Archive for November, 2012
Friday, November 30th, 2012
“Tea is the ultimate mental & medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”
Zen Buddhist Eisai Myoan: How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea. (AD 1211)
Given the year, i.e. AD1211 in which the tea specialty book “How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea” was composed, one would wonder how far the history of tea runs into. The briefest answer to break you free of the contemplation is “very far, as far as the History of China itself” And the history of China runs into no less than 5000 years.
Eureka Moment: luck favors the prepared mind
When was tea discovered? The in-depth answer would make you curioser and curioser as “Alice In Wonderland”. The discovery of tea is believed to be a fortunate accident. But then the accident wouldn’t have taken place at all, if not for the keen eye of the legendary botanist Shen Nong, emperor of China (2737-2699 BC).
Discovery of tea was a Eureka moment as the accidental discovery of world’s first antibiotic, Penicillin thanks to the keen eye of the Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming (AD1881-1955) was. The legend has it a few leaves that had blown into a pot of water boiled for the emperor turned the boiled water from being colorless to a reddish tint. Having seen the coloration caused by the fresh green leaves of the nearby tree, ever the botanist, emperor pounced upon the chance of tasting the water to determine the qualities of the green leaf.
Tea by any other name would taste as sweet, as serene as Zen
Though the modern world is unable to ascertain to veracity of the legend, the green tea leaf that made a beverage of Red tea has since then become popular throughout the East & West. Though the beverage of tea unsweetened with milk is popularly called Black tea in the western word today, most possibly following the fashion of calling unsweetened coffee as black coffee, in Asia & especially in Africa & Middle East, it is called Red tea.
The world’s first botanist
History of China records that emperor Shen Nong discovered, tested, analyzed & recorded hundreds of herbs for the benefit of his nation & his land. He is credited with the title of “father of Chinese herbal medicine” as if the title of “discoverer of green tea leaf” wouldn’t do.
What’s in a name?
Everything, your good name is everything. But then Shan Nong was a name like no other. Nobody could have been better named than Shan Nong meaning Divine Farmer. The Chinese methods in recognizing potential farmlands & cultivation are credited to Shan Nong. Harnessing resources, inventing the plough & yoking beasts too are believed to be introduced by the emperor. Then again the name Shan Nong is immortalized by the popularity of Tea, no matter how you call it, Black tea, Red tea or Green tea. The finest black tea in the world is produced in Sri Lanka and has been marketed by the brand name of Ceylon Tea since the British Colonial era of Sri Lanka. The ancient drop pearl shaped tropical island of Sri Lanka was then known by the name Ceylon. Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya, a colonial sanitarium, is the heart of the tea plantation zone of the Central Highlands. The Central Highlands, the one and only mountain mass of the Sri Lanka is accessed at Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Popularity of tea following the glorious name
Such a glorious name as Shan Nong wouldn’t be called in vain. Tea was set into the path of undying popularity by Shan Nong. According to the “Tea & Coffee Trade Journal” September 1, 1995, a professional journal, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to plain water.
First ever treatise on tea
The first treatise on Tea, “Tea Classic” was composed as far as back in 760 CE & 780 CE by a Chinese poet named Lu Yu. The treatise consisted of ten chapters tilted Origin, Tea Tools, Manufacture, Tea Wares, Brewing, Drinking Tea, Anecdotes, Places, Omission & Diagrams, The book was translated into English in 1974 (ISBN 0-316-53450-1).
First treatise on tea in Japan
The first treatise on Tea in Japan was inscribed by the founder of Zen Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist priest Myoan Eisai following his return from China where he studied philosophy & religion. Seno Tanaka, Sendo Tanaka & Edwin O. Reischauer in their book “The Tea Ceremony” published in year 2000 narrates: In January 1211 he wrote the first treatise on Tea in Japan, Kissa Yojoki or Tea Drinking Is Good for the Health, a small booklet of twenty pages in praise of Tea. In his short treatise Eisai, strongly recommended tea as a cure for five types of disease: loss of appetite, paralysis, beriberi & sickness from tainted water. Tea, he added, is a remedy for all disorders & this was perhaps the main reason for consequent popularity of tea-drinking.
