I started drinking tea nearly a decade ago and I started writing about it not long after that. At the time I knew very little about tea, including most or all of what follows. I didn’t grow up in a tea drinking culture or a tea drinking family so there was quite a lot to learn. About nine years later I’ve learned a few things about tea but there are plenty more things that I still don’t know. I’d tell you what they are but I don’t know them…yet.

What I do know is that for people who are newer to tea or who haven’t made an in-depth study of it there are some things that they too might not know yet. Here are a few of them.

All the tea in China
Tea drinking, production and culture all got their start in China, which is still the world’s top tea producer.

All the tea outside of China
By the early part of the seventeenth century Europeans had discovered tea – and many of them ended up becoming rather fond of it. A few centuries later the British sought to break the Chinese tea monopoly by starting to grow tea in India.

Not that turkey
The world’s top tea drinkers must be the British. Right? Not so fast, sinenis breath. That’s a title that goes to the avid tea loving citizens of Turkey.

A tea divided
Any given amount of tea goes a long way. Take a pound, for example. Using the standard measure for a cup of tea of 2.25 grams, a pound will produce about 200 cups of tea. If you’re resteeping your leaves – which is standard for many types of tea – then you can double that number or more.

One tea plant to rule them all
All tea (black, green, white, oolong, yellow, puerh) is derived from one plant – Camellia sinensis. Yes, there are some different varieties but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion.

Different strokes
All tea may or may not be created equal but the various types do have to be prepared differently. Black and some of the other more robust types do best with boiling or near boiling water and longer steep times. Green, white and some of the other more delicate teas need less time and temperature.

A calming boost
Can tea calm you and pep you up at the same time? It’s not as unlikely as it might seem. Tea contains caffeine, which we all know is good for a little extra pep. It also contains theanine, a compound that’s been found to promote feelings of calm and relaxation.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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