The wonderful world of tea is steeped with tradition and culture. There are so many historical facts and amusing tales, leaving us so much to learn for our own benefit. For instance, did you know that supposedly the tannins in black tea could help remove warts and have been linked to coagulation, which means tea can potentially help stop bleeding? Incredible, isn’t it? Read on to discover interesting trivia about all things tea-related that every tea lover would appreciate.
1. All teas are made from the same plant called Camelia Sinensis, which originated in China. The Fujian region of China is famous and appreciated for its amazing tea varieties. Today, there are over 1,500 different types of tea globally. Most of the world’s tea is grown in mountainous tropical regions in China and it is closely followed by India.
2. Tea bags were invented in the United States in 1904 by Thomas Sullivan and some tea purists consider this to be the worst invention ever. Also, ice tea is another invention of the United States, although rumor has it that a British tea merchant invented it at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair. Oddly the same year tea bags were invented.
3. Tea leaves are reusable, especially pu’erh and oolong leaves. It actually tastes more flavorful and delicious from steeping to steeping. The process of re-steeping certain tea leaves can reveal different and hidden tastes from the first steeping to the second and third one. Just be sure to re-steep the leaves on the same day!
4. The Eastern world has been drinking tea for nearly 5,000 years. The West has only been drinking it for 400. Blocks of solid tea were used in Siberia as money up until the 1800s.
5. Turkey drinks the most tea in the world per capita, almost seven pounds per person. Britain is second. It is estimated that the number of cups of tea drunk every day in Britain is a staggering 165 million or 60.2 billion a year.
6. After water, tea is the most consumed beverage on Earth. It is also the national drink in Iran and Afghanistan.
7. Black tea accounts for 75% of tea consumed globally. Black tea is also called red tea in China. When tea is served in China guests tap their fingers on the table several times to show their gratitude to the host.
8. Tea wasn’t always popular in Britain. It arrived in 1657 but wasn’t until the second half of the 18th century that it really took off. Before that, it was usually smuggled into England and sold in coffee houses where only men were allowed to enter.
9. The delicate art of reading tea leaves is called Tasseography or Tasseomancy. It is a divination or fortune telling method of western traditions where the pattern formed by the tea leaves at the bottom of a cup was interpreted. On the other hand, Tasseography in Middle Eastern traditions uses coffee grounds instead.
10. According the Chinese legends, Emperor Shennong first discovered tea back in 2737 BC when a few leaves from tea bushes had accidentally fallen into the water his servants were boiling for purification. Initially, it was considered a tonic and was only used for medicinal purposes.