Don’t know a lot about tea? Don’t worry. There is a ton of information out there. You don’t have to approach it like drudgery or school homework. It can be lots of fun.
No one person can possibly know everything about tea, even those who have been in the business 30 years or more. New things come up every day, from tea processing methods and machinery to blends and flavorings. So, never feel abashed by a lack of knowledge. However, knowing more about tea will increase your enjoyment of it. That’s why taking time to look through some of that tea info out there is so important (and why I started on a journey to educate myself some time ago).
The Internet is a wonderful thing and a great way to find information, but you have to be careful. I go to a wide range of sources and cross check them to weed out the misinformation from the facts. It’s pretty time-consuming but well worth it. There are a few other things to watch out for, too. Some Websites pay for their position in search results. Showing up in the top ten is considered to be the best, so they pay to be in that group. Take some time, therefore, to scroll through the list of results and check out some of the items lower down (often they are more relevant).
So, where is the fun in all this? Well, for one thing, if you’re an info junky like me, learning new stuff is one of life’s greatest joys. For another, you can come across some very fun items and sites. For example, when researching chai (the Indian word for “tea”), I found a site that lists Indian restaurants in the U.S.
Other fun facts that have popped up during my cyberspace wanderings:
- Tea is not just grown in China but also in quite a few other countries, including Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Brazil.
- Afternoon teatime was started by a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, who then started an annual teatime at Buckingham Palace.
- Mince pies started out as a way of preserving meat and were considered too decadent by Puritans.
- Tea was already being grown in the Assam area of India when a Brit managed to smuggle a few tea plants out of China, which had monopolized the tea market since tea drinking began around 2700 BC.
- There are tons of Websites focused on Christmas carols, harvest festivals, and changing tree leaf colors, plus much more!
- Milk in tea is enjoyed by many other countries besides the U.K.
- Gaiwans and kyusus are alternatives to teapots for steeping teas.
- Teaware designs really spark the imaginations of creative potters, ranging from the beautiful to the scary.
Lots more awaits you out there. Go on a tea info safari and seek out more fun tea facts. You’ll find your enjoyment of this beverage (once reserved for emperor’s, kings, and their cronies) is one that you will enjoy much more when you understand it better.
A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, is a good place to start your investigation.
[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]
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