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Few persons not immediately connected with the import and export trade of the world have any idea of the rapid changes taking place ; a the industrial pursuits of different countries. These are mainly attributable to the influence of European civilisation and the application of chemical and mechanical discoveries to the cultivation and preparation for use of raw products. Uninfluenced by these, Asiatic countries are still in a state of stagnant civilisation; pursuing the same routine,, thinking the same thoughts, and practising the same processes in art and manufacture that their fathers followed centuries ago. A striking instance of this persistence: in habit is presented to us in the cultivation and preparation of tea in China. Only fifty years ago all Europe depended solely on China for their supply of tea. A largo fleet of clipper vessels, the fastest sailers that could be obtained, was specially employed between Canton and Great Britain, and it used to be an exciting race to be the first to land the new season's teaa in the port of London. But this is changed. Instead of being dependent upon China for tea, a large and increasing supply is obtained! in Assam and other distriots of British India, and latterly from Ceylon, where, since 1873, when disease attacked the coffee plantations, almost exolusive attention has. been given to the production and preparation of tea. So suitable to its growth have the climate and soil proved to be that abundant crops of fine flavor and quality soon secured a ready market in England, and realised high priceo. We learn from information supplied to the 'Timaru Herald' by Mr R. R. Taylor, of Timaru, who baa for some years been the accredited agent in New Zealand for the " Tea Planters* Association of Ceylon," that in 1873. the first parcel of 231b was exported; in 1885 the export amounted to 4J million pounds; 13 million pounds in 1887 ; in 1888 21 million; and the estimate for 1889 is 32 million pounds. The industry is still extending, and thousands of acres are being added ta existing plantations every year. Necassarily the shipments from China are affected by this new source of supply, and will be surprised to learn that during the first half of the present year they had decreased ISJ million pounds as compared with the corresponding period of last year. It would be tedious, however interesting, to describe the minutia? of theprocessesnecessary to the preparation of the tea leaf for use. In China, after gathering the tea leaves from the shrub and placing them in bamboo baskets, they are put into shallow pans, placed over charcoal fires, stirred briskly and continuously, and the rising steam fanned away. After this, while still flaccid with the remaining moisture, they are placed upon a table of split bamboo before the twisters, and rolled over with their hands until the leaves are twisted.. They are then again put into the drying pans, and exposed to additional heat until the drying is complete, when the leaves are assorted and packed. In China the culture often is quite a family pursuit; but in Ceylon» through the application of capital, the processes followed by hand in China are done by machinery, thus doing away with the objectionable manipulation by human hands and fingers. Many of the factories have as much as L 4.000 to L 5.000 invested in the necessary plant Whether it is owing to the improved processes or to the natural qualities of the plant and soil, the Ceylon teas are very much stronger than the Chinese, and of very excellent flavor. We suppose there will be different qualities and values. This, however, is a question for experts. We have received from the. Tea Planters' Association of Ceylon a sample of tea of very fine flavor and great strength, for which we trust they will accept our thanks. It is carefully packed and in excellent condition.

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Bibliographic details

TEA-PLANTING IN CEYLON., Evening Star, Issue 8054, 2 November 1889, Supplement

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TEA-PLANTING IN CEYLON. Evening Star, Issue 8054, 2 November 1889, Supplement