It’s a gorgeous morning in Cape Town, and with a sigh we must confess, it signals the beginning of the end to the weekend. There’s no doubt many of us have been asked, or will be asked the age old question: ‘tea or coffee?’
Whether you’re wonderfully rested or in denial about your creeping hangover, a cup of tea is never a bad idea. No matter if you’re a tea connoisseur, or just in a casual relationship with the steamy beverage, we’re spilling the tea to up your knowledge, with some curious tea facts.
1. The world’s most expensive tea can cost R150 000 for a pot
This one may almost make you spit out your tea in shock. Da Hong Pao tea was the tea of emperors, and to this day it is still extremely elite. Produced in Wuyishan, China, it’s made from rather rare and ancient trees believed to have mystical healing properties. The tea is considered a national treasure by the Chinese government, and it’s process of being made is a closely guarded secret.
2. Black tea is actually the darling of South Africa
Of the tea drinking population at 30.9 million, 51.5% of consumers choose black tea, or normal tea, the Rooibos Council reported.
3. However, Rooibos wins in health
This is because South Africa’s second most loved tea has high antioxidant levels, and is caffeine free.
4. Tea could be your hero against mosquitos
Nothing says a South African summer like the buzzing of mosquitos, but worry not! The smell of tea tree oils actually repels mosquitos far, far away.
5. Just like wine, tea has certain food pairings
Tea and wine may seem different, but they both share the art of food pairings. If you want to upgrade your tea drinking experience, partner your cup with some treats! Black teas, as those from Sri Lanka can go with red meat or spicy foods, whereas more rich teas like Assam go with chocolatey desserts. Jasmine is great for light desserts, and Earl Grey is perfectly paired with scones.
6. Some cultures add butter to their tea
No, really. In the Himalayas, adding butter to tea is a thing. Want to try it? Make sure the tea is milky, and enjoy the believed boost in antioxidant benefits.
7. Tea was once considered dangerous
We know tea as our friend of comfort, but back in the day this was not always thought to be so. In the 17th century drinking tea in moderation was encouraged because it was believed to heat the inside of one’s body causing sickness and even death. It was also though to cause “nervous disorder,” which we now know was probably caffeine related.
8. Putting milk in first actually refers to what class one was a part of
If you know someone who pours their milk in first, ask them if they know where that act comes from. Back when tea was always drunk out of china cups, putting milk in first was a way to ensure that low quality cups wouldn’t shatter because of the scalding boiled water. Therefore, the more expensive the china, the less milk required.
9. Tea tasting is a hobby for some, and an adventurous alternative to wine tasting
Tea parties and tasting are not only for the likes of royalty. In SA you can visit the Rooibos Route in the Cedarberg mountain region to embark upon on your tea journey.
10. Tea dos actually have more caffeine than coffee
A lot of people talk about how tea has less caffeine, making it healthier. However it’s not that simple. Tea does actually have more caffeine, only, it goes by weight. So if you had to put the same weight of tea as coffee into a cup, then there would indeed be more caffeine in tea.
11. Tea was once one of the most smuggled items
If you lived in the 18th century, tea was a hot commodity. In the latter portion of the century, tea was imported illegally more than any other way.
So Cape Town, if all you got up to this morning was read some strange facts on tea, take heart in knowing you’ll never look into the abyss of your teacup ignorantly again.
Picture: Cape Town Etc