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Revolution Tea Blog

  • The History of Green Tea

    If one were to study green tea in any detail, rather than finding a concise history of discovery and a subsequent spread across the continents, green tea's history is much more convoluted and many different versions and legends abound regarding the discovery of tea.

    What can be verified, however, is that tea was discovered in its greenest form over five thousand years ago. Some versions of history have a flower falling into a tea cup while another has a man eating a leaf and realizing how delicious it would be steeped in water. Regardless of the facts (or legends) tea was discovered in some way and went on to change the world.

    IT'S ALL ABOUT GREEN TEA

    For centuries, all tea was green tea. Green tea is simply the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant placed to steep in hot water. The leaves had not undergone any of the oxidation process of tea leaves today, so it was tea in its most natural form. This version of green tea is still enjoyed around the world today as are many other versions of the same tea leaf.

    DOCUMENTING TEA

    In about 600 AD, the most important book regarding tea was written in China. Lu Yu was the author of Cha Jing, or Tea Classic. The book is an important document both for historical purposes and as an insight into the lives of a country which introduced tea to the world. The book detailed exactly how a cup of green tea should be made and how it should be served. Outside of the interesting attention to detail, the book made it clear that tea is one of the oldest documented beverages we still enjoy today in almost its exact same form.

    TRANSFORMING TEA

    Over the centuries, different forms of green tea were introduced as they were discovered. Oolong and black tea were created much later than the country's fascination with green tea was developed - black tea is a fermented version of green tea and Oolong is semi fermented. These two different tea versions are thought to have occurred in the 1600s, almost 5,000 years after the discovery of green tea and 800 years after green tea began its journey through Asia, beginning with Japan.

    The Japanese contributed much to green tea by offering different variations on the tea leaves that are still enjoyed today. The Japanese also offered much formality to tea and integrated the drink into their culture in a very large way, particularly through the tea ceremonies. In countries such as Japan and China, tea and its presentation have become an art form.

    Throughout the next centuries, tea spread throughout the globe and became a much sought after commodity, although green tea was not as popular in the western world as black teas for many centuries. Today the western world is still in the process of discovering the delicious variations of green tea and other tea types as they delve into the secrets and customs of the Eastern world - the land that created the sensation.

    Revolution Green Teas

    Açaí Green Tea
    Orange Chocolate Green Tea
    Organic Earl Grey Green Tea
    Organic Green Tea
    Peach Mango Green Tea
    Tropical Green Tea

  • Japanese Ceremony Tea

    In Japan, serving tea has been elevated to a style of ceremony that takes years to perfect. The Japanese tea ceremony dates back hundreds of years. Over the years, the tea ceremony has come to include four principles that are still at the heart of the ceremony today. Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility are all essential parts of the customary and elaborate tea ceremony performed today both in Japan and around the world.

    ELEMENTS OF THE TEA CEREMONY

    The tea ceremony is an ritualized serving of matcha, or powdered green tea, to guests. There are three primary schools when it comes to the ceremony, each with their own rituals and elements. The most common ceremonies are the Omotesenke and Urasenke, with the Urasenke being performed most often, particularly outside of Japan.

    The ceremony is formal, so the attire of the host and guests should be formal as well. The host or hostess should be garbed in an authentic kimono and guests should be wearing a kimono or formal wear. Guests to a tea ceremony must be knowledgeable about the rituals and customs the ceremony includes as to participate properly.

    TEA CEREMONY LOCATIONS

    The location of a tea ceremony varies. The ceremony might be held outside or inside. In an outside ceremony seating is provided for guests and the ceremony often is drawn out. The more important the guests, the more likely the ceremony will be held inside. Tea ceremonies can be held inside a tea room or a full tea house. A tea room will be part of an existing home or building while a tea house is a separate structure often designed with well-tended gardens.

    In a ceremony held in a tea house, the guests wait in the garden until called into the house by the host. Upon entering the house, guests purify themselves by washing their hands and rinsing their mouths. Shoes are removed and guests are seating in order of importance.

    THE CEREMONY

    Once guests are seated, the host builds a charcoal fire in a prescribed way to heat the water to make the tea. A meal may be served or if no meal, light sweets are enjoyed by guests. When the tea is prepared, the guest may come forward to take the bowl or the bowl will be brought to the most prestigious guest. Conversation is minimal as the guests should be enjoying the stillness and the sounds and smells of incense and the tea as well as the simplistic decorations of the house.

    The host and guest will bow before the guest rotates the bowl slightly to avoid drinking from the front and takes a sip. He bows, raises the bowl as a sign of respect and speaks a prescribed message. The guest takes a few more sips, wipes the rim clean, rotates the bowl back to the original position and passes it to the next guest.

    Each guest repeats the procedure until the bowl is returned to the host. Ordinarily a thick tea is served formally followed by a thin tea. The thin tea is served in the same fashion, but the atmosphere is decidedly more casual.

    Following the tea, the host will clean the utensils used to create the tea in a customary way. The guest of honor will ask the host if he was view the utensils. The items used in the ceremony are passed around the guests who praise them lavishly and items are handled with a piece of brocade cloth. The guests are extremely careful as many ceremonious items are priceless antiques.

    Finally, the items are replaced and guests leave the house. The host bows at the door and the ceremony is complete. A full ceremony complete with meal and many guests can take up to four hours.

  • Brewing the Perfect Cup of Tea

    In different cultures there are very specific ways to make a cup of tea. In some cultures there is a method to whom is served first and tea leaves must be added to the water a specific way. In other cultures there is some debate as to whether tea should be served with milk or lemon. Depending on where you live and what traditions and practices you follow, your cup of tea may very greatly from that of your neighbor. But if you're searching for the way to a divine cup of steaming tea, you should take the time to do it right - or at least close enough.

    BOIL WATER

    Unless you are using an automated coffee maker or hot water dispenser to provide your hot water, you'll want to put a kettle on to boil. Even if you have the option of obtaining your hot water from more conventional means, there is a great satisfaction in boiling water in a tea kettle anyway. It feels homey and warm - everything a great cup of tea should be.

    STEEP THE TEA

    When your water is hot enough, it's time to use your tea. Most likely you have a collection of teabags at your disposal. Now you must make an important decision. First, what sort of tea would you like to have? And second, how much tea do you want?

    If you'd like to enjoy your tea the old fashioned way, use loose tea leaves rather than tea bags in your water. You can pour the water into a warm tea pot and then add about half a teaspoon of tea leaves. Allow the leaves to steep for five to ten minutes depending on the desired strength of the tea before pouring. When you pour the tea, you'll need to use a strainer to keep leaves from falling into your cup.

    If you would rather fix your tea with a bit more convenience, you can pour hot water into a warm teacup and steep a single teabag by adding it to the water and draping the string over the side. Leave the single bag in the cup for three to five minutes before removing. If you're making a pot of tea, use two tea bags and again steep for three to five minutes.

    SERVING THE TEA

    When you serve or pour the tea, you can do so with great ceremony or keep it much more simplistic. Unless you prefer your tea without any additional flavors, you'll want to add either milk or lemon. In some cases, you might stir in honey instead. If you add milk, you should pour warm milk into your tea cup before adding the tea. Lemon can be added to tea after its poured. Usually you do one or the other, and sugar can be added to either cup.

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