Tea has become a quintessential part of most cultures in the world. Here are some interesting facts about tea to read while you sip on your favourite freshly brewed goodness.
The discovery of tea
According to the Chinese legends, tea was discovered by the emperor Shen Nong in 2737 BCE. The discovery was accidental; it is said that while the emperor was boiling water in his garden, a tea leaf had fallen into it. As he was also a herbalist, he was curious. So, he decided to drink the infusion. He proceeded to research the plant and discovered many medicinal properties. Tea was then considered to be a more medicinal concoction rather than a simple beverage.
It is popular
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world; the first being, water. The tea market is worth more than $40 billion. Out of this, the Turkish population contributes to the majority of the tea market, with each Turkish individual consuming an average of seven pounds of tea annually. They also produce about one-fifth of the world’s tea supply. The second-biggest tea consumers are the Irish, whose average consumption is about five pounds per year, per person.
Tea culture differs in every country
One of the most interesting facts about tea is the diversity present in every country.
- China- The Chinese have a traditional tea ceremony called the Gongfu tea. This is an event that involves the ritualized preparation and presentation of tea.
- India- The popular variant of tea in India is known as the “masala chai” which includes a mix of spices like cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to the black tea.
- Malaysia- They are known for their “pulled” teas which involve transferring tea from two mugs back and forth from quite the height! This process helps aerate the tea and form the characteristic foams on the tea.
- Russia- Tea is traditionally brewed in a samovar, which is a heated metal container. This helps to keep the tea warm for hours.
- America- Americans love iced teas. In fact, about 85% of the tea sold in the USA are from iced tea.
Different teas have their own brewing time
Most are unaware of this and hence, do not get the optimum flavour of the tea. Herbal and black teas require to be heated at high temperatures for a longer time. The boiling point of water is 212° F. With that reference in mind, the ideal temperatures for black tea is 203° F and the optimum seeping time is 3-5 minutes, while it is 212° F for herbal tea. On the other hand, green and white teas require lesser heat varying from about 176° F to 185 ° F and a seeping time of about 2-3 minutes.
The tea bag was introduced only in the 1900s
Again, this was an incidental finding. A tea importer decided to send samples in little silk bags and instead of taking the tea out, they decided to brew a cup with the whole bag in it. Following this, the practice became popular and instead of silk bags, they were packed in gauze packets. It was convenient and additionally, reduced the wastage of tea.
It is good for health
There are many studies that show innumerable health benefits that are associated with tea. It is said that green and oolong tea helps reduce the risk of cardiac diseases and promotes mental well-being as they are a de-stressing agent. Green tea is also popularly known for its anti-oxidant properties that are great for the skin
Sri Lanka is well known for its tea
Sri Lanka is one of the tea producing countries amidst Turkey, Iran, Japan, India and China. Tea is one of the main sources of foreign exchange in Sri Lanka. There are three main types of tea cultivation; high-grown, mid-grown and low-grown. All types of tea are available in the country. But they are most famous for their high-quality tea as the cool temperatures, rainfall and humidity in the highlands provide an optimum environment for tea manufacturers like Zesta.
Green tea and black tea come from the same plant
Camellia sinensis is the name of the plant from which most tea is produced. The types of tea are a result of varying methods of how the leaves are processed. Black tea is the most oxidized while white tea is the least oxidized.
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