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The story of tea on PBS this week

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This Wednesday (repeats Friday, May 30) you can catch the Planet Food special: The Story of Tea, on PBS channels. Check your local listings for the channel and time.

Globe Trekker Rosie Lovell and her fellow Globe Trekkers will entertain you with the story of how tea spread from China to become the world’s most widely drunk beverage behind water. More than 40 countries now grow tea and, even today, most of the tea drunk in the U.S. is imported from China, Sri Lanka, and some other countries.

Rosie begins at The Cutty Sark, the world’s last surviving tea clipper. In South East China, Chef Peter Gordon tells us about the medicinal properties associated with tea and enjoys the art of the Chinese tea ceremony. There is more than one story as to the origins of how tea was discovered. Learn how tea tasting is done with tea specialist Mark Nicholls. A most interesting segment is a ritual with the Pura (pu-erh) tea that costs $3,000 a gram. There are many tea rituals, and Chef Merrilees Parker travels to Kyoto to show you a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony, Sado.

Stephen Twining of Twining Tea talks about Britain’s early obsession with tea. You will learn that tea was once the most expensive drink only affordable by the rich. And, delving into the fascinating history of tea, Dr. Robert Blyth, curator at the Maritime museum in London, will talk about the Opium Wars. Visit the tea plantations in Darjeeling India (where this tea specialist has also visited and stayed) and the Zareen tea estate in Bangladesh. And, did you know there is an art to pplucking tea? Merrilees Parker will show you in Malaysia. Rosie introduces you to afternoon tea, and you can watch Merrilees at afternoon tea in Malaysia.

Did you know that there is an Egyptian tea house in London? This and more you will learn in the 1-hour program. Set your recorder—you don’t want to miss this program.

NOTE: For those in Albuquerque, PBS will air this program on Wednesday, May 28, channel 5.1 at 10 PM, and again on Friday, May 30, channel 9.1 at 10 PM.

REMINDER: TEA RETREAT IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO: Want to get away to a beautiful environment as you participate in an intensive weekend learning about tea? Then check out Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, often called "Georgia O'Keeffe country," and register for a wonderful weekend of TEA. The dates are September 5-6-7, 2014. You can learn more about the retreat by clicking here. You will even learn what kind of tea Ms. O'Keeffe drank.

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