5 answers to the questions you can ask when you are drinking tea :
Tea was supposedly invented by chance, when a leaf blown by the wind landed in a cup of hot water held by an emperor from Chinese mythology
First, according to the Chinese legend, tea is the delicious result of a random occurrence. So the story goes, a mythical emperor named Shennong, was sat minding his own business under a tree around the year 2800 B.C. While enjoying his customary jar of hot water, a light breeze picked up and blew a leaf into the drink. The emperor tasted the infused liquor, and found it to be extremely aromatic and flavorsome. Little did he know that he was in fact sitting under a wild tea bush. And so tea was born!
This legend is told in a highly respected work in China – a treatise on phytotherapy called Shennong Bencao Jing listing 360 different plants – whose first version was supposedly written by the Emperor Shennong himself. However, there are other claims as to the origin of tea in countries such as India and Japan.
Around 25,000 cups of tea are enjoyed every second across the world
Tea is the world’s second most popular drink world after water (and therefore the most popular hot drink). Some four million tons of tea are produced every year, which equates to 130 kilos every single second. China makes a third of the total amount, and the French drink 15,000 tons annually – around 230 grams per person.
It is estimated that 25,000 cups of tea are enjoyed every second across the world, and around 1,000 billion every year!
Drinking hot tea is a good way to cool down
It may seem like a paradox, but hot tea really is an excellent way of cooling down in hot weather. This is because drinking hot tea increases our body temperature. Unlike when drinking something cold, we therefore require less energy (and so less heat) to warm the liquid to the same level as our body temperature. It’s now easier to see why the Tuareg people are partial to hot drinks in the middle of the desert!
The color of tea changes based on its level of oxidization
All teas come from the same plant – the tea bush, or camellia sinensis – and there are around 1,500 different varieties. The color (black, green, white, blue, etc.) therefore does not depend on the plant that grows the leaves, but rather their level of oxidization. Tea leaves are dried after being picked; the longer they remain in the open air, the more they oxidize, and the darker the liquor will be in the cup. Moreover, the aromas of the infused tea are also very different according to the level of oxidization.
Then, boiling water should never be used to make tea
The water used to infuse tea leaves should be at a simmer, and not at boiling point. This is because water that is too hot (over 90°C/194°F) burns the tea and diminishes its flavor. Aromas are volatile substances, and can evaporate with water. What’s more, boiling water loses its oxygen, but these molecules are exactly what carry the aromatic notes. Ideally, water should be heated to around 70°C/158°F for green teas, and between 85°C/185°F and 90°C/194°F for black teas.