All tea is grown from one species of shrub, Thea, the leaves of which constitute the tea of commerce. Climate, elevation, soil, cultivation, and care in picking and curing all go to make up the differences. First-quality tea is made from young, whole leaves. Two kinds of tea are considered:
The best black tea comes from India and Ceylon. Some familiar brands are Oolong, Formosa, English Breakfast, Orange Pekoe, and Flowery Pekoe. The last two named, often employed at the five oclock tea, command high prices; they are made from the youngest leaves. Orange Pekoe is scented with orange leaves. The best green tea comes from Japan. Some familiar brands are Hyson, Japan, and Gunpowder.
From analysis, it has been found that tea is rich in proteid, but taken as an infusion acts as a stimulant rather than as a nutrient. The nutriment is gained from sugar and milk served with it. The stimulating property of tea is due to the alkaloid, theine, together with an essential oil; it contains an astringent, tannin. Black tea contains less theine, essential oil, and tannin than green tea. The tannic acid, developed from the tannin by infusion, injures the coating of the stomach.
Although tea is not a substitute for food, it appears so for a considerable period of time, as its stimulating effect is immediate. It is certain that less food is required where much tea is taken, for by its use there is less wear of the tissues, consequently need of repair. When taken to excess, it so acts on the nervous system as to produce sleeplessness or insomnia, and finally makes a complete wreck of its victim. Taken in moderation, it acts as a mild stimulant, and ingests a considerable amount of water into the system; it heats the body in winter, and cools the body in summer. Children should never be allowed to drink tea, and it had better be avoided by the young, while it may be indulged in by the aged, as it proves a valuable stimulant as the functional activities of the stomach become weakened.
Freshly boiled water should be used for making tea. Boiled, because below the boiling-point the stimulating property, theine, would not be extracted. Freshly boiled, because long cooking renders it flat and insipid to taste on account of escape of its atmospheric gases. Tea should always be infused, never boiled. Long steeping destroys the delicate flavor by developing a larger amount of tannic acid.
Put in tea, and pour on boiling water. Let stand on back of range or in a warm place five minutes. Strain and serve immediately, with or without sugar and milk. Avoid second steeping of leaves with addition of a few fresh ones. If this is done, so large an amount of tannin is extracted that various ills are apt to follow.
Follow recipe for making tea. Russian Tea may be served hot or cold, but always without milk. A thin slice of lemon, from which seeds have been removed, or a few drops of lemon-juice, is allowed for each cup. Sugar is added according to taste. In Russia a preserved strawberry to each cup is considered an improvement. We imitate our Russian friends by garnishing with a candied cherry.
Follow recipe for making tea. Strain into glasses one-third full of cracked ice. Sweeten to taste, and allow one slice lemon to each glass tea. The flavor is much finer by chilling the infusion quickly.
The coffee-tree is native to Abyssinia, but is now grown in all tropical countries. It belongs to the genus Coffea, of which there are about twenty-two species. The seeds of berries of coffee-trees constitute the coffee of commerce. Each berry contains two seeds, with exception of maleberry, which is a single round seed. In their natural state they are almost tasteless; therefore color, shape, and size determine value. Formerly, coffee was cured by exposure to the sun; but on account of warm climate and sudden rainfalls, coffee was often injured. By the new method coffee is washed, and then dried by steam heat.
In coffee plantations, trees are planted in parallel rows, from six to eight feet apart, and are pruned so as never to exceed six feet in height. Banana-trees are often grown in coffee plantations, advantage being taken of their outspreading leaves, which protect coffee-trees from direct rays of the sun. Brazil produces about two-thirds the coffee used. Central America, Java, and Arabia are also coffee centres.
Tea comes to us ready for use; coffee needs roasting. In process of roasting the seeds increase in size, but lose fifteen per cent in weight. Roasting is necessary to develop the delightful aroma and flavor. Java coffee is considered finest. Mocha commands a higher price, owing to certain acidity and sparkle, which alone is not desirable; but when combined with Java, in proportion of two parts Java to one part Mocha, the coffee best suited to average taste is made. Some people prefer Maleberry Java; so especial care is taken to have maleberries separated, that they may be sold for higher price. Old Government Java has deservedly gained a good reputation, as it is carefully inspected, and its sale controlled by Dutch government. Strange as it may seem to the consumer, all coffee sold as Java does not come from the island of Java. Any coffee, wherever grown, having same characteristics and flavor, is sold as Java. The same is true of other kinds of coffee.
