On April 21, raise a cup to tradition and togetherness.
It's no secret that the United Kingdom takes its love of tea seriously – so much so, in fact, that there's a whole day dedicated to it. National Tea Day, on April 21 each year invites tea lovers all over the world to raise a cup together. This year's events include a worldwide virtual tea party, including celebrity chats, tea pairing sessions, storytime over a "cuppa," and more, all hosted across an array of social media channels. Donations will benefit Mind, a leading British mental health organization.
Whether you're a true connoisseur or a newly-arrived enthusiast, you can prepare for the big day by taking this fun tea quiz and putting your knowledge to the test. Then, scroll down to the bottom of this article for the answers. We've also included some exquisite tea recommendations to help you enjoy the occasion.
TAKE THE TEA QUIZ
1) How many cups of tea are consumed in the UK on a typical day?
B. 6.5 million
C. 65 million
D. 165 million
2) If you're enjoying a pot of afternoon tea accompanied by scones, sweets and finger sandwiches, what's that called?
A. High tea
B. Low tea
C. Proper tea
D. Modern tea
3) What matters most when steeping a cup or pot of tea?
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B
4) What is the oldest legend involving the first cup of tea ever consumed?
A. A Chinese emperor named Shennong around 2700 BC
B. A Vedic spiritual leader around 900 BC
C. Ottoman Sultan Murad II around 1430 AD
D. Queen Elizabeth I of England around 1600 AD
5) Is Earl Grey tea named after a real person?
5) Is Earl Grey tea named after a real person?
Looking for answers and explanations? Scroll towards the bottom of this article.
CLASSIC ENGLISH TEAS
English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey are two staples of any proper British tea collection. These traditional favorites are both made with black tea leaves, but the similarities end there. Classic breakfast tea is malty, resinous and robust, meant to stand up to a full English breakfast of beans on toast, fried egg, cooked tomato, and sausage or bacon. Earl Grey, on the other hand, is light and citrusy and kissed by the fragrant flavor of bergamot oil.
INVENTIVE MODERN TEAS
For a fresh take on a classic cup of tea, consider some rare modern tea blends, like Tea Forté’s Hanami Collection, which captures the essence of Spring in a cup. Or, take your senses on a dreamy walk through a botanical garden with the Fleur Collection, featuring bright, summery flavor combinations like Blueberry Merlot and Peach Blossom.
The Hanami collection celebrates spring with a blend of fine green tea, sweet cherries, and blossoms.
However you choose to celebrate, our carefully curated fine tea blends await you. Discover our best teas here
TEA QUIZ ANSWERS
1) D: An estimated 165 million cups of tea are enjoyed each day in the UK. That's upwards of 60 billion cups per year!
2) B: Although many people confuse afternoon tea as "high tea," it's actually called "low tea" in the UK. "High tea" is served in late afternoon/early evening after the workday ends and often involves heartier fare (such as meat pies) served at a high bar table, hence the name.
3) C: Time and temperature matter quite a bit when you're preparing tea. Different varieties require different water temperatures and steeping times to bring out the blend's true flavor and avoid bitterness. Learn how to make the perfect cup of tea with our tea preparation guide.
4) A: As the story goes, Shennong (or "Shen Nung") was resting under a tree when a breeze blew some leaves from a nearby Camellia Sinensis plant into his cup of water, and the first cup of tea was then consumed. Today, Shennong is considered to be the father of Chinese agriculture.
5) Yes: Earl Grey tea is believed to have been named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for several years in the 1830s. The tea, a delicious blend of black tea leaves and bergamot oil, was likely given to him as a gift. Soon afterward, the blend came to be known as "Grey's Tea" and, later, "Earl Grey."
6) C: This one's tricky! Technically, herbal "teas" are called "tisanes" because they don't contain leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. That plant yields four main varieties of tea: black, oolong, green, and white, each with its own preparation method and flavor profile. Many different blends can be made from each variety: English and Irish breakfast teas, for example, are strong black tea blends meant to accompany a hearty morning meal.
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The history of Earl Grey tea is filled with legends that give it an air of mystery. Purported to have been made specifically for the second Earl Grey, a British Prime Minister in the 1830s, this distinctive tea type combines black tea leaves with the flavor of bergamot orange.