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beginning to appreciate the fact that property is worth more where this satisfaction may be felt.
One simple, popular test which may serve to detect harmful materials in water is as follows : Place a pint of clear well or spring water in a clean, white, uncracked dish on the stove. If, on evaporation, the water leaves dark rings on the dish, or a dark sediment in the bot. tom, there is positive evidence of danger. If, on the other hand, there is no sediment, we have no proof that the water is safe. This test does not apply to surface waters, which always contain harmless organic matter.
In regard to tea and coffee more than to any other class of foods is there a popular misconception of the · differences in quality, caused solely by methods of preparation, but often attributed to adulteration. Therefore space is here given to the principles of obtaining satisfactory results in the home.
The tea plant, Thea Sinensis, or Camellia Thea, an evergreen, is a native of China, Japan, and the north of Eastern India, and has been there cultivated from time immemorial. The finest tea of China is grown between the twenty-seventh and thirty-first parallels of north latitude But the plant will flourish from the equator to forty degrees north latitude.
Tea has been used as a beverage by the Chinese for ages past. Tradition refers to it as early as the third century. It first became known to Europeans about the end of the sixteenth century. Until the middle of the seventeenth, the price was from twentyfive to fifty dollars a pound; and a remarkable feature
in its history is the reduction which has taken place in its commercial value, tea now being sold at Canton at from fifteen to twenty cents a pound, and in this country at from twenty-five cents to one dollar. Tea is used at present by about one-third of the human
The consumption in Great Britain in 1835 was less than one and a half pounds a head. In 1877 it was four and a half pounds, and in 1904 six pounds. In the United States in 1876 it was one and a half pounds. In 1904 it was about one and a quarter pounds. Among European nations tea is preeminently an English, Russian, and Dutch drink.
The quality of tea depends upon its flavor, which should be delicate and yet full; and this is affected by the time of gathering (whether or not the first of the four yearly gatherings), by the age of the tree, by the country in which it is grown, by the quality of the soil, and by the situation of the plantation. The two classes of tea, the black and the green, are produced in the same region and often from the same trees. Green tea is rolled and dried very quickly, the whole process being finished in an hour or two, so that the leaf keeps its color. The idea that green tea is obtained by drying the leaves in copper pans is a popular error, which has been persisted in for a long time, without a shadow of truth for its foundation. For black tea, the leaves are beaten and exposed to the air for some time, so that a sort of fermentation sets in. The production of the aromatic flavors is due to the processes of drying, since the leaves when freshly plucked have neither the odor nor flavor of the dried leaves. Hence different qualities of tea may be made from the same leaves, according to the treatment while drying. This is the source of the various kinds found in the market under the names Hyson, Oolong, etc. Some teas are scented with fragrant leaves and flowers.
Substitutes for tea are found in nearly every country. Sage leaves were frequently so used in England a century ago.
Labrador tea was prepared by the native American tribes. The leaves of thirty-two plants are known to have been thus used.
The important constituent of tea is an alkaloid called theine. It is present in varying proportions, from i to 4 per cent.
The theine is supposed to be in combination with tannin, which is the most abundant soluble substance in tea, usually from 16 to 27 per cent. To the tannin is due the constipating effect of tea. The longer the tea leaves are steeped, the more tannin the solution contains. Regard for the lining of one's stomach would lead one to avoid all steeped teas. The infusion should be prepared immediately before drinking, or removed from contact with the leaves.
The odor and flavor of tea are due to an essential oil which is present in very small quantity, and which is developed during the fermenting and drying. For a good tea the volatile oil must not escape. To make a good pot of tea, scald out the pot with boiling hot soft water, place the tea in it as soon as possible, pour over it the boiling water, and close the pot immediately; allow it to stand in a hot place for a few minutes, but do not let it boil; if the tea leaves are put in a bag or ball they may be at once withdrawn. Tea as drunk in China is always taken clear, without any addition of milk or sugar. The Russians add a few drops of lemon.
Lo-Yu, a learned Chinese who lived about 700 A.D., says of the effect of an infusion of tea, that it tempers the spirits and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness, lightens or refreshes the body, and clears the perceptive faculties. Modern writers claim that tea excites the brain to increased activity, while it soothes and stills the vascular system ; hence its use in inflammatory diseases and as a cure for headache. Taken in excess it has the effect of a vegetable poison. It affects different people differently, and when it causes nervous excitement its use should be avoided. The infusion is stimulating and not nutritive; hence the use of tea and toast, so common among the workingwomen of America, is very poor economy, and is an evil, one had almost said, second only to the use of alcohol. Indeed, it has been called the tobacco of women; for while the tea does undoubtedly allow one to live on less food, it does not supply the place of food for any length of time.
If the exhąusted leaves were eaten after the infusion was drunk, as is the case in several countries, it would be more economical, since they contain about 20 per cent of nitrogenous matter, insoluble in water. On the coast of South America and on the slopes of the Himalayas the spent leaves are handed round among the company, sometimes on a silver salver, and much relished, In some places the leaves are powdered and mixed with various nutritious substances, anp eaten without infusion.
According to the best authorities tea should not be drunk as a beverage by persons under middle age, as it is liable to interfere with the development of the nervous system. But for elderly and delicate people whose stomachs are incapable of digesting much food the use of tea is often valuable, as it, like coffee, prevents the waste of tissue, or, in other words, a person requires less food when tea is taken ; but it should not be used for this purpose by working people, since it tells upon the digestive power of the stomach, and nothing can supply day after day the lack of nutritious food. Physicians now recognize a tea dyspepsia, and no one with a hope for better digestion should drink tea constantly three times a day.
ADULTERATIONS OF TEA
When tea was ten dollars a pound there was great temptation to mix other leaves with the genuine, or even to substitute them entirely; also to add to the weight by iron filings, etc, or sand gummed on plumbago and soapstone; the exhausted leaves were also used. Since the price has fallen, very much less adulteration is practiced. It will not pay to work over the tea leaves to any extent, yet they are occasionally adulterated, and inferior grades due to carelessness in preparation and to less careful cultivation are often found.
The most common method of adulteration is by “facing," that is, by treating with certain coloring materials to give intensity to the color of the leaves. The facings in most general use are Prussian blue,