For the love of tea!
Tea, the most consumed beverage in the world has so many weird and unknown facts about it.
The average quantity of tea produced in the world is 3 million tons per year. It is believed that more than 1.4 million pounds of tea are consumed alone in the United States.
Tea was originally made for medical purposes and was chewed instead of drank.
Tea is made from the leaves of a plant that is ‘Camellia Sinensis’. There are different varieties of this plant, which make up different types of teas.
A new plant takes at least 3 years, before harvesting. Also, it takes between 7 to 12 years for a mature enough plant to produce more seeds.
It is grown in various parts of the world where the rain is very frequent as tea plantation requires too much water.
Tea grows in a place with at least 50 inches of rain per year. For example India (Assam, Tamil Nadu, Darjeeling, etc.), China, Argentina, Japan, Indonesia, etc.
So, without wasting any more of your time, let's begin the list of fascinating and weird facts about tea, that are actually true and hard to digest.
1. Its discovery
Tea was discovered in China around five thousand years ago by Emperor Shen Nong. He accidentally discovered it while drinking boiling water on his lawn.
Some of the leaves from a tree fell into his water, but he drank anyway and liked its taste very much. He introduced it to the world and that’s how tea was born.
2. Second-largest consumed beverage
Tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, of course after water.
Many people have a misconception about this fact and they think that it is coffee.
3. Valuable crop
Tea is ranked as the 31st most valuable crop in the whole world.
4. Green tea is a superfood
Superfood is referred to as any food or drink item that has nutrients beneficial for the body.
So, because green tea has many health benefits like reducing the risk of heart diseases, controlling high blood pressure, soothes the throat, etc., it is considered a superfood.
5. Tay or Cha
The tea was introduced as ‘Tay’ or ‘Cha’ in the West by the Dutch East India Company.
They later changed its spelling and pronunciation to ‘tea’.
6. Guinness World Record
A tea bag bagged its mention in the Guinness World record. It was the largest teabag ever produced by Rabea Tea in Saudi Arabia in 2014.
It also has a record of the highest number of teacups made in an hour, which was 1848 cups by 12 people only.
7. English afternoon tea
The tea that is consumed between 3pm to 6pm is the traditional English afternoon tea.
If it gets late than 6, some snacks have to be eaten along with it, and then it is called the high tea.
8. The most expensive teacup
The rarest and expensive tea to be brewed in the ‘Tieguanyin’. It is a kind of oolong tea and was named after the Buddhist Iron Goddess of Mercy.
The cost of one cup of this tea is $3000 per kg. One leaf of this tea can be brewed at least 7 times.
9. Moisture absorbing capability
If left uncovered, tea can absorb a lot of moisture which makes it stake and smelly. It shouldn’t be consumed then.
Hence, tea should be stored in a dry and warm place.
10. Butter Tea
Butter tea is the type of tea very commonly consumed in Tibet.
It is made up of yak butter, black tea, and rock salt.
11. Staple food of Japan
When there was a war going on and the times were hard in Japan, green tea and roasted brown rice were used as the staple diet there.
This was called ‘Genmaicha’.
12. Cures puffy eyes
Black tea can also work as a cosmetic remedy. It cures puffy eyes temporarily.
You can put two freshly used tea bags under the eyes for 10 to 20 minutes and it creates the magic.
Teas undergo oxidation processes at different levels. This happens for a good purpose as more oxidation means more potent flavor.
For example, black tea has the most oxidization and white tea has the least.
14. Teabag invention
There has always been a controversy over the invention of teabags. Some studies say that it was invented in 1901 after two women Mary McLaren and Roberts Lawson submitted a patent for the invention of something to hold tea.
The other studies say that it was accidentally invented in 1908 by Thomas Sullivan as a means to transport the tea samples and people started using them directly.
15. Olive leaf tea
It is the native home-grown tea of Italy. The tea is made from the Manzanillo tree and Mission Olive tree.
16. Types of tea
There are more than 2500 different types of teas. All of these types have different flavors and odors.
It depends on the type of plant and the area where they are grown.
17. Mint tea is not tea
The leaf that is called tea has to be grown from the plant Camellia Sinensis. Some companies give the ‘tea’ title to anything available to put in the hot boiling water.
For example, mint (herb) and raspberry (fruit) are not actually tea. This is just a misconception.
18. Hot Toddy
The tea in which alcohol is added is known as the Hot Toddy. It creates a very delicious liquor-flavored tea.
The types of tea that can be added to the tea are Rum, Bourbon, and Brandy.
19. Tea has more caffeine than coffee
When a person makes a cup of coffee, he adds at least two spoons in general. When a person makes a cup of tea, one spoon is generally more than enough.
