By: Mariam Elhamy
Most people drink tea on a daily basis, whether with breakfast after meals or even in between meals, tea is very popular across all social classes. But, have you ever wondered about the origins of tea? Come with us on a journey through history, and discover the health benefits of this comfort beverage and how people worldwide enjoy it.
Did you know that …
- The American revolution was not the only war fought over tea. Britain also fought two separate wars with China in the 19th century over trade disputes pertaining to tea.
- It takes around 2,000 tiny leaves to make just one pound of tea.
- Turks consume an average of almost seven pounds of tea per person annually. The Irish are the world’s second-biggest tea drinkers, they consume less than five pounds per person a year.
- People were using ceramic teapots 11,000 years ago in Asia and the Middle East. Tea didn’t reach most Europeans until the late 16th century.
- Technically, herbal tea isn’t actually tea. Herbal tea blends don’t contain any actual tea leaves, which is why they’re usually caffeine-free.
- Most Americans prefer their tea cold. About 85% of tea sales in the U.S. are iced tea.
- In the Himalayas, it’s traditional to add butter (usually from a yak) to milky black tea.
Health benefits of drinking tea:
- In addition to external healing properties, green tea is known as a super food when it’s consumed.
- You are less likely to get a “caffeine crash” when you drink tea (as opposed to soda or coffee). The high levels of antioxidants in tea slow the absorption of caffeine, which results in a gentler increase caffeine in your system and a longer period of alertness with no crash at the end.
- Drinking several cups of tea per day has been associated with lower risks of liver disease, depression, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
However, high concentrations of oxalate, found in black tea, can lead to renal failure … so don’t go overboard with your tea habit.
Ever wondered how people enjoy tea around the world?
Matcha is an iconic tea made by grinding Japanese green tea leaves into a fine powder, which is then mixed directly with hot water to make tea, this makes matcha one of the most nutritionally rich types of tea available.
A typical British teacup is made with black tea with sugar and sometimes milk, it’s usually served with butter biscuits or scones. Did you know that the Brits refer to lunch as “tea”? Yea, it confuses every much any non-Brit.
A typical Turkish tea set includes Turkish tea glasses, tiny teaspoons, small plates and a tray to serve all the glasses together which creates a unique tea drinking experience.
This tea is made with butter! Tibetan Butter Tea, known as Po cha, is made from churning tea, salt and yak butter. The tea used is a particularly potent, smoky type of brick tea from Pemagul, Tibet. A portion of this brick tea is crumbled into water and boiled for hours to produce a smoky, bitter brew called chaku.
Thai tea is a mixture of black tea, condensed milk, and ice. The drink is made by placing the tea in a pot lined with a pantyhose filter, brewing the leaves for a long time, then adding condensed milk and crushed (never cubed) ice. Food coloring is sometimes added for the strong orange color.
Egyptian tea comes in two varieties: koshary and saiidi. Koshary tea, popular in the North, involves steeping black tea in boiled water and letting it sit for a few minutes. It is sweetened with sugar and often flavored with fresh mint leaves. Adding milk is also common. Koshary tea is usually light.
Saiidi tea is common in Upper Egypt (the South). It is prepared by boiling black tea with water for as long as 5 minutes over a strong flame. Saiidi tea is extremely heavy, with 2 teaspoonfuls per cup being the norm. It is sweetened with large amounts of sugar.
How do you like your tea? Hot or iced, black or green, flavored or plain, milk or lemon, with honey or sugar?