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5 things you didn't know about tea

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The title of a recently published book says it all too well: Tea: A Very British Beverage. It's true. We're a nation of tea drinkers. It's in our DNA. And it's a way of life. Take a cup of tea out of the equation of our everyday existence and, well, what would we do?

Here are some curious facts about this monumentally brilliant drink, which was first introduced to Britain in the 17th century (England's first coffee house was set up in Oxford in 1652).

The British thirst for tea

On average, we each get through around 3.5 cups of tea a day, which, as a whole, adds up to a whopping 165 million cups of tea a day. Annually, that total comes to an unbelievable 62 billion cups of tea.

The origins of tea

Legend has it that in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting underneath a tree, waiting for his water to boil. Leaves fell into the water. He sipped it, loved it and then infused it. Tea was born.

The famous tea drinkers

Writer C.S. Lewis said there was never a cup large enough for all the tea he wanted, Fyodor Dostoyevsky cared for little other than tea, Henry James loved the ceremony of tea and Ralph Waldo Emerson likened the drink to poetry.

The world's most expensive tea

The luxurious Royal China Club in London launched a new beverage earlier this year. Made from the leaves of the Da Honh Pao – described as a prestigious tree – one pot of this special brew will set you back £180.

The science of a good cup of tea

Plop a tea bag or infuse leaves of tea in a special pot. Leave for two minutes. Pour into a slightly warmed glass and then add a modest amount of milk. Sweeten to taste. Take a sip and let out an exhale. Never put milk in first. Science says otherwise.

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