For all the tea in China by Sarah Rose

Find in catalogChina had the best tea; India grew opium. The British empire engaged in the commerce of both but wanted more. So England used trading ports ceded to it after the first Opium War to smuggle tea plants out of China to be grown in India, using newly devised “terrariums” as conveyances. The growth of this tea industry led to improvements in shipping (tea clippers then steamships through the Suez Canal); the discovery of how the Chinese could fire its porcelins at high temps that could hold boiling water; the boiling water used for tea (but not for coffee)could kill cholera that spread easily in crowded urban settings; the sugar that came from the Queens holdings in the Caribbean could be used to sweeten and add calories to the tea consumed by workers, who previously drank beer on their breaks. This and its mild stimulant effect was an aid to the efficiency and safety of the worker. And so one thing leads to another in a most unexpected way. The historical narrative draws the reader in and sustains interest through out the book. A most satisfying adventure.

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