Unlike those “Monthly Gadget and Offbeat News Reports” that have been featured on this blog for awhile now (a recent one) and that bring you some really neat items, this article is just a tad stranger…a bit more unbelievable…and just plain “out there.” There are all kinds of folks in this world, and therefore all kinds of approaches to tea. Yikes!

Tea awaits its fate on “Iron Chef” (Screen capture from site)

Tea awaits its fate on “Iron Chef” (Screen capture from site)

This was actually inspired by some of the things I came across when researching one of my previous articles (What the Man Boiled in His Billy and Other OddiTEAs), especially that yak butter tea. It made me think, “Hey, there’s gotta be more really strange tea tidbits out there.” And sure enough, there were.

  • 500 grams of the a special type of tea called “pu’er” has been known to sell in China for as much as $120,000.
  • Over two decades ago a man in Katwa, India, was served lunch late one day by his wife. He threw a fit…and his lunch on the floor…and since then has refused solid food, instead drinking 18 to 20 cups of tea daily. He is now about 80 years old.
  • There is a town in South Dakota that is named “Tea,” which they got because while trying to decide on a town name, they took a tea break.
  • Tea blenders, in an 8 hour day, taste up to 1,000 different teas from some 10,000 estates in 35 countries .
  • Tea smuggling was so bad in the UK due to the 119% tax on it that the government relented in 1784 and reduced the tax to 12.5%, still high but a move in the right direction.
  • Soaking tea leaves for more than 2 hours will cause them to turn toxic.
  • Tea was used as the “secret ingredient” in a recent episode of the program “Iron Chef” on The Food Network. Iron Chef Forgione and his challenger, Chef Kittichai, were the competitors.
  • Got mosquitoes? Dampen slightly some tea leaves and place them in areas where you want to keep those pests away. The scent will do the trick.
  • A poem by Chinese poet Lu Yu (called the ‘Chajing’) launched Lu Dong, a Daoist priest of 8th century Tang China, into a lifetime devotion to the study of tea.

Yes, tea is a subject encompassing the sublime and the strange. I hope you enjoyed some of the strange here. Time to go steep some tea and experience the sublime side.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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