Tea
Overview
 
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce Chinese tea. It is of the genus Camellia , a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed...

plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent
Astringent
An astringent substance is a chemical compound that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues, usually locally after topical medicinal application. The word "astringent" derives from Latin adstringere, meaning "to bind fast"...

 flavour which many enjoy.

The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs containing no actual tea, such as rosehip tea or chamomile
Chamomile
Chamomile or camomile is a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. These plants are best known for their ability to be made into an infusion which is commonly used to help with sleep and is often served with either honey or lemon. Because chamomile can cause uterine...

 tea
.
Encyclopedia
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce Chinese tea. It is of the genus Camellia , a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed...

plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent
Astringent
An astringent substance is a chemical compound that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues, usually locally after topical medicinal application. The word "astringent" derives from Latin adstringere, meaning "to bind fast"...

 flavour which many enjoy.

The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs containing no actual tea, such as rosehip tea or chamomile
Chamomile
Chamomile or camomile is a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. These plants are best known for their ability to be made into an infusion which is commonly used to help with sleep and is often served with either honey or lemon. Because chamomile can cause uterine...

 tea
. Alternative terms for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with tea. This article is concerned exclusively with preparations and uses of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, the Minnan word for which is the etymological origin of the English word tea.

Cultivation and harvesting

Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce Chinese tea. It is of the genus Camellia , a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed...

is an evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 plant that grows mainly in tropical
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

 and sub-tropical
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

 climates. Some varieties can also tolerate marine climates
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 and are cultivated as far north as Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

 in the British mainland and Washington in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.
Tea plants are propagated from seed or by cutting; it takes approximately 4 to 12 years for a tea plant to bear seed, and about 3 years before a new plant is ready for harvesting. In addition to a zone 8
Hardiness zone
A hardiness zone is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone...

 climate or warmer, tea plants require at least 127 cm. (50 inches) of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils
Soil pH
The soil pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity in soils. pH is defined as the negative logarithm of the activity of hydrogen ions in solution. It ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH below 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic. Soil pH is considered a master variable in soils as it...

. Traditional Chinese Tea Cultivation and Studies believes that high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 1500 metres (4,921.3 ft): at these heights, the plants grow more slowly and acquire a better flavour.

Only the top 1-2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves are called flushes. A plant will grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days during the growing season, and leaves that are slow in development always produce better flavored teas.

A tea plant will grow into a tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 of up to 16 metres (52.5 ft) if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking.

Two principal varieties are used: the China plant (C. sinensis sinensis), used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas (but not Pu-erh); and the clonal Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

 tea plant (C. sinensis assamica), used in most Indian and other teas (but not Darjeeling
Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea is a black tea from the Darjeeling region in West Bengal, India. When properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied, light-colored infusion with a floral aroma...

). Within these botanical varieties, there are many strains and modern Indian clonal varieties. Leaf size is the chief criterion for the classification of tea plants, with three primary classifications being: Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

 type, characterized by the largest leaves; China type, characterized by the smallest leaves; and Cambod, characterized by leaves of intermediate size.

Processing and classification

There are at least six varieties of tea: white
White tea
White tea is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested almost exclusively in China, primarily in the Fujian province.White tea comes from the delicate buds and younger leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. These buds and leaves are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are...

, yellow
Yellow tea
Yellow tea usually implies a special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow. The tea generally has a very yellow-green appearance and a smell different from both white tea and green tea...

, green
Green tea
Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally...

, oolong
Oolong
Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties...

, black
Black tea
Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties.All four varieties are made from leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. Two principal varieties of the...

, and post-fermented tea
Post-fermented tea
Post-fermented teas are a class of teas that have undergone a period of "aging" in open air, from several months to many years. The exposure of the tea to microflora, humidity and oxygen in the air causes it to undergo further oxidation through auto-oxidation, fermentation, and possibly some...

s of which the most commonly found on the market are white
White tea
White tea is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested almost exclusively in China, primarily in the Fujian province.White tea comes from the delicate buds and younger leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. These buds and leaves are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are...

, green
Green tea
Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally...

, oolong
Oolong
Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties...

, and black
Black tea
Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties.All four varieties are made from leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. Two principal varieties of the...

. Some varieties, such as traditional oolong
Oolong
Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties...

 tea and Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea
Pu'er, Pu-erh, Puer, also Po Lei or Bolay is a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China. Post-fermentation is a tea production style in which the tea leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. This is a Chinese specialty and is sometimes...

, a post-fermented tea, can be used medicinally.

A tea's type is determined by the processing which it undergoes. Leaves of Camellia sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize, if not dried quickly after picking. The leaves turn progressively darker as their chlorophyll
Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in almost all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from the Greek words χλωρος, chloros and φύλλον, phyllon . Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light...

 breaks down and tannins are released. This enzymatic oxidation process, known as fermentation in the tea industry, is caused by the plant's intracellular enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s and causes the tea to darken. In tea processing, the darkening is stopped at a predetermined stage by heating, which deactivates the enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s responsible. In the production of black teas, the halting of oxidization by heating is carried out simultaneously with drying.

Without careful moisture and temperature control during manufacture and packaging, the tea may become unfit for consumption, due to the growth of undesired molds and bacteria. At minimum it may alter the taste and make it undesirable.

Tea is traditionally classified based on the techniques with which it is produced and processed.
  • White tea
    White tea
    White tea is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested almost exclusively in China, primarily in the Fujian province.White tea comes from the delicate buds and younger leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. These buds and leaves are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are...

    : Wilted and unoxidized
  • Yellow tea
    Yellow tea
    Yellow tea usually implies a special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow. The tea generally has a very yellow-green appearance and a smell different from both white tea and green tea...

    : Unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
  • Green tea
    Green tea
    Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally...

    : Unwilted and unoxidized
  • Oolong
    Oolong
    Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties...

    : Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
  • Black tea
    Black tea
    Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties.All four varieties are made from leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. Two principal varieties of the...

    : Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
  • Post-fermented tea
    Post-fermented tea
    Post-fermented teas are a class of teas that have undergone a period of "aging" in open air, from several months to many years. The exposure of the tea to microflora, humidity and oxygen in the air causes it to undergo further oxidation through auto-oxidation, fermentation, and possibly some...

    : Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost

Blending and additives

Although single estate teas are available, almost all teas in bags and most other teas sold in the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 are blends. Blending may occur in the tea-planting area (as in the case of Assam
Assam tea
Assam is a black tea named after the region of its production, Assam, in India. Assam tea is manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia sinensis var. assamica . This tea, most of which is grown at or near sea level, is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color...

), or teas from many areas may be blended. The aim of blending is to obtain better taste, higher price, or both, as a more expensive, better-tasting tea may cover the inferior taste of cheaper varieties.

Some teas are not pure varieties, but have been enhanced through additives or special processing. Tea is highly receptive to inclusion of various aromas; this may cause problems in processing, transportation, and storage, but also allows for the design of an almost endless range of scented and flavored variants, such as bergamot
Bergamot orange
Citrus bergamia, the Bergamot orange, is a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow colour similar to a lemon. Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars recently matched the bergamot as a likely hybrid of Citrus limetta and Citrus aurantium...

 (Earl Grey
Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea is a tea blend with a distinctive flavour and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit....

), vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

, caramel, and many others.

