A Brief Look Into the History of Tea

Morning tea, afternoon tea, or even bedtime tea are my favorites! I prefer different kinds of tea for different times of the day- green tea in the morning, mint tea in the afternoon and apricot with passion fruit tea with a spoonful of honey before bed. Tea time is very important in many countries and cultures as well. It has its own rituals. Tea is often thought of being a British drink, but that’s not the case. People have been drinking tea far longer than the British have been drinking it. If tea is not a British drink, then who started drinking it and where did it originate? Let’s take a quick look into the history of tea!

Who started drinking tea?

Tea Pot

People started drinking tea in China, according to a legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water, when some leaves from the tree blew into the water. Shen Nung, a renowned herbalist, decided to try the infusion that his servant had accidentally created. The tree was a Camellia sinensis, and the resulting drink was what we now call tea. While this story is a legend, we certainly can’t make sure if there is any truth to it.

The only certain thing is that, the Chinese have started drinking team many centuries before any other culture have heard of it.

In the late eighth century, tea was introduced to Japan by Japanese Buddhist monks who travelled to China to study. After that, tea became an important component of Japanese culture. Even today, in Japan there are intricate tea ceremonies which exhibit the ceremonial preparation and presentation of powdered green tea (matcha). If you are ever in Japan, you should experience

Largest Tea Producers:

Tea fields

China is by far the largest producer of tea in the world– approximately 30-35% of the total amount produced in the world in 2013. China is mainly famous for producing green, oolong, white, yellow, and jasmine teas.

India comes in second, the commercial industry began after Britain was introduced to tea from China. India, a nation of over 1 billion tea drinkers, produces large quantities (approximately 70%) of their national consumption. They are famous for producing the famous spicy chai tea that they consume with milk.

Kenya, surprisingly enough, is known for producing coffee more than tea; however, it comes in third! Kenya in known for developing new varieties that grow more abundantly and also for single-origin artisan teas.


The world’s biggest tea drinkers:

Tea cup


China is the largest consumer of tea, at 1.6 billion pounds a year. However, when you take a look at the countries with the largest consumption per person, other countries are thrown into the spotlight.

It comes as a no surprise that Turkey would be on top of the list with 7 pounds (3.2 kgs) per person/year. The Turkish love their tea and they generally drink it 3 to 4 times a day.

Ireland comes in second with 4.8 pounds (2.2 kgs)  and the UK comes in third with 4.3 pounds (2 kgs), which also comes as no surprise. The Irish and the British appreciate and love their tea time and they also tend to have parties revolving around this special drink.


Tea Benefits:

Tea Press

In addition for it being a social and cultural drink, it contains few health benefits. We will be listing few of them below:

  • Tea contains antioxidants.
  • Tea has less caffeine than coffee: you can have as much as you want without the effects on your nervous system that the same amount of coffee creates.
  • Tea may reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
  • Tea helps with weight loss: especially green tea.
  • Tea may boost the immune system.


Drinking too much tea:

Iron absorption:

Tea contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which provide many of the health benefits. Flavonoids, however, prevents iron absorption found in plant foods such as beans and vegetables as well as dairy products. To make sure that your body absorbs iron, make sure to limit drinking tea between meals.

Tinted Teeth:

Just like coffee and other colored drinks, tea can stain your teeth. To prevent this issue as much as you can, brush your teeth immediately after finishing your tea. If not possible, drink water to rinse away the staining elements.

Tea food pairing

If you are a huge tea fan, make sure to pair your food with your favorite teas. We have got a list of chefs who will be very happy to cater to your tea obsession. If you’re a fan of Chai tea, Chef Parveen (London) will make sure you enjoy your tea with her delicious Indian food menu. If mint tea is your go to, Chef Raed (Dubai) has the perfect Middle Eastern menu to satisfy your cravings.