Sunday, September 27, 2009

The History of Tea in the US -1

From the time Petrus Stuyvesant first introduced tea to the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later New York City) to today, it has been few hundrads years.

Board of Tea Experts (former FDA) was created in 1897, to regulate the quality of tea imported. At that time, tea trade grew exponently but tea merchants faced the tough situation where they found some teas were manipulated to reach the desired color and weight. At the time, people judge tea quality mainly by color, other than taste and aroma.

Board of Tea Experts is a group of tea experts selected. They meet once a year to sample teas submitted then choose one standard tea from each variety. Standard teas are sent to tea dealers, importers and inspectors to serve as a standard to judge for quality.

The process is very labor intensive. You can imagine the scene, water boiling, cupping, slurping, spitting....

It is also a subjective process as new tea species are constantly created. One of the most memorial tea stories is the He-No Tea. The tea is actually dried Kentuckey bluegrass, not a typital traditional tea. The company was charged for misbranding. A Chinese attorney defended at the court that the name clearly states Hay, NO TEA....

I like that attorney!

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