The stimulating property of coffee is due to the alkaloid caffeine, together with an essential oil. Like tea, it contains an astringent. Coffee is more stimulating than tea, although, weight for weight, tea contains about twice as much theine as coffee contains caffeine. The smaller proportion of tea used accounts for the difference. A cup of coffee with breakfast, and a cup of tea with supper, serve as a mild stimulant for an adult, and form a valuable food adjunct, but should never be found in the dietary of a child or dyspeptic. Coffee taken in moderation quickens action of the heart, acts directly upon the nervous system, and assists gastric digestion. Fatigue of body and mind are much lessened by moderate use of coffee; severe exposure to cold can be better endured by the coffee drinker. In times of war, coffee has proved more valuable than alcoholic stimulants to keep up the enduring power of soldiers. Coffee acts as an antidote for opium and alcoholic poisoning. Tea and coffee are much more readily absorbed when taken on an empty stomach; therefore this should be avoided except when used for medicinal purposes. Coffee must be taken in moderation; its excessive use means palpitation of the heart, tremor, insomnia, and nervous prostration.
Coffee is often adulterated with chiccory, beans, peas, and various cereals, which are colored, roasted, and ground. By many, a small amount of chiccory is considered an improvement, owing to the bitter principle and volatile oil which it contains. Chiccory is void of caffeine. The addition of chiccory may be detected by adding cold water to supposed coffee; if chiccory is present, the liquid will be quickly discolored, and chiccory will sink; pure coffee will float.
Buying of Coffee. Coffee should be bought for family use in small quantities, freshly roasted and ground; or, if one has a coffee-mill, it may be ground at home as needed. After being ground, unless kept air tight, it quickly deteriorates. If not bought in air-tight cans, with tight-fitting cover, or glass jar, it should be emptied into canister as soon as brought from grocers.
Coffee may be served as filtered coffee, infusion of coffee, or decoction of coffee. Commonly speaking, boiled coffee is preferred, and is more economical for the consumer. Coffee is ground fine, coarse, and medium; and the grinding depends on the way in which it is to be made. For filtered coffee have it finely ground; for boiled, coarse or medium.
Various kinds of coffee-pots are on the market for making filtered coffee. They all contain a strainer to hold coffee without allowing grounds to mix with infusion. Some have additional vessel to hold boiling water, upon which coffee-pot may rest. Place coffee in strainer, strainer in coffee-pot, and pot on the range. Add gradually boiling water, and allow it to filter. Cover between additions of water. If desired stronger, re-filter. Serve at once with cut sugar and cream.
Put sugar and cream in cup before hot coffee. There will be perceptible difference if cream is added last. If cream is not obtainable, scalded milk may be substituted, or part milk and part cream may be used, if a diluted cup of coffee is desired. Coffee percolators are preferably used when coffee is made at table.
Scald granite-ware coffee-pot. Wash egg, break, and beat slightly. Dilute with one-half the cold water, add crushed shell, and mix with coffee. Turn into coffee-pot, pour on boiling water, and stir thoroughly. Place on front of range, and boil three minutes. If not boiled, coffee is cloudy; if boiled too long, too much tannic acid is developed. The spout of pot should be covered or stuffed with soft paper to prevent escape of fragrant aroma. Stir and pour some in a cup to be sure that spout is free from grounds. Return to coffee-pot and repeat. Add remaining cold water, which perfects clearing. Cold water being heavier than hot water sinks to the bottom, carrying grounds with it. Place on back of range for ten minutes, where coffee will not boil. Serve at once. If any is left over, drain from grounds, and reserve for making of jelly or other dessert.
Egg-shells may be saved and used for clearing coffee. Three egg-shells are sufficient to effect clearing where one cup of ground coffee is used. The shell performs no office in clearing except for the albumen which clings to it. One-fourth cup cold water, salt fish-skin, washed, dried, and cut in inch pieces, is used for same purpose.
Coffee made with an egg has a rich flavor which egg alone can give. Where strict economy is necessary, if great care is taken, egg may be omitted. Coffee so made should be served from range, as much motion causes it to become roiled.
To Make a Small Pot of Coffee. Mix one cup ground coffee with one egg, slightly beaten, and crushed shell. To one-third of this amount add one-third cup cold water. Turn into a scalded coffee-pot, add one pint boiling water, and boil three minutes. Let stand on back of range ten minutes; serve. Keep remaining coffee and egg closely covered, in a cool place, to use two successive mornings.
To Make Coffee for One. Allow two tablespoons ground coffee to one cup cold water. Add coffee to cold water, cover closely, and let stand over night. In the morning bring to a boiling-point. If carefully poured, a clear cup of coffee may be served.
For after-dinner coffee use twice the quantity of coffee, or half the amount of liquid, given in previous recipes. Filtered coffee is often preferred where milk or cream is not used, as is always the case with black coffee. Serve in after-dinner coffee cups, with or without cut sugar.