Zen Buddhism & Buddhism
Though Zen Buddhism has its origins in the ascetic practitioners of Buddhism, who found refuge in forests and mountains in India, it was in China, Zen Buddhism, a distinctive school of Mahayana Buddhism (the orthodox cannon of Buddhism is Theravada Buddhism) first took root following the arrival of Indian Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (470-543 AD) in the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery of Kung fu fame in China. Bodhidharma’s teachings tapped into some developments in the spiritual conceptions that were already on train, such as the confluence of philosophical Taoism with Buddhism. Such was the impact of Taoism upon Zen Buddhism, some sages and texts are owned by both religions. The early Mahayana philosophies of Madhyamika (2nd century AD) and Yogacara (3rd century AD) too were instrumental to great extent in the development of Zen Buddhism.
However, today Mahayana Buddhism is the primary form of Buddhism in North Asia and the Far East, including China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia, and is thus sometimes known as Northern Buddhism while Theravada Buddhism sometimes called ‘Southern Buddhism’ held fast in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
Mahayana Buddhism accepts the Pali Canon as sacred scripture together with the Theravada Buddhism yet absorb many other Sutras or discourses which were written later in Sanskrit. It was in Sri Lanka in the 5th century AD during the reign of King Vatta Gamini Abhaya (the builder of Golden Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that 500 pious Theravada Buddhist monks assembled with Maha Thera Siva, as President of the Fourth Buddhist Council, in Sri Lanka Holidays Aloka-Vihara or Aluvihare rock cave monastery at the city of Matale, 12km north of Kandy (the gateway to Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands) committed to writing, for posterity, on ola leaves the Theravada cannon called Tripitaka, the three basket of the Teachings, known as the Pali scriptures, which had been handed down orally till then. It was at Aluvihare rock cave monastery, Buddhagosha, the 5th-century Theravada Buddhist commentator and scholar composed Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Theravada understanding of the Buddha’s path to liberation.
Thursday, November 15th, 2012
The mere chink of cups and saucers turns the mind to happy repose.” George Gissie
As if the introduction of Black tea wouldn’t do, China introduced Porcelain to the world as well. As if having got the world addicted to Black tea, wouldn’t do, China brought in an aesthetic counterpart to the culture of drinking Black tea, lent class to complement the social habit: Porcelain. It was a case of classic addiction: addiction to Black Tea was complemented by the love for Porcelain.
But then again, it’s an addiction like no other. Black tea was far from a narcotic even to the medieval Doubting Thomases. Medical literature lends support in bounty to the numerous discussions all over the world that Black tea protects your health. Value of Black Tea as an herbal medicine has been recorded in history; its preventive capacity & remedial actions on numerous diseases ranging from cardiovascular diseases to cancer has been scientifically researched. With the search for a healthier lifestyle in a & sustainable environment having gained momentum, Black Tea has become more popular than ever in U S A.
John Lennon, Paul MaCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Starr-The Beatles having Ceylon Tea, year 1965, U.K.
Ceramics, Porcelain & China
The earliest ceramics were pottery objects made of clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials heat baked and cooled. Porcelain, the hardest of all ceramic products, is made by heat baking a blend of raw materials with kaolin, a clay material with a layered silicate mineral. Porcelain was first produced in China during the era of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-06). While China continued to produce ceramics throughout its glorious history, the rest of the great world being unable to produce ceramics products of such sophistication, in the 17th century, “porcelain from China” became known simply by the name “china”.
Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the Finest Black Tea in the World
Tan Dynasty Chinse Pottery discovered in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Even today porcelain is frequently called by the name “china” in spite of finest porcelain being produced in Japan & high quality porcelain being produced all over the world. However the term “china” identifies only with tableware, i.e. cups, jugs, pots, plates, bowls & dishes made of soft paste or tender porcelain fired at lower temperature. The term “Porcelain” can be safely used for the medical & industrial applications of hard paste ceramic products fired at a higher temperature.
