April 5, 2003 - By Gilles Brochard
Tea, an ancestral beverage, originated several millennia ago in the distant lands of Asia. After water, tea is the most universal of beverages, prepared differently according to origins, customs and religions. Some 2,600,000 tonnes are produced every year.
1,200 billion cups of tea are drunk every year, or 36,000 per second, corresponding to an average annual consumption of 600 grams per capita.
A national drink in some countries, an exceptional beverage in others, tea is sought after today for its freshness, taste, infinite diversity and benefits.
"Enjoying a cup of tea... Nothing could be simpler on the surface.
Yet tea has its own vintages, its own secrets, its own uses."
Gilles Brochard is a journalist, president of the Club des buveurs de Thé and director of the Université du Thé/IESA.
His books include "Petit traité du thé" (La Table Ronde, 1997), "Plaisir de thé" (with Michèle Carles, Le Chêne, 1998) and "La Boîte à thé" (Tana édition, 2000).
In his latest book, "A l'heure du thé", he draws up a map of tea, having tested over 150 lounges and counters on his travels.