tea tea

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

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

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

A view of Canton (Guangzhou), on the Pearl River in China, circa 1840. Canton was already a great trading port when the American ship Empress of China arrived in 1784 to fill up its hold with tea. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images