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10 Tea Facts That I Bet You Didn’t Know!

So sit back, relax and see what new things you learn about tea.

1.All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant – that includes black tea, green teas, oolong, puerh and white teas. They all come from the same plant but there are variations in the plant. For example, Oolong comes from the broad leaf version and each leaf has a serrated edge whereas the leaves for greens or whites are smooth.

2.Up until around the 1950’s most tea was drunk as loose-leaf tea and not in the form of teabags. These were introduced to the market by PG Tips as a hassle saving device and quickly became popular. Before that though around 95% of tea was loose tea.

3.There are two legends about how the first cup of tea came about. One originating in China is about an Emperor who, while sat under a tea bush, was boiling some water and didn’t notice the leaves fall in. When the water was ready he drank the brew and so tea was born. Another legend hailing from India speaks of a prince who after discovered Buddhism travels to China and chewed on tea leaves to keep himself awake. In one version of the story he is so upset when he falls asleep that when he wakes he cuts off his eyelashes and throws them in the ground where the first Camellia Sinensis plant then grows.

4.Tea is said to be the second most consumed beverage in the world. Second of course only to water. Now to me that says a lot! No mention of coffee in that statistic!

5.Prices for Chinese tea can range from a few pounds per kilo to thousands of pounds per kilo. And it can change year on year. If a certain loose leaf is trendy or popular, prices can sky-rocket from year to another.

6.Catherine Braganza was a Portuguese Princess and she is attributed with bringing tea into England. Apparently upon departing her ship from Portugal she asked for a cuppa and was presented with English Ale instead. Needless to say, she fainted and the same mistake wasn’t made again. She became so popular that women would copy what she liked and this included drinking tea.

7.Afternoon tea originated in England when Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford began taking a drink and a snack in her chambers between breakfast and the evening meal. The craze soon took off with women of the time using it as a chance to catch up with each other much like today!

8.Puerh is a special Chinese tea that is post fermented. It is only grown and processed in Yunnan, China and is the only tea that improves and gains value as it gets older!

9.Matcha is a special type of Japanese Green tea that include the stem as well as the leaves and is ground up into a fine powder. It is said to have 137x the amount of antioxidants as other green teas.

10.In the 1600’s the tax on tea in Britain was too high for the poorer classes and so they took to smuggling it into the country. Demand was so high that sometimes tea lovers were fooled into buying leaves that had been mixed with sheep dung!

Hannah McGimpsey