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teatips.info :: history of tea
It is a sheer pleasure to speak about the history of tea. Part of this history goes far beyond the scopes of the comprehensible past and relates rather to the mythological times than to history. This means that those crumbs of legends that came to us from Ancient China can be turned into impressive narrative rich in dramatic tension but with a happy ending. It is only natural that tea dealers (and the Chinese in the first place) practice such myth-making most actively.
Interest in the Japanese culture (together with respect and often some perplexity) arose in Russia after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). This interest has wonderfully developed over the past century — one can remember Alexander Nevsky, whose books are still used by Japanese students, and hazardous Far-Eastern crab-catching, and Tom Cruise, who is not the last samurai, as it appeared.
Many stories end with a marriage, this story is different. It starts with a marriage… In 1662, Prince Charles II married the Portuguese Princess, Catherine of Braganza. The princess was very fond of tea and accustomed her royal spouse to this new drink. I must say that tea was familiar to the English before the marriage of the high-standing persons; Garway's Coffee House, for example, traded in tea in London since 1657. However, tea was mostly known as a medicinal drink, and was much less popular than coffee.
During quite a long time, Russian women did not drink tea — they preferred traditional drinks to a hot and non-sweet foreign one. Russian Orthodox Church did not accept the drink at once either. However, as early as in the 18th century, tea became an indispensable attribute of the monastic life — monks appreciated the ability of tea to sustain spiritual and physical strength.
tea in russia :: russian tea tradition