Content

Tea contains catechins
Flavan-3-ol
Flavan-3-ols are a class of flavonoids that use the 2-phenyl-3,4-dihydro-2H-chromen-3-ol skeleton. These compounds include the catechins and the catechin gallates....

, a type of antioxidant
Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

. In a freshly picked tea leaf, catechins can compose up to 30% of the dry weight. Catechins are highest in concentration in white and green teas, while black tea has substantially fewer due to its oxidative preparation. Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has suggested that levels of antioxidants in green and black tea do not differ greatly, with green tea having an oxygen radical absorbance capacity
Oxygen radical absorbance capacity
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples in vitro.A wide variety of foods has been tested using this method, with certain spices, berries and legumes rated highly. There exists no physiological proof in vivo that free-radical theory...

 (ORAC) of 1253 and black tea an ORAC of 1128 (measured in μmolTE/100g). Tea also contains theanine
Theanine
Theanine , also gamma-glutamylethylamide or 5-N-ethyl-glutamine, is an amino acid and a glutamic acid analog commonly found in tea , primarily in green tea, and also in the basidiomycete mushroom Boletus badius and in guayusa. More specifically, this compound is called L-theanine, being the...

 and the stimulant caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 at about 3% of its dry weight, translating to between 30 mg and 90 mg per 8 oz (250 ml) cup depending on type, brand and brewing method. Tea also contains small amounts of theobromine
Theobromine
Theobromine , also known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2. It is found in chocolate, as well as in a number of other foods, including the leaves of the tea plant, and the kola nut...

 and theophylline
Theophylline
Theophylline, also known as dimethylxanthine, is a methylxanthine drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma under a variety of brand names. Because of its numerous side-effects, the drug is now rarely administered for clinical use. As a member of the xanthine family, it...

. Due to modern day environmental pollution fluoride
Fluoride
Fluoride is the anion F−, the reduced form of fluorine when as an ion and when bonded to another element. Both organofluorine compounds and inorganic fluorine containing compounds are called fluorides. Fluoride, like other halides, is a monovalent ion . Its compounds often have properties that are...

 and aluminum have also been found to occur in tea, with certain types of brick tea
Tea brick
Tea bricks or compressed tea are blocks of whole or finely ground black tea, green tea, or post-fermented tea leaves that have been packed in molds and pressed into block form...

 made from old leaves and stems having the highest levels. This occurs due to the tea plant's high sensitivity to and absorption of environmental pollutants.

Certain tea has more caffeine by weight than coffee; nevertheless, more dried coffee is used than dry tea in preparing the beverage, which means that a cup of brewed tea contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee of the same size.

Tea has negligible carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s, fat
Vegetable fats and oils
Vegetable fats and oils are lipid materials derived from plants. Physically, oils are liquid at room temperature, and fats are solid. Chemically, both fats and oils are composed of triglycerides, as contrasted with waxes which lack glycerin in their structure...

, and protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

.

Although tea contains various types of polyphenols and tannin, tea does not contain tannic acid
Tannic acid
Tannic acid is a specific commercial form of tannin, a type of polyphenol. Its weak acidity is due to the numerous phenol groups in the structure...

. Tannic acid is not an appropriate standard for any type of tannin analysis because of its poorly defined composition.

Origin and history

Tea plants are native to East and South Asia and probably originated around the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China, and Tibet.
Although there are tales of tea's first use as a beverage, no one is sure of its exact origins. The first recorded drinking of tea is in China, with the earliest records of tea consumption with records dating back to the 10th century BC. It was already a common drink during Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 (around 200 BC) and became widely popular during Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

, when it was spread to Korea and Japan. Trade of tea by the Chinese to Western nations in the 19th century spread tea and the tea plant to numerous locations around the world.

Tea was imported to Europe during the Portuguese expansion of the 16th century, at which time it was termed chá. In 1750, tea experts traveled from China to the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 Islands, and planted tea, along with jasmines and mallows, to give the tea aroma and distinction. Both green tea
Green tea
Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally...

 and black tea
Black tea
Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties.All four varieties are made from leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. Two principal varieties of the...

 continue to grow in the islands, that are the main supplier to continental Portugal. Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II.She married the king in 1662...

, wife of Charles II, took the tea habit to Great Britain around 1660, but it was not until the 19th century Britain that tea became as widely consumed as it is today. In Ireland, tea had become an everyday beverage for all levels of society by the late 19th century, but it was first consumed as a luxury item on special occasion such as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic work gatherings such as quiltings.

Tea was very important to the British Empire in the 19th century, which it bought from China and raced home with Clipper
Clipper
A clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the 19th century that had three or more masts and a square rig. They were generally narrow for their length, could carry limited bulk freight, small by later 19th century standards, and had a large total sail area...

 ships. The Opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 trade was also driven by tea: China's currency was silver and Britain, under pressure from dwindling silver supplies, used its opium trade in India (in 1832 opium represented one-sixth of British India's GDP. ) to gain Chinese silver, which in turn was used to purchase tea. Attempts by the Chinese imperial court to ban opium and place an embargo on tea exports led to the two Opium Wars
Opium Wars
The Opium Wars, also known as the Anglo-Chinese Wars, divided into the First Opium War from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860, were the climax of disputes over trade and diplomatic relations between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire...

. In the mid-19th century Britain explored, then executed, a plan to use India for growing tea. Large scale plantations were established in areas such as Darjeeling, Assam and Ceylon, ending the Chinese tea monopoly.

Health effects

The health benefits of tea is a controversial topic with many proponents and detractors. An article from the journal states:
In 2010, researchers found that people who consumed tea had significantly less cognitive decline than non-tea drinkers.
The study used data on more than 4,800 men and women aged 65 and older
to examine change in cognitive function over time. Study participants were followed for up to 14 years for naturally-occurring cognitive decline. (AAICAD 2010; Lenore Arab, PhD;
UCLA)

Several of the potential health benefits proposed for tea are outlined in this excerpt from as following:
In a large study of over 11,000 Scottish men and women completed in 1993 and published in the 1999 , there was an increase in the risk of coronary disease with the regular consumption of tea, although it disappeared after adjustment for confounding factors (age and occupational status).

The IARC
International Agency for Research on Cancer
The International Agency for Research on Cancer is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations....

 list teas as under Group 3 carcinogens since injection of black tea concentrates under the skins of mice showed some cancerous growths. However, it has not been possible to prove that tea affects humans in similar ways through consumption.

Consumption of some forms of tea has the potential to result in acute liver damage in some individuals. Several herbal and dietary supplements have been linked to liver damage, caused in part or completely by the presence of green tea extract in these supplements; the most notable cases include Hydroxycut
Hydroxycut
Hydroxycut is the brand name of a series of dietary supplements marketed as an aid to weight loss. According to a 2009 paper in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, Hydroxycut is the most popular brand of weight-loss supplement, selling approximately 1 million units per year. On May 1, 2009, the...

 (415 mg of a mixture of green, white, and oolong tea extracts, and several other herbal extracts, per dose); Exolise (360 mg of green tea extract per dose); and Tealine (250 mg of green tea extract per dose). These concerns resulted in withdrawals of the first two products and a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of Hydroxycut. The risk is thought to be quite small: in case of Hydroxycut, 9 million bottles were sold in the U.S. over the lifetime of the product, resulting in 23 known severe cases, however, these included at least one fatality and at least three cases of liver failure resulting in a liver transplantation. In case of Exolise, the risk of an adverse effect was estimated as less than 1 per 100,000.

