Things You Might Not Know About Tea

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jun. 23, 2021

Tea has long been popular in China, with some 5,000 years of history. Did you know that tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world? Here are 15 interesting things to help you learn more about (Chinese) tea.

1. Tea originated in the Wuyi Mountain region of Fujian Province in China. The Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe, 大红袍) tea from that region is probably the most expensive tea in the world. A small number of its tea leaves can be worth a million dollars or more.

2.The world’s largest tea consumer is China; but Turkey, Ireland, and the UK are the three countries with the highest per capita consumption of tea. The British people drink about 165 million cups of tea a day i.e. 62 billion cups a year.

3. In Victorian times, the British had a special teacup designed to prevent people’s beards from steeping in tea while drinking. The Mustache Cup was invented by a British potter, Harvey Adams, because in the 1860s, growing a beard was very popular. Even now, you can still find some of these cups for sale on eBay.

4. Tea is the second-most-popular drink in the world, after water. People worldwide drink about 3 billion cups of tea a day, and the USA consumed 80 billion cups last year.

5. Drinking tea can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. According to scientific research, we’d better drink tea rather than coffee.

6. Pu'er tea can inhibit weight gain and has a good lipid-lowering effect.

7. The invention of the teabag was a complete accident: a businessman from New York, Thomas Sullivan, often put tea leaves into small silk bags and distributed the bags to his customers. He expected the customers to pour out the tea leaves and steep the leaves before drinking, but they misunderstood.

8. There are hundreds of types of tea in the world, but all tea comes from the same plant: Camellia sinesis. The different tastes of tea depend on different ways of processing tea leaves.

9. According to legend, tea was discovered by Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BC (nearly 5,000 years ago). Iced tea was first offered at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair.

10. Drinking tea first started to become popular during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties and has continued into modern times.

11. Putting dry tea bags in stinky shoes can help absorb those unpleasant smells. Teabags can also be used to relieve pain from sunburn.

12. Tea is a good facial toner, helping to protect your skin against greasiness.

13. Tea can be used to clean wooden furniture. You can first clean the furniture with a rag dampened with tea, then dry it with a dry cloth.

14. Dark tea and oolong tea should be washed quickly with boiling water before drinking. This can warm the tea leaves and help to release the tea’s fragrance. Green tea, black tea, and other tea, however, don’t need this process.

15. Generally, the ratio of tea leaves to water should be controlled at around 1 to 50 or 60; that is, e.g., about 150 to 180 ml of hot water should be added to 3 grams of dry tea leaves.

More about Chinese Tea

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