In a world of coffee drinkers I sometimes feel in the minority. Not sure why, considering people have been drinking tea for centuries. In fact it was first discovered in China. Legend has it that it was found by The Emperor of China way back in 2737 BC. Now that’s a long time. Let’s take a quick look at the the Coffee bean history. The first evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears to have been in the middle of the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. Given that tea has been around longer how did coffee overtake the humble cup of tea as the hot drink of choice?
Let me re-introduce you to Tea as an alternative to that caffeine laden cup of joe 😉 you may be surprised, and even if you don’t completely stop your caffeine fix, at least it’s something else to try from time-to-time! If you’re already a die-hard tea drinker, maybe I can uncover a tea you haven’t yet sampled.
During the Han Dynasty around 202 BC thru 220 AD tea plants were quite limited and only the extremely rich or Royalty would drink a cup of tea! During this time tea also spread to Japan and was consumed by priests who enjoyed some of their medicinal benefits.
Soon Buddhists would share tea in a ceremony known as the The Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Tea arrived in England during the 17th Century and never left. It’s the tea you take at 4pm back in the days of old and it’s still offered when you’ve experienced a stressful event or shock – “Shall I make you a nice cup of Tea!” with the emphasis on the nice.
American tea was heavily taxed and so gave way to The Boston Tea Party which sounds lovely until you realize the political protests and American Revolution connotations but I won’t go into any political shenanigans here but I’ve linked to any useful background on the subject should you be interested in exploring that avenue further.
Luckily it’s all calmed down now, maybe they all drank a nice relaxing Chamomile Tea and moved on, but however they resolved their problems and differences we’ve been left with a wide variety of different teas and the list seems to be growing everyday. As the list of teas is huge come back from time-to-time to see what else I’ve uncovered on my tea adventures. I’ll pop the kettle on…
Let’s first start with the many varieties of tea available. It can be quite confusing but each tastes very different so you can be drinking the same beverage but experience many flavors.
The most common is Black Tea. It’s the tea you see the most of on the supermarket shelves. Tea labels such as Lipton, Tetley, PG-Tips all have standard black tea offerings. In the last few years even these big well known named brands have started offering more exotic flavors such as Green Tea and Herbal Teas. They often purport to offer magical antioxidant powers beneficial to health. I won’t go into that detail here as I’m not an expert but you can find more about the potential health benefits of tea here.
On the following page we continue our tea journey and introduce Green Tea…