Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is actually an evergreen plant that normally grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates. There are some varieties that can grow in marine climates and are grown as far as Pembrokeshire in the British mainland and Washington state in the United States.
The tea plant is native to East and South Asia. The first recorded consumption of tea as a beverage was in China dating back to the 10th century BC. It became very popular during the Qin Dynasty, 3rd century BC, and spread to Korea and Japan during the Tang Dynasty. The 16th century saw the importation of tea to Europe and in the 19th century, the Chinese began trading tea with the Western world, spreading tea and the tea plant to locations around the world.
It is the leaves that are the product that we purchase for our consumption. After picking, the leaves begin to wilt and oxidize unless they are dried. Without going into a lot of detail, depending on when the leaves are dried determines the type of tea:
White tea - wilted and unoxidized
Yellow tea - unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
Green tea - unwilted and unoxidized
Oolong - wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
Black tea - wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
Post-fermented tea: Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost
The white, green and black teas are the more popular teas, here in the states and some are blended with various flavors for a more enjoyable beverage. The white and green have more antioxidants than that of the black tea due to the processing of the leaves.
Myself, I love a good white tea. This is enjoyable anytime of day and is very refreshing. Try to avoid the off brand names unless you have prior experience with it or someone you know has personally recommended it. White teas are a little more expensive but well worth it.
For summertime drinks, nothing tastes as good as a cold glass of iced tea. I like sun tea. Take a few orange pekoe (used in the Western region to describe a genre of black teas) tea bags and plop them in a gallon jar with cold water, stick on the lid and set it out in the sun for an hour or so. Add ice, lemon, a little sugar for the sweet tooth, maybe a sprig of mint and voilà!! Refreshment!!
Well, I started all this because I love old teapots! I have several Hall teapots, one that was my mothers, a beautiful blue moriage teapot, a couple of little individual teapots and one from Currier & Ives. All are special because they were given to me by my family and I would have many more if I had the room. In fact, I was drooling when I was browsing through the ads!! Just take a look!!
VINTAGE HALL ALADDIN YELLOW TEAPOT A1724~free shipping from PWittsStuff! I love Hall teapots!!
Vintage PURINTON Teapot 4 cup IVY & RED BLOSSOM from MoreRivetHead84! Resembles my cookie jar, just a little different!!
Brown & Gold Teapot - Gibsons England - 4 cup - Tea Pot from PiasRotty! Gorgeous!
Brass/Silverplated Teapot or Coffee Urn Decorative Etching from DebandRicksStore! This is so cool!!
Vintage Antique Blue Staffordshire Country Scene Teapot from Tarasevich5gsh! OOOOH! Blue!!
Pottery Teapot With Purple Flowers from RoundPrairie2! I think this matches my cookie jar and pitcher!! Shawnee
So, if you're looking for a nice, old teapot to serve that tea, or even a new one, check out OLA.com! Great prices, great deals, great sellers! You won't be disappointed!!