Earliest Chinese ceramics discovered in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka being a central point in the ancient Asian maritime trade, bartering of goods in the island ports resulted in Chinese products being available in then capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradahpura (437 B.C – A.D.845). According to Priyantha Jayasingha & Wang Changsui (Department of Scientific history and archaeometry University of Science and Technology of China Hefei, Anhui, 230026 P.R. China and Archaeological Department, Colombo, Sri Lanka), the Chinese Ceramics discovered in Sri Lanka were produced during the era of Tang dynasty’s (A.D 618-906) of China. Chinese ceramics were discovered at Buddhist monasteries of Jetavanaramaya, Abahayagiriya and Mihintale of ancient Sri Lanka. Jetavanaramaya & Abahayagiriya located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura and Mihintale Rock Monastery are Sri Lanka Holidays tourist attractions: must visit cultural destinations in Sri Lanka. Modern Sri Lanka is the producer of finest Black Tea in the world: Ceylon Tea.
Tan Dynasty Chinese Porcelain found in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
European Royalists & nobles lay hands on exotic Porcelain in the 14th century
It was not until the 14th century, Europe witnessed Porcelain. Porcelain of China arrived by way of overland path “Silk Road”, the most enduring trade route in human history & then by medieval maritime sea routes of Greece & Italy. A gift of chest of Chinese Porcelain from Sultan of Egypt to “Lorenzo de Medici” of Florence in the late 15th century was one of the shipments recorded in European history. But then again, in Europe, Porcelain of China was to remain an exotic commodity among the Royalists & nobles.
Discovery of exotic Porcelain by an act of piracy causes a sensation in Holland
In 1602 at St. Helena, South Atlantic Ocean and then again at 1603 at Johore, Malaysia, Dutch East India Company (VOC) captured two Portuguese vessels then called Carracks: St Fago valued at 1.5 Dutch guilders & St. Catarina valued at an amazing sum of 4 million Dutch guilders. Carracks were the first European ships that could weather the stormy seas in long voyages with heavily laden cargoes. The two Portuguese Carracks had Chinese Porcelain stowed in the holds to act as ballast against the main cargo of Black tea from China, spices & Chinese silk.
Import of Chinese Porcelain & imitations by the Europeans
Quote K. N. Chaudhuri: The import of Chinese porcelain during the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries was the cultural & aesthetic counterpart of the new social habits associated with the consumption of Black Tea, coffee, & chocolate in Europe. In the logistics of the East India Company’s ride with China, it had of course a humbler function. Chinaware packed in rice straw had no smell & it was an ideal complementary cargo to go with Black tea. Chests loaded with porcelain were extremely heavy & provided the necessary ballast for the ships.
The spectacular beauty of the late products from the kiln of Ching-te Chen & Teehua aroused as much admiration in the West as did the textile paintings of India a century earlier. Moreover, the rapid development of the porcelain industry in England, Holland, France, & Germany probably owed a great deal to the demonstration & substitution effect of the Chinese imports. The potters of Delft specialized in imitating the blue-& white ware of the K’ang-his period, & Bottger of Meissen, the inventor of porcelain in Europe, was the first to copy the superb white pieces from Tehua known as blanc de Chine. Bottger’s most famous imitations are dated from about 1715, & from the middle years of the century the great porcelain factories of Vienna, St Cloud, Mennecy, Chelsea & Bow were all striving to produce chinaware is the best tradition of the oriental imports. Unquote K. N. Chaudhuri: The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company: 1660-1760.
British Boy band One Direction -Niall Horan, 18, Zayn Malik, 19, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, 18, enjoying a cup of Ceylon Tea in Toronoto, year 2012
In search of harmony of Black Tea with porcelain
Black tea has been a prime feature in Chinese culture for millenniums. Chinese Legends & lore steeped in Black Tea are bountiful. Chinese elevated the habit of drinking Black Tea into a feature of culture called “Cha dao”, which was refined into an art form by the Japanese. None of the tea ceremonies or rituals and customs associated with tea drinking in Japan would have been elevated to such sophistication if not for the delicate cups, bowls & pots made of Porcelain from China. Since the eighteenth century, popularity of chinaware in Europe was to make a significant impact on popularizing the beverage of Black Tea.
