The History of TeaI've read somewhere that tea was an accidental discovery, like most discoveries are,
by a Chinese Emperor Shen Nung who was drinking hot water in his garden when
some tea leaves accidentally blew into his cup from a nearby tree.
Of course the story is so old that it could be a myth and no-one knows for sure.
One argument is did India or China discover tea first, from what I've read there is
a high probability that tea did in fact get discovered in China first.
Where did the saying Cha come from? Cha is a Chinese character that was added
to the language in A.D.3 specifically to describe hot water infused with tea leaves.
And to bolster the argument further it was many centuries later that tea plants were
imported into to Calcutta from China to begin mass cultivation for the British market.
How about the tea bag?
Another misconception is that Tetley's invented the tea bag,
well they didn't, in fact they didn't start making tea bags until
nearly 50 years after they were being widely used in the USA.
The tea bag was invented by an American named Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea merchant, who started to send samples of tea to his customers in small silken bags in 1908 and the concept quickly caught on as a convenient and less messy way to make a cuppa.
It was Tetley in 1953 that drove the introduction of tea bags in Britain, in the 60's
tea bags only made up 3% of all tea drunk in the UK, this was due mainly to the
fact that Britons returning from the US would tell horror stories of being served a
luke warm cup of water with a tea bag on the side.
Anyhow, Tetley managed to sway the British public and completely reversed the
way they made their tea, by dispensing of the string attached to the bag so it could
be allowed to move freely in the teapot, now only 3% of tea is made with loose leaves!
Why do we add milk to our tea?In the early years green tea was the tea of choice but tea was expensive
which lead some greedy and unscrupulous traders to add other leaves to mix some of
which were poisonous. This lead to black tea becoming more popular and because
black tea is more bitter people added milk and sugar to make it taste better.
Health benefits of teaOf all the studies that have been made about tea there have never been found any
harmful effects, in fact tea has less caffeine than coffee.
Tea has been shown to reduce cholesterol, combat diabetes, cancer and even promote
weight loss. Tea is packed with antioxidants and is good for circulation thus is
good for your heart and brain, it even reduces the lung damage caused by smoking.
Which is the best tea to drink?All of them! Although, like most foods, the more processed it is the less of the good
stuff it contains even the most processed teas are still very good for you.
Here is a list of popular teas by order of highest to lowest anti-oxidizing powers.
List Of Tea's
White TeaUncured and UN-fermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent
anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
Green TeaThe leaves are steamed in production, they have a high concentration of flavonoids
and are well studied. Green tea has been shown to combat the growth of bladder,
breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colon cancers. Prevent clogging of the
arteries and burn fat. Relieve oxidizing stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological
disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, reduce risks of stroke and improve
Black TeaMade with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and
studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure
to cigarette smoke. It also reduces the risk of brain diseases.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about tea and plenty of facts you
can use in your quizzes. What next? Put the kettle on of course.
Cha for now.