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Ten facts you may not have known about tea.

1. According to legend, tea was first invented in the Far East more than 5,000 years ago by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung when a gust of wind dropped some tea leaves into a pot of boiling water.

2. We have been drinking tea in Britain for more than 350 years.

3. Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, is reputed to have originated the idea of afternoon tea in the early 1800s. She conceived the idea of having tea around four or five in the afternoon to ward off the hunger pangs between lunch and dinner.

4. Northumberland-born former English Prime Minister Earl Grey ( immortalised by the monument in Newcastle city centre ( is better remembered by many for the tea named after him. Tea legends say the blend was given to him by a Chinese Mandarin seeking to influence trade relations.

5. Until the 6th Century, tea was consumed primarily as a remedy for headaches, kidney trouble, poor digestion, ulcers, and to guard against "the noxious gasses of the body and lethargy".

6. Experienced tea pickers collect up to 70 pounds of tea a day by hand.

7. One tea bush will produce tea for at least 50 years.

8. It takes years for tea to grow on land where lightning has struck or humans have lived.

9. Tea comes from the leaves of a tree called Camellia sinensis. Although the tree can grow over 30ft tall, it is cut short like a bush so that leaves can be harvested easily.

10. Darjeeling is called the champagne of teas and is grown in India's Himalayas.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2004
Words:264
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