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Green Tea Comes to the West - Portugal was the first to export tea to the West followed by the Dutch and the English through their colonial holdings in the Far East. Tea found its way to Russia from Mongolia.
16th Century: Portugal - Like many other commodities native to Asia, tea was introduced to the West during the age of exploration and discovery that followed the Renaissance.
The Portuguese brought tea to Western Europe in the late 1500s. During the middle of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese visited Japan from their Macao plantations, and experienced Japanese tea culture for the first time. The Portuguese regarded tea as a common, everyday beverage. They were surprised to learn that the Japanese spent enormous amounts of money building teahouses, collecting expensive tea equipment, and following strict ceremonial tea drinking rules. The Portuguese were so impressed by Japan's tea culture that they spread the ideas to other western countries.
17th Century: Holland - In 1610, the Holland United East Indian Company bought their first crop of Japanese tea in Hirado and Chinese tea in Macao from a Portuguese merchant.
Eventually, tea became very popular among Holland's royal families and its upper class. In the 1630s, the Dutch began selling teas to France, Germany, North America, and England. Holland developed a major tea plantation in Indonesia in the 1870s and supplied teas both domestically and internationally. It helped transform Indonesia into one of today's major tea producing nations.
17th Century: Great Britain - In 1651, England established sea navigation regulations, prohibiting foreign tea imports, and began purchasing teas directly from China. In 1700, the English East India Company recorded the importation of half fermented tea.

In 1720, England had the exclusive right to import Chinese tea (green and half fermented). The English preferred half fermented to green tea. The more profitable fermented teas were manufactured in China. Various degrees of fermentation were developed to meet the tastes of consumers and more precise production methods were created. The tea fermentation and processing methods developed during this period serves as the basis for today's black teas. By the end of the 17th century, tea was already truly a global beverage.

In 1823, the English discovered the Assam tea plant in India. They developed a tea with a longer fermentation period than ordinary half fermented tea. Assam tea was first shipped to London in 1839. Assam, which contains more tannin, greatly appealed to British tastes and became enormously popular. Eventually, Assam was grown by the British and processed in various areas of India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

After England adopted mass agricultural production and rational processing methods, the Chinese could not compete in terms of cost. Chinese tea was already losing its popularity in taste to Assam tea.

17th Century: Russia - Through a completely separate route tea made its way into Russia, creating yet another huge market. In Russia, the custom of tea drinking entered through Mongolia in the late sixteenth century.
In 1689, a major treaty was signed between Russia and China; soon thereafter, Russia's upper class began to drink brick tea. In 1847, the Russians began growing tea plants and production increased steadily. By 1985, 150,000 tons (40% green tea) was produced annually. However, a major nuclear accident in Chernobyl destroyed production. In 1993, only 20,000 tons were recorded, affecting the worldwide market price.
20th Century: Africa - Several African countries (Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, etc.) began producing tea after World War II.

Our tea and tea ware have a variety of certifications:

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