THE HISTORY OF TEA
The legends of tea
There are different legends about the origin of tea. The first legend says that tea appeared in 2737 BC, when the leaves fell from the trees and fell back into the hot water of Emperor Shennong. A second Indian legend attributes the invention of tea to Bodhidharma, the founder of the Chinese Zen school. The monk is said to have fallen asleep after nine years of meditation in front of a wall. When he woke up he would have felt so guilty that he cut his eyelids to avoid falling asleep again and then threw them on the ground, which would have given birth to the tea plants.
The origins of tea
The tea plant is an evergreen shrub that belongs to the Camelia Sinensis family. It grows easily in areas with hot and humid climates with alternating sun and regular rains. The picking is done mainly by hand.
Only the different processing steps vary the degree of oxidation and determine the type of tea desired. The more the leaf is oxidized, the darker the tea. The youngest leaves are light green, they are the richest in theine.
At the end of the stems is a bud (pekoe). This is the part of the tea plant that contains the most theine and tannin. The closer the picked leaves are to the terminal bud (at the end of the tea plant), the better the quality of the tea!
The leaves are harvested 1 to 3 times a year depending on the region. The tea is thus obtained after infusion of dried tea leaves.
Trades around tea
The tea blender is a creator of tea, it composes its own teas from different teas and aromas. He assembles teas together to create unique blends.
The tea blender must know some essential, complementary rules depending on whether it is developing a new blend of plain teas or a flavoured tea. He needs to know what products are available, at what time of year and what they taste.
The tea sommelier is the person who specializes in tea, particularly in gourmet restaurants as well as in large hotels, in the same way as a sommelier for wine.
The role of the tea sommelier is to advise, for example, for the development of a tea menu, the creation of an agreement between food and tea ... His missions are multiple: advise customers, enhance teas, design the tea menu, taste, advise the chef, share and pass on his knowledge ...
The profession of tea sommelier can also be practiced in a grocery store or a specialized tea shop.