Yes, the old controversy: tea or coffee?
We’ll start with coffee:
Legend has it that Ethiopian shepherds noticed that their goats became very frisky after eating coffee berries. But in truth it was African tribe members who mixed coffee berries with fat to make an edible energy ball, that first discovered caffeine.
The coffee bean is really a seed inside a bright red berry and only grows in the “Bean Belt” between Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Hawaii is the only state in the US which can grow coffee.
In 1675 the King of England banned coffee houses because he claimed they were places where people met to conspire against him.
Islam contributed to the popularity of coffee because in their religion, alcohol was prohibited while coffee was acceptable.
Europeans originally called coffee “Arabian wine.”
70 % of the world consumes Arabica coffee (mild and aromatic) while 30 % consumes Robusta coffee (more bitter-tasting with 50 % more caffeine). Americans consume 400 million cups per day or 146 billion cups per year. This makes America the leading consumer of coffee in the world.
Caffe’ sospeso, in Italian means “suspended or pending coffee.” It is a tradition which involves paying for an extra cup of coffee for a future customer who may be down on their luck. Those people can come into the coffee shop and ask if there are any sospesos available. This tradition is reported to have originated in Naples around a 100 years ago but happily the practice has grown to internationally.
The Guinness-recognized “oldest cat ever,” Creme Puff, lived to be 38 years old. Her owner attributed her long life to feeding her coffee every day with her breakfast of eggs, bacon and broccoli.
If you really love your coffee, I mean really love your coffee you could pay 2,800 Yen (about $27) at the Yunessum Spa Resort in Hakone, Japan, to soak in a coffee pool. (They also have pools of green tea, wine and sake.)
Now, on to tea!
Legend says that tea was discovered in 2737 BC when tea leaves accidentally blew into Chinese Emperor Shen-Ning’s boiling water.
China is the world’s largest producer of tea with India coming in second.
Ireland is the largest nation of tea drinkers with Great Britain coming in second.
Over 1.42 million pounds of tea is consumed in the US every day with an estimated 85 % of it being iced tea.
Solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia until the 19th Century.
There are many different kinds of tea but they all come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The color and variety (green, black, white or oolong) depends on how the leaves are treated.
Tea bags were invented in America in the early 1800s.
On average, tea has half the amount of caffeine of coffee.
“Women are like tea bags. They do not know how strong they are until they get into hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Tea has always been considered a healthy drink, especially green tea. Tea is a natural antioxidant and rich in vitamins B2, B1 & B6, potassium, manganese, folic acid and calcium. It can reduce some forms of cancer, help with bad breath, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure, help with weight control, kill bacteria and viruses, and has neuro-protective powers.
It also has relaxing effects that can help improve your sex life.
Tea leaves are a natural way of keeping mosquitoes away. Just spread slightly damp leaves to add the scent of tea in the area you want insect-free.
There are many uses for used tea bags. To read about some, check out my post 5 Uses for Used Tea Bags.
The most expensive High Tea is at the Ritz Carlton of Hong Kong. For $8,888 Dollars per couple you get the best teas, finger foods, fantastic cakes and view of Hong Kong.
The most expensive tea in the world is the rare Chinese tea, Tieguanyin. It costs around $1,500 Dollars a pound and is named after the Buddhist deity, Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy). It is an oolong tea.
So, if you haven’t guessed, I am a tea drinker. I love herbal teas with green and white tea.
How about you? Which do you prefer? Tell me in the comments if you’re a tea sipper or a coffee guzzler and what’s your favorite blend or type.
**There is still time to check out my Blogiversary Party and enter my contest to win a signed copy of my new book, Hong Kong Treasure. Click here.
Release date: Chinese New Year, February 19, 2015.