The word “cha” means “young leaf”
Tea is a favourite beverage of many people all over the world. For the 5000 years of existence so many books, treatises and poems were written, so many thanksgiving words were said and declarations of love were made that, if somebody tries to publish collected works, devoted to this wonderful beverage, they will not be completed as books and poems, devoted to love. One of the greatest works about tea, called “Cha tszin”, was published in China in 728-803 by Lu Yuya.
In Russia tea appeared in 1638 thanks to Vasily Starkov, who was sent to Altin-khan with presents. In 1679 a treaty of tea delivery was concluded with China. The first bush was imported to Russia in 1817 and was planted in the Nikitsky botanical gardens in Crimea. By the middle of the 19th century Russia was the first in tea importing (95% of tea were imported from China, about 5% - from India and Pakistan) and the second (after the British Empire) in tea consuming per head. Not everybody knows that in 1918 the Decree on Tea was published. It regulated tea prices and tea trade rules.
Nowadays, there are so many kinds of tea in shops that it is difficult to make a choice: China tea, Ceylon tea, oriental tea, green tea, flower tea, blended tea, teas, scented with dried fruits and berries… In fact, you will make the best choice if a chosen sort of tea gives you pleasure. Sometimes it is useful to taste a new sort: probably, it will be better than others and become your favourite one.
There is a special profession – a tea-taster. People of such profession don’t use perfume, don’t eat spicy food and, of course, they don’t smoke and drink. But we are not tea-tasters and don’t have to be so strict to ourselves. We can always take our favourite sort of tea and brew it in a teapot, serving according to taste.
There are special rules of brewing. For example, experts advise to brew green tea three times: at first, you should pour one third of a teapot, then – one half and at last, pour it to the brim. Time of infusing is also important: infuse scented tea not more than 2-3 minutes, blended tea – 4-5 minutes, green tea – 15 minutes.
The best water for tea is spring water. In cities it is better to use soft water after its filtering. At any case, you shouldn’t forget that if the water is hard you will need more tea for brewing.
Tea can be served with sugar, jam, milk, pies, cakes and other sweets.
Unfortunately, such custom as drinking tea, adding boiling water from the samovar, is mainly forgotten. By the way, people scaled the samovar with sugar. When the water began to boil, they threw a handful of granulated sugar there. Samovars were produced everywhere: mainly in Tula (by order of Peter the Great) and at the factories of Batashov and Vorontsov, in small companies and even in villages.
Careful attitude to the tea unites different nations. For example, in Japan every family had a “tea-room”, which was called a “shelter of fantasy”. Everybody, who entered the room, left arms and shoes near the door. Brewing tea was whipped with bamboo churn-staff and poured with white bamboo ladle.
Drinking tea is a little holiday. The colour of your tea-service, table-cloth, music and candles can help you to create a special atmosphere. But the most important things are happy eyes and smiles of your guests. You have done your best and not for nothing. An evening with tea is a brilliant still for a photo as a keepsake.