The word tea

The Chinese character
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

 for tea is 茶, but it is pronounced differently in the various Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 dialects. Two pronunciations have made their way into other languages around the world:
  • : From the Hokkien
    Hokkien
    Hokkien is a Hokkien word corresponding to Standard Chinese "Fujian". It may refer to:* Hokkien dialect, a dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in Southern Fujian , Taiwan, South-east Asia, and elsewhere....

     dialect, spoken in Fujian Province, Taiwan and by expatriate Chinese in Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It reached the West particularly from the Amoy Min Nan dialect, spoken around the port of Xiamen
    Xiamen
    Xiamen , also known as Amoy , is a major city on the southeast coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city of Fujian province with an area of and population of 3.53 million...

     (Amoy), once a major point of contact with Western European traders. This pronunciation is believed to come from the old words for tea 梌 (tú) or 荼 (tú). A related but distinct pronunciation is zu, used in the Wu dialect spoken around Shanghai
    Shanghai
    Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

    .
  • Chá: From the Mandarin dialect of northern China, as well as in the Cantonese dialect spoken around the ports of Guangzhou
    Guangzhou
    Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

     (Canton), Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

    , Macau
    Macau
    Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

    , and in overseas Chinese
    Overseas Chinese
    Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

     communities. This term was used in ancient times to describe the first flush harvest of tea.

Derivatives from

Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name
Afrikaans
Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

tee Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

թեյ tey Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

te Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

or thé (1) Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

te
Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

thee English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

tea Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

teo Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

tee Faroese
Faroese language
Faroese , is an Insular Nordic language spoken by 48,000 people in the Faroe Islands and about 25,000 Faroese people in Denmark and elsewhere...

te
Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

tee French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

thé West Frisian
West Frisian language
West Frisian is a language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian,...

tee Galician
Galician language
Galician is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it is co-official with Castilian Spanish, as well as in border zones of the neighbouring territories of Asturias and Castile and León.Modern Galician and...

German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

Tee
Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

תה, te Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

tea Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

te Indonesian
Indonesian language
Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries....

teh Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

tae
Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

or the Javanese
Javanese language
Javanese language is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. In addition, there are also some pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java...

tèh Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

茶,다 da ta (3) scientific Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

thea Latvian
Latvian language
Latvian is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. The Latvian language has a relatively large number of non-native speakers, atypical for a small language...

tēja
Leonese
Leonese language
The Leonese language is the endonym term used to refer to all vernacular Romance dialects of the Astur-Leonese linguistic group in the Spanish provinces of León and Zamora; Astur-Leonese also includes the dialects...

Limburgish tiè Low Saxon
Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...

Tee [tʰɛˑɪ] or Tei [tʰaˑɪ] Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

teh Malayalam
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

തേയില Theyila
Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

te Occitan Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

herbata Sesotho tea,chá Scots Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

, teatha
Sinhalese Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

tea [tiː] ~ [teː] Sundanese
Sundanese language
Sundanese is the language of about 27 million people from the western third of Java or about 15% of the Indonesian population....

entèh Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

te
Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

தேநீர் theneer (5) Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

తేనీరు theneeru Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

te Khmer
Khmer language
Khmer , or Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. It is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language , with speakers in the tens of millions. Khmer has been considerably influenced by Sanskrit and Pali, especially in the royal and religious...

តែtae

Notes:
  • (1) or thé, but this term is considered archaic and is a literary expression. Since roughly second half of 20th century, čaj is used for "tea" in Czech language, see the following table (2)
  • (3) 차 (cha) is an alternative word for "tea" in Korean; see (4)
  • (5) neer means water; theyilai means "tea leaf" (ilai=leaf)

Derivatives from cha

Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name Language Name
Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

çaj Amharic
Amharic language
Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Thus, it has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working...

ሻይ shai Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

شاي shāy, chāy Aramaic ܟ݈ܐܝ chai Assamese
Assamese language
Assamese is the easternmost Indo-Aryan language. It is used mainly in the state of Assam in North-East India. It is also the official language of Assam. It is also spoken in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and other northeast Indian states. Nagamese, an Assamese-based Creole language is widely used in...

চাহ chah
Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

çay Bangla
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

চা cha Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

čaj Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

чай chai Capampangan cha
Cebuano
Cebuano language
Cebuano, referred to by most of its speakers as Bisaya , is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines by about 20 million people mostly in the Central Visayas. It is the most widely spoken of the languages within the so-named Bisayan subgroup and is closely related to other Filipino...

tsa Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

čaj Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

čaj (2) English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

cha, chai or char Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

چای chay
Finnish dialectal
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

tsai, tsaiju, saiju or saikka Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

ჩაი, chai Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

τσάι tsái Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

ચા chā Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

चाय chai
Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, , cha (6) Kannada ಚಹಾ Chahā Kazakh
Kazakh language
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak....

шай shai Kyrgyz
Kyrgyz language
Kyrgyz or Kirgiz, also Kirghiz, Kyrghiz, Qyrghiz is a Turkic language and, together with Russian, an official language of Kyrgyzstan...

чай, chai Khasi
Khasi language
Khasi is an Austro-Asiatic language spoken primarily in Meghalaya state in India by the Khasi people. Khasi is part of the Austroasiatic family of languages, and is fairly closely related to the Munda branch of that family, which is spoken in east&endash;central India.Although most of the 865,000...

sha
Kinyarwanda icyayi Konkani
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

चा chā Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

茶,, cha (4)(6) Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

ça Lao
Lao language
Lao or Laotian is a tonal language of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the official language of Laos, and also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, where it is usually referred to as the Isan language. Being the primary language of the Lao people, Lao is also an important second language for...

ຊາ, saa
Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

чај Malayalam ചായ, "chaaya" Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

चहा chahā Mongolian
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

цай, tsai Nepali
Nepali language
Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

chiyā चिया
Oriya
Oriya language
Oriya , officially Odia from November, 2011, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal...

ଚା cha Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

چای chai Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

چا ਚਾਹ chāh Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

chá Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

ceai
Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

чай, chai Sanskrit Chaha Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

чај, čaj Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

čaj Slovene čaj
Somali
Somali language
The Somali language is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900....

shaah Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

chai Sylheti
Sylheti language
Sylheti is the language of Sylhet, which is also known as the Surma Valley and is located in the north-eastern region of Bangladesh, and also spoken in parts of the Northeast Indian states of Assam and Tripura...

saah Tajik
Tajik language
Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...

чой choy Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

tsaa
Thai
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

ชา, cha Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

ཇ་ ja Tlingit
Tlingit language
The Tlingit language ) is spoken by the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada. It is a branch of the Na-Dené language family. Tlingit is very endangered, with fewer than 140 native speakers still living, all of whom are bilingual or near-bilingual in English...

cháayu Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

ఛాయ chaaya Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

çay
Turkmen
Turkmen language
Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

çay Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

чай chai Urdu چائے chai Uzbek
Uzbek language
Uzbek is a Turkic language and the official language of Uzbekistan. It has about 25.5 million native speakers, and it is spoken by the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia...

choy Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

trà and chè (7)

Notes:
  • (6) The core words for tea in Korea and Japan are 차 and 茶 (ちゃ), respectively, both of which are transliterated as cha. (Japanese ocha (おちゃ) is honorific.)
  • (7) Trà and chè are both direct derivatives of the Chinese 茶; the latter term is used mainly in northern Vietnam and describes a tea made with freshly picked leaves.


The original pronunciation "cha" in the Cantonese and Mandarin languages has no [j] ending. The forms with this ending in many Eurasian languages come from the Chinese compound word denoting "tea leaves" .

Etymological observations

The different articulations of the word for tea into the two main groups: "te-derived" (Min Chinese dialects) and "cha-derived" (Mandarin, Cantonese and other non-Min Chinese dialects) reveals the particular Chinese local cultures where non-Chinese nations acquired their tea and tea culture.
  • India and the Arab world most likely got their tea cultures from the Cantonese or the Southwestern Mandarin speakers.
  • Russia encountered tea via the northern Mandarin speakers.
  • The Portuguese, the first Europeans to import the herb in large amounts, took the Cantonese form "chá," as used in their trading posts in the south of China, especially Macau
    Macau
    Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

    .
  • Western Europeans who copied the Min articulation "teh" probably traded with the Hokkienese while in Southeast Asia.


There are counter-examples: the first tea to reach Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 was traded by the Dutch from Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, which uses te, and although later most British trade went through Canton, which uses cha, the Fujianese pronunciation continued to be the more popular.

At times, a te-influence will follow a cha-influence, or vice versa, giving rise to the coexistence in one language of both te- and cha-derivative terms, at times one an imported contrastive variant of the other.
  • In North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    , the word chai is used to refer almost exclusively to the India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    n masala chai
    Masala chai
    Masala chai is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.-Terminology:-Plain chai:...

    (spiced tea) beverage, in contrast to tea itself.
  • The inverse pattern is seen in Moroccan colloquial Arabic (Darija
    Darija
    Darija is the group of Arabic dialects spoken by Maghrebi Arabic speakers. It is only used for oral communication, with Modern Standard Arabic used for written communication...

    ), "ash-shay" means "generic, or black Middle Eastern tea" whereas "at-tay" refers particularly to Zhejiang or Fujian green tea with fresh mint leaves. The Moroccans are said to have acquired this taste for green tea— unique in the Arab world— for East Chinese green tea after the ruler Mulay Hassan exchanged some European hostages captured by the Barbary Pirates for a whole ship of Chinese tea. See Moroccan tea culture
    Moroccan tea culture
    Moroccan tea culture is defined by the way tea is prepared and consumed in Morocco, where it is widely consumed with food. The tradition has also spread throughout North Africa, parts of the Sahel, and southern Spain. Tea occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an...

    .
  • The colloquial Greek word for tea is tsáï, from chai. Its formal equivalent, used in earlier centuries, is téïon, from .
  • The Polish word for a tea-kettle is czajnik, which could be derived directly from cha or from the cognate Russian word. However, tea in Polish is herbata, which, as well as Lithuanian arbata, was derived from the Latin herba thea, meaning "tea herb."
  • The normal word for tea in Finnish is tee, which is a Swedish loan. However, it is often colloquially referred, especially in Eastern Finland and in Helsinki as tsai, tsaiju, saiju or saikka, which is cognate to Russian word chai. The latter word refers always to black tea, while green tea is always tee.
  • In Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    , or at least in Dublin, the term cha is sometimes used for "tea," as is pre-vowel-shift
    Great Vowel Shift
    The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in England between 1350 and 1500.The Great Vowel Shift was first studied by Otto Jespersen , a Danish linguist and Anglicist, who coined the term....

     pronunciation "tay" (from which the Irish Gaelic word "tae" is derived). Char was a common slang
    Slang
    Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

     term for tea throughout British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

     and Commonwealth
    Commonwealth of Nations
    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

     military forces in the 19th and 20th centuries, crossing over into civilian usage.
  • The British English slang
    British slang
    British slang is English language slang used in the UK. Slang is informal language sometimes peculiar to a particular social class or group and its use in Britain dates back to before the 16th century...

     word "char" for "tea" arose from its Cantonese Chinese pronunciation "cha" with its spelling affected by the fact that ar is a more common way of representing the phoneme /ɑː/ in British English.`


Tea culture

In many culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

s, tea is often had at high class social events, such as afternoon tea and the tea party. It may be consumed early in the day to heighten alertness; it contains theophylline
Theophylline
Theophylline, also known as dimethylxanthine, is a methylxanthine drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma under a variety of brand names. Because of its numerous side-effects, the drug is now rarely administered for clinical use. As a member of the xanthine family, it...

 and bound caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 (sometimes called "theine"),
although there are also decaffeinated teas.

Tea is prevalent in most cultures in the Middle East. In Arab culture, tea is a focal point for social gatherings. In Iranian
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (Persian) and Pakistani
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 cultures, tea is so widely consumed that it is generally the first thing offered to a household guest.

In Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, both black and green teas are popular and are known locally as "sabz chai" and "kahwah
Kahwah
Kahwah is a traditional green tea recipe in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Kashmir Valley. It is made in the Kashmir Valley of India and Pakistan, the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, in the North-West Frontier Province and other provinces in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other regions of...

," respectively. The popular green tea called kahwah
Kahwah
Kahwah is a traditional green tea recipe in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Kashmir Valley. It is made in the Kashmir Valley of India and Pakistan, the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, in the North-West Frontier Province and other provinces in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other regions of...

 is often served after every meal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is where the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

 is found, and in the Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 belt of Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

. In the Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 region of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Kashmiri chai or "noon chai
Noon Chai
Noon Chai is a traditional tea beverage made in Kashmir. It is made from special tea leaves, milk and salt. A pinch of baking soda is added to give it a pink color...

," a pink, milky tea with pistachios and cardamom
Cardamom
Cardamom refers to several plants of the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds...

, is consumed primarily at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter months when it is sold in many kiosks. In the northern Pakistan regions of Chitral
Chitral
Chitral or Chetrar , translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River , in Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, high...

 and Gilgit-Baltistan, a salty, buttered Tibetan-style tea is consumed.

There are tea ceremonies
Tea ceremony
A tea ceremony is a ritualised form of making tea. The term generally refers to either chayi Chinese tea ceremony, chado Japanese tea ceremony, tarye Korean tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony is more well known, and was influenced by the Chinese tea ceremony during ancient and medieval times....

 which have arisen in different cultures, such as the Chinese and Japanese
Japanese tea ceremony
The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea. In Japanese, it is called . The manner in which it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called...

 tea ceremonies, each of which employs traditional techniques and ritualized protocol of brewing and serving tea for enjoyment in a refined setting. One form of Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu tea ceremony
Gongfu tea ceremony
The gongfu tea ceremony or kungfu tea ceremony , is a commercialized show basing on the tea preparation approach originated probably in Fujian or Guangdong. The original term "Gongfu Cha " literally means "making tea with efforts". Sometimes '功' instead of '工' is used thus 功夫茶...

, which typically uses small Yixing clay teapot
Yixing clay teapot
Yixing clay teapots Yixing clay teapots Yixing clay teapots (also called Purple Sand are made from Yixing clay. This traditional style commonly used to brew tea originated in China, dating back to the 15th century, and are made from clay produced in the region of the town of Yixing in the...

s and oolong tea.

The American poet Wallace Stevens, a tea-fancier, is credited by Eleanor Cook with a "delicately implicit trope of drinking tea as a metaphor for reading (ingesting a drink from leaves)." See for instance his "Tea
Tea (poem)
"Tea" is a poem from Wallace Stevens's first book of poetry,Harmonium. It was firstpublished in 1915 in the journal Rogue, so it is in the public domain....

".

In the United States and Canada, 80% of tea is consumed cold, as iced tea.

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, tea is one of the most popular hot beverages. It is consumed daily in almost all homes, offered to guests, consumed in high amounts in domestic and official surroundings and is made with the addition of a lot of milk with or without spices. It is also served with biscuits which are dipped in the tea and eaten before consuming the tea. More often than not, it is drunk in "doses" of small cups rather than one large cup.

Preparation

The traditional method of making a cup of tea is to place loose tea leaves, either directly or in a tea infuser
Tea infuser
A tea infuser is a device in which loose tea leaves are placed for steeping, usually in a cup; it is often called a teaball or tea maker, and sometimes a tea egg. The tea infuser gained popularity in the first half of the 19th century...

, into a tea pot or teacup
Teacup
A teacup is a small cup, with or without a handle, generally a small one that may be grasped with the thumb and one or two fingers. It is typically made of a ceramic material. It is usually part of a set, composed of a cup and a matching saucer. These in turn may be part of a tea set in...

 and pour hot water over the leaves. After a couple of minutes the leaves are usually removed again, either by removing the infuser, or by straining the tea while serving.

Most green teas should be allowed to steep for about two or three minutes, although some types of tea require as much as ten minutes, and others as little as thirty seconds. The strength of the tea should be varied by changing the amount of tea leaves used, not by changing the steeping
Steeping
Steeping or weltering may mean:# Saturation in a liquid solvent to extract a soluble ingredient, where the solvent is the desired product. Tea is prepared for drinking by steeping the leaves in heated water to release the flavor and nutrients...

 time. The amount of tea to be used per amount of water differs from tea to tea but one basic recipe may be one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5 ml) for each teacup of water (200–240 ml) (7–8 oz) prepared as above. Stronger teas, such as Assam, to be drunk with milk are often prepared with more leaves, and more delicate high grown teas such as a Darjeeling are prepared with somewhat fewer (as the stronger mid-flavors can overwhelm the champagne notes).

The best temperature for brewing tea depends on its type. Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures, between 65 and 85 °C (149 and 185 F), while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100 °C (212 °F). The higher temperatures are required to extract the large, complex, flavorful phenolic molecules found in fermented tea, although boiling the water reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.
Type Water Temp. Steep Time Infusions
White Tea 65 to 70 °C (149 to 158 F) 1–2 minutes 3
Yellow Tea 70 to 75 °C (158 to 167 F) 1–2 minutes 3
Green Tea 75 to 80 °C (167 to 176 F) 1–2 minutes 4-6
Oolong Tea 80 to 85 °C (176 to 185 F) 2–3 minutes 4-6
Black Tea 99 °C (210.2 °F) 2–3 minutes 2-3
Pu'er Tea 95 to 100 °C (203 to 212 F) Limitless Several
Herbal Tea 99 °C (210.2 °F) 3–6 minutes Varied


Some tea sorts are often brewed several times using the same tea leaves. Historically, in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, tea is divided into a number of infusions. The first infusion is immediately poured out to wash the tea, and then the second and further infusions are drunk. The third through fifth are nearly always considered the best infusions of tea, although different teas open up differently and may require more infusions of hot water to produce the best flavor.

One way to taste a tea, throughout its entire process, is to add hot water to a cup containing the leaves and after about 30 seconds to taste the tea. As the tea leaves unfold (known as "The Agony of the Leaves") they give up various parts of themselves to the water and thus the taste evolves. Continuing this from the very first flavours to the time beyond which the tea is quite stewed will allow an appreciation of the tea throughout its entire length.

Black tea

In the West, water for black tea is usually added near boiling point
Boiling point
The boiling point of an element or a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the environmental pressure surrounding the liquid....

, at around 99 °C (210.2 °F). Many of the active substances in black tea do not develop at temperatures lower than 90 °C (194 °F). Lower temperatures are used for some more delicate teas. The temperature will have as large an effect on the final flavor as the type of tea used. The most common fault when making black tea is to use water at too low a temperature. Since boiling point drops with increasing altitude, it is difficult to brew black tea properly in mountainous areas. It is also recommended that the teapot be warmed before preparing tea, easily done by adding a small amount of boiling water to the pot, swirling briefly, before discarding. In the West, black teas are usually brewed for about 4 minutes and are usually not allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or more than about five minutes (a process known as brewing or mashing in Britain). In many regions of the world, however, boiling water is used and the tea is often stewed. For example, in India black tea is often boiled for fifteen minutes or longer as a strong brew is preferred for making Masala chai
Masala chai
Masala chai is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.-Terminology:-Plain chai:...

. When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the tastes of the drinker, it should be strained while serving. The popular varieties of black (red) tea include Assam tea
Assam tea
Assam is a black tea named after the region of its production, Assam, in India. Assam tea is manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia sinensis var. assamica . This tea, most of which is grown at or near sea level, is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color...

, Nepal tea
Nepal tea
Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia, sandwiched between China and India , produces tea that is a cousin of Darjeeling tea in its appearance, aroma and fruity taste. Nepal tea if often referred to as the comparable, "classic" Darjeeling tea, and a great alternative from the "more expensive"...

, Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea is a black tea from the Darjeeling region in West Bengal, India. When properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied, light-colored infusion with a floral aroma...

, Nilgiri tea
Nilgiri tea
Nilgiri tea is generally described as being a dark, intensely aromatic, fragrant and flavoured tea grown in the southern portion of the Western Ghats mountains of Southern India...

, Turkish tea
Turkish tea
Turkish tea is a type of tea that is popular mainly in the Turkish-speaking countries. In Turkey, Turkish tea tends to be more popular than Turkish coffee among the younger generation.-Introduction:...

 and Ceylon tea
Tea production in Sri Lanka
Tea production in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is of high importance to the Sri Lankan economy and the world market. The country is the world's fourth largest producer of tea and the industry is one of the country's main sources of foreign exchange and a significant source of income for laborers,...

.

Green tea

Water for green tea, according to regions of the world that prefer mild tea, should be around 80 to 85 °C (176 to 185 F); the higher the quality of the leaves, the lower the temperature. Hotter water will produce a bitter taste. However, this is the method used in many regions of the world, such as North Africa or Central Asia where bitter tea is appreciated. For example, in Morocco
Moroccan tea culture
Moroccan tea culture is defined by the way tea is prepared and consumed in Morocco, where it is widely consumed with food. The tradition has also spread throughout North Africa, parts of the Sahel, and southern Spain. Tea occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an...

 green tea is steeped in boiling water for fifteen minutes. In the West and Far East a milder tea is appreciated. The container in which the tea is steeped, the mug
Mug
A mug is a sturdily built type of cup often used for drinking hot beverages, such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Mugs, by definition, have handles and often hold a larger amount of fluid than other types of cup. Usually a mug holds approximately 12 fluid ounces of liquid; double a tea cup...

, or teapot is often warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down. High-quality green and white teas can have new water added as many as five or more times, depending on variety, at increasingly high temperatures.

Oolong tea

Oolong
Oolong
Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties...

 teas should be brewed around 90 to 100 °C (194 to 212 F), and again the brewing vessel should be warmed before pouring in the water. Yixing purple clay
Yixing clay
Yixing clay is a type of clay from the region near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu province, China. Its use dates back to the Song Dynasty when purple clay was first mined around Lake Taihu in China. From the 17th century on, the ware was commonly exported to Europe. The finished stoneware, which...

 teapots are the traditional brewing-vessel for oolong tea. For best results use spring water, as the minerals in spring water tend to bring out more flavor in the tea. High quality oolong can be brewed multiple times from the same leaves, and unlike green tea it improves with reuse. It is common to brew the same leaves three to five times, the third steeping usually being the best.

Premium or delicate tea

Some teas, especially green teas and delicate oolong
Oolong
Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties...

 teas, are steeped for shorter periods, sometimes less than 30 seconds. Using a tea strainer
Tea strainer
A tea strainer is a type of strainer that is placed over or in a teacup to catch tea leaves.When tea is brewed in the traditional manner in a teapot, the tea leaves are not contained in teabags, but rather are freely suspended in the water. As the leaves themselves may be distasteful, it is usual...

 separates the leaves from the water at the end of the brewing time if a tea bag is not being used. However, the black Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea is a black tea from the Darjeeling region in West Bengal, India. When properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied, light-colored infusion with a floral aroma...

, a premium Indian tea, needs a longer than average steeping time. Elevation and time of harvest offer varying taste profiles; proper storage and water quality also have a large impact on taste.

Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is also called Pu'er tea. Pu-erh teas require boiling water for infusion. Some prefer to quickly rinse pu-erh for several seconds with boiling water to remove tea dust which accumulates from the aging process, then infuse it at the boiling point
Boiling point
The boiling point of an element or a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the environmental pressure surrounding the liquid....

 (100°C or 212°F), and allow it to steep from 30 seconds to five minutes.

Serving

In order to preserve the pre-tannin tea without requiring it all to be poured into cups, a second teapot may be used. The steeping pot is best unglazed earthenware; Yixing pots are the best known of these, famed for the high quality clay from which they are made. The serving pot is generally porcelain, which retains the heat better. Larger teapots are a post-19th century invention, as tea before this time was very rare and very expensive. Experienced tea-drinkers often insist that the tea should not be stirred around while it is steeping (sometimes called winding in the UK). This, they say, will do little to strengthen the tea, but is likely to bring the tannins out in the same way that brewing too long will do. For the same reason one should not squeeze the last drops out of a teabag; if stronger tea is desired, more tea leaves should be used.

Additives

The addition of milk to tea in Europe was first mentioned in 1680 by the epistolist Madame de Sévigné. Many teas are traditionally drunk with milk in cultures where dairy products are consumed. These include Indian masala chai
Masala chai
Masala chai is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.-Terminology:-Plain chai:...

, and British tea blends. These teas tend to be very hearty varieties of black tea which can be tasted through the milk, such as Assams, or the East Friesian blend. Milk is thought to neutralize remaining tannins and reduce acidity. The Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 do not usually drink milk with tea (or indeed use milk at all) but the Manchus do, and the elite of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 of the Chinese Empire continued to do so. Hong Kong-style milk tea
Hong Kong-style milk tea
Hong Kong-style milk tea is a beverage originating from Hong Kong consisting of black tea with evaporated milk or condensed milk. It is usually part of lunch in Hong Kong tea culture...

 is based on British colonial habits. Tibetans
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

 and other Himalayan peoples traditionally drink tea with milk or yak butter
Yak butter
Yak butter is butter made from the milk of the domesticated yak . It is a staple food item and trade item for herding communities in south Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau...

 and salt. In Eastern European countries (Russia, Poland and Hungary) and Italy people commonly have their tea with lemon juice. In Poland, tea with milk is called a bawarka ("Bavarian style"), and is often drunk by pregnant and nursing women.

The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea is a much-debated topic. Some say that it is preferable to add the milk before the tea, as the high temperature of freshly brewed tea can denature the proteins found in fresh milk, similar to the change in taste of UHT milk, resulting in an inferior tasting beverage. Others insist that it is better to add the milk after brewing the tea, as most teas need to be brewed as close to boiling as possible. The addition of milk chills the beverage during the crucial brewing phase, if brewing in a cup rather than using a pot, meaning that the delicate flavor of a good tea cannot be fully appreciated. By adding the milk afterwards, it is easier to dissolve sugar in the tea and also to ensure that the desired amount of milk is added, as the color of the tea can be observed.
A 2007 study published in the European Heart Journal found that certain beneficial effects of tea may be lost through the addition of milk.

Many flavourings are added to varieties of tea during processing. Among the best known are Chinese Jasmine tea
Jasmine tea
Jasmine tea is tea with added jasmine flowers. It originates from the time of the Song Dynasty . Normally, jasmine tea is based on green tea or white tea. The resulting flavor of jasmine tea is subtly sweet. It is the most famous scented tea in China.Tea scented with jasmine flowers has been a...

, with jasmine oil or flowers, the spices in Indian Masala chai
Masala chai
Masala chai is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.-Terminology:-Plain chai:...

 and Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea
Earl Grey tea is a tea blend with a distinctive flavour and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit....

, which contains oil of bergamot
Bergamot orange
Citrus bergamia, the Bergamot orange, is a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow colour similar to a lemon. Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars recently matched the bergamot as a likely hybrid of Citrus limetta and Citrus aurantium...

. A great range of modern flavours have been added to these traditional ones.In eastern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 people also drink lemon tea or lemon masala tea. Lemon tea simply contains hot tea with lemon juice and sugar. Masala lemon tea contains hot tea with roasted cumin seed powder,lemon juice,black salt and sugar which gives it a tangy, spicy taste.

Other popular additives to tea by the tea-brewer or drinker include sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, liquid honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 or a solid Honey Drop, agave nectar, fruit jams, and mint
Mentha
Mentha is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae . The species are not clearly distinct and estimates of the number of species varies from 13 to 18. Hybridization between some of the species occurs naturally...

. In China sweetening tea was traditionally regarded as a feminine practice. In colder regions such as Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, butter
Butter
Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. It is generally used as a spread and a condiment, as well as in cooking applications, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying...

 is added to provide necessary calories. Tibetan butter tea contains rock salt and dre (yak
Yak
The yak, Bos grunniens or Bos mutus, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population...

) butter, which is then churned vigorously in a cylindrical vessel closely resembling a butter churn. The same may be said for salt tea, which is consumed in some cultures in the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 region of northern Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

.

Alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 may also be added to tea, such as whisky
Whisky
Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn...

 or brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

.

The flavor of the tea can also be altered by pouring it from different heights, resulting in varying degrees of oxidization
Redox
Redox reactions describe all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed....

. The art of high-altitude pouring is used principally by people in Northern Africa (e.g. Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

), but also in West Africa (e.g. Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

) and can positively alter the flavor of the tea, but it is more likely a technique to cool the beverage destined to be consumed immediately. In certain cultures the tea is given different names depending on the height it is poured from. In Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, gunpowder tea
Gunpowder tea
Gunpowder tea is a form of green Chinese tea produced in Zhejiang Province of China in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. It is believed to take its English name from the fact that the tea resembles blackpowder grains...

 is served in series of three, starting with the highest oxidization or strongest, unsweetened tea (cooked from fresh leaves), locally referred to as "bitter as death," followed by a second serving, where the same tea leaves are boiled again with some sugar added ("pleasant as life"), and a third one, where the same tea leaves are boiled for the third time with yet more sugar added ("sweet as love"). Green tea is the central ingredient of a distinctly Malian custom, the "Grin," an informal social gathering that cuts across social and economic lines, starting in front of family compound gates in the afternoons and extending late into the night, and is widely popular in Bamako
Bamako
Bamako is the capital of Mali and its largest city with a population of 1.8 million . Currently, it is estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth fastest in the world...

 and other large urban areas.

In Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, the practice of pouring tea from a height has been refined further using black tea to which condensed milk is added, poured from a height from one cup to another several times in alternating fashion and in quick succession, to create a tea with entrapped air bubbles creating a frothy "head" in the cup. This beverage, teh tarik
Teh tarik
Teh tarik is a hot Malaysian tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants, outdoor stalls and kopi tiams in southeastern Asian country such as Malaysia. Its name is derived from the pouring process of "pulling" the drink during preparation...

, literally, "pulled tea," has a creamier taste than flat milk tea and is extremely popular in the region. Tea pouring in Malaysia has been further developed into an art form in which a dance is done by people pouring tea from one container to another, which in any case takes skill and precision. The participants, each holding two containers, one full of tea, pour it from one to another. They stand in lines and squares and pour the tea into each others' pots. The dance must be choreographed to allow anyone who has both pots full to empty them and refill those of whoever has no tea at any one point.

Economics

Tea is the most popular manufactured drink in the world in terms of consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world – including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol – put together. Most tea consumed outside East Asia is produced on large plantations in India or Sri Lanka, and is destined to be sold to large businesses. Opposite this large-scale industrial production there are many small "gardens," sometimes minuscule plantations, that produce highly sought-after teas prized by gourmets. These teas are both rare and expensive, and can be compared to some of the most expensive wines in this respect.

India is the world's largest tea-drinking nation although the per capita consumption of tea remains a modest 750 grams per person every year. Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, with 2.5 kg of tea consumed per person per year, is the world's greatest per capita consumer.

Production

In 2003, world tea production was million tonnes annually. In 2008, world tea production reached over million tonnes. The largest producers of tea are the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.
The following table shows the amount of tea production (in tonnes) by leading countries in recent years.
Data is generated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as of January 2010.
Country200620072008
 Mainland China
 India
 Kenya
 Sri Lanka
 Turkey
 Vietnam
 Indonesia
 Japan
 Argentina
 Iran
 Bangladesh
 Malawi
 Uganda
Other countries
Total

Certification

Workers who pick and pack tea on plantations in developing countries can face harsh working conditions and can earn below the living wage
Living wage
In public policy, a living wage is the minimum hourly income necessary for a worker to meet basic needs . These needs include shelter and other incidentals such as clothing and nutrition...

.

There are a number of bodies that independently certify the production of tea. Tea from certified estates can be sold with a certification label on the pack. The most important certification schemes are Rainforest Alliance
Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization with the published aims of working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. It is based in New York City, and has offices throughout the...

, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified
UTZ Certified
UTZ CERTIFIED is a certification program for agricultural products launched in 2002 which claims to be the largest coffee certifier in the world. It was formerly known as Utz Kapeh. On the 7th of March, 2007, the Utz Kapeh Foundation officially changed its name and logo to UTZ CERTIFIED 'Good Inside'...

, and Organic
Organic certification
Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, [food] processors, retailers and restaurants.Requirements vary...

. All these schemes certify other crops (like coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, cocoa and fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

) as well. Rainforest Alliance certified tea is sold by Unilever brands Lipton
Lipton
Lipton is a brand of tea currently owned by Unilever.-History of Lipton Tea:Lipton was created at the end of the 19th century by a grocer, Sir Thomas Lipton, in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1893, he established the Thomas J. Lipton Co., a tea packing company with its headquarters and factory in Hobo ken,...

 and PG Tips
PG Tips
PG Tips is a brand of tea in the United Kingdom, manufactured by Unilever UK. It is claimed that Britons drink 35 million cups of the tea every day.-Brand name:...

 in Western Europe, Australia and the US. Fairtrade certified tea is sold by a large number of suppliers around the world. UTZ Certified announce a partnership in 2008 with Sara Lee brand Pickwick tea
Pickwick tea
Pickwick is a tea brand, marketed by Dutch company Douwe Egberts, a subsidiary of the American Sara Lee Corporation.Douwe Egberts tea had been marketed under the company name since 1753, but in 1937 the name Pickwick was chosen by director Johannes Hessel's wife, who was inspired by Charles...

.

Production of organic tea is rising; tonnes of organic tea were grown in 2003. The majority of this tea (about 75%) is sold in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Trade

According to the FAO, in 2007 the largest importer of tea, by weight, was the Russian Federation, followed by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.
Kenya, China, India and Sri Lanka were the largest exporters of tea in 2007 (with exports of: 374229, 292199, 193459 and 190203 tonnes respectively). The largest exporter of black tea in the world is Kenya, while the largest producer (and consumer) of black tea in the world is India.

Tea bags

In 1907, American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan began distributing samples of his tea in small bags of Chinese silk with a drawstring. Consumers noticed that they could simply leave the tea in the bag and re-use it with fresh tea. However, the potential of this distribution/packaging method would not be fully realized until later on. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, tea was rationed. In 1953 (after rationing in the UK
Rationing in the United Kingdom during and after World War II
Rationing in the United Kingdom refers to rationing introduced by the government of the United Kingdom several times during the 20th century, mostly during and immediately after war....

 ended), Tetley
Tetley
Tetley, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Global Beverages , is the world's second largest manufacturer and distributor of tea. Owned by India's Tata Group, Tetley's manufacturing and distribution business is spread across 40 countries and sells over 60 branded tea bags...

 launched the tea bag to the UK and it was an immediate success.

Tea leaves are packed into a small envelope (usually composed of paper) known as a tea bag
Tea bag
A tea bag is a small, porous sealed bag containing tea leaves and used for brewing tea. Tea bags are commonly made of paper, silk or plastic. The bag contains the tea leaves while the tea is brewed, making it easier to dispose of the leaves, and performs the same function as a tea infuser...

. The use of tea bags is easy and convenient, making tea bags popular for many people today. However, the tea used in tea bags has an industry name—it is called fannings
Fannings
Fannings are small pieces of tea that are left over after higher grades of tea are gathered to be sold. Fannings with extremely small particles are sometimes called dusts. Fannings and dusts are considered the lowest grades of tea, separated from broken-leaf teas which have larger pieces of the...

 or "dust" and is the waste product produced from the sorting of higher quality loose leaf tea, although this certainly is not true for all brands of tea, especially in the case of many specialty, high quality teas now available in bag form. It is commonly held among tea aficionados that this method provides an inferior taste and experience. The paper used for the bag can also be tasted by many, which can detract from the tea's flavor. Because fannings and dust are a lower quality of the tea to begin with, the tea found in tea bags is less finicky when it comes to brewing time and temperature.

Additional reasons why bag tea is considered less well-flavored include:
  • Dried tea loses its flavor quickly on exposure to air. Most bag teas (although not all) contain leaves broken into small pieces; the great surface area to volume ratio
    Surface area to volume ratio
    The surface-area-to-volume ratio also called the surface-to-volume ratio and variously denoted sa/vol or SA:V, is the amount of surface area per unit volume of an object or collection of objects. The surface-area-to-volume ratio is measured in units of inverse distance. A cube with sides of...

     of the leaves in tea bags exposes them to more air, and therefore causes them to go stale faster. Loose tea leaves are likely to be in larger pieces, or to be entirely intact.
  • Breaking up the leaves for bags extracts flavored oils.
  • The small size of the bag does not allow leaves to diffuse and steep properly.
  • Some tea bags are made using a wet paper strength-reinforcing coating using epichlorohydrin
    Epichlorohydrin
    Epichlorohydrin is an organochlorine compound and an epoxide. This is a colorless liquid with a pungent, garlic-like odor, moderately soluble in water, but miscible with most polar organic solvents. Epichlorohydrin is a highly reactive compound and is used in the production of glycerol, plastics,...

    , a known carcinogen
    Carcinogen
    A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes...

    .

Pyramid tea bags

The "pyramid tea bag," introduced by Lipton
Lipton
Lipton is a brand of tea currently owned by Unilever.-History of Lipton Tea:Lipton was created at the end of the 19th century by a grocer, Sir Thomas Lipton, in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1893, he established the Thomas J. Lipton Co., a tea packing company with its headquarters and factory in Hobo ken,...

 and PG Tips
PG Tips
PG Tips is a brand of tea in the United Kingdom, manufactured by Unilever UK. It is claimed that Britons drink 35 million cups of the tea every day.-Brand name:...

/Scottish Blend
Scottish Blend
Scottish Blend is Scotland's second most popular brand of tea.Manufactured by Unilever UK Foods, who also make PG Tips and Lipton, it is specially blended to optimise taste in the soft waters of Scotland....

 in 1996, has a unique design that addresses one of connoisseurs' arguments against paper tea bags, because its three-dimensional tetrahedron
Tetrahedron
In geometry, a tetrahedron is a polyhedron composed of four triangular faces, three of which meet at each vertex. A regular tetrahedron is one in which the four triangles are regular, or "equilateral", and is one of the Platonic solids...

 shape allows more room for tea leaves to expand while steeping . However, some types of pyramid tea bags have been criticized as being environmentally unfriendly, since their synthetic material does not break down in landfills as loose tea leaves and paper tea bags do. This type of tea bag is also called a sachet by other brands.

Loose tea

The tea leaves are packaged loosely in a canister or other container. Rolled gunpowder tea
Gunpowder tea
Gunpowder tea is a form of green Chinese tea produced in Zhejiang Province of China in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. It is believed to take its English name from the fact that the tea resembles blackpowder grains...

 leaves, which resist crumbling, are commonly vacuum packed for freshness in aluminized packaging
PET film (biaxially oriented)
BoPET is a polyester film made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate and is used for its high tensile strength, chemical and dimensional stability, transparency, reflectivity, gas and aroma barrier properties and electrical insulation.A variety of companies manufacture boPET and other...

 for storage and retail. The portions must be individually measured by the consumer for use in a cup, mug, or teapot. This allows greater flexibility, letting the consumer brew weaker or stronger tea as desired, but convenience is sacrificed. Strainers, "tea presses," filtered teapots, and infusion bags are available commercially to avoid having to drink the floating loose leaves and to prevent over-brewing. A more traditional, yet perhaps more efficient way around this problem is to use a three-piece lidded teacup, called a gaiwan
Gaiwan
A gaiwan is a Chinese lidded bowl used for the infusion and consumption of tea and was invented during the Ming Dynasty. It consists of a bowl, a lid, and a saucer.-History:...

. The lid of the gaiwan can be tilted to decant the leaves while pouring the tea into a different cup for consumption.

Compressed tea

Some teas (particularly Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea
Pu'er, Pu-erh, Puer, also Po Lei or Bolay is a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China. Post-fermentation is a tea production style in which the tea leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. This is a Chinese specialty and is sometimes...

) are still compressed for transport, storage, and aging convenience. The tea brick
Tea brick
Tea bricks or compressed tea are blocks of whole or finely ground black tea, green tea, or post-fermented tea leaves that have been packed in molds and pressed into block form...

 remains in use in the Himalayan countries or Mongolian steppes. The tea is prepared and steeped by first loosening leaves off the compressed cake using a small knife. Compressed teas can usually be stored for longer periods of time without spoilage when compared with loose leaf tea.

Instant tea

In recent times, "instant teas" are becoming popular, similar to freeze dried
Freeze drying
Freeze-drying is a dehydration process typically used to preserve a perishable material or make the material more convenient for transport...

 instant coffee
Instant coffee
Instant coffee, also called soluble coffee and coffee powder, is a beverage derived from brewed coffee beans. Instant coffee is commercially prepared by either freeze-drying or spray drying, after which it can be rehydrated...

. Similar products also exist for instant iced tea
Iced tea
Iced tea is a form of cold tea, often served in a glass with ice. It may or may not be sweetened. Iced tea is also a popular packaged drink. It can be mixed with flavored syrup, with common flavors including lemon, peach, raspberry, lime, passion fruit, and cherry...

, due to the convenience of not requiring boiling water. Instant tea was developed in the 1930s, but not commercialized until later. Nestea introduced the first instant tea in 1946, while Redi-Tea introduced the first instant iced tea in 1953.

These products often come with added flavors, such as vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

, honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 or fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, and may also contain powdered milk
Powdered milk
Powdered milk is a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness. One purpose of drying milk is to preserve it; milk powder has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and does not need to be refrigerated, due to its low moisture content. Another purpose is to reduce its bulk for...

. Tea connoisseurs tend to criticize these products for sacrificing the delicacies of tea flavour in exchange for convenience.

Canned tea

Canned tea
Canned tea
Canned tea is a relatively recent method of marketing tea which has been sold traditionally as leaf tea and also, for the last 100 years, in tea bag form. It utilises the canning process to produce a ready made drink...

 was first launched in 1981 in Japan. As such, it is a fairly recent innovation, and it has mostly benefits in marketing
Marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

.

Storage

Tea has a shelf life
Shelf life
Shelf life is the length of time that food, drink, medicine, chemicals, and many other perishable items are given before they are considered unsuitable for sale, use, or consumption...

 that varies with storage conditions and type of tea. Black tea has a longer shelf life than green tea. An exception, Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea
Pu'er, Pu-erh, Puer, also Po Lei or Bolay is a variety of post-fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China. Post-fermentation is a tea production style in which the tea leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. This is a Chinese specialty and is sometimes...

 improves with age. Tea stays freshest when stored in a dry, cool, dark place in an air-tight container. Black tea stored in a bag inside a sealed opaque canister may keep for two years. Green tea loses its freshness more quickly, usually in less than a year. Gunpowder tea
Gunpowder tea
Gunpowder tea is a form of green Chinese tea produced in Zhejiang Province of China in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. It is believed to take its English name from the fact that the tea resembles blackpowder grains...

, its leaves being tightly rolled, keeps longer than the more open-leafed Chun Mee tea
Chun Mee tea
Chun Mee is a popular green tea. It has a dusty appearance and is generally more acidic and less sweet than other green teas. It was originally produced only in the Jiangxi province, but is now grown elsewhere.It is often referred as "9371"....

. Storage life for all teas can be extended by using desiccant
Desiccant
A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains a state of dryness in its local vicinity in a moderately well-sealed container....

 packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by vacuum sealing.

When storing green tea, discreet use of refrigeration or freezing is recommended. In particular, drinkers need to take precautions against temperature variation.

Improperly stored tea may lose flavor, acquire disagreeable flavors or odors from other foods, or become moldy.

See also

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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