Harvesting tea leaves
Harvesting tea leaves
News

International Tea Day

As a nation of tea lovers, let's celebrate International Tea Day!

The Island of Ireland is recognised as one of the top tea drinking regions in the world, with one of the richest tea drinking cultures. With an average of four to six cups being consumed a day, it can be said that many people enjoy a ‘wee cuppa tea’.

For many, it’s a daily ritual in the morning to ‘pop the kettle on’, catch-up over a cuppa or if you feel stressed after a long day at work, some, but not all, will opt for a nice cup of tea. How about afternoon tea, whilst indulging in cakes and patisseries, you can drink a full pot of tea and call it a day out. Drinking tea is so ingrained in our culture even children have ‘tea parties’ without ever having a cup of tea. Any reason is a good reason for a cuppa.

Let’s go back to where this love for tea once began…

In 2737 B.C., a servant of Shen Nung, a Chinese Emperor, was boiling water when a leaf from the Camellia sinensis tree fell into the boiling water. The emperor drank the water infused with the tea leaf which unbeknown to him, marked the beginning of the world’s most famous beverage – a cup of tea.

Since then, there have been many ways of making tea: black tea with milk, green tea, iced tea, the list goes on. Who would have thought this falling leaf would have allowed tea to be discovered as an antioxidant, holding anti-inflammatory properties, alleviating stress, and boosting your immune system. You can see why tea is loved by so many!

Tea pickers harvesting the first crop of the year which is the most sought after tea of the entire harvest in the Baisha Area of Southern China
Tea pickers harvesting the first crop of the year which is the most sought after tea of the entire harvest in the Baisha Area of Southern China

Tea harbours many great benefits for us, but do we realise the impact it has on the Earth? Tea is affected by climate change but also contributes to the climate crisis.

With changing weather patterns, tea farms have become more susceptible to drought and flooding. This makes it more difficult to harvest the same quality of tea leaves and on the same scale. In turn, a poor yield can negatively impact upon consumers but also creates uncertainty for the livelihoods of tea farmers.

Similarly, when the tea bag has been used and is discarded, it can have damaging effects on the environment. This is because the tea bag itself is sealed with polypropylene; a type of plastic that is non-biodegradable. Because of this, some of our favourite tea bags contain 25% of plastic with this shocking reality being hidden in plain sight!

Don’t fret though, as tea manufacturers are exploring different avenues in making a cup of tea more environmentally friendly by introducing reusable tea bags or decomposable tea bags that are plastic-free and do not contribute to the climate crisis. So next time you enjoy a cup of tea, think of how environmentally friendly your cup of tea is, from the tea bag you use to how much water you boil in the kettle, and collectively we can make a difference.

Tea Plantations of Sri Lanka
Tea Plantations of Sri Lanka

Being totally biased, Northern Ireland produces the best tea there is and once you have your favourite, nothing else will do! So, are you a Punjana, Nambarrie or SUKI Tea fan?

Did you know that over 1 million cups of Thompson’s Punjana are enjoyed every single day, in Northern Ireland alone! And, every blend ever produced is first tasted and then approved by a member of the Thompson family. As for Nambarrie, it was launched back in 1860 and for over 150 years has been a Northern Irish beloved bold and hearty tea that can be relied on for the perfect cuppa at any time of the day!

New kids on the block, SUKI Tea Makers was Founded in 2005 in Belfast, and they ethically source and blend loose leaf teas, herbal infusions and fruit blends from all over the world. They even decided to start their own tea garden right here on the beautiful shores of Strangford Lough, in Northern Ireland! Suki Tea Makers | Loose Leaf Tea | Plastic Free Tea (suki-tea.com)

Tea drinkers across the Island will say there is a correct way of making a proper cup of tea with different methods and ingredients, but regardless of brands, flavours, milk first or water first, sugar or no sugar, irrespective of these differences, a cuppa will always bring the people of Northern Ireland together and is the source of all remedies in our wee country.

 

Tea leaves
Tea leaves

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