The Tea of Wrath


Completely off the Topic of Tea

The Tea of Wrath

Postby depravitea » Mar 29th, '10, 11:45

I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath, and found a tea reference!

"Side-meat or chops and a can of boiled tea, black and bitter."

I was wondering what kind of tea may have been around during the depression era (1929 to late 1930s or early 1940s).
I don't understand why they would boil it (I know that some teas are boiled, (Masala chai, Hong Kong milk tea...), but this seems kind of wasteful for the time, why not try to reuse leaves?
Anyway, just a half-sentence reference, kind of interesting, got me wondering.
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Re: The Tea of Wrath

Postby AdamMY » Mar 29th, '10, 17:47

I'm not a historical source on this, but it is possible that they may have had access to similar teas available in England, mostly black teas. And to get the most out of their leaves they probably would have boiled them after the initial uses, to get the last umph out of their tea.
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Re: The Tea of Wrath

Postby depravitea » Mar 29th, '10, 19:20

That makes sense. Thanks for the info :)
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Re: The Tea of Wrath

Postby IPT » Mar 29th, '10, 21:27

Even here in China, a lot of people boil teas. Puer for example. In Yunnan a lot of people boil their Puer. A lot of people also save their used Puer and when they have a bit of it, they boil it all together to get one or two more brews out of it. The taste is actually quite good and interesting because it can have several different companies or years boiled together.
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Re: The Tea of Wrath

Postby beecrofter » Mar 29th, '10, 22:23

The water may not have been safe otherwise .
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Re: The Tea of Wrath

Postby omegapd » Mar 31st, '10, 03:27

Very good answers-

I've read quite a few books on the history of coffee, and in that time frame, it was common practice to use a very small amount of coffee with a large pot of water. The pot never left the "stove area" until it was gone- with re-boiling the brew many times a day when it was wanted. I can only assume tea was probably brewed in that fashion by the "common folks", also. Both would have been great luxuries to the migrant farmers in the Grapes of Wrath.
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Re: The Tea of Wrath

Postby depravitea » Mar 31st, '10, 10:59

That all makes sense.
Definitely sounds like they're brewing for economy, as opposed to taste.
At least from what I've been reading, they wouldn't keep the pot going all day because they strike camp and move on almost as soon as the sun is up. Boiling sounds like the way to go though when trying to suck as much life out of a leaf as you can.
I appreciate all of your posts and all of the info.
Thanks everyone :)
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