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Tea Trivia

  • Tea was discovered by accident when in 2737 BC, Shen Nung, an ancient Chinese emperor was boiling his drinking water and some tea leaves fell into it from a nearby tea bush. The emperor was pleasantly surprised with its flavour and restorative properties, and then and there the habit of tea drinking was born
  • Tea was a national secret of China and everybody was forbidden with the threat of death from ever selling the tea tree or knowledge of tea growing
  • Tea was a monopoly of China for many centuries
  • By the 1720s, European maritime trade with China was dominated by exchange of silver for tea. As prices continued to drop, tea became increasingly popular, and by 1750 had become the British national drink
  • The exchange of silver for tea nearly bankrupted the British Empire and they desperately searched a way to find a commodity they could sell to China. This product they found in opium, and the trade in opium led to the Opium wars
  • While waging war on China was one of Britain's tactics, it also began to explore, then executed, a plan to use India for growing tea
  • As an attempt to circumvent its dependence on Chinese tea, the East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to China to purchase and bring out of China tea trees , which were then taken to India to develop tea plantations
  • After tea trees were smuggled out of China, plantations were established in areas such as Darjeeling, Assam, and Ceylon
  • In Japan, formal ritual drinking of tea is a Zen Buddhist ritual
  • The imposition of tax on tea sparked the Boston Tea Party and actually culminated in the American War of Independence
  • During the Second World War, US army men were surprised by the British tradition of taking a break from war during teatime!
  • Chai pe charcha is a very popular radio programme where the Indian Prime Minister addresses fellow countrymen and speaks of current events and plans