Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud was the title of a book which recounts the steps of a woman retracing the footsteps of Huang Shan, the monk who took Buddhism from India to China during the 8th century. Robert Fortune should be termed a missionary instead of being called a “tea thief,” as various documents and references label him – including few films and novels.
Tea was first “stolen” by rats who transported the protein-rich seed – as their food to various destinations – out of its original habitat around present day Assam, Shan, and Yunnan strip in India, Myanmar, and China. These stowaways brought the seed to 30 degree latitude which is near Hangzhou – the seat of most famous Long Jing, or Dragon Well, tea.
Later tea was “stolen” by monks going to Japan and Korea. Then by the Dutch to Taiwan and Indonesia, and by the British to India, Sri Lanka, and Africa, in that order. Australians and Papua New Guinea planted tea because they had surplus lands. Now Americans are planting tea because they want to be “liberated:” England is planting because it is “their” tea; Ukraine and Iran always grown tea; and Latin America has it growing in Argentina.
Now where else: Moon? Sun, or Mars?
Hawaii is growing in a big big way; Tea Bloggers’ Associations are mulling over the dilemma of finding more ways of attracting people to tea for cultivation and drinking. Tealet principals are leaders in this field while Bitcoins are bouncing a rocky road to replace tea money, as in the days of Tea Horse Roads.
Tea from the land of Buddha – with no thieves….
Main Image provided by contributor. IMAGE 1: