Words by Philippa Thacker (Master Blender at Twinings)
1. Today, tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water.
2. Since tea was discovered more than 5,000 years ago in China, people are constantly coming up with new and innovative flavours of tea. Now you can buy everything from a Cherry Bakewell to a Chocolate Coconut flavoured tea.
3. A Twinings Master Blender has to study for five years to learn how to buy and blend tea, and taste up to 600 cups of tea per week!
4. Recent research has found that Brits love tea so much that a third of us (34%) make a cup of tea as soon as we get out of bed in the morning, even before checking emails and social media (25%) or speaking to our partners (13%).
5. The classic ‘Earl Grey’ drink that we know and love today was first bought over to Britain by an envoy to China, who gifted it to Earl Grey. Earl Grey loved the tea so much that when his stock ran out, he asked Richard Twinings II to recreate the blend for him in 1836. Earl Grey is one of the most popular blends in the UK today
6. The average person in Britain drinks nearly 1,000 cups of tea a year and 15,000 cups of tea are drunk every second across the world
7. Tea is a seasonal plant and the taste can be affected by anything from temperature to altitude. As a result, there is no ‘recipe’ for the Twinings blends of tea – each batch needs to be blended by the Master Blenders to make sure that the flavour is the same in every cup of tea that you drink.
8. All tea comes from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis. It is the way it is processed that creates the different types of tea: white tea, green tea and black tea
9. The annual tea consumption around the world is 3.6 billion cups of tea – that is a lot of tea!
10. Tea tastes different when you drink it on a plane. Because of the air pressure, water already boils at 90C and that influences the way the flavour molecules are dissolved.
11. While tea is traditionally paired with biscuits, a lot of people may not know that the flavours also compliment cheese! Green tea tastes delicious with Goats cheese and Earl Grey pairs perfectly with Brie.