Tea and Fortune

Photo by @londonteaclub

🍃 All of our tea tells the tale of Fortune. 🔮

For centuries, many legends have been told about the origins of tea. ⚗⚱🍵 Tea has catalyzed wars, played a key role in economic policies, and launched imperial expeditions. But tea remained a Chinese state secret...until one man changed its history.

In 1848, on behalf of the British East India Company, Robert Fortune (yes that's totally his real name) went into China. China had just opened its first treaty ports to British traders in 1842, following China's defeat in the first Opium War. Still, much of the interior of China was restricted territory.

Incredibly, while he was there, the British East India Company employee, Robert Fortune posed as a Chinese merchant and got into the country's interior. He then coaxed tea factory owners to yield their secrets. It was then that he became the first Westerner to learn that green and black tea came from the same plant. 🍵🌿☕️

At this time, tea was already becoming the British national drink we know it as today. And so, Fortune took initiative to transport tea seeds and seedlings to India which was then under British control. At the time, this was totally illegal, because tea production had been a Chinese state secret and taking tea seeds out punishable by death. ☠🍂

When Fortune arrived in Calcutta and helped establish tea plantations in India, he changed the course of tea's history forever. Without him, and without this great theft, we would not have Darjeeling or Assam tea today. That is quite a fortune to sip on.

[Information via Tching.com and For All the Tea in China

Liz PearComment