There are many Interesting Facts about Tea… ‘interesting’ read: fun, funny, surprising and weird. From the fact the Ritz in Hong Kong serves the world’s most expensive high tea at $8,888 per couple, to tea plants can grow over 15 metres tall (50 feet), if they’re not pruned.
Here’s some more Interesting Facts about Tea…
- The East has been drinking tea for around 5,000 years, the West for around 400.
- The word tea originates from the Chinese word T’e; in Mandarin, it is call Ch’a which is where the words cha and chai came from.
- The fermentation of black tea was ‘invented’ to keep tea from spoiling (which green tea use to do) when it was being shipped around the world centuries ago.
- It takes about 2,000 tiny tea leaves to make a pound of tea (1).
- Black tea is the most commonly drunk tea in America, Britain and Europe.
- Green Tea is the most common tea in Japan and China.
- English tea gardens were the first open places where women were allowed to mingle with men publicly without criticism or scandal.
- Thomas Sullivan accidentally invented the ‘teabag’ in 1904. He sent out samples of his teas in small silk purses. His customers did not know they were meant to empty the purse, and added the whole bag to the teapot. Mr Sullivan realised he was on to something, and went on to invent ready-to-use gauze teabags.
- Iced tea was invented by Richard Blenchynden in the early 1900’s. He couldn’t sell his tea at an English Summer Fair because the day was too hot, so he tipped ice into the tea, and it became an instant sensation.
- It is estimated that there are more than 3,000 varieties of tea in the world.
- The world’s most expensive tea cup was sold to Mr Liu Yiqian at an auction in Hong Kong in 2014; he paid $US36million pounds for it (yes, you have read that correctly)!
- This Yixing Zisha teapot (2), pictured, sold for $US2million at an auction in China in 2010.
- China is the world’s biggest tea producer (hence the saying: ‘…not for all the tea in China’), India the second, Kenya the third, Sri Lanka the fourth, and Turkey the fifth.
- Until the 1800’s blocks of tea were used as currency in Siberia.
- In Burma, tea leaves are made into a pickle called laphet (3). The tea leaves are softened, rolled tightly and placed underground to age, and then served as a delicacy at important social occasions.
- Green tea is recognised as the healthiest of teas, and is now on the ‘superfood’ list. Studies have shown that green tea is beneficial in fighting heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, certain types of cancer, obesity, and dementia (4).
- When actors drink whiskey in films, they are usually drinking watered down tea, as the colour is the same.
There are so many Interesting Facts about Tea, in terms of history, culture, cultivation, ritual and enjoyment. May you get a sense of all of it in your very next cup… Savour the magick. ~ GreenWitch Tea