Tea bags were an accidental invention

Tea bags were accidentally invented by New York merchant, Thomas Sullivan, in the early twentieth century. He would send samples of his tea to his customers in silk bags, who assumed that both the tea and the bag should be brewed in the pot. Thus, the tea bag was born. However, it was not until the 1970’s that teabags became widely used in Britain – without which we wouldn’t have a Builders Brew!

 

It’s only tea if it comes from the Camellia sinensis plant

There are four types of tea. They are black tea, white tea, green tea and oolong tea. Each one comes from the Camellia sinensis. Herbal and fruit teas are not actually teas at all but tisanes or infusions.  

Pepperment tea? Nope, it’s a peppermint infusion.

Rooibos tea? Nope, that’s an infusion too.

Ginger tea? Also an infusion!

MORE: The History of Tea: A Tale of Gangs, Politics and Turmoil.

Indian legend says the first tea plant grew from a prince.

Prince Bodhi-Dharma left India to preach Buddhism in China. The prince vowed to meditate for nine years without sleeping. However, towards the end of these nine years, the prince slept. When he awoke, he was devastated by his own weakness and cut off his own eyelids and cast them away. A tea plant grew from the place where his eyelids hit the ground. Tea was thereafter supplied to monks as protection against sleep.

 

George Orwell said milk goes in last (and we agree!)

In 1946, English novelist, George Orwell published “A Nice Cup of Tea”. It contained detailed instructions on how to make the perfect brew. Orwell said that tea should be drunk without sugar and the milk should be added last. If George Orwell said it, it must be true!

MORE: What is the difference between loose-leaf tea and the tea bag?

A cup of brewed tea contains less than half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

You can also easily decaffeinate loose tea at home by "rinsing" tea leaves. To rinse the leaves, you brew your tea as usual but remove the loose tea after 20 seconds. Discard the brew and start again with fresh boiling water and you can enjoy a delicious, decaffeinated hot beverage.

 

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