It makes a refreshing brew and is particularly popular with the British, but how much do you know about tea?
Tea is a member of the Camellia family and is an evergreen plant.
There are more than 1,500 different types of tea in the world, including black, green, white and herbal varieties.
Tea was first discovered over 5,000 years ago by the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung. The discovery is thought to have been accidental – he was boiling water under a tree and a leaf of tea fell into his pot of water!
Tea is produced in more than 25 countries worldwide. The main producers are Sri Lanka, India, China, Indonesia, Kenya and Africa.
The word tea gets its name from several Chinese words, such as Te, Tay, Tchai and Ch’a.
Dutch and Portuguese traders were responsible for bringing the first tea to Europe in the early 17th century.
Although it’s drunk readily now, tea wasn’t an instant success in Europe. In fact, it didn’t properly catch on with Europeans for 30 to 40 years.
The English first started trading in tea in 1652.
Lapsang Souchong is one of the famous types of black China teas. It’s got a distinctive smoky taste that can take a while to get accustomed too.
White teas are the rarer form of tea. They’re mainly produced in China and Sri Lanka and are made from buds.
Green and black teas drunk without added milk or sugar can be good for your health. As well as being calorie and fat-free, they’re also packed with healthy antioxidants and are a natural source of fluoride.
Both black and green tea come from the same Camelia sinensis plant, but they undergo completely different processes in order to make the final tea different. Black tea leaves are fully oxidised, whereas the leaves for green tea are steamed and then dried.
Tea is a good source of minerals. It contains manganese, which helps bone development, and potassium, which is crucial for maintaining body fluid levels. It also contains small amounts of zinc and folic acid.
A cup of tea with milk contains the vitamins B6, Riboflavin B2 and Thiamin B1.
The average cup of tea contains less than half the amount of caffeine as coffee.
If you drink three to four cups of tea per day, you get 45% of your daily requirement of fluoride.
Four cups of tea with milk each day will provide you with 16% of your daily calcium requirement.
About 40% of people in Britain will be drinking tea at some point today.