Tea Tuesday : The Salt The Salt's Tea Tuesdays is an occasional series that explores the science, history, culture and economics of the ancient brewed beverage.

Demand for domestic tea is so strong that Minto Island Tea Co. continues expanding production. Here, Camellia sinensis is planted on the Salem, Ore., farm. It takes three years for tea plants to mature for harvest. Courtesy of Minto Island Tea Co. hide caption

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Courtesy of Minto Island Tea Co.

Pu'er tea is packed in bings at a market in China's Yunnan province. A cake of Pu'er continues to change as it ages, and bits of tea are chipped off in order to brew. Ellen Mack/Flickr Vision via Getty Images hide caption

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Ellen Mack/Flickr Vision via Getty Images

Sir Thomas Lipton in 1909. Lipton was already a self-made millionaire before he ever entered the tea trade. But by figuring out how to lower the retail cost of tea and standardize his product "direct from the tea gardens," he became much, much richer. Library of Congress hide caption

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Library of Congress

Workers harvest autumn flush teas on a tea estate in Darjeeling, India. Autumn is the personal favorite flush of many of India's most discerning tea tasters, though these teas remain largely unknown and nearly impossible to find. Jeff Koehler hide caption

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Jeff Koehler

The "Green Giant" mechanical tea harvester, one of only a few in the world, does the manual work of 500 people. Wayne's View Photography/Courtesy of Charleston Tea Plantation hide caption

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Wayne's View Photography/Courtesy of Charleston Tea Plantation

Marybong Estate, second flush. Jeff Koehler hide caption

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Jeff Koehler

Darjeeling 2.0: Last Auction Of India's 'Champagne Of Teas' Goes Digital

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Boba 7, the speakeasy at the back of downtown Los Angeles restaurant Soi 7, serves boba cocktails made with beer or the Korean alcohol soju, in addition to an inventive nonalcoholic menu. Courtesy of Boba 7 hide caption

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Courtesy of Boba 7

Nancy Reagan (left) and Soviet first lady Raisa Gorbachev both smile politely during a tension-filled tea in Geneva in 1985, while their husbands discussed nuclear disarmament. Dieter Endlicher/AP hide caption

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Dieter Endlicher/AP

A tea lady brings round refreshments for British office workers in the 1970s. All over the U.K., the arrival of the tea ladies with trolleys loaded with a steaming tea urn and a tray of cakes or buns was the high point of the workday. M. Fresco/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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M. Fresco/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Object (or Luncheon in Fur), by Meret Oppenheim. In 1936, Oppenheim wrapped a teacup, saucer and spoon in fur. In the age of Freud, a gastro-sexual interpretation was inescapable. Even today, the work triggers intense reactions. Flavia Brandi/Flickr hide caption

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Flavia Brandi/Flickr

In 1747, members of the notorious Hawkhurst Gang carried out a brazen midnight raid on the King's Custom House in Poole, England: They broke in and stole back their impounded tea. What followed over the next weeks would shock even hardened criminals. E. Keble Chatterton - King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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E. Keble Chatterton - King's Cutters and Smugglers 1700-1855/Wikimedia Commons

Loose-leaf green tea of the modern variety. Archaeologists have discovered ancient tea in the tomb of a Chinese emperor who died in 141 B.C. It's the oldest known physical evidence of tea. But scientists aren't sure if the emperor was drinking tea as we know it or using it as medicine. iStockphoto hide caption

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iStockphoto

The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans began holding afternoon tea in 1984. A representative says the hotel held daily afternoon tea times until Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. It still serves afternoon tea a few days a week. Sara Essex Bradley/Windsor Court Le Salon hide caption

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Sara Essex Bradley/Windsor Court Le Salon

Cascara is made by brewing dried coffee cherries, which typically would have otherwise ended up as compost. "We have been throwing away this perfectly good coffee fruit for a long time, and there's no real reason for it, because it tastes delicious," says Peter Giuliano, of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Murray Carpenter for NPR hide caption

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Murray Carpenter for NPR

For centuries, tea drinking has been synonymous with female tittle-tattle — even though men drank just as much tea. Old dictionaries of English slang provide colorful proof of this association. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images