So, the fact is that tea has more caffeine but coffee is used in a larger amount so it makes up for more caffeine. For example:
One cup black coffee: 100-200 mg caffeine
One cup black tea: 50-70 mg caffeine
It is a type of herbal tea that is produced only in South Africa. They are grown the same as the other tea plantations.
The difference is that the leaves are needle-shaped and are fermented before use.
21. Its value in the 18th century
In the 17th century Europe, tea was just introduced there and was considered very valuable. People used to keep it in beautiful boxes with safe locks known as ‘tea chest’.
They are now called ‘tea caddies’.
22. Green tea production
The best kind of green tea is produced when the first harvest of the year is going on.
This is in the fall of April to May.
23. Boiling water should not be used
We always boil the water while making tea, though it should never be done. Boiling hot water destroys the tea leaf's nutrients.
24. Interrupts iron absorption
This is only applicable to black tea. It should be avoided along with food or iron supplements as it absorbs all the iron and other nutrients from the food.
25. Milk first
Earlier China cups were used for drinking tea and they were very delicate. Hence, there was a rule to pour the milk first to neutralize the effect of heat so the cup won’t break.
This doesn’t happen now as there are modern good-quality cups.
26. Diuretic effect
Diuretic means the need to pee frequently.
It is a stimulant, so it has a diuretic effect on the person drinking it.
27. Root Beer invention
Earlier, Root Beer was known as Root Tea. It was produced by Charles Elmer Hires, a pharmacist.
Once in a hotel in New Jersey, he was served ‘Root Tea’. There is where he got the idea from as the tea was steeped.
28. Root Beer name
Charles Elmer Hires changed the name of Root Tea to ‘Root Beer’ because the area where he lived and tried to sell his Root Tea was of the coal miners who were not habituated to buying tea.
It instantly gained popularity after changing its name.
29. Teabags contain plastic
Most of the tea bags have some elements of plastic in them. Though, some of these are still safe and healthy while some are really not.
This depends upon the company and its quality. Also, tea bags cannot be composted because of this.
It is a type of tea mainly consumed in Egypt. It is made from the Hibiscus flowers.
A large amount of sugar is added to it while serving.
31. Lipton tea factory
The Lipton tea factory in Dubai alone produces at least 5 billion tea bags per year.
These tea bags are exported to so many countries including United States, India, Sri Lanka, China, etc.
There was a man named Sir Thomas Lipton in the 19th century. He used to import special quality tea from Sri Lanka called Ceylon.
After this, he sold that tea with the name Lipton Tea. Later, he sold his company and the headquarters was formed in New Jersey.
33. Main 4 categories
Mainly, there are only 4 types of tea that are produced from the plant Camellia Sinensis. These are black, green, white and oolong.
These four types are sub-divided into further thousands of types.
34. Pu-Erh Tea
This is the type of tea that is compressed into many different forms. Different shapes have different names.
For example, Disc is the most common type. Some others are Bowl, Tuocha, Bing, Cake, Nest, Gold Melon, Brick, Mushroom, etc.
35. Smuggled by other materials
As tea was very valuable in the 1700s, people tried to smuggle it by changing the original product to dry dirty leaves, bark, and other materials.
They made really high profits from this.
36. Used as currency
Tea was used as a form of currency in many parts of the world till the early 20th century.
Some of the countries where this trend was on were Tibet, China, Mongolia, Siberia, and Russia. Pu-Erh Tea was most commonly used for this purpose.
37. Moroccan Mint Tea
A simple black tea in which spearmint is added during steeping is called Moroccan Mint Tea in the Middle East.
38. Ch’a Ching
It is the name of the first book ever written on tea. It was written on the requests from many tea merchants by Lu Yu.
He was a tea connoisseur and a renowned author. The book was published in China in A.D. 780.
39. Monkey-picked tea
It is believed that monkeys were trained to pick up tea leaves in ancient China. Though, there is no proof for this.
Theoretically, it is very unlikely that any species of monkey can properly and sufficiently pick up tea leaves. It can also be just a marketing tactic, as there are teas that say ‘original monkey-picked tea’.
40. Oldest tea plant
The oldest tea plant, that is Camellia Sinensis tea plant is 3200 years old. It is in China.
So, these are some informative and fun facts about tea. Tea is healthy and beneficial for almost all age groups, except very small children.
People find this beverage very enjoyable. Most of the teas that exist these days have a very rich history behind them.
The countries that produce the most tea in the world are Japan, India, China, Taiwan, Kenya, Nepal, United Kingdom, United States, Georgia, Colombia, and Sri Lanka.
Tea is indeed a fascinating crop with lots of weird benefits and disadvantages. The figures of consumption of tea speak the rest.
I hope you liked these fascinating, weird but true facts about tea. Let us know how important is this beverage in your life.
Do like and share this article with your Tea-Mates.