7 things you (probably) don’t know about tea

english-teaImage source: Understanding Cities & Partial Cultures

As the UKEC team is busy keeping their heads down, preparing for the afternoon tea event to be held this Saturday, we thought you might like to learn a trivia or two about the most consumed beverage in the entire world, tea.


Tea came from the East

This we all know. But specifically, tea originated in China when some leaves fell into a Chinese emperor’s pot of boiling water in 2737 BC and he drank it, and liked the flavour. To think that we may never have had the pleasure of tea sipping if he hadn’t drank the contaminated water regardless… but luckily, we now have around 1,500 varieties of tea to choose from. So next time you order a tea from a coffee shop, remember to state specifically which of the 1,500 types you want!

sweet-iced-teaImage source: Eat This!

But a Brit invented iced tea

It is widely believed but debatable that British tea merchant, Richard Blechynden came up with the idea of iced tea whilst selling Indian tea during a heatwave at the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, although at least one cookbook from late 19th century includes an iced tea recipe.

Afternoon-tea-image1-1000x450Image source: Hadley Park

High tea v Low tea

Alongside high tea, there is also ‘low tea’ that is supposed to be served on a ‘low’ tea table in the afternoon, hence the term ‘afternoon tea’ and then there is ‘high tea’ that we all know, which is a meal on its own served on a ‘high’ dining room table in the evening.

pouring--coffee-with-milk--tea--coffee-cup_3121728Image source: Rachfeed

Why do the Brits drink tea with milk?

Because tea was produced mainly in China, the long journey it had to travel to Europe made it very expensive, so the lower classes would add milk into tea as it was cheaper and more accessible. Another theory has it that milk was poured into the cup before the hot tea so the delicate china would not crack from the heat. However, this is no longer necessary but people are still doing it, often the other way around!

7007262-green-tea-leavesImage source: Healthy Diet Advisor

The wonders of tea

Ok, now the good stuff. Tea is actually very beneficial for your health and well being in general as it contains polyphenols, an antioxidants that repair cells and in doing so, may prevent our bodies from cardiovascular diseases, cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus and other maladies. On top of that, tea also contains half the amount of caffeine as coffee, making it a healthier alternative among many other reasons.

5-Surprising-Ways-You-Can-Cook-With-Tea-04-RM-722x406Image source: Everyday Health

But you don’t just drink tea

You also use it as fertiliser, mosquito repellent, floor cleaner, meat marinade as well as to heal cuts and get rid of odors.

turning-into-your-mum-3-rexImage source: Huffington Post

How much tea does the UK drink?

The Brits drink about 165 millions cups of tea a day, which if you do the maths, means 62 billion cups of tea are consumed annually. Although funnily enough, that does not even make Britain the largest tea drinking nation in the world, Ireland is, but the UK does come second if it’s any consolation.


We hope you’ve found some of these trivia interesting, and that you will be able to drop a few fascinating fact of your own at the event. For those attending the afternoon tea, have fun and most certainly, enjoy the afternoon tea experience we have planned for you!

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