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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil. Um... Alice. What's this?

  • Alice: It's a cup of tea, Neil. Would you like some?

  • Neil: Oh, I can't drink that! You didn't let the tea brew for long enough. And you forgot to add sugar.

  • Alice: Well, make it yourself next time!

  • And when you brew a cup of tea, by the way,

  • you add boiling water to tea leaves or a teabag and allow the flavour to develop.

  • Neil: I'm sorry, Alice. I didn't mean to be rude about your tea.

  • But I do like it very strong and sweet.

  • Alice: Tea is the subject of today's show.

  • And Neil, I think you'd like the way they serve tea in India.

  • They drink chai – a strong black tea served with lots of milk, sugar and spices.

  • Neil: Mmm... that does sound good. I quite fancy a cup of chai now.

  • Alice: Did you know that it was the British who introduced tea to India?

  • Neil: No, I didn't, Alice. This is very interesting...

  • I'm proud of our habit of having tea all the time and teabags are great!

  • A marvellous little invention!

  • Alice: Yes, I agree. Well, that's my question for you today.

  • Where was the teabag invented? Was it in ... a) China

  • b) the US ... or c) Britain

  • Neil: Hmm. I buy a lot of teabags but I don't know their history.

  • So I'm going to guess c) Britain.

  • Alice: Well, we'll find out if you chose the right answer later on.

  • Let's listen now to Professor Markman Ellis talking about the Chinese tea plant.

  • He's a historian at Queen Mary, University of London.

  • Professor Markman Ellis: Tea is a shrub that grows naturally in the mountainous areas of China

  • and several thousand years ago, no one knows how exactly, there... I mean... there are stories...

  • it became clear that if you consumed the leaves of this plant especially

  • the younger leaves, then it had an interesting effect on you.

  • And that effect could be thought of as medicinal

  • or it could be thought of as just kind of sanativemaking you feel a bit better than you used to feel.

  • Alice: Professor Markman Ellis tells us that people in Ancient China consumed

  • or ateleaves from the tea plant and it had an interesting effect on them.

  • Neil: Professor Ellis says tea has a sanative effect ... making you feel better.

  • So I might try munching a few leaves later on.

  • Alice: Alright then. Apparently the Chinese started drinking tea because of its medicinal or healing qualities.

  • And they've been drinking tea for thousands of years!

  • Well we British may love a good cup of tea,

  • but we haven't been brewing it for nearly so long as the Chinese.

  • Neil: But remember that tea actually grows in China, Alice. We don't grow it in Britain.

  • Alice: Good point, Neil. Which brings me back to what we were talking about earlier.

  • In the 19th century the British started to grow tea in India in order to compete with Chinese tea production.

  • When tea first arrived in Britain in the 17th century it was incredibly

  • expensive and only the elite could afford to drink it.

  • Neil: Elite means a small group of people in society who have money and power.

  • Well, the opposite is true todayeveryone drinks tea!

  • And cheap teabags make really strong teajust the way I like it!

  • Alice: [noise of disgust] Oh, it's not for me! I like tea with a delicate flavour

  • Lapsang Souchong is my favourite with its evocative fragrance.

  • Neil: Not teabags, then?

  • Alice: No, Neil. Lapsang is different from other types of tea because the leaves are

  • smoke-dried over pinewood fires giving the tea its distinctive smoky flavour.

  • Neil: You sound like a TV advert

  • I can just see the misty mountains and fields of tea...

  • Can you tell us what evocative means?

  • Alice: It means making you imagine something pleasant.

  • And for some people tea drinking is a spiritual experience.

  • Let's listen to BBC reporter Mike Williams learning about the Asian custom of the tea ceremony.

  • Chinese Host: Please enjoy a mouthful of green tea.

  • Mike Williams: Thank you...

  • That was a bit less than a mouthful. It's a very very small amount, isn't it?

  • Chinese Host: It's about 20ml.

  • It's the way to appreciate tea in very small quantities so you can concentrate and cultivate your

  • mindfulness in drinking the tea.

  • Mike Williams: Mindfulness? What do you mean by mindfulness?

  • Chinese Host: Tea ceremony has some of its origin in Buddhism.

  • The Japanese tea ceremony for example has a lot of Zen Buddhism influence.

  • Mindfulness is the concentration and focus on the now

  • forget about the past, forget about the future,

  • and enjoy this specific moment. And that's what I call mindfulness.

  • Neil: So they don't use mugs in the tea ceremony. It's 20 millilitres or a mouthful of green tea.

  • Alice: That's right. Drinking just a mouthfulor a small amount

  • helps you concentrate and cultivate mindfulness.

  • As the speaker explains, mindfulness means living in the moment and forgetting about the past and future.

  • Neil: Well, forgive me for thinking about the past

  • And how about the answer to today's quiz question?

  • Alice: OK then. I asked: Where was the teabag invented?

  • Was it in ... a) China?, b) the US? of c) Britain?

  • Neil: And I said c) Britain. And I must be right.

  • Alice: Well, I'm afraid you're wrong, Neil! It was b) the US.

  • Teabags first appeared commercially in the first decade of the 20th century

  • and were successfully marketed by Thomas Sullivan,

  • a tea merchant from New York, who shipped his teabags around the world.

  • Neil: Really? Teabags are older than I thought! Now, can you tell us the words we heard today?

  • Alice: They are:

  • brew

  • consumed

  • sanative

  • medicinal

  • elite

  • evocative

  • mouthful

  • mindfulness

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • You can go and put the kettle on now for a nice brew.

  • Please join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

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B1 INT UK tea alice mindfulness britain chinese brew

BBC 6 Minute English February 04, 2016 - How do you like your tea

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/17
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