Commemorating International Tea Day: 10 Things You Should Know About Tea (2023)

Adaptation by: Eli Gaeta

Around the world, tea has been the reason for gathering for many people, especially because it turns out to be a pleasant company in moments of relief, nonsense and other gatherings. The truth is that, although tea as a culture has existed for more than 2,500 years among us and about 6,000 years as a species on planet Earth, International Tea Day did not appear until 2019, just when the General Assembly of the The United Nations discussed the immaterial, natural and material value that tea has for the human development of thousands of people, thus approving theResolution 74/241which decrees May 21 of each year as International Tea Day, reason enough for this to be our next favorite date on the calendar after birthdays, right?

However, there are some other unknown facts that will help you find out the top ten reasons that make this date something really significant.

1.Robert Fortune and the Adventure of the Revealed Secrets

Disguising himself, he approached the secret confines of Wuyishan until he found the historic Tongmu mountain, from where he would take 17,000 Camellia sinensis seeds, eight local workers and 23,892 small tea trees with which he would begin to promote plantations in India, initially in the Assam and Darjeeling regions.

It is incredible to believe that such action triggered a surge in imports of Indian-produced tea to British communities in 1854, which sustained the 837% increase around the world for 75 years.

Thinking about it a bit, we could say that the excessive enthusiasm of the "Tea Thief" led him to share it with the entire world.

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2. The Silk Road

The taste for Chinese tea in countries like England, the Dutch influence and the acquired taste for tea from their respective colonies distributed in the European and Asian continents changed the known world until the 19th century.
Tea was beginning to be as relevant as silk, porcelain and gunpowder, so much so that it spread rapidly throughout the western regions, the Japanese peninsula and Korea, all this at the dawn of the Tang Dynasty.
Of course, after the appearance of the "British East India Company" in 1669, the so-called "Silk Road" was the only possible way (both land and sea) to connect trade between East and West. It was from this that Chinese tea managed to spread to the rest of the world and the idea was conceived, among drinkers, that the "Silk Road" also turned out to be the "Tea Road" in the collective imagination.

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3. The “Sons of Liberty” in Boston

Few are the drinks that could well awaken some libertarian or revolutionary instinct outside of drowsiness, but, in the case of tea, this story has existed since the night of December 16, 1773, in the then English port of Boston.

Until this moment, tea was already fundamental and indispensable for the common life of many people in the 18th century, so much so that it was the indispensable daily drink in many countries of the world, which finally supposed (in the reasoning of some) the sufficient reason so that England requested increases in tea taxes towards its compatriots. Of course, the discontent was not long in coming and both Samuel Adams, John Hancock and 8,000 other people, dressed as local indigenous minorities, protested that morning, taking three of the "East India Company" ships that had just arrived at the port. , throwing 342 boxes of Chinese tea into the sea (of different categories, by the way), thus marking direct disagreement with the official decree.

Some time later, in 1776, the United States would curiously lead its independence by making the name of their country official as we know it up to now.

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4. China, the largest consumer of tea in the world?

Incredible as it may seem, the largest consumer of tea in the world is not China, but Turkey, where about 1,250 cups of tea are consumed per person per year. I honestly think I've lost count of how many cups we've had so far this year.
Some other countries such as Libya, Morocco, Ireland and the United Kingdom are also on the list of the highest tea consumers only after Turkey.

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5. The world of tea as an inexhaustible treasure

Although China has been recognized as the international "Cradle of Tea", there are some other appointments that broaden the panorama of how tea culture is lived, cultivated and promoted in its place of origin. For example, do you know which is the country with the highest consumption, production, plantation and largest varieties of tea trees in the world? That's right, it's China, where technological growth around tea has gone, implicit and almost on par, with the ingenuity of its diners.

Once people began to drink tea and enjoy it, many other transformations came, such as those spaces or social environments where tea was the main element of meetings inspired by the sublime symbolism and finite presence of a cup of tea. tea.

According to traditions, practices with their own elements and valuable moral philosophies were developed that were included over time such as the Gong Fu Cha service in China, Cha No Yu in Japan, Tea Time in England, Moroccan Tea in Morocco, the tradition of Chai in India or yak milk tea from Mongolia, among many others.
A drink that, without a doubt, has been a bridge to connect with people.

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6. Stop everything, black tea has become red tea!

Something curious is that the more we try to understand if what came first was the chicken or the egg, another question appears that occupies our conversation today: is red tea the "new" black tea?
As you know, the interaction of the East with the West was transcendental in many ways, one of them: the ways of seeing the world and their ways of interpreting it; That is the question with the “black tea”. While in China the category of "red tea" was valued in this way due to the hue of the infusion offered by the threads when infused, in England, the name "black tea" came from the dark hue of the dry threads, precisely before being infused.

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7. The first tea chains in the world

To the extent that tea became the preference of many in the West, tea chains did not wait. One of the most interesting events occurred precisely with the appearance of the first chain of stores led by Li Ruihe, in 1980, which, some time after having established its first store that same year in Tenren, would form a group of more than 100 chain stores in major foreign cities -United States, Canada, Japan and Malaysia.

8. The first tea monograph in history

In case, like me, you are curious about bibliographies (even if they are not always in APA format), without a doubt, a tea book to recommend is“The Classic of tea”, by Lu Yu, one of the most important characters, since he was the first monk, in the Tang Dynasty, who dedicated his life to studying and enjoying tea like no one else until then, hence the pseudonym as the "Father of Tea”, which became popular after writing the first tea monograph divided into 3 volumes, 10 chapters and more than 7,200 words inspired by the tea plant.

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9. China as a key figure in promoting tea in the United Nations General Assembly

The world of tea, during the 21st century, represents a new wave of good relations between international organizations interested in safeguarding the heritage of humanity with greater commitment and making it lasting for the learning of future generations. So much so that, on June 23, 2019, the members of the 41st session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations elected one of the members proposed by China to serve as the 9th Director. General of the Organization, we are referring to Qu Dongyu, who has a long agrarian and food career. Undoubtedly a favorable decision for the tea culture, its future and that of all people in the world.

Probably one of the motivators that led to commemorate this day.

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10. Why May 21?

Something relevant to talk about is that Chinese tea has developed in our culture for more than 2,500 years and part of its journey that has been unleashed on this day has been due to the sum of previous efforts.

3,000 million people around the world like to drink tea and the reasons for gathering have been many, hence the "World Tea Service Day" (1980), the "National Tea Drinking Day" (Hangzhou, 2005). among many others will begin to be relevant to relate and celebrate for it.

Many people work, drink, enjoy, eat, learn, teach, travel for and for tea in more than 60 countries of the world that produce tea year after year. Of course, days like this are for them to be able to meet.

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Don't leave it here! If you are still interested in investigating the details of what I have shared with you up to today, I invite you to consult the following bibliographical reference on which I based myself for this interesting article:

Small Pot of Tea. (s. f.). 521 International Tea Day I Top Ten Facts About "International Tea Day". Zhihu Column.

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