Legend has it that tea originated well over 5000 years ago in ancient China. The innovative and science-curious emperorShenNung insisted that for hygiene purposes, all water in the palace must be boiled. When he was out visiting his kingdom one day, he and his men stopped to boil water to drink and it was said that leaves from a nearby bush fell into the water. Apparently the brew that resulted was so refreshing, the emperor ordered samples of the bush to be brought back to the palace for analysis. Afterwards, word got out and this new phenomenon became fashionable. Cultivation of tea is dated to the 4th century China. Drinking tea leaves steeped in a tea pot did not become popular until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
It is believed that a New York City tea importer named Thomas Sullivan became annoyed at the high cost of the tin boxes he used to send tea samples to customers. So in 1904 (or by some accounts, 1908) he switched to small cloth bags. One of the recipients brewed a pot of tea by simply pouring hot water over the bag. It's a nice story, except some tea experts point out that a U.S. patent for a "tea leaf holder made out of fabric" was granted in 1903. Regardless of who was really responsible, many tea lovers consider the teabag one of the worst inventions of the 20th century. Tea brewed with loose tea is generally much tastier than tea made from dunked teabags.
Conventional wisdom holds that iced tea was invented in 1904, at the St. Louis World's Fair, by a British tea merchant named Richard Blechynden. While he may have helped popularize iced tea, "tea punches" (alcoholic ancestors of the drink) were served decades earlier in the United States, and at least one late 19th century cookbook includes a recipe for iced tea. Interestingly, about 80 percent of the tea served in the United States today is iced tea.
A cup of brewed tea typically contains less than half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. If that remains a problem for you, it's easy to decaffeinate loose tea at home. Because caffeine is highly soluble in hot water, "rinsing" tea leaves gets rid of most of the caffeine. Begin brewing tea as usual, but then remove the leaves after twenty seconds. Discard the initial brew and start again with fresh boiling water and the now-decaffeinated tea leaves.
The credit goes to the Duchess of Bedford (one of Queen Victoria's Ladies in Waiting) who came up with the idea of a late afternoon meal of tea, thin sandwiches, and small cakes to overcome the "sinking feeling" she felt. The notion caught on, with Queen Victoria's enthusiastic support. The British actually invented two kinds of afternoon teas
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, playing second fiddle only to water. It is in almost every culture, and there are literally thousands of varieties.
A report issued by the UK Tea Council in 2006 stated that the fluoride content of tea makes it a potent defender of oral health. Fluoride binds to the tooth enamel, slowing down the tooth decay process and preventing cavities. Also, the instance of tannins in tea inhibits the growth of certain plaque-forming bacteria.
Research conducted in the Netherlands suggests that tea can help people avoid heart attacks, especially women. Johanna M Geleijnse, PhD from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam led a study which followed 4807 Dutch adults over the age of 55 who had no heart problems in their previous medical history. After 5 years it was found that the volunteers who drank 375ml of black tea per day had a 43% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and a 70% reduced risk of having a fatal attack.
Tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant which has been found to reduce people's risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Catechins can also be found in cocoa and dark chocolate.
All teas originate from the same evergreen plant: the Camellia sinensis. There are over 3,000 varieties of the bush grown in mountainous areas around the world.
Until the nineteenth century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia. Who would believe that tea blocks were used as currency!
One possible reason for tea's health benefits is its high content of flavonoids (plant-derived antioxidants). Antioxidants counteract free radical molecules in the body, naturally produced chemicals that help cause aging, cancer and a variety of other diseases. Tea, particularly green tea, is the best food source of a group of flavonoids called catechins (pronounced CAT-ih-kins). In research studies, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in stopping free radical damage to cells. They also appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Tea contains more than 4,000 compounds; so many more may affect the body.
In one day an experienced tea picker can collect around 70 pounds of tea! That's enough tea to make 14000 cups! Talk about filling a quota.
A large amount of caffeine is released from tea after the first 30 seconds of brewing. Dumping this content out and pouring new hot water is a neat trick for caffeine conscious tea drinkers.
Did you know that tea can help abate your appetite? Good news for people who are dieting.
The Irish drink more tea per head than any nation in the world.
An average of three billion cups of tea are consumed daily worldwide.
80% of office workers now claim they find out more about what's going on at work over a cup of tea than in any other way.
The number of recommended cups of tea to drink each day is 4, this gives you optimal benefit.
The antioxidants in two cups of black tea are equivalent to the antioxidants in one glass of red wine, seven glasses of orange juice, or 20 glasses of apple juice.
Common health facts about tea show us that it is rich in antioxidants, can shield our immune systems, stop infection, and even help us shed some pounds!
There are 7 types which are graded by leaf size. "Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe" Try saying that 5 times fast! (FTGFOP) is the highest and "fannings"(tea dust) is the lowest.
Although many tea facts point to white and green teas as being the healthiest, a cup of black or oolong tea proves just as good.
The Boston tea party is greatly responsible for the coffee outbreak in America. Hopefully with time America rediscovers tea, and reclaims its lost tea culture.
Tea tasters are people employed by tea sellers as well as tea buyers. Tea tasters spend 5 - 7 years of apprenticeship training across several tea producing countries. Developing a sensitive palate, these tasters are capable of identifying the region where the particular tea has been grown, when it was harvested and the name of the plantation. He can judge the quality and value and can also identify any mistakes made during processing the tea leaves. Did you know that a professional tea taster uses all his senses to judge the quality of the tea? He looks at the dried leaves, feels their density, smells the fragrance, crushes the tea to listen to the crackling sound and tastes brewed tea. The speed with which a tea taster can taste and analyze a tea brand is simply phenomenal. By sipping, slurping and spitting tea, he can taste about 300 teas in an hour.
An apple a day, keeps the doctor away! Well, a cup of tea a day can keep the dentist away. This is because tea contains fluoride which strengthens the tooth enamel and helps fight cavities. However, consumption of excess tea and coffee can cause yellowing of the teeth. So keep it in balance.
China is proud to claim that they have the world's oldest tea tree which is said to be 3,200 years old.