A friend read recently that Freya Stark, as she set out into the Hadhramaut in whatever year- 1935?- was provisioned by a local patriarch with 4 lbs. of tea for one week. 4 live fowls too, among other things. This strikes me as an awful lot of tea to take along. It cannot only have been for her, but for all her entourage and staff out there in the desert. Then again, the local patriarch may have been playing the potentate, offering a vast selection of foods, drinks and supplies to demonstrate his wealth and generosity to the foreign guest to his land.
In Fortnight in NW Luristan, the first chapter of The Valleys of the Assassins: And Other Persian Travels, Stark says:
They brought little glasses of tea into the sunshine, spread a felt rug, and began to talk about the present security of Persia …..