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Reviews Powdered tea and bamboo whisk

Tea and Right Livelihood

James Norwood Pratt

Baisao, third son of a scholarly physician, was born near Nagasaki in 1675. He entered a Buddhist monastery at age 11 and was almost 50 when his master died and he was asked to take his place as abbot. Declining on grounds it would hinder his religious practice, he left the hypocrisies, large and small, of organized religion to take up the life of a wandering monk.

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History

Bootleg Tea

James Norwood Pratt

Tea had become England's national drink by 1800 and she was importing an average of twenty-four million pounds a year, it is said. It is now time for me to admit that all figures relating to earlier tea consumption in England are merely official, which is to say, misleading.

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History Darjeeling #22 Tea

Darjeeling: Sultan's Tea

James Norwood Pratt

The main problem with Dareeling tea is quantity: there will never be enough to satisfy demand. The region is small and produces much less per acre than Assam, for instance. It is colder and higher, growth is slow, and the crop devilishly difficult to harvest.

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History

Empire Brewed from Tea Leaves

James Norwood Pratt

For sheer majesty, the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries offered few sights to compare with the a fleet of East Indiamen gliding down the English Channel, twenty or more great three-masters under clouds of canvas escorted by frigates of the Royal Navy busily flagging signals.

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History Buddha's Tea

Buddha's Tea

James Norwood Pratt

Various Buddhists are sometimes given credit for the discovery of tea. A contemporary of Pythagoras, Zoroaster, and Confucius, the Buddha lived in India in the 500s BCE. While there can be no one simple explanation for China's nationwide adoption of the tea habit, it is clear that the Chinese themselves associated it with the introduction and spread of the Buddhadharma.

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History The Dutch Invent 'Orange Pekoe'

The Dutch Invent 'Orange Pekoe'

James Norwood Pratt

In the history of tea, as in much else, the doughty Dutch tend to get overlooked by historians writing about their more numerous neighbors. But in civilization as well as seamanship and commerce they were second to none of these neighbors in the centuries of exploration.

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History The Original Book of Tea

The Original Book of Tea

James Norwood Pratt

The Victorian art critic John Ruskin once said, "to see a thing and tell it in plain words is the greatest thing a soul can do" - and that's exactly what Lu Yu did. Lu Yu if his biographers are to be believed, was an orphan raised by Buddhist monks. As an adolescent, he rebelled (as who does not?) against the pieties and practices of his received religion.

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History Sir Thomas J. Lipton

Sir Tea

James Norwood Pratt

Considered the father of modern advertising, Thomas J. Lipton was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1850. At the age of fifteen he traveled to the United States with less than eight dollars in his pocket. After working on a Virginia tobacco farm, a rice plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, and a streetcar in New Orleans, Lipton got a job in a department store's grocery in New York City.

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History China's Downfall

China's Downfall

James Norwood Pratt

A stretch of Canton waterfront eight hundred yards long by forty yards deep was as much space as the Yellow Emperor would allow Europe's eager traders. From 1685 to 1834 the transactions completed on this waterfront accounted for well over a quarter of all profits earned by the English East India Company, the IBM or General Motors of its day. Tea comprised 70-90 percent of all China's exports.

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History Tea & Steam: An Industrial Revolution

Tea & Steam: An Industrial Revolution

James Norwood Pratt

Steam, smelly steam, brought the tea trade into the industrial age. An age-old handmade product could now be manufactured by steam-powered machinery and delivered (via Suez) by steamships in half the time of the fastest, most glamorous clipper ship, which required a picked crew, a high freight rate, and a lot of luck.

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History China's China

China's China

James Norwood Pratt

Second only to tea, perhaps the most important contribution China made to European life was "china" itself - the hard translucent glazed pottery the Chinese had invented under the Tang dynasty and which we also know as porcelain. China had long since exported porcelain over the Silk Route to Persia and Turkey and fine examples of pre-1500 china are still in everyday use there.

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History Trading Tea for Opium

Trading Tea for Opium

James Norwood Pratt

Language was not the major obstacle to doing business with the Chinese-currency was. The goods the British had to offer in trade were mainly English broadcloth, not much wanted in semitropical Canton and not allowed for sale in bitterly cold north China, where woolen cloth might have been welcome. For the difference between what they bought and what they sold, the Chinese required payment in silver.

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History Taxation Without Representation, Part II

Taxation Without Representation, Part II

James Norwood Pratt

"Who knows," a prominent merchant named John Rowe asked just before the meeting adjourned, "how tea will mix with salt water?" Whether this was a prearranged signal or not, it was answered by war whoops from a party of men, variously estimated from twenty to ninety, disguised as Mohawk Indians...

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History Taxation Without Representation

Taxation Without Representation

James Norwood Pratt

As expected of good colonists everywhere, the American colonists did their damnedest to ape the fashions of their mother countries. Thus when the English relieved the Dutch of New Amsterdam and re-christened it New York in 1674, they found themselves in possession of a colony that probably drank more tea than all England put together. The directors of John Company must have delighted to watch as the demand grew in America over the following decades.

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History Coffeehouses & Tea Gardens

Coffeehouses & Tea Gardens

James Norwood Pratt

The eighteenth century produced far and away the most amusing and attractive society that England has ever known. It was a society addicted to among other things, tea. They must have drunk that first ship's load down and sent it back for more at once, for by 1725, England was using a quarter million pounds of tea a year.

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History Russia Discovers Tea... and a Somovar

Russia Discovers Tea... and a Somovar

James Norwood Pratt

About the time that first tea order from the Dutch Lords Seventeen reached their agent in the Orient, the Mogul emperor of north India (what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere), was entertaining the first agent or ambassador from his fellow despot to the north, Czar Michael Romanov, the founder of Russia's Romanov dynasty...

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History John Company and Tea's Arrival in England

John Company and Tea's Arrival in England

James Norwood Pratt

Queen Elizabeth was facing an important decision of her reign. Her valiant little navy had broken the Spanish Armada, but in international commerce the Spanish remained supreme in the West, just as Portugal was rivaled only by the Dutch in the East. As a lady with a wardrobe of three thousand costumes, mostly made of Oriental fabrics, Elizabeth was in a position to guess at the enormous profits to be had from direct trade for such goods with the Far East...

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