Buy Ceylon Tea and Noritake Porcelain in Sri Lanka
Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world as well as World Class Modern Porcelain produced in Sri Lanka can be purchased at CMB Colombo Bandaranayake International Airport at Katunayake, Negombo, Sri Lanka.
Ceylon Tea, the Finest Black Tea in the World
Special features of Noritake Porcelain produced in Sri Lanka are:-
Very high whiteness – 90%; High translucency – 0.12%; High Thermal shock resistance – 180 c; Body is completely vitreous; High temperature fired – 1270c; High scratch resistance; Resistant to acid and alkalis
Maintenance of all these features made possible by the facts that product designing, selection and processing of raw materials, processing of printing materials such as pigment and gold, silk printing screens are all done within Noritake enterprise.
Noritake Porcelain, originating in a village of the same name near Nagoya in Japan, has been an A-lister ever since it hit the US market a little over 100 years ago. Cleverly appealing to both the mass market and the high end with a technologically superior and diverse product range, Noritake Porcelain has been a favourite with homes, hotel chains and airlines for its delicate designs and durable quality.
The porcelain producing factory of Noritake Lanka Porcelain Private Limited is located in Matale, home to ancient Aluvihare Rock Temple, 20 km north of Sri Lanka Holidays attraction of medieval city of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matale is also home to Sri Lanka’s rich minerals such as quartz, feldspar and dolomite deposits.
Monday, November 12th, 2012
Two main forms of Black tea in consumption
High quality loose leaf Black Tea packed in metal containers comes in two forms: pure teas & blended teas. Paper sachets of Black tea, popularly called tea bags (one bag for cup) packed in light cardboard cartons aren’t for those who love high quality Black tea.
Blended Black tea
Blended Black tea is precisely what the name carries with it: a blend of Black teas grown & manufactured in different areas of the world. Low quality Kenyan Black tea is often blended with Ceylon Tea, the finest tea in the world. If you go for high quality stuff in life, such blends aren’t what you would enjoy.
Then again there are high quality blended Black Teas marketed by the blenders by blending Black teas from Sri Lanka (Ceylon Tea-finest tea in the world) & Assam of India. Assam of India produces high quality Black Tea too. You would definitely go for the blend of Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka Holidays should you love the finest stuff under the sun.
Pure Black Tea
Pure Black tea is plucked in the same country. Then again, you could have a tin container of Pure Ceylon Tea with its metal printed label indicating it’s a blend. Very true, that’s definitely a blend, but with the unmistakable Lion logo of Ceylon tea, there’s no need for you to get upset. You have just bought a blend of Ceylon Tea grown and manufactured in different parts of the island of Sri Lanka exclusively. You are someone who would go for nothing less than The Real McCoy.
Blended Ceylon Tea brings off the best in the distinctive flavors & aromas of all the teas involved in the blend. The concept would a ring a bell: Blended Scotch Whisky.
Tea Factory Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
Black Tea branding by the region of origin
Flavor, aroma & quality of Black Teas, as in the case of wine, vary on the climatic & geographic conditions of the area of cultivation. Pure Ceylon Teas grown & manufactured at different elevations in the beautiful tropical island of Sri Lanka are called after the area: Nuwara Eliya (2000 meters above sea level), Dimbula (1200-1700m), Uva (1000-1700m), Uda Pussellawa (1200m), Kandy (650-1300 m) of Central Highlands of Sri Lanka and Ruhuna (sea level to 600m) each have its own distinctive taste & aroma.
Among the varieties of Black tea from all tea producing countries, quality & popularity of Ceylon Tea from Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is akin to the standing of Champagne among wine.
High quality Black teas are grown & manufactured in Indian provinces of Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri too are known by their respective provinces of cultivation & manufacture.
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
High Grown Ceylon Tea, Medium Grown Ceylon Tea & Low Grown Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s tea plantations are mainly located in the Central Highlands of the island stretching from Kandy of Mediterranean climate to Nuwara Eliya of salubrious climate. Black tea is grown in Ruhuna of Sri Lanka too. Dimbula, Uva, Nuwara Eliya & Uda Pussellawa of higher altitude produce High Grown Ceylon Teas of Sri Lanka. While Black Tea produced in Kandy is called Middle Grown Ceylon Tea, Black tea produced in Ruhuna is called Low Grown CeylonTea.
