Do you prefer tea or coffee? I favor tea. However, I am in the minority in the US for having that opinion. 75% of Americans favor coffee, while only 25% would rather have tea.
If you go to the actual link, you can interact with the infographic and see the percentages in each country.
Tea is overwhelmingly embedded into cultures. It speaks of hospitality, of tradition, of history. The tea ceremonies of Japan, high tea in England, the offering of spicy chai in India when a neighbor visits.
It is said that tea was first discovered in China in the Yunnan Province probably before 1000 BC, so tea has been around for quite some time. The legend is that Emperor Shen Nong was boiling water to drink when some leaves fell into his water from a nearby bush, and he decided he liked this new drink. Tea traveled from China into other areas of Asia, then to Europe, and then on to America.
Did you know that tea is grown on a bush? If left untended, the bushes turn into tea trees, which can grow to be 50 feet tall. The tea fields are beautiful because of the arrangements of the rows.
I had the chance to visit the Longjing (Dragon Well) tea fields in my Chinese hometown of Hangzhou. It was amazing to see the beginnings of a beverage I love so much- the picking of the leaves, the roasting.
Tea was constantly offered to me in China- at meetings, in people’s homes, from complete strangers! It is a way to connect with people, a way to show hospitality, and a way to socialize with friends. While bars are the most common places to consume a beverage in the West, most Eastern countries spend their time in teashops. I wish America was more of a tea culture still like it was in the revolutionary days. I need more people who can understand my need for a good cup of black tea with milk and sugar in the morning! I’ve even had my girl friends over to my house in the US for tea parties, and we really had a lot of fun. I am trying to single-handedly bring back the tea culture to the US!
Iced tea was invented at the 1904 World’s Fair when a tea plantation owner couldn’t sell his hot tea to fair-goers because of the high temps, so he dumped a bunch of ice in his tea, and it became a craze. And now southerns can’t live without it! I have an IV of sweet tea that is pumped into my bloodstream daily. Southerns in America use sweet iced tea to show hospitality to their guests, much like the hot tea traditions around the world. In fact, 80% of tea consumed in the US is served cold.
Tea is thought to have quite a few health benefits, especially green tea. Cancer prevention is one of the greatest of these benefits. Tea may help cardiovascular health, improve metabolism, and help fight viruses. Drink tea for your health!
As a language teacher, I’ve always wondered about the word “tea” and its origins. I’ve always heard that tea comes from the Chinese word, but I know the Chinese word is cha, which sounds nothing like tea. So, one day my boss and I, the language nerds we are, looked it up online. Apparently, it comes from a southern China dialect in which it is “teh” or “te”, which is how we have the English word tea. The word probably traveled out of a port in Xiamen and moved on to Europe. However, many languages follow suit with the more Chinese-sounding cha, while many middle eastern or western Asian countries stick with a variant of chai.
German- tee Spanish- te Swedish- te
French- the Italian- te Indonesia- teh
Korean-cha Persian- cha Tibetan- ja
Japanese- cha Thai- cha Punjabi- chah
Aramaic- chai Ukrainian- chai Turkish- cay
Only an English teacher would make a chart about the etymology of the word tea! Please don’t tell anyone I did this! I’ll never admit it. :]
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. Now can you tell me if you prefer tea or coffee?
Please share on your social media if you think someone you know might enjoy reading about tea!