A History of the World in 6 Glasses

By Tom Standage

From beer to Coca-Cola, the six beverages that experience contributed to shaping human history
Throughout human background, sure beverages have performed even more than simply quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and grace, six of them have had an incredibly pervasive impression at the process background, turning into the defining drink in the course of a pivotal historic interval.

A heritage of the area in 6 Glasses tells the tale of humanity from the Stone Age to the twenty first century in the course of the lens of beer, wine, spirits, espresso, tea, and cola. Beer was once first made within the Fertile Crescent and via 3000 B.C.E. used to be so vital to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was once used to pay wages. In historical Greece wine turned the most export of her large seaborne alternate, assisting unfold Greek tradition overseas. Spirits akin to brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on lengthy voyages and oiling the pernicious slave alternate. even supposing espresso originated within the Arab international, it stoked progressive proposal in Europe through the Age of cause, whilst coffeehouses turned facilities of highbrow trade. And 1000s of years after the chinese language started consuming tea, it turned particularly well known in Britain, with far-reaching results on British overseas coverage. eventually, notwithstanding carbonated beverages have been invented in 18th-century Europe they turned a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola particularly is the best image of globalization.

For Tom Standage, each one drink is a type of expertise, a catalyst for advancing tradition during which he demonstrates the problematic interaction of other civilizations. you'll by no means examine your favourite drink a similar means again.

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On the time, the corporate had determined to put in a puppet king within the poorer area of higher Assam, whereas it targeting accumulating taxes—on land, vegetation, and the rest it may well imagine of—in decrease Assam. unavoidably, the king didn't stay on his throne for lengthy as soon as tea were chanced on transforming into inside his territory. yet turning Assam's wild tea crops right into a thriving tea proved far more tough than anticipated. The officers and scientists in control of constructing construction bickered over tips on how to continue: Did tea develop most sensible at the plains or the hills, within the scorching or the chilly? None of them quite knew what they have been conversing approximately. crops and seeds have been introduced in from China, yet even the simplest efforts of a number of chinese language tea staff, who observed the vegetation, couldn't set off them to flourish in India. the matter used to be eventually solved via Charles Bruce, an adventurer and explorer accustomed to the folks, language, and customs of Assam. by means of combining the data of the local community with the services of a few chinese language tea staff, he steadily labored out easy methods to carry the wild tea bushes into cultivation, the place most sensible to develop them, how you can transplant timber from the jungle into ordered tea gardens, and the way to wither, roll, and dry the leaves. In 1838 the 1st small cargo of Assam tea arrived in London, the place tea retailers declared themselves very inspired via its caliber. Now that the feasibility of manufacturing tea in India have been verified, the East India corporation resolved to allow others do the labor. It determined to permit marketers in to set up tea plantations; the corporate may generate income through renting out the land and taxing the ensuing tea. a bunch of London retailers duly confirmed a brand new corporation, the Assam corporation, to use this chance. Deploring the "humiliating conditions" within which the British have been pressured to exchange with chinese language merchants—this was once simply because the Opium battle used to be approximately to damage out—they jumped on the probability to set up a brand new resource of creation in India, in view that tea was once "a nice resource of revenue and an item of serious nationwide impor­tance. " A record drawn up by way of Bruce speculated, "When we have now a adequate variety of brands . . . as they've got in China, then we may perhaps wish to match with that state in cheapness of produce; nay we would, and ought, to undersell them. " the most challenge, Bruce famous, will be discovering sufficient employees to paintings within the tea plantations. He blamed frequent opium dependancy for the unwillingness of the area people to do such paintings, yet optimistically envisioned that unemployed employees from neighboring Bengal may pour into Assam after they heard that jobs have been to be had. The Assam corporation had no difficulty elevating money; its proportion providing used to be highly oversubscribed, with many would-be traders became away. In 1840 it took keep watch over of lots of the East India Company's experimental tea gardens. however the new enterprise used to be disastrously mismanaged. It employed the entire chinese language employees it may well locate, falsely assuming that their nationality by myself certified them to develop tea.

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