Tea: Top ten facts about about Britain’s favourite brew

1. The first mention of tea in English was in 1598 when it was referred to as “chaa”. 

2. The first reference to “tea-time” was in 1740, the first use of the phrase “tea-strainer” was in 1906 and “tea-break” was first seen in 1948. 

3. Around 165 million cups of tea are drunk in the United Kingdom every year. 

4. The earliest known monograph on tea was written in China by Lu Yu around AD760…

5. …it includes descriptions of the 28 items used in the preparation and drinking of the beverage. 

6. “Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities… will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual.” (Thomas De Quincey). 

7. Iced tea was invented during a heatwave at the 1904 World Fair in St Louis.

8. Around 85 per cent of the tea drunk in the USA is iced tea. 

9. Tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. 

10. Sinensis means “from China” and Camellia is a reference to Georg Kamel, a missionary in the Philippines who had no known link with tea.