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Reading35-1 (dragged) 8

Reading35-1 (dragged) 8 - Reading 35-1 9 Guinea This track...

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9 Reading 35-1 Guinea. This track, which left the Paci fi c north of Australia and was fully 4000 miles longer than going via Singapore, took less time because the winds were usually fair. It was also chosen to avoid unfriendly ships in the narrow waters of the Straits of Malacca. In the century and a half after 1680, almost no one in the Western world knew anything about tea: what it was or how it was grown, treated, sorted, and blended. Their acquaintance with it began on the wharfside at Canton, and, as long as the quality of the product could be ascertained by a ritual tasting, and the price was reasonable, the European buyer was satis fi ed. An elaborate chain of intermediaries was imposed between the Chinese peasant who grew the tea and the European who drank it. There was a tea purchaser in each village who might buy the few pounds each peasant produced at each plucking. A tea center in each district prepared the tea for sale, after which it went to an elaborate provincial sorting and blending establishment. The tea was then sent to Canton by water, by packhorse, or on the backs of coolies; here the cases were opened and the whole process of blending began again.
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