International Tea Day is celebrated annually on December 15th and the celebrations are led by the FAO.
The objective is to draw the attention of governments and the world population to the need to guarantee the rights of tea producers. The first celebration took place in India in 2005, in response to the tea industry crisis in 1998. Since then, it has gained great importance worldwide.
Nothing would make more sense than telling the story of this incredible drink known for its flavors and aromas, and its valuable properties relaxing and invigorating.
Around many myths and legends, the first references in the history of tea come to us from China.
The first cup of tea was created at random, when a leaf fell into the boiling water that was being served to Emperor Shen Nung, who found this a pleasantly refreshing taste.
Years later, during the Tang Dynasty, the Japanese fell in love with the drink and integrated it into their culture creating the famous tea ceremony, known today by many. A complex, unique ceremony that is central to traditional Japanese culture. It is based on four principles, WA (harmony), KEI (respect), SEI (purity) and JAKU (tranquility). It is a unique ceremony, which cannot be reproduced.
Finally, the tea arrives at Europe, discovered by portuguese on return from one of your trips. However, it was the Dutch who saw the potential commercial on this sheet that was brought as an offering by the merchants. This marked a time when the tea leaf was extraordinarily guy and accessible exclusively to certain members of society.
A great curiosity is that the English, so known for their habit of drinking tea, did not join in drinking it right away.
It was through the marriage of D. Carlos II with D. Catarina de Bragança (Portuguese princess, known as a tea lover), that the British recognized this pleasant hot and aromatic drink.
At this point, tea has become a fashionable drink in europe, consumed regularly. THE transport were improved and so the taxes were reduced, giving rise to the tea expansion. Over the years, there have been many advances, until we have a thorough knowledge of the various types of tea and what their individual qualities are.
Nowadays, the tea it's from most consumed beverages in the world, having its social, but also medicinal aspect, since all teas and infusions have their characteristics and therapeutic properties that can be used for different purposes.
Regarding the production of tea, this consists of a complex process, comprising five essential steps.
It all starts with the withering, in which the leaves lose around 25 to 50% of their weight and is a process that takes around 16 to 24 hours.
The second step is the winding, which consists of rolling the sheet. It was a manual procedure that nowadays is done by a machine and takes about 30 minutes. However, it may have to be repeated 2 or 3 more times, as poorly rolled tea leads to weaker infusions.
Then comes the fermentation, which takes about 2 to 3 hours, which is interrupted by drying, which has the same objective, to interrupt the fermentation, which normally takes 20 minutes at 90 °C. However, it depends on the humidity of the leaves.
Finally, we come to the last step, which deals with to choose, store and pack, in which we have a magnificent creation, our tea, ready to sell and consume.
In conclusion, and against the objective of celebrating this date, we must never forget that something so appreciated around the world is the main means of livelihood for millions of families, mainly in developing countries.
Thus, all tea producers must see their rights fulfilled and must above all else be valued.
Let's make this art, which is the production of tea, a fair activity.