Tea celebrates its first international day of recognition today. Not that it was unheard or unsaid of but as we say all in good time. It falls during a time when we drink tea more than usual, green, black, milky, strong or light, with or without sugar, all for good. Little known or not, this day deserves its dose of tea facts to be remembered as we head to our next cup of tea!
* Tea was discovered as an accidental brew. It so happened that a few tea leaves which were usually consumed by chewing, flew to a pot of water being boiled for Emperor Shen Nong. The tea was thus born.
* The varieties of tea — green, black, oolong all come from the same plant Camellia sinensis. The range we experience is due to the differences in treating the leaves after harvesting.
* Though Darjeeling tea is considered the best of the best, the Chinese variety called Tieguanyin is the most expensive costing up to $1500 per pound. But these are a “sustainable variety” as they can be brewed up to 7 times before losing their flavour!
*The herbal teas, though known as teas are not technically so. Herbal teas are usually not derived from the tea plant, instead from a blend of roots, leaves, flowers, barks of other plants so they aren’t teas but yeah, easy to call them so!
* There are no diet teas, period! Though tea has its health benefits, there is no scientific evidence that it promotes weight loss. You are drinking a plant based concoction, which comes with its own benefits.
* A Scottish naturalist Robert Fortune in 1847 wrote Three Years’ wandering in the Northern Provinces of China written after his independent expedition to China. He was soon recruited by the East India Company for a mission in disguise to extract plant samples from China. He smuggled the collected plant sample through Hong Kong and Calcutta, that would change the country’s and company’s fortune forever!
* In order to attain the required colour in Green tea, the Chinese added ferric ferrocyanide and gypsum salts in the exports that China made to Europe. It was Fortune who discovered this and understood that both belonged to the same species expect that the black variety was cured for a longer period.
* Tea can taste different in planes where the boiling point of water is 18-20 degrees lower due to air pressure.
* The Boston Tea Party was a protest of the British parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, which was a tax imposed by the British government in debt on the American colonists. The British government had granted a monopoly to the East India Company on the importation and sale of tea in the colonies which resulted in the Boston Tea Party.
* It is tannins that give tea its characteristic colour and flavour.
So don’t resist your next cup of tea. Slurp it with these tea facts to much on!