A drink from the past

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Water is often described as being one the fundamental building blocks of life, and it is known as nature’s perfect liquid. It is the most consumed beverage on the planet.

The majority of people enjoy their water straight, and if  the weather is hot, then it is often chilled with pieces of frozen water in it.

Throughout history, however, man has developed several ways to spruce up water.

There is not one drink on earth that is not at least some part water.

Soda and juice are simple mixtures of sugar water and flavoring.

Coffee is just hot water that has been filtered through ground beans.

Beer is just barley that has been fermented in water and then filtered out.

Even milk is just a mix of several proteins and vitamins swirled into water.

All of the aforementioned ways of sprucing up water are familiar and preferred, but they are not the most popular.

The most common way for people to enhance their water is to heat and strain it through dried leaves and create a beverage known as tea.

Every year humans consume a staggering four million metric tons of tea.

The average tea bag contains about two grams of dried tea leaf. That means the consumption of tea is two trillion cups per year, which is 285 cups of tea per person.

Tea is quite an old beverage, but is certainly not the oldest beverage. Humans drank beer and milk thousands of years before they discovered tea.

The earliest record of tea is from 1500 B.C. in China during the period of the Shang Dynasty. It was consumed for medicinal purposes and not recreational.

Tea remained in the East for nearly 2,000 years. It was not until the 1500s that Portuguese merchants brought tea to the West.

Today most Americans prefer coffee to tea.

Whenever tea is consumed, it is usually with ice and sweetened with sugar, which is the opposite of how the rest of the world drinks it.

Despite its loss in popularity over the years, tea played an important role in  American history.

In the mid-1700s England raised the tax on tea. A group from Boston retaliated by disguising themselves as Indians and dumping a large shipment of tea into the harbor in an event known as the Boston Tea Party.

Part of the reason for the popularity of tea is that it is grown on every continent.

The largest producers of tea are India and China, which are also the largest consumers of the product. Half of the tea in the world is consumed in India and China.

Camellia sinensis is the scientific name for tea. However, it can be processed into several different types of tea ranging from black tea to green to Oolong tea, which is found predominantly in China.

Tea was consumed as a medicinal beverage. Many benefits to drinking tea include, a high level of anti-oxidants and some antibacterial properties. Studies have shown tea is good for cholesterol.

Iced, steaming or with milk and sugar. However you like your tea, know that you are drinking a beverage that predates the foundation of America, England and even  Ancient Greece.

Also know that when you drink your tea, billions of others also drank a glass or cup that day.

Author: Ethan Mitra

Bio info coming soon!

Share This Post On


Commenting Policy
We welcome your comments on news and opinions articles, provided that they allowed by our Commenting Policy.