1 Lecture 35 Lecture 35 Horticulture, Politics, and World Affairs: Tea and Colonialism The Story of Tea Tea ( Camellia sinensis , Theaceae) is one of the world’s most popular beverages, prepared by steeping the dried leaves in boiling water. Tea is consumed in various ways: unsweetened, sweetened, with milk or lemon, or infused with spices, such as mint. Cup for cup it is much cheaper than coffee. Tea provides a mild stimulant from the alkaloid, theobromine , which differs from caffeine by a methyl group, and is somewhat less stimulating on the human nervous system. The word “tea” derives from the Amoy pronunciation of the Chinese word t’e (pronounced tay , but later changed to tee ). The Cantonese word is chah and this pronunciation is used in Eastern Europe and well as Spain and South America. Legend has it that tea is very ancient in China but the f rst authoritative reference to tea is mentioned in a Chinese dictionary, Erh Ya, published in 350 BCE, and a handbook on the cultivation of tea ( Ch’a Ching ) was written by Lu Wu in 780. A book on tea culture by Kien-Lung published
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