tea (tê) noun
1. a. An eastern Asian evergreen shrub or small tree (Camellia sinensis) having fragrant, nodding, cup-shaped white flowers and glossy leaves. b. The young, dried leaves of this plant, prepared by various processes and used to make a hot beverage.
2. An aromatic, slightly bitter beverage made by steeping tea leaves in boiling water.
3. Any of various beverages, made as by steeping the leaves of certain plants or by extracting an infusion especially from beef.
4. Any of various plants having leaves used to make a tealike beverage.
5. Chiefly British. a. An afternoon refreshment consisting usually of sandwiches and cakes served with tea. b. High tea.
6. An afternoon reception or social gathering at which tea is served.
7. Slang. Marijuana.
[Probably Dutch thee, from Malay teh, from Chinese (Amoy) te.]
tea (tê), tree or bush, its leaves, and the beverage made from the leaves. The plant (Thea sinensis, Camellia thea, or C. sinensis) is an evergreen related to the CAMELLIA and native to India and probably parts of China and Japan. In the wild it grows to about 30 ft (9.1 m) in height, but in cultivation it is pruned to 3 to 5 ft (91 to 152 cm). Tea plants require a well-drained habitat in a warm climate with ample rainfall; the leaves are prepared by drying, rolling, and firing (heating). Black teas (e.g., pekoes), unlike green teas, are fermented before firing; oolong teas are partially fermented. Tea's stimulating properties are due to CAFFEINE, and its astringency to tannin. Grown in China since prehistoric times, tea was produced on a commercial scale there by the 8th cent. It was introduced (17th cent.) into Europe by the Dutch EAST INDIA COMPANY, and its popularity helped spur the opening of E Asia to Western commerce. In colonial America a tax on tea led to the BOSTON TEA PARTY (1773). Today tea is used by more people and in greater quantity than any beverage except water.
Food and Drink, 1597
The first English mention of tea appears in a translation of Dutch navigator Jan Hugo van Lin-Schooten's Travels. Van Lin-Schooten calls the beverage chaa.
Food and Drink, 708
Tea drinking gains popularity among the Chinese in part because a hot drink is far safer than water that may be contaminated and may produce intestinal disease if not boiled. Tea is also valued for its alleged medicinal values.
Under certain circumstances
there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to
the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Opening words of The Portrait of a Lady (1881).
Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally
coarse in their nervous sensibilities … will always be the favourite
beverage of the intellectual.
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), English author. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, "The Pleasures of Opium" (1822).
Tea was discovered in China more than 5,000 years ago. Tea is the most popular drink beverage in the world - next to water. The tea that graces tables in virtually every country around the globe comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, a member of the evergreen family. From the leaves of this one plant spring three basic types of tea black, green and oolong and more than 3,000 varieties.
Tea Ceremony is a way of entertaining guests by preparing powdered green tea according to an established order.
Possibly the ceremony was first exploited as a means of settling feudal disputes. It is held in cha-shitsu, a small Japanese room, usually surrounded by a carefully designed garden. It is usually a thatched-roof structure with plain plaster walls, whose several openings, placed at different heights and filled with shoji (sliding panels of wooded lattice covered with paper), admit a soft, diffused light.
The room is usually about nine feet square or smaller. When the guests are summoned they enter through a small nijiriguchi or "kneeling-in" entrance, about 2 1/2 feet square. The fact that guests must crawl into the room isintended to inculcate humility in all who enter or thought to have served the purpose of preventing them from concealing a sword under their robes.
The tea ceremony consists of the host first bringing the tea utensils into the room, offering the guests special sweets. The host prepares the tea, following a precise and intricate sequence of movement.
The host puts a little powdered tea in a bowl and pours on it water that has been heated over a charcoal brazier.
The tea is whipped to a froth with a bamboo whisk and then passed from hand to hand. The bowls are valued for their heat-retaining properties and the way in which they fit the hand as well as for their appearance.
The various utensils (the teabowl, tea caddy, water container, boxes, plates, and iron tea kettle) have been carefully selected by the tea master and are often of great age. The tea drinking is followed by a discussion and appreciation of the qualities of the utensils.
Tea was first of all a medicine. The tea plant probably originated in the mountainous region of southern Asia and was brought to China. By the Tang Dynasty (616-907), tea was drunk mainly for the enjoyment of its flavor. Tea was so important that it was the subject of a three -volume work called Ch'a Ching, the Classic of Tea. At that time, tea leaves were pressed into brick form. To prepare tea, shavings were taken and mixed with various flavorings, such as ginger or salt, and boiled. Later, during the Song dynasty (1127-1280), green tea leaves were dried and then ground into a powder. This powered green tea was mainly used for ceremonial purposes in temples, but was also appreciated for its taste by laymen.
Some tea was probably brought to Japan during the height of cultural contact with Tang China. Kukai, patriarch of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, brought tea in the brick form from China to the Japanese court in the early ninth century.
The drinking of tea was confined to the court aristocracy and Buddhist ceremonies until the twelfth century. Eisai (1141-1215), founder of Rinzai Zen, reintroduced tea to Japan upon his return from study in China. He also wrote Kissa Yojoki, a treatise that extolled the properties of tea in promoting both physical and spiritual health.
Eisai's interest in tea was shared by his renowned disciple, Dogen (1200-1253), who is called the founder of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. When Dogen returned from China in 1227 he brought with him many tea utensils, and gave instructions for tea ceremonies in the rules which he drew up for regulating daily life at the Eiheiji temple founded by him in Fukui prefecture.
Appreciation of tea did not remain confined to temples. Its popularity spread among the court nobles of Kyoto and among the warrior class. The tea gatherings of this era were boisterous affairs and included contests in which participants identified various teas and prizes were offered to the winners. These were usually accompanied by linked-verse sessions, liberal consumption of sake, and gambling, along with ostentatious displays of expensive tea utensils imported from China. Especially notorious for extravagant tea parties was the fourteenth-century nobleman, Sasaki Doyo. This flaunting of things Chinese was a fad among the warrior leaders, who went so far as to send their own special envoys to China to collect art objects.
The Boston Tea Party was one of young America's finest hours. It sparked enormous revolutionary excitement. The people were beginning to understand their own strength, and to see their own self-determination not just as possible but inevitable.
The Declaration of Independence, in 1776, freed Americans not only from Britain but also from the tyranny of British corporations, and for a hundred years after the document's signing, Americans remained deeply suspicious of corporate power. They were careful about the way they granted corporate charters, and about the powers granted therein.
Early American charters were created literally by the people, for the people as a legal convenience. Corporations were "artificial, invisible, intangible," mere financial tools. They were chartered by individual states, not the federal government, which meant they could be kept under close local scrutiny. They were automatically dissolved if they engaged in activities that violated their charter. Limits were placed on how big and powerful companies could become. Even railroad magnate J. P. Morgan, the consummate capitalist, understood that corporations must never become so big that they "inhibit freedom to the point where efficiency [is] endangered."
- Kalle Lasn - Adbusters
Darjeeling (där-jê´lîng) noun
A fine variety of black tea grown especially in the northern part of India.
A town of northeast India in the lower Himalaya Mountains on the Sikkim border. At an altitude of 2,287.5 m (7,500 ft), it is a popular tourist center with commanding views of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest. Population, 57,603.