Since 2005, many tea producing countries celebrate the International Day of Tea annually on December 15th. All those involved in the tea trade are honored, from the tea pickers on the plantations to the consumers. The aim is to raise the public awareness of the background and conditions of tea production in order to strengthen the rights of tea peasants and tea farmers in the future.
We take this largely unknown holiday in Germany as an opportunity to collect some exciting facts and legends about the ever-popular hot drink:
1. Allegedly, the tea was discovered in the year 2737 BC in China
Legend has it that the Chinese emperor drank boiled water one day that year, as usual. A gust of wind suddenly blew some tea leaves into his cauldron of boiling water, which gave the water a fascinating aroma and an interesting taste. The emperor was thrilled and infected the whole nation with his love for this rediscovery. Today, China is one of the largest tea producers in the world alongside India. About 90% of Chinese drink at least one cup of tea every day.
“This drink is dew that falls lightly and gently from the sky. You call it tea.”
– from the annals of the Sung dynasty
2. Tea is the world’s most consumed drink after water
No wonder, because not only does it taste good, it can also be soothing and stimulating. In addition, depending on the variety, it has all sorts of positive effects on our health.
„One drinks tea to forget the noise of the world.“
– T’ien Yi-Heng (Chinese scholar)
3. Catherine of Braganza made England a tea nation
It is well known that Englishmen love their tea – and yet it was a Portuguese woman who infected a whole country with tea-fever. But how did it happen?
At an early age Katharina von Braganza, daughter of the 21st King of Portugal, was promised to the English King Charles II. In 1662, she finally married him. As one of the largest lakes in Europe, Portal imported tea very early. That’s why Katharina knew and appreciated the hot drink. When she arrived in England, she asked her fiancé for a cup. He answered, according to the tradition: “In England we do not drink tea. Maybe a beer would be enough? “. Tea was already traded in England at that time, but it had a very low importance. Katharina, who did not allow herself to be stopped off with beer, made sure in her new home that tea was imported in larger quantities and finally found favor with the finer society. Tea established itself in the same century as the typical British way of life – and still does today.
„Serving tea testifies to taste for the exquisite, because tea makes you sociable and polite, it is stimulating and modest.“
– John Galsworthy (British author, 1867-1933)
4. Ostfriesen are the most industrious tea drinkers
In Germany, tea enjoys great popularity and enjoys especially in East Frisia an extremely high priority. On average, every East Frisian drinks around 300 liters of tea a year. This equates to about eleven times the overall German average, making it the world’s largest per capita consumption of tea. The Ostfriesen drink the tea after a solid ritual: First, the “Kluntje”, the candy is added to the cup. Then the freshly brewed tea is poured. The crowning glory is a “Wulkje”, a cloud of cream, on the tea. Now it says: do not stir! Otherwise, one unmasked immediately as a migrant, because the locals enjoy their tea in strict order: first the cool cream, then the tart tea and finally the sweetness on the bottom of the cup.
5. Wait and drink tea – where does this phrase come from?
It is believed that this spell was meant as an admonition to the sick, who should have patience until an illness was over. Of course, besides the waiting and the bed rest, a hot cup of tea will help as well. The saying is known since the 19th century and is said to go back to Heinrich Ast, a shepherd and herb herbalist, who is said to have given his impatient patient this admonition on the way.