Two Leaves and a Bud
The Beginning of a Long Journey
Back in September 28, 1953 – just over 60 years ago – India’s Ambassador to the United States, Sri G. L. Mehta, hazarded a guess at the meeting of the Tea Association of the USA that there would be a significant growth in tea-drinking here. Not to be outdone, the Association’s President Samuel Winokur stated that Americans already drank more than 2,500,000,000 more cups of tea compared to 3 years earlier (1950) – so do the math for the next half century and you’d be left in disbelief!
Unfortunately, the prognostications didn’t pan out over the years in between, if Winokur’s figure were to be extrapolated. But we tea-lovers today don’t need to despair, as we do see all around a greater sophistication among the American public taste-wise in their choice of beverage, either in the morning or during the day.
Well, it’s true that if one talks about tea as a generic term, then there are all those rose-tinted possibilities. However, I am a firm believer in black tea of the leaf variety – not those indeterminate crushed leaves entombed in what are termed in the US market as “tea bags.” The whole ‘ceremony’ associated with the brewing of the leaf tea for a prescribed number of minutes – is it 3 or 5 to arrive at the ideal flavor? – is an art unto itself. Who knows, but it will be your own palate and sensory organs that will determine what’s right for you as you face the day ahead of you – revived and emboldened to confront whatever challenges await you!
Addendum via the New York Times of May 6, 2015:
A week ago the New York Times listed my comment on an article that appeared in its May 6, 2015 edition: here’s what I wrote right off the cuff –
“The article today by Susan Chira had little to say about black tea …….
Born and bred in Northern India, I was amazed when my family and I moved to the States that there was no tea worth the name available here. Without the Internet in those days it took me some time to discover likely sources of leaf tea from Assam and Darjeeling – the latter being the family favorite.
Having spent some time in Assam as the young manager of the largest tea-chest manufacturer whose products were bound for the West – mainly to England and eventually the USA – I was proud of the quality teas that we selected for export via Calcutta, home of India’s major tea-brokers and tea-tasters. Compared to 40 years ago when we arrived here in the US, I find it gratifying to witness the exponential growth in the number of tea drinkers in New York and elsewhere who have developed a discerning taste for the invigorating brew – particularly as a picker-upper first thing in the morning!”
Copyright © 2015 Azim Lewis Mayadas