totransplant it in other soils. Tea drinking also was exclusively Chinese and had to be changed to suit local conditions in the countries of its later adoption. It proved peculiarly suited tthe English seene, and even America may never know afternoon tee as England knows it. Like Henlcy, it is unique.
Civilization has produced but three inportant non-alcoholic beverages - the extract of the tea leaf, the extract of the coffee bean, and the extract of the cacao been. Leaves and beans are the sources of the world7s favorite temperance beverages. The tea leaves lead in the total amount of beverage consumed; the coffee beans are second, and the cacao beans third. For a quick “explosion”men still have recourse to alcoholic drinks,pseudo stimulants, which often are narcotics and depressants. Tea coffee, and cocoa are true stimulants to the heart, nervoussystem, and kidneys; coffee is more stimulating to the brain,cocoa to the kidneys, while tea occupies a happy position between the two, being mildly stimulating to most of our bodily functions The“boon of the Orient”thus becomes the most gracious of the temperance drinks; a pure, safe, and helpful stimulant compounded in Nature's own laboratory, and one of the chief jois of life.
In telling the story of tea, the author has divided the subject into six parts; Historical, Technical, Scientific, Commercial, Social, and Artstic.
HISTORICAL ASPECTS - The first chapter tells of the legendary origin of tea, about 2737 B.C., and of an alleged Confucian reference in 550 B.C., but the earliest credible mention is A.D. 350. Mother Nature's original tea garden was in a portion of Southeastern Asia whith includes bordering provinces of Southwestern China, Northeastern India, Burma, Siam, and Indo-China.
Tea cultivation and the use of the beverage spread throughout China and Japan under the patronage of Buddhist priests, who sought a means of combating intemperance. Tea had its first handbook in the Ch'a Ching, written about A.D.780. The first English translationdigest of this important work appears in Chapter 2. The earliest notice of tea in japanese literature dates frome A.D. 593, and itscultivation, from A.D.805.
The first account of tea reached the Arabs A.D.850; the Venetians in 1559; the English in 1598; the Portuguese in 1600; Paris, 1648; and England and America about 1650. All this in Chapter 3.
Later historical aspects are entwined with the stories of Garway and his famous London caffee house in Chapter 4; the nation that fought a way on account of an unjust tea tax, in Chapter 5; the world's greatest tea monopoly, in Chapter 6; the tea clippers, in Chapter 7; and the amazing development of tea in Java-Sumatra under the Dutch, and in India and Ceylon under the British, in Chapters 8,9, and 10. The history of tea propagation in other lands is told Chapter 11.
TECHNICAL ASPECTS.-Chapter 12 describes the commercial teas of the world. Chapter 13 discusses their trade values, leaf characteristics, and cup merits, and contains a complete reference table. The succeeding eight chapters are devoted to the cultivation and manufacture of tea as practiced in China,Japan,Formosa,Java,Sumatra,India,Ceylon,and other countries. The concluding Chapter of this book traces the evolution of tea machinery from the earliest Chinese hand manipulation to the latest tea-factory appliances.
SCIENTIFIC ASPECT - In Chapter 23, on the etymology of tea, welearn that the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese word for tea is“chah,” but that it is pronounced “tay”in the local dialect of Amoy, and in the latter from it reached most European countries. Other countries of Europe and Asia adopted cha.
The botany chapter tells how the first classification of the plant by Linnaeus, in 1753,as Thea sinensis, though later changed to Camellia, now is commonly accepted by botanists.
The chemistry and pharmacology of tea are exhaustively treated by Mr.C.R.Harler, former chemist of the Indian Tea Association at Tocklai,in Chapters 25 and 26. The constituents of the leaf, the chemical changes occuring during manufacture. and the effects of caffeine and tannin are stated in a forthright manner.
Chapter 27, on the healthfulness of tea, presents a digest of scientific, medical, and popular opinions in convenient form for tea connoisseurs, merchants, and advertisers.
COMMERCIAL Aspects.-Chapters 1 to 4 in Volume 2 describe the channels through which teas pass in the producing and consuming countries; how they are bought and sold from the time they reach the primary markets until they are delivered by the retailer to the consumer. Ten chapters which follow deal with the history of tea trade in China, the Dutch trade, the British at home and overseas, tea trade associations, tea shares and tea share trading, Japan and Formosa tea trade, and the trade in other lands. The history of the American tea trade is told in Chapter 15.
Chapter 16 presents a history of tea advertising from A.D.780 down to the latest tea propagandas and cooperative campaigns, with some conclusions as to tea-advertising efficiency. Chapter 17 discusses the world's tea production and consumption.
SOCIAL ASPECTS.-Tea has been called“the handmaiden of fashion and refinement.” Its social history begins in Chapter 18, which concerns itself with the period of tea's early adoption in China, Japan, Holland, England, and America. Before continuing, there is a detour, in Chapter 20, for some droll tales from the tea gardens. Chapter 21 tells of the unsophisticated pleasures of the London tea-gardens of the eighteenth century, where tea was brought into the open and publicly drink by both sexes for the first time in England. Chapter 22, dealing with early tea manners and customs, starts with the aboriginal Shan tribesmen, who used wild-tea leaves for food and the preparation of a beverage; describes churned-tea soup and the manner of drinking it in Tibet; and traces the origin of the graceful rite which no English day is complete-afternoon tea.
The next chapter deals with present-day tea and customs around the world. Here we learn why afternoon tea is one of the “shining moments of the day”in England, and why,before America can fully appreciate its virtues, she first must learn the art of leisure.
Chapter 24 has to do with the evolution of tea-making appliances, from the primitive kettle to the American tea bag, which some believe will cause the disappearance of most of the teapots. What price efficiency ?
In the succeeding “Preparation of the Beverage”chapter, Mr. Harler discusses scientific tea-brewing, and this is followed by advice to tea lovers on how to buy tea, and how to make it in perfection.
ARTISTIC ASPECTS-Chapter 26,“Tea and the Fine Arts,” shows how tea has been celebrated in painting, drawing, engraving, sculpture, and music; with some noteworthy exhibits of tea pottery and tea silver. The final chapter,27,is concerned with “Tea in Literature,”and includes quotations on the subject of tea in the writings of poets, historians, medical and philosophical writers, scientists, dramatists, and authors of fiction.
APPENDIX-The back matter at the end of Volume 2 includes
(1) a chronology of tea, containing dates and events of historical interest; (2)
a tea dictionary, which Lists and defines difficult, technical, or dialectal
terms employed in the tea-producing countries and the tea trade; (3) an
alphabetically-arranged tea bibliography of authors and titles of historical
writings, notable books, and important periodical references; and (4) an
alphabetically arranged index for ready reference.