My interest in the history of tea and the tea trade originated several years before I started Upton Tea Imports. Over the years I have collected a number of books on tea, many of which had been out of print for decades and rather difficult to find. Now that I am immersed in tea, my interest in rare tea books, prints, and posters has become an obsession. I see every addition to my library as an expansion of my awareness of tea's history, as well as possible reference material for the Quarterly.
One of the rare finds and most cherished items in my collection is a rather large map, measuring roughly five feet wide by two and a half feet high, entitled Tea Revives the World. This is not a particularly old map. The year in the lower right corner, adjacent to the name MacDonald Gill, is 1940. Though not an antique, it is of historical significance.
I first learned of the existence of this map from one of my customers who had acquired a copy at a yard sale or a flea market. He described it in detail, and the more he elaborated on the work the more intrigued I became. Surely, I thought, another copy of this map would surface. This turned out to be optimistic, and I would not actually see the map until a year later when that same customer decided to sell his copy.
At first sight I knew that I was most fortunate to be offered this piece. I have been fond of old maps all of my life. Moreover, a work of unknown scarcity, entitled Tea Revives the World, was a treasure to someone relatively new to the tea trade. I call this piece a map, but it might also be referred to as a poster of tea facts and famous quotes. A map of the world serves as the background for dozens of banners that frame each brief fact or quote on tea. The overall effect is quaint and informative.
The first real clue I had of the unique nature of this poster came from J. Norwood Pratt, a well known authority and writer on tea. Mr. Pratt was visiting Upton Tea Imports in July, 1995, almost a year after I acquired the poster. Upon seeing it, Mr. Pratt exclaimed, "So you have the other one!"
"Upton Tea Imports was founded in 1989 with the objective of providing the North American tea drinker with
the finest teas available. We purchase teas from reputable brokers and estates worldwide, dealing only with
sources who are capable of providing top quality teas. We sell directly to the consumer, thus ensuring the
freshest product and fairest pricing."