The Adulteration of tea.
--In the London Lancet,
of August 10th, we find the report of the microscopical and chemical analysis of forty-eight samples of tea.
Of the twenty-four specimens of black tea
analyzed, every one was found to be genuine.
Of the like number of green teas all were adulterated.
The adulterations are mainly a coloring matter with which the tea leaf is faced, painted or glazed.
Ferro cyanide of iron or Prussian blue, is the article most commonly used for this purpose.
Sometimes, however, indigo, kaolin, or China
clay, and turmeric powder were found in addition.
That species of tea which is denominated gunpowder, is adulterated in other ways by admixture with leaves not those of tea, with paddy husk, and particularly with ‘"lie tea,"’ so called, a leaf which resembles the tea leaf closely, and is sent to this country from China
in vast quantities, to be employed in adulterations here.
The coloring of the tea is almost entirely done in China
, and probably because it improves its appearance, and perhaps renders its sale more sure and rapid.
Such is the result of a thorough analyzation of this article by eminent scientific men in England
, and it is certainly not very flattering to the taste of those who drink green tea
for the love of it. There is no such article as an unadulterated green tea
Let the lovers of the herb remember that fact, and as they sip the delicious beverage, and fancy they find in it a solvent for their aches and pains, let them also remember that they are sipping with it a solution of Prussian blue and indigo, as well as sundry other little peccadilloes, that neither add to its exhilarating properties, nor yet are entirely harmless to the system.
On the other hand, the black teas
are not adulterated, and are the only ones used by the Chinese.
Knowing the impurities that are in the best green teas, they send them to foreign ports to tickle the delicate palates of the English
, the French
, and the Americans
, who, in their view, fancy the bright, lively appearance imparted by the coloring compositions they use. The remedy for these wholesale adulterations is easy.
It is entirely in the hands of the tea merchants.
If they refuse to buy the poisoned leaf, the Chinamen will very quickly stop adulterating it.