I have recently discovered the Travel and Tea blog - great photos of tea around the world, by the way - and was interested to read about tea tourism in India. I wouldn't mind staying at a tea plantation in Darjeeling... There are also apparently tea tours available for visitors to Taiwan. I'm far from being a seasoned traveller, and confess happily to being very much a homebody, but I would love to visit tea-producing areas and see how the process works. Too exciting!
A further post on the issue of tea being marketed as a medicine (and Unilever/Lipton getting smacked by the FDA, as I already mentioned here), this time from Cinnabar at Gongfu Girl. I particularly like this point that she makes:
...as tea drinkers we really do not want it to ever be sanctioned and regulated by the FDA as a medicine. This would have enormous and far-reaching impact on the tea industry which would severely damage it, because aroma, flavor, tradition, character, etc. have no bearing on the validity of a substance as medicine. Medicine just has to do what it is sold to do.
When I was completing my naturopathic studies there was regular discussion of similar problems regarding the use of herbal medicines and the level of regulation which they attracted - trying to find the balance between safety and 'proven' efficacy - not simple (and of course herbal medicine is big business these days as well). The thing with herbs - and I'm including Camellia sinensis tea here as well - is that they are so much more than the sum of their parts, and when you put them into the complexity of the human body - no wonder it's hard to get a standard response. But should we want to? I think probably not.
And finally - have you ever wondered why the tea leaves sink to the bottom of your cup rather than sticking to the sides?
No, I haven't either. But now that I've seen this article explaining the science behind 'the tea leaf paradox', discovered by Einstein no less (thanks to this post by Tea Guy for the link) I realise that I probably should have! And I feel ever so much better informed. So should you.