Happy National Tea Day!
Written by Sophie, April 2021
Tea has always held a special place in the world. It seems every culture has their own version. There’s mint tea in Morocco, bubble tea in Taiwan, teh tarik in Malaysia, maté in many South American countries, and of course matcha in Japan (to name only a few). And you can’t talk about tea without talking about England. Tea is so ingrained in our society that in some parts of the country it is synonymous with Dinner. Tea even led to the American Revolution.
Of course, all tea originated in China. There are brilliant maps online that show different languages and their word for ‘tea’. It is thought that the countries that received tea via the silk road use come variation of cha as their word for tea, for example chai in India or чай (chay) in Russian. On the other hand, countries that received tea via maritime trade use a variation of te, like tea in English or the Dutch tee.
I will admit to not being the biggest fan of tea. Or at least I thought I wasn’t. I adore iced tea, although whether that is actually tea or not is debatable. The first time I remember genuinely enjoying a cup of tea was at a dim sum restaurant. I drank the jasmine tea mostly to be polite, my cup being refilled as soon as it was empty, but the mild, floral taste was actually quite pleasant. This discovery led to a growing love of tea, from matcha to chai, from oolong to genmaicha. But I’m still not keen on a cup of English milky tea (or those fruit teas that smell amazing but taste of nothing at all!).
The ‘TV pickup’ phenomenon also speaks to our national love of tea. At certain times of day, or during certain events there is a surge in the electric grid that can be attributed to the mass turning on of kettles during TV ad breaks. To account for this, the electricity companies have to plan and have extra power available during popular soap operas and sporting events. It fascinating to see how the humble tea leaf has affected our society.
So however you enjoy your cuppa, whether it’s with too many sugars or completely black, herbal or builder’s, or even if you think tea is just hot leaf juice, enjoy national tea day!