CategoryTea History

Historical Thieves of the Tea World

In Sarah Rose’s For All the Tea in China, readers are introduced to Robert Fortune, a self-taught botanist hired by the British government to infiltrate China and retrieve tea seedlings and information in order to grow it in British India. One of the books Rose sources information from is The Great Tea Venture, and it’s here that I first started learning about other Robert Fortune-like figures in history. Continue reading

Legg-Cut Tea Production

The mechanical evolution of tea production began as early as the 1880s,2 attempting to modernize and streamline the traditional Chinese techniques brought to India. These early machines often dealt with the time-consuming methods of rolling, drying and firing, and improving upon existing orthodox techniques. The early 1900s saw the rise of unorthodox manufacture, exploring different means and ‘shortcuts’ in leaf disruption (focusing on leaf maceration to kickstart fermentation, or to forego withering). These two eras correlate with Harler’s third and fourth Phases of tea making, respectively.2

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Tea and Chai: A Brief History

“Tea” as a word of the English language has enjoyed about four hundred years of use. It’s changed in that time, like most words in the English language; it wasn’t always pronounced “tee”. But that’s getting ahead of myself.

Sinitic “Cha” Derivative
Min Nan Chinese “Te” Derivative
Other Derivative
Figure Source

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Murchies: A Follow-Up

Thought I’d just make a quick post to bring to attention this comment, from “David” at Murchies, which clears up a few of the discrepancies I mentioned in my ramble about Murchies. Amusingly, this comment was made about a month ago, but I never got a notification for it, so I only just came across it.

DAVID wrote:

Amazingly thurough post which I enjoyed reading, thanks. To help explain the name confusion regarding John Raith/Raitt Murchie. Raith and Raitt are the same name and are both pronounced the same. Raith is how you spell it for a scottish reader and Raitt is how you spell it for an english reader. If my memory serves John spelt his name “Raith” on his wedding certificate, but his name on the death certificate is “Raitt”. I suspect the Susan which gave you information about a ‘Douglas’ may have gotten confused with a maternal branch of the family in which Douglas was a common name.

Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm

A Search for Information: Murchie’s

It began (as it usually does) on Google; this isn’t the first time I’ve typed ‘ “John Murchie”+tea ‘ into the Google search-engine. I’ve done it a few times now, but my search usually ends with very little information, and I normally give up within the hour.

Let’s start with a background for the non-Canadians. John Murchie was a tea and coffee importer and blender; he started up the company “Murchie’s”, and is normally considered to be the man behind the unorthodox blending of green tea with black tea. Murchie’s is still around today (with two in Vancouver and more in Victoria), and is pretty well-known. Heck, I have a friend from Alabama who orders from Murchie’s to keep up on her supply of their Library Blend (she was first introduced to the company when she visited Canada a while back; sadly Murchie’s doesn’t extend into the US of A). Continue reading

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