I’ve just written about my own addiction to this glorious drink over at my regular blog and just thought that I’d give you a quick run-down of perhaps lesser-known facts about tea because…well just because you can never know too much about something you love.
Did you know that tea, in its dry form contains more caffeine than coffee? However, just to confuse you, a prepared cup of coffee contains higher levels than prepared tea.
Unlike coffee, tea also contains valuable anti-oxidants that are associated with preventing cancer and heart disease.
Tea is made from the leaves of a camellia plant, in this case Camellia Sinensis.
Since tea was first introduced into Britain (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 1533-1603) it has been credited with healing powers. This is reflected in a few current English brand names – P.G. (which is said to stand for ‘pre-gestive’) and Typhoo (which is Chinese for ‘doctor’).
A New York merchant named Thomas Sullivan is credited with having invented the first tea bag in 1904 when he sent out samples enclosed in silk.
As a nation the British drink 175 million cups of tea daily and this consumption makes it our number one beverage.
The habit of drinking black tea with lemon was a Russian habit introduced by the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, the Princess Royal, who was married to the Emperor of Prussia. However the habit never caught on amongst the general British population as the overwhelming amount of tea is drunk nowadays with milk.
‘Char’, as in the English expression ‘a nice cup of char’ (i.e. tea) is derived from the Chinese word for tea – tcha.
Finally – making tea. There has been an on-going debate about whether to add the milk to the tea first or second. Those who brew their tea and then add the milk insist they are right. I say they’re wrong and now I’m being backed up by scientific evidence (there’s nothing like being smarmy is there)?! Adding the milk after the tea has brewed precipitates the release of tanins, which tend to make the tea taste more bitter, not to mention causing worse staining of your teeth and the tea cups. Also, the proteins in milk more easily split and divide if added to the hot tea, leading to clumping. …And no one wants clumpy tea now do they?.