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Celebrate National Tea Day

Being that tea has formed a firm place in traditional and modern British culture, people across the UK will tomorrow be celebrating National Tea Day, either in the comfort of their own homes or in tea rooms, hotels, pubs and cafes across the country. But why do we love tea so much? Tea has become ingrained into the British way of life; from the humble tea break at work, to keeping us warm on a dark weekday morning (tea is often the only thing that can ease the pain of getting out of bed), to enjoying a