Tea in China and in Japan is a mild, soft and sweet drink; brewed delicately and drunk with awareness and part of the most exquisite art forms. While in the west, tea is often bitter, strong and mixed with milk, sugar ect and drunk in large amounts in a mug. Sometimes I wonder about the cause for this apparent difference.
Originally, the leaves where plucked and prepared by people regarding tea as a medicine; respected as a precious gift from nature. There are descriptions from China where tea leaves were plucked by happy young girls, singing while working in the family garden, or by tribal people worshiping the ancient tea trees and making offerings to the trees in Gratitude. And tea was prepared by Buddhist monks or nuns in zen temple gardens as part of a spiritual practice. Their tea was soft and gentle.
When tea started to be grown and prepared by westerners, in the mass-producing plantations in Indonesia, India and Ceylon, it was a task for slaves and indentured laborers living under harsh conditions under their colonial masters, and it was prepared with machines for the sole aim of financial benefit for the owner. Their tea became a bitter drink.