ROY CHURCH talks about the History of Tea
ROY: Tea drinking goes back at least 6,000 years. As the human population grew and settled in urban cities so did the incidence of water born diseases Successful urban populations searched for an alternative to drinking water. In the Far East they drank tea, in Africa Rooibos or red bush tea (click here to read an article about African Rooibis Tea), in Europe and America they brewed or distilled various alcoholic drinks. Only populations which found a successful alternative to water survived. Next time you go to a drinks party which includes westernised Chinese or Japanese observe how the women in particular very quickly develop rosy cheeks after drinking alcohol – this is because their genes, unlike westerners, cannot cope with alcohol. Tea drinking in the Far East was intertwined with religion and the growing, harvesting and production of tea was very closely guarded. Early British traders to the Far East soon started bringing tea back to U.K. when its value could be more than gold and its effect stronger than heroine. That is why genuine Georgian tea caddies (like the photo above) always have locks on them.
Roy Church is an ex Assam Tea Planter who lives in England. He was one of my key research sources for Teatime for the Firefly. Roy is a keen fisherman and ‘shikari’ (hunter) and and we spend hours talking about tea, tea growing and tea life. He is a wonderful writer and has documented several historical articles on tea for KoiHai.