The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
The Qing-Manchu Dynasty
China's Last Ruling Dynasty
The death of the last Ming emperor marked the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  It would
be replaced by the Qing Dynasty, also referred to as the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1912).  The
Qing/Manchu dynasty ended China's dynasty rule and was replaced by the Republic of China in
1912.
The Qing Dynasty was founded in 1644 by
foreign Manchu rulers, however, the Manchu
didn't gain complete control of China until app-
roximately 1683, with small pockets of loyal
Ming remaining in China throughout the entire
Qing dynasty.

Like the Mongol rulers before them the non-
Chinese Manchu rulers drank the same dark,
course black tea laced with fermented mare's
milk. While they brought this style of course
tea with them to the imperial court the remain-
ing Han Chinese never subscribed to this
type
of tea, staying instead with green tea which
was referred to as "clear tea."

The imperial kit-
chen at the Qing
imperial palace, located in the Forbidden City operated two separate
kitchens-one for preparing the Manchu's style of
milk tea, and the
other the Han style of clear tea.

The Mongolian ruler, Altyun-Khan sent the first tea to Russia in the
early 17th century as a gift to Tsar Michael Fedorovich. Later, in 1689 the first Manchu emperor,
Kangxi (1661-1722) signed the Treaty of Nerchinska which marked the beginning of regular trade
between Russia and China with goods and materials sent between China, Siberia, and Mongolia
by camel caravans.

                                              Until late in the 18th century supplies of tea were transported to
                                              Russia by these camel caravans along the
Great Tea Horse Road
                                              running from Kashgar, behind China's Great Wall, through the
                                              Gobi Desert to Urga in Mongolia.  In the beginning only Russia's
                                              elite were allowed to drink tea, but gradually other social groups
                                              were allowed access to it.

                                              Trade with Europe began during the Qing Dynasty, while the
Manchus were in power, with China becoming one of the most important trading powers in the
world.  The Portuguese were the first of the traders to work with the Far East bringing tea,
spices, and porcelains back to Portugal.

But it was the Dutch who first formed the habit of tea drinking in the West in the early 17th
century, establishing a trading center at Batavia (known today as Jakarta) on the island of Java.  
There the purchases from
Indonesia and China were consolidated for the long trip back to
Holland.
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Chinese tea producers had the chall-
enge of creating a tea that wouldn't rot
or spoil during the damp and wet ship
voyage back home. With much trial and
error they finally hit on a method of fir-
ing and bake-drying the tea, eventually
refining and perfecting the technique for
producing black tea.  For many years
these black teas were produced in the
Wuyi Mountains in China's
Fujian pro-
vince and from there sent down river to
the trading port in Canton.

The first shipment of Chinese tea
arrived at the Hague in 1610 and was
passionately embraced by the Dutch citizens.  They added heavy amounts of milk based on
reports of how the Chinese drank their tea, which was true of the Manchu emperor in
power at the time, but not the Han emperors who never added milk.  Dutch physicians
immediately jumped on board, declaring tea a "necessary and curative medicine."

Along with ever increasing quantities of tea, the Dutch also purchased other fine and
delicate Chinese goods, including lacquer objects, porcelains, spices, and silks.  Even-
tually they had enough tea on hand to send quantities to their colony of New Amsterdam
(New York) in North America.

In 1670 the first Dutch tea reached the Massachusetts colony,
with Benjamin Harris and Daniel Vernon advertising the avail-
ability of
black tea for sale.  New Amsterdam passed from
Dutch to English rule in 1674 and was renamed New York, and
by 1682 tea was also introduced in the city of Philadelphia by
Quaker, William Penn.

Following the Dutch habit of tea drinking, it was then intro-
duced to the French upper class, followed by Germany around 1650 and was mentioned as
arriving in Scandinavia in 1723.  But the first public sale of Dutch traded
Chinese tea didn't
begin in London until 1658, offered at Garraway's Coffee House.

The English immediately took to tea which became the "in drink" in coffeehouses and by
the privileged class of professional men and literati.  When Charles II wed Princess
Catherine of Braganza, a Portugese princess and tea drinker in 1662, tea became the
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fashionable drink for proper English ladies.  This gave rise to the social tradition of English "tea time," that carried over
and remained popular until today, where it is still practiced and enjoyed the world over.  
Enjoy.