IF there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s the fact that we Brits love a nice cuppa.
In fact, we like it so much that we get through 165 million cups of tea in just one day!
We’ve have gathered together 10 facts about the nation’s favourite beverage…
1) The Ritz Carlton of Hong Kong has the world’s most-expensive High Tea meal, at a price of $8,888 per couple.
2) Boodles jewellers made a diamond teabag worth $15,250.
You wouldn’t think your teabag would need bling, but it contains 280 diamonds. It is being used to raise money for a children’s charity in Manchester.
3) Our favourite drink has many health benefits.
Recent studies suggest that tea — especially the green variety — helps reduce some forms of cancer, minimises bad breath, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, helps with weight control, kills bacteria and viruses, acts as an anti-inflammatory and has neuroprotective power.
4) The drink is so well liked that many bands from The Who to The Police and Blur have sung about it, and The Kinks actually more than once — Afternoon Tea, and Have A Cuppa Tea.
The latter, from their 1971 album, The Muswell Hillbillies, was a perfect tribute:
If you feel a bit under the weather,
If you feel a little bit peeved,
Take granny’s stand-by potion
For any old cough or wheeze.
Doris Day, of course, also sang about the beverage, in Tea For Two, which was from a 1950 film of the same title.
5) When tea is being poured in China, guests tap two or three fingers on the table three times to show gratitude to the server.
6) Although tea arrived in England in 1657, it did not immediately become popular.
First sold in coffee houses, it was heavily taxed, smuggled and fought over.
Only men were allowed to enter those coffee houses, which were full of smoke and noise.
In 1717, the Twining family opened the Golden Lyon, a teashop that permitted women.
It is still open today, and the Twinings company is a prominent English marketer of tea.
7) If actors are required to drink whisky in a film or TV scene, they often are just drinking watered-down tea instead, which looks the same as whisky.
8) The teabag was actually created by mistake.
They were invented in 1908 in America by Thomas Sullivan.
He had made small silk pouches to give tea samples to his customers, who hadn’t realised they weren’t supposed to put the pouches into the water.
And so the teabag was born.
9) English tea gardens were the first place where women were allowed to be seen mixing with men without scandal or criticism.
10) In 1914, the 320,000 men and 12,000 officers of the Army Service Corps were catering for five million British troops — their ration included just over ½oz of tea.
In 1940, Churchill said tea was more important than bullets.