Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Tea! How delightful to have a prompt-word that brings up pictures of lovely tea services, ladies in tea gowns and big hats, and the delectable little treats that accompany an English tea. But since I’ve written about tea more than once, I think I’ll go in a little different direction today.
Most of us give very little thought to the growing , harvesting, and processing of tea.Tea belongs to the camellia family of plants. It was so precious that, in many English manors of the wealthy, it was kept under lock and key so “the help” couldn’t help themselves to more than their allotted share. Part of its value lay in the distance it traveled on merchant ships. And of course, when there is a high demand for any commodity, the supply diminishes and the price goes up.
Even today, tea requires a lot of time and attention. It is picked mostly by hand. Tea is grown in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, South India, and China, where summer lasts all year round. In cooler climates, tea can’t be harvested year round but is still grown, for instance, in Japan and other countries that offer more than one season of growth.
Tea is harvested by hand, and the pickers take only a few top young and juicy leaves with a portion of the stem on which they have grown and the so-called bud (or tip) – an unexpanded leaf at the end of the shoot.
In tropical areas, tea is harvested year ’round. In cooler climates, it may be harvested up to four times a year.
There are so many different teas that there isn’t time to describe them all. Many of them gain their unique flavor and aroma through the processing of the leaves, and sometimes the soil in which the plants grow contributes a distinctive flavor as well.
So the next time you enjoy a fragrant cup of your favorite brew, picture in your mind the hands that picked the leaves, the work required to harvest, process, package and promote your favorite brew. Maybe it will give you a whole new appreciation as you drink it.