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Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm


Post by Jeff Thorpe » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:44 pm


© Jeff Thorpe 03 August 2018

Tis a topic about which many folk do ruminate
to try to find the trigger which makes us urinate,
tea and coffee are prime suspects cos they contain caffeine
yet this is fabrication, if you know what I mean,
regular tea or coffee drinkers suffer no diuretic effect
though occasional slurpers, with the toilet may connect,
theirs only a brief reaction though to an unaccustomed brew,
the body soon adjusts to a sudden caffeine coup.

But I digress, this tale is not about when or not we pee,
more to tell the story of the staple coffee and tea.
Where to start, their history truly knows no bounds,
both of these beverages having outstanding backgrounds,
each are known worldwide as a satisfying drink
from tinged with milk and sugar to black as newsprint ink,
their origins steeped in legend, folkore of long ago
that only fuels their aura even so.

The mythical story of tea began in China, 2737 BC
when Emperor Shen Nung sat beneath a tree
as his servant boiled water for drinking,
by chance, leaves fell to the water, sinking
infusing flavour to the liquid, pleasing Shen Nung’s taste
a quirk of fate surely not misplaced
for tea was born of the leaf of Camellia Sinensis,
a brew of favourite preference by overwhelming consensus.

Legend or not, China led the world in tea consumption
centuries before the west by best assumption,
Japan was next to savour tea’s flavours
Buddhist monks who studied in China the prime conveyors,
green tea particularly, the monks favourite brew
and tea drinking in that country took not long to accrue.
The Dutch led Europe to tea, importing from China in 1606,
it became a fashionable drink, gently adding other countries to the mix.

Strangely, as a nation of tea drinkers, Britain’s acceptance of it was slow,
the British East India Company in 1664 starting the flow,
even then, tea was unaffordable to many due to tax.
Introduced in 1689, t’was 1964 before all levies did relax.
The punitive tariff led to smuggling in the eighteenth century
until William Pitt the Younger in a Bill parliamentary
severely slashed the tax in 1784
making tea affordable, banishing smuggling for evermore.

Coffee, by comparison, has not the longevity of tea
although it too is touched with legend in its pedigree,
starting with a tale from the Ethiopian plateau
about goat herder Kaldi whose beasts got to know
that berries from a certain tree made them energetic,
this obvious to their master and not just theoretic.
Kaldi reported to a local Abbott who mixed the berries in a drink
discovering the beverage and alertness had a definite link.

In truth, Yemen in Arabia saw first coffee cultivation
beginning in fifteenth century, the drink reached commendation
from thousands of pilgrims travelling to Mecca each year,
the “Wine of Araby” seen as a drink held dear.
Coffee reached Europe by seventeenth century, though not without dispute,
some called it “The bitter invention of Satan”, a vile potion absolute
yet, Pope Clement VIII as arbiter invited to intervene
sampled and liked the brew, approving the coffee bean.

In the mid sixteen hundreds, coffee reached New York
but the footing of British tea proved hard to uncork.
Not until 1773 when the Boston Tea Party uprose against tea’s tax
did tea as preferred drink in America get the axe,
third American President Jefferson helped tea’s status come unfurled
with the statement “Coffee – the favourite drink of the civilised world”.
Americans are arguably now the world’s greatest coffee drinkers
adopting a seemingly patriotic stance “hook, line and sinkers”.

An instance of coffee's standing being no oddity
is that after crude oil it's the world's most sought commodity,
and try to stand between Britons and their tea
is a task I'd set for you rather than me,
black or white, sweetened or not, either drink is fine
from pots or bags or percolators, drinkers stand in line
to have a relaxing "cuppa" and invariably, a chat,
all things being equal, there's nothing wrong with that.

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Post by Shelley » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:19 pm

A fascinating “pocket history” Jeff!

It’s “tea” for me, I have to say (although I do drink coffee occasionally).

Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm


Post by Jeff Thorpe » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:29 pm

Thanks Shelley. I learned a lot of interesting data researching this poem. Have received a few favourable replies commenting on the "history lesson" in rhyme.

Regards, Jeff

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