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7 facts about our favourite hot drink to mark National Tea Day

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Today is National Tea Day and Suffolk News has honoured this by brewing up a list of facts you probably didn’t know about the nation’s much-loved drink.

This year marks the seventh anniversary since National Tea Day began to simply celebrate the joy of drinking of tea.

To recognise the most popular drink consumed in Britain, here are seven fun and interesting facts about tea, writes Cameron Reid.

How do you take your cup of tea? Picture: iStock
How do you take your cup of tea? Picture: iStock

1: In 2015, British astronaut Tim Peake made sure his priorities were sorted when visiting the space station.

NASA scientists bagged up pouches of his favourite Yorkshire Tea and Peake tweeted a photograph of the pouch saying: “Probably the most important item ever to be launched into space…”

Yorkshire Tea even produced a limited edition box “Peake’s Tea” to celebrate his first voyage into space.

Where in the area serves a perfect cuppa? Picture: iStock
Where in the area serves a perfect cuppa? Picture: iStock

2: Sometimes, that first sip of a cup of tea can often feel priceless. Whereas, the world’s most expensive tea bag ever created was actually worth £7,000.

Created by Boodles jewellers, the bag was studded with 280 diamonds and celebrated the 75th anniversary of PG Tips in 2005.

The bag was not even used for a cup of tea, but instead used in a prize draw to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, the charity chosen by workers at PG Tips in Trafford Park.

We've got seven facts about the country's favourite hot drink to mark National Tea Day. Picture: iStock
We've got seven facts about the country's favourite hot drink to mark National Tea Day. Picture: iStock

3: Tea is the second-most consumed drink in the world, with water taking the number one spot and beer coming in third.

Despite the love for tea in this country, surprisingly, the UK isn’t the leading drinker of tea on the planet.

Both Turkey and Ireland drink more, with Turkey consuming approximately 6.96 pounds every year per capita compared to 4.28 in the UK.

Afternoon tea, anyone? Picture: iStock
Afternoon tea, anyone? Picture: iStock

4: A cream tea is a very popular form of afternoon tea in Britain that includes a combination of scones.

Relating more to scones rather than a cup of tea itself, Devon and Cornwall hold a fierce rivalry over the subtle distinction regarding the way that it is enjoyed.

In Cornwall, the jam must be placed first before adding the cream on top, whereas in Devon the jam must be added after the cream is smoothed out. It’s an issue that is treated very seriously in the southwest of England.

Today marks National Tea Day. Picture: iStock
Today marks National Tea Day. Picture: iStock

5: There are multiple different types of tea but they all come from the same plant which is called Camellia sinensis, which is a sub-tropical evergreen plant.

The tea leaves are withered, rolled and heated with the differences between the types occurring depending on the way the leaves are treated after they are harvested.

Additional steps or the timing of the steps decide whether it is a black, green, white or oolong leaf.

Where in the area serves a perfect cuppa? Picture: iStock
Where in the area serves a perfect cuppa? Picture: iStock

6: One for the history lovers. Two terms used in the Victorian era were “high tea” and “low tea.”

Low tea was served on low lounge chairs with low tables and high tea was served on high chairs around a normal table.

Perhaps quite confusingly due to the fact high tea implies a classier method, low tea was appreciated by the aristocracy and high tea by the working class.

7: Wrapping up this list is the age-old controversial question - should you pour the milk first or last when making a cup of tea?

There are opinions on both sides, with many experts recently stating that scientifically the right way to make a cup of tea is to put the milk in first because the milk allows its proteins to lock in taste. Whereas, a 2018 YouGov survey showed that the “overwhelming majority” of Brits think the milk should go in the tea last. It may be a case of personal preference but it looks likely that there will never actually be a correct answer to this question.

The best places to get a cup of tea in Suffolk

In a bid to discover where you can get the best cup of tea in Suffolk, TripAdvisor users have served up a list of five of the best places in the county where you can go to quench your thirst.

Procopio's Pantry - Located along Hatter Street in Bury St Edmunds, Procopio’s Pantry leads the way as the number one spot to get a cuppa in the region according to reviewers, boasting an impressive number of perfect, five-star reviews. https://www.facebook.com/procopiospantry/?ref=page_internal

Sizewell Tea - Heading off to the east of Suffolk, Sizewell Tea’s beautiful little cafe next to the beach delivers tea alongside a delicious bacon bap that goes down brilliantly after a refreshing walk along the coast. https://www.facebook.com/SizewellTea/

Applaud Coffee - Although this quaint little cafe in Ipswich may have coffee in its name, they still concoct a glorious afternoon tea. The pretty courtyard garden at the back also helps to make that first sip of brew taste even better. https://www.facebook.com/Applaud-Coffee-348570148578606

The Tea Hut - Open from Wednesday to Sundays, The Tea Hut sits in a beautiful spot on the banks of the River Deben in Woodbridge, next to a lovely model boat pond. If you want a quality cup of tea with a view, then this could be the place for you. https://www.facebook.com/theteahutwoodbridge

Nancy’s Teashop - Nancy’s Teashop provides breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea with sandwiches, cakes and more all from the heart of Newmarket. If you love the tea that much, you can even enjoy their uniquely blended teas at home by buying them at the teashop. https://www.facebook.com/NancysTeashop?ref=br_rs

Our expert guide to making the perfect cuppa

One of the UK’s leading premium tea suppliers Canton Tea has teamed up with luxury boutique hotel group Dakota Hotels, to reveal how to make the perfect cuppa at home, by following “The three T’s” ritual - tea, time and temperature.

The general rule when drinking English breakfast is to use 4g of tea leaves, which should be brewed at a temperature of 95 degrees or just off the boil in order to extract the full range of flavours.

If you like your tea black, leave it for two minutes but double that time if you have it with milk. Always pour your tea into the cup first and then follow it up with milk afterwards. Enjoy!