22 Reading 35-1 Indo-China. It may even be ground and sniffed like snuff, as in Yunnan. Brick tea was made for export to Russia and Mongolia, because it was relatively easy to transport in this form by camel or horse caravan overland from China, taking 6 months to get to European Russia. The tea was of the highest quality, the best dust and siftings, steamed and compressed into bricks under hydraulic pressure. A great brick tea industry started more than 300 years ago, becoming mature in the 1860s, ultimately involving Chinese labor, Russian supervision, and French and British capital. Brick tea needs a kettle or samovar in which to brew, and it is notable that this type of tea was so popular that the industry continued long after steamships rendered it unnecessary. Tea bricks often also became stores of value, a consumable money substitute, like cigarettes in post-1945 Germany. Perhaps 90% of all the tea sold in the last hundred years has been black. It has been sold, outside the countries of production, in packets to the ultimate consumer. Adulteration has become rare, not because of a change for the better in human nature, but because the practice ceased to pay. Tea has spread to many countries.
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HIST 302 taught by Professor Jensic during the Summer '10 term at Purdue.