THE TEA PLANT IS A CAMELLIA
Posted on November 25, 2013 by Luisa Fazio
The flower of Camellia brings to mind Marguerite Gautier, heroin, sinful protagonist of the novel by Alexandre Dumas, “The Lady of the Camellias”. She could only tolerate this flower, the other flowers made her cough. Many camellias (as an example Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua) have become plants of great ornamental value. Since half of the XIX century we have seen beautiful gardens with flowers in bright, quirky, fascinating colours. Surprisingly, one species of camellia, Camellia sinensis, is the Tea plant. From the leaves that are left to dry on racks, we extract the most popular and more ritual drink in the world. It’s a drink discreet and innocuous that never comes in conflict with any culture and religion. Tea reminds us to the Orient (evergreen plantations expanses that fascinate even the most casual traveler). In China it is the plant of civilization, in Japan is the king of the famous ceremony which induces to calmness and meditation. In Russia the samovar puffing, in North Africa is the hospitality in the desert, in the UK it’s tea-time. It is the trait d’union of the two worlds, East and West. Initially it was considered to be a medicinal taste of bitter chicory, then it became a beverage voluptuous drink by nobles, rich and ordinary people. A “sweet dew” as it would call Buddhist monks used by them for its stimulant properties that helped them to stay awake during meditation. There’s something for every taste: aromatic, black, green, red, white. Everyone is free to drink as chosen, even if the orthodoxy says that to ensure the persistence of the original organoleptic characteristics, it should be drunk pure. No sugar, no milk, no lemon (the real tea-tester does not add anything). And dutifully prepared with only water source. The ideal would be to water dripping from stalactites in the caves of mountains. Tea with jasmine fragrance, delicate or intense aroma? The important thing is to sip it in friends company or in complete idleness to get enjoyment, benefit and carefree. Good relax!