The preparations on the market made from the kola-nut have much the same effect upon the system as coffee and chocolate, inasmuch as they contain caffeine and theobromine; they are also valuable for their diastase and a milk-digesting ferment.
The cacao-tree (Theobroma cacao) is native to Mexico. Although successfully cultivated between the twentieth parallels of latitude, its industry is chiefly confined to Mexico, South America, and the West Indies. Cocoa and chocolate are both prepared from seeds of the cocoa bean. The bean pod is from seven to ten inches long, and three to four and one-half inches in diameter. Each pod contains from twenty to forty seeds, embedded in mucilaginous material. Cocoa beans are dried previous to importation. Like coffee, they need roasting to develop flavor. After roasting, outer covering of bean is removed; this covering makes what is known as cocoa shells, which have little nutritive value. The beans are broken and sold as cocoa nibs.
The various preparations of cocoa on the market are made from the ground cocoa nibs, from which, by means of hydraulic pressure, a large amount of fat is expressed, leaving a solid cake. This in turn is pulverized and mixed with sugar, and frequently a small amount of corn-starch or arrowroot. To some preparations cinnamon or vanilla is added. Broma contains both arrowroot and cinnamon.
Cocoa and chocolate differ from tea and coffee inasmuch as they contain nutriment as well as stimulant. Theobromine, the active principle, is almost identical with theine and caffeine in its composition and effects.
Many people who abstain from the use of tea and coffee find cocoa indispensable. Not only is it valuable for its own nutriment, but for the large amount of milk added to it. Cocoa may be well placed in the dietary of a child after his third year, while chocolate should be avoided as a beverage, but may be given as a confection. Invalids and those of weak digestion can take cocoa where chocolate would prove too rich.
Boil shells and water three hours; as water boils away it will be necessary to add more. Strain, and serve with milk and sugar. By adding one-third cup cocoa nibs, a much more satisfactory drink is obtained.
Scald milk. Mix cocoa, sugar, and salt, dilute with one-half cup boiling water to make smooth paste, add remaining water, and boil five minutes; turn into scalded milk and beat two minutes, using egg-beater, when froth will form, preventing scum, which is so unsightly; this is known as milling.
Scald milk. Melt chocolate in small saucepan placed over hot water, add sugar, salt, and gradually boiling water; when smooth, place on range and boil five minutes; add to scalded milk, mill, and serve in chocolate cups with whipped cream. One and one-half ounces vanilla chocolate may be substituted for unsweetened chocolate; being sweetened, less sugar is required.
Make syrup by boiling quart of water and sugar twenty minutes. Separate mint in pieces, add to the boiling water, cover, and let stand in warm place five minutes, strain, and add to syrup; add fruit juices, and cool. Pour into punch-bowl, add claret, and chill with a large piece of ice; dilute with water. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and whole strawberries.
Put raisins in cold water, bring slowly to boiling-point, and boil twenty minutes; strain, add sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind, and boil five minutes. Add fruit juice, cool, strain, pour in claret, and dilute with ice-water.
Make syrup by boiling water and sugar ten minutes; add tea, strawberry syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, and pineapple; let stand thirty minutes, strain, and add ice-water to make one and one-half gallons of liquid. Add cherries and Apollinaris. Serve in punch-bowl, with large piece of ice. This quantity will serve fifty.
Pour tea over sugar, and as soon as sugar is dissolved add fruit juices. Strain into punch-bowl over a large piece of ice, and just before serving add ale, Apollinaris, and slices of orange. For tea infusion use two teaspoons tea and one and one-fourth cups boiling water.
Mix juice of oranges and lemons with pineapple, raspberry syrup, and tea; then add a syrup made by boiling sugar and water fifteen minutes. Turn in punch-bowl over a large piece of ice. Chill thoroughly, and just before serving add Apollinaris.
Make a syrup by boiling water and sugar ten minutes. Mix champagne, brandy, rum, Curacoa, lemon juice, and tea infusion. Sweeten to taste with syrup and pour into punch-bowl over a large piece of ice. Just before serving add soda water.
Put grapes and water in granite stew-pan. Heat until stones and pulp separate; then strain through jelly-bag, add sugar, heat to boiling-point, and bottle. This will make one gallon. When served, it should be diluted one-half with water.
Add Curacoa to rind of fruit and sugar; cover, and let stand two hours. Add Sauterne, strain, and stand on ice to chill. Add chilled soda water, mint leaves, slices of orange, and strawberries. The success of cups depends upon the addition of charged water just before serving.