tea tea

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

Tea leaf pickers in the Indian tea industry are nearly all women, and in the southern tea-growing state of Kerala, they earn the lowest daily minimum wage of any sector in the state. They work six days a week rain or shine. But J. Rajeshwari (right) helped mobilize the female worforce. "We couldn't feed ourselves or educate our children, so we organized," she says. Julie McCarthy/NPR hide caption

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Julie McCarthy/NPR

Female Tea Workers In One Indian State Fight For Their Rights

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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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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

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