Ceylon Tea Growing Areas Of Sri Lanka
Ceylon Tea:The Finest Tea in the World- Black Tea to suit every pallet
Sri Lanka’s production of varieties of Black teas to go with every pallet has been the hallmark of Ceylon Tea, the Black Ttea industry of Sri Lanka. Dimbula & Nuwara Eliya teas are sought after by blenders from all over the world; Uva Black teas too are used for high quality blends mainly in West Germany & Japan; medium grown Ceylon Tea is popular in Europe, Australia, Japan & North America; low grown Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka is popular in Western Asia & Middle Eastern countries.
Black Tea from India
The main areas of Black tea cultivation in India are Darjeeling, Assam & Nilgiri. Black teas produced in these areas vary with one another in terms of aroma & flavor. In India Black tea is also grown in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Orissa, Bihar, Nagaland, Mizoram & Meghalaya Tripura, Manipur Dooars and Terai of West Bengal.
Black Tea gradings By the processing method
The main products of evergreen tea plant (Camellia sinensis) are fermented (black tea), producing an amber-colored, full-flavored beverage without bitterness; semi-fermented (oolong), a slightly bitter, light brownish-green beverage; and unfermented (green tea) a mild, slightly bitter, pale greenish-yellow beverage.
Black tea gradings by the size of leaf processed by orthodox method as well as CTC (crush, tear & curl) method
Teas are also classified by the size of the processed leaf. Orthodox manufacturing method as well as CTC manufacturing method produces larger leafy grades and smaller broken grades. These grading terms are usually used for teas from Sri Lanka & India. The system is based solely upon the size of the processed and dried Black Tea leaves. The size of the processed Black tea leaves is determined by the means of sifting teas on wire meshes.
Orange Pekoe (O.P) is the main grade in tea production. Orange Pekoe consists of long wiry leaf with tips (buds). The High Grown Orange Pekoe consists of long, thin & wiry leaves containing tip or bud.
Broken Orange Pekoe (B.O.P) with superior color & flavor consists of smaller leaf & tip.
Ceylon Tea From Sri Lanka
Pekoe Fannings which are smaller than B.O.P. brew quickly & give a liquor of good color when the beverage is prepared.
Dust, the black tea with smallest particles is very useful for quick brewing. The liquor produced by the Dust gives strength as well as color.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Hyatt Regency Colombo
Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) announced [October 18, 2012 ] that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Sinolanka Hotels and Spa Private Limited for a Hyatt Regency hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Hyatt Regency Colombo will be the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka continues to be a growing market, and we are excited to work with Sinolanka on this iconic project in Colombo,” said Ratnesh Verma, Senior Vice President – Real Estate and Development, Asia Pacific for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “Establishing our brand’s presence in key gateway cities like Colombo is an integral part of our strategy to drive preference for the Hyatt brand in the South Asian region. We believe the hotel’s excellent location and full range of services and dining options will meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers. It is our privilege to work with Sinolanka and be part of the government’s initiatives to develop tourism infrastructure in Sri Lanka.”
“We are pleased to work with Hyatt on the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Sri Lanka,” said Gamini Senarath, Chairman of Sinolanka Hotels and Spa Private Limited. “Hyatt RegencyColombo is expected to be a flagship development for Sri Lanka, demonstrating the rapidly expanding opportunities in this country’s tourism sector.”
Expected to open in 2014, Hyatt Regency Colombo will be a 42-floor hotel on Galle Road, which is one of the arterial roads in the central business district (CBD) area. The hotel will feature 475 guestrooms and 84 serviced apartments, as well as a lobby lounge, an all-day dining, multi-cuisine restaurant, three specialty restaurants, a bar, eight spa treatment rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a Regency Club lounge. Additionally, the hotel will offer more than 17,000 sq ft (1,579 sq m) of enclosed meeting space, including a 7,500 sq ft (696 sq m) ballroom.