The Evolution of Tea

Published on July 12, 2017
Categories - Blog, Read About, Spotlight On

Though often associated with the British, the origins of tea drinking actually began in China. Legend tells us that in 2737 BC, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water. When some leaves from a Camellia tree blew into the water Shen Nung, a herbalist, decided to try the infusion that his servant had accidentally created. Tea drinking was born.

Tea made its way to England via the Dutch. In 1606 the first consignment of tea was shipped from China to Holland. Tea soon became a fashionable drink among the Dutch, and from there spread to other countries in continental western Europe, but because of its high price, it remained a drink for the wealthy.

By the eighteenth century many Britons wanted to drink tea but could not afford the high prices, and their enthusiasm for the drink was matched by the enthusiasm of criminal gangs to smuggle it in. By 1784 in a bid to stop smuggling and all of the dangers that surrounded it, the new Prime Minister, William Pitt, slashed the tax from 119% to 12.5%. Suddenly legal tea was affordable, and smuggling stopped virtually overnight.

Whether it’s green, white, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or any of the many other varieties, tea is part of many of our daily lives now. “A nice cup of tea” is often looked at as a remedy for an afternoon slump or a rough day.

The introduction of bubble tea, aka pearl milk tea, bubble milk tea, boba juice, QQ or bobi, can be traced back to Taichung, Taiwan in the 1980s. Tea refreshment stands were set up all over the city. One concession owner became particularly popular when she started adding different fruit flavours to her tea. Soon, other stall owners heard about the unique and popular tea, so they started to add flavouring to their teas. In 1983 Liu Han-Chieh started adding juicy tapioca ‘pearls’ into the cold fruit infused teas, thus creating bubble tea!

Typically, bubble teas come in two distinct types: fruit-flavoured teas and milk teas. What you may not know is that bubble tea can be served both hot and cold.

To celebrate their winter warm teas, Presotea are giving away a $5 voucher every time you buy two or more warm or hot tea drinks in one transaction in July.

This post is sponsored by Presotea.

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