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indigo, plumbago, and turmeric, often accompanied by such minerals as gypsum and soapstone. According to Leach 1 the Chinese and Japanese face only the teas intended for export trade.
The addition of mineral matter may be detected by burning a weighed quantity - one gram or more in a platinum dish, and weighing the ash. Good tea gives from 5 to 7 per cent of ash. If the leaves are exhausted, the per cent will be less. To ascertain the strength of the tea, an infusion is the best test. If the decoction is very high-colored, the tea has probably been doctored. If there is not much extract, the leaves have been exhausted. The surest test of this is the specific gravity of the solution ; but even this is a delicate test, since the specific gravity of a solution of 200 grains of tea in 2,000 grains of water is from 1.012 to 1.014, while that of exhausted leaves is from 1.003 to 1.0057. Good tea should yield 26 per cent, and often as much as 36 per cent, of its weight to boiling water.
Spent or exhausted leaves, leaves that have been once steeped and afterwards again rolled and dried, have been used as an adulterant, though the practice is now rare.
Certain foreign leaves, as the leaves of the willow, elder, rose, elm, etc, have been said to be used as adulterants.
Stems, fragments, and tea dust are sometimes found in large proportion.
“ As a matter of fact, the worst forms of tea adulteration, such as the actual substitution of foreign
1Food Inspection and Analysis, p. 285.
leaves, once so commonly practiced, are now extremely rare in this country and have been for some years, by reason of the careful system of government inspection in force at the various ports of entry. The greater portion of the tea on our market today is genuine, but fraud is practiced to a considerable extent by the substitution of inferior grades for those of good quality. This form of deception is in many cases beyond the power of the analyst to detect, and properly comes within the realm of the professional tea taster."1
Tea tablets are made of finely ground tea pressed together, and are prepared for a beverage by simply dissolving in hot water.
The analysis of the Samovar Tea Tablets, according to the Massachusetts State Board of Health, is as follows:
2.25 54.4 5.4 2.8
In England all tea is sampled and inspected, and in 1879, of 575 specimens examined, only three were found to require special disposal — one damaged by water, one consisting of exhausted leaves, and one sanded.2
1 Leach, p. 287.
2 For illustrations of the appearance of tea leaves, and other leaves and berries, see Bell, Hassall, Blyth, König, Leach, Winton.
The Russians are said to have the most delicious tea of any nation in Europe. They have an inland trade with China, and choice teas are directly imported, without exposure to the heat and close air of the hold of a vessel, so injurious to teas of a delicate flavor. Their method of making tea also has much to do with its fine flavor, and samovars are a national feature, from which some lessons may be learned.
The samovar is a large brass urn, lined with block tin. The urn and the stand which raises it from the table are all in one piece, in those I have seen. The urns hold from four to eight quarts of water, which is poured in through a small hole, three quarters of an inch in diameter, in the top, and they are emptied by a stopcock or faucet, like any hot water urn.
It is usually one servant's duty in Russia to take care of the samovar, to fill it with the freshest of water, to kindle the fire, and to bring it in when all is ready for the table. A twist of paper is placed in the bottom of the cylinder, with some splinters of kindling wood. Upon this is placed charcoal broken into pieces the size of walnuts. The Russians themselves often have a special charcoal made from cocoanuts, the hard shells making a very dense, odorless charcoal, which gives off an intense heat. The fire is lighted from the grate below. The chimney is put on, and the fire is allowed to burn until all smoke and smell from the wood and paper have passed away, and the charcoal is in a glow. Then it is carried in and set upon the table.
As soon as the water sends out a jet of steam from the hole at the top, beside the cylinder, the tea is made by the hostess. Now notice that the water has just reached the boiling point. It has lost none of its life or air. It is simply fresh, pure water brought to the boiling point. The teapot is made scalding hot, and the tea is taken from a caddy upon the table. At first only a little water is poured upon it. The chimney is taken off and the teapot is set upon the cylinder over the glowing coals, upon the same principle as setting the teapot in the top of the boiling teakettle on the fire, as we often see done here in our kitchens. In a few moments more boiling water is added, and the teapot replaced over the coals. The tea is poured into the cups when it has steeped sufficiently long, sugar is added, and instead of cream a slice of lemon is slipped into each cup. Fresh tea and water are put in the teapot, and it is again placed over the coals.
One tradition relates that, in ancient days, a poor dervish, who lived in a valley of Arabia Felix, observed a strange hilarity in his goats on their return home every evening.
To find out the cause of this, he watched them closely one day, and observed that they eagerly devoured the blossoms and fruit of a tree he had hitherto disregarded. He tried the effect of this food upon himself, and was thrown into such a state of exhilaration that his neighbors accused him of having drunk of the forbidden wine; but he revealed to them his discovery, and they at once agreed that Allah had sent the coffee plant to the faithful as a substitute for the wine.
The name of coffee is given to a beverage prepared from the seeds of plants, which are roasted, ground, and infused in boiling water. The seeds most used are those of the Arabian coffee tree (an evergreen, Caffea Arabica), which belongs to the natural order Cinchonacea, the same order to which belongs the tree from which are obtained quinine and the Peruvian bark of commerce. It is probable that the use of coffee has been known from time immemorial in Abyssinia, where the tree is native. In Persia it is known to have been in use as early as A.D. 875.
The first allusion to coffee in an English book is believed to be in Burton's “Anatomy of Melancholy": “The Turks have a drink called coffee (for they use no wine), so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter, which they sup up as warm as they can suffer, because they find by experience that that kind of drink, so used, helpeth digestion and produceth alacrity.”
The introduction of coffee into Europe was bitterly opposed, and the use of it denounced from the pulpit. Nevertheless the tree has been cultivated in all tropical countries which have been colonized by Europeans.
While in Mohammedan countries its use as an antisoporific in the long devotional exercises rendered it obnoxious to the conservative priests, and while some held it to be an intoxicant, and so prohibited by the Koran, in England it seems to have been opposed by liquor dealers, who alleged that the popularity of the coffee houses was so great as to draw away their custom. The popularity of the coffee houses