We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes two different two-part sequences: “Border Tea” and “Rumors of Tea”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

Border Tea

The father warned him, saying, “I led the army for
a long time, and now I am tired. Our people have
been drinking tea and wearing embroidered silk for
thirty years. This is a favor of the Song. We should
not be ungrateful.”

Peace speech to Tangut Crown Prince Li Yuan-hao (1032) from Peace, War and Trade Along the Great Wall

Part One

Tang T’ai-tsung (600-649), the most heroic ruler in all Chinese history, overcame some 100 challengers to unite the country under his Tang dynasty. After extending his authority… (Read more)

Part Two

Tang brick tea was the first currency exchanged throughout these regions and even in Tang times was scored for convenience of breaking into smaller sections and “making change.” These bricks were… (Read more)

Rumors of Tea

The love of tea is a glad source of fellow-feeling between the Englishman and the Asiatic; in Persia it is drunk by all, and although it is a luxury that is rarely within the reach of the Osmanlis [Ottoman subjects], there are few of them who do not know and love the blessed tchai. Our camp-kettle, filled from the brook, hummed doubtfully for a while, then busily bubbled under the sidelong glare of the flames; cups clinked and rattled, the fragrant steam ascended, and soon this little circlet in the wilderness grew warm and genial as my lady’s drawing-room.

Alexander Kinglake, the father of travel writing, in Eothen, his account of an 1835 caravan trip through Syria and Palestine

Part One

Apart from a stray Marco Polo or so, very few Occidentals and Orientals had ever met face to face before Vasco da Gama of Portugal… (Read more)

Part Two

For years Europe heard rumors of tea from the missionaries who accompanied the explorers and traders to the Far East; the first definitive account is from… (Read more)

Photo “Cutty Sark – Greenwich” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Elliott Brown and is being posted unaltered (source)