Facts about Tea and Tea Consumption
Although the facts are debatable, tea, as a beverage, is older than coffee, wine and maybe even older than beer.
Some may argue about the latter, since some types of beer may be as old as ten thousand years, while tea has only
been around for about five thousand. While that is a fair point but let us agree to disagree and just say that tea
is old, whichever way you look at it.
One thing that is obvious is that tea is also enormously popular, but just how popular? Current annual
production of tea leaves is in the region of two billion pounds and yes, that is a billion. Considering it only
takes an ounce or so to make a cup, that sure is a lot of tea. And that is the annual tea production meaning every year.
Well, you say, at least tea has less caffeine than coffee. Yes and no. Tea leaves have about one to three
percent caffeine by weight, more than twice as much as a similar weight of coffee beans. Nevertheless, it is true
that a prepared cup of coffee will have about 100mg of caffeine and tea only about 60mg. And, after all, people
drink tea and coffee much more often than they eat the leaves or beans.
Tea health benefits are much the same as those of beer, wine and coffee
with some of those benefits being the result of the very same compounds present in the drink. Antioxidants are
present in both wine and tea. Caffeine, in moderate amounts, has been shown to have healthy effects.
For most folks however, it is not history or economics or science or medicine that creates the huge,
centuries-old and present-day demand for tea. Tea is simply wonderful to drink.
Whether you want a robust pick me up in the morning, or a relaxing hot cup at night, tea is, dare we say it,
perfect. It clears out the cobwebs and at the same time relaxes. Iced or hot, green or black (or Oolong, which is
in between), specialty teas or even red or white (yes, they exist), tea tastes
great and makes you feel wonderful.
Throughout history and up to the present day, drinking tea has been both a delightful experience and a social
ceremony. Yes, people will certainly sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a mug of beer or glass of wine
But in very few cultures is there anything like a 'beer ceremony'. Ok, in a way there are, among college
students. But, calling those 'ceremonies' is really stretching a point. Anyway, tea ceremonies are not exclusive to
Japan. In England it's practically an afternoon requirement. New York has clubs devoted to the fine art of
East and west sometimes agree on very little. But all over the world - China, Turkey, Russia, Australia, the
U.S. and the UK, and all the points on the map in between enjoy a cup of tea.
So wherever you are, you can now have a Wu Yi in a Yixing clay pot, or a Rooibos in a Danish glass cup. You can
enjoy a lemon grass tisane or even a blueberry vanilla Ceylon. What you cannot do, if you are among the over one
billion tea drinkers in the world, is resist a perfectly brewed cup of the world's finest drink. Tea.