Officially, the Irish are the second largest tea drinkers in the world, with each person consuming an average of 2.19kg of tea per year. Now, let’s dive into some fascinating facts about Ireland’s beloved beverage.
Irish Tea Drinking Habits
According to Lyons Tea, one of Ireland’s beloved tea brands, an average Irish person drinks about 300 liters of tea per year, which amounts to five cups per day. Tea has half the caffeine content of coffee, making it a suitable choice for those who want to moderate their caffeine intake. Lyons Tea adds that one can enjoy up to six cups of tea per day and still maintain a moderate caffeine intake.
Varieties of Tea
There are several varieties of tea, including green, white, oolong, and black, which are popular in different parts of the world. All tea originates from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. Different varieties of tea come from processing the leaves in different ways. Black tea, which is the most fermented type, is the most popular tea in Ireland.
Peppermint or chamomile teas are technically not teas, but tisanes, a term that describes any herbal infusion. Tisanes can be made from berries, flowers, seeds, nuts, leaves, or roots, but they do not contain any tea.
Origins of Tea
Tea has been a popular drink in China for over 2000 years. Legend has it that tea first came about in 2737 BC when a servant of the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung, accidentally dropped some leaves into boiling water. Nung tried the concoction and became a fan. Although this has never been confirmed as the true story, there is evidence of tea being drank in China from as far back as the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
Irish Obsession with Tea
Tea arrived in Ireland in the early 19th century as an expensive import from India, enjoyed only by the wealthy. Tea parties became a regular social gathering for the upper classes. However, it soon became more accessible, and every household could enjoy a brew.
World’s Most Expensive Tea
The rare Da-Hong Pao tea is the world’s most expensive tea. It costs €1 million for one kilo and is officially considered a national treasure by the Chinese government. The tea dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and its process of making has been a secret for centuries.
The Invention of Tea Bags
While tea has been enjoyed for hundreds of years, the tea bag was only invented just over a century ago.