Some thoughts over tea
Here at UK Vending we love tea, whether it’s out of one of our excellent desk top vending machines or brewed in a teapot, tea is still considered to be the drink that made Britain Great. In the last decade its top ranking status has been nimbled at by coffee, but even still 165 million cups of tea are drunk every single day in the UK and globally only water as a drink is consumed more. If you were to count up every cup of tea drunk in the year that would be an amazing 60.2 billion cups of tea. For UK Vending we are proud to have been contributing towards that staggering total.
Yet, despite our obvious love for the drink, many drinkers of tea have a surprising lack of knowledge about it. Do they know for example that Turkey and not the United Kingdom is the world’s largest consumer of tea? We’re not even second in the rankings with the Republic of Ireland quaffing down more than our somewhat lowly third position globally. The tea we drink is most commonly made from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis or evergreen bush. Two subspecies of this plant are grown to produce tea, the Cameillia sinensis sinensis and the Camellia sinensis assamica, the latter being native to parts of India and not the Chinese of the former plant. The Chinese had perfected the tea making process a long time before we Brits interfered with the production. We did, however, introduce it into India and in so doing created a global product now produced in over 30 countries; nearly all former colonies of the British Empire. The four main growing areas today are India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and China.
China produces green, white, black and oolong tea, whilst neighbouring India specialises in the production of Assam and Darjeeling. Off the coast of India in Sri Lanka the former name of the island Ceylon is given to their variety of tea. In Africa, meanwhile, Kenya’s climate and soil is ideal for growing black, green, yellow and white teas.
But there are so many questions about tea, should the milk be put in first or last or even at all? Loose teas or teabags? Should it be served in china cups, mugs or paper cups? And what is the ideal temperature to drink it at? All are subject to your own preferences but the last question received a study in 2011 conducted by the Cravendale Milk people. The result of their extensive research concluded that once the boiling water has been added to the cup with a teabag in it two minutes should elapse before pulling out the bag. This should give you the perfect strength. Then add milk and wait for six minutes to drink because then it should, according to the research conducted by the University of Northumberland be at the ideal temperature and strength. Then there is always the option of using one of UK Vending’s excellent range of vending machines with a wide range of options of teas to choose from and all at the prefect temperature.
Perhaps we should leave the last word to former American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to sum up the entire tea drinking experience, “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”