#1 All true tea comes from varieties of the Camellia plant.
Calling any other brewed herb beverages a â€œteaâ€ is a misnomer. Chamomile, hibiscus and valerian root are often referred to as teas, but theyâ€™re actually herbal infusions. Likewise, any fruit based teas should technically be called â€œtisanes.â€
#2 Tea is more popular than coffee around the globe.
When you envision a morning mug or an afternoon pick-me-up, coffee might be the beverage that comes to mind. However, the most popular beverage worldwide (other than water) is actually the humble tea leaf! Iced tea is more popular than hot tea in America, where cold beverages are often preferred.
#3 The origin of adding milk to black tea is a topic shrouded in mystery.
Some tea historians believe that the addition of milk to porcelain China prior to pouring in the hot tea was a protective measure to prevent the glass from breaking. Others claim it was to cut the bitterness of low quality tea leaves.
#4 When to add milk is a debate topic that gets pretty heated.
Thereâ€™s a serious tea drinkerâ€™s debate about whether or not to pour the milk in during steeping, or after steeping is complete. We wonâ€™t take sides!
#5 Earl Greyâ€™s unique flavor comes from bergamot oil.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit with a bitter and lightly sour flavor. However, itâ€™s most famous for itâ€™s role in Earl Grey tea. Despite Earl Greyâ€™s current popularity, it was initially used to mask poor quality tea flavor and was generally looked upon unfavorably.
#6 English Breakfast tea is not grown in England.
Despite the name, the UK does not grow tea. The ever popular English Breakfast tea is actually a blend of tea leaves from various tea growing regions, such as Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya. Up until very recently, all teas were imported into the British Isles. But, modern farmers are attempting to change this now!
#7 China and India are the leading tea producers worldwide.
Roughly 75% of the tea grown annually is produced between these two powerhouses. Kenya comes in at number three, producing approximately 300,000 tons, one-third the amount reported from India.
#8 Tea bags were invented in Americaâ€¦ by accident!
An American tea merchant in the early 1900s was distributing his tea samples in small, silk bags. Some of the recipients believed this was a convenient, disposable replacement for their usual metal strainers. The rest is history!
#9 Bricks of tea were once used as currency.
Tea was, and still is, incredibly valuable. It is a medicine and a food product. In the past, tea was even used as a form of payment! Pressed and stamped fermented pu-erh tea, which kept well, was the tea of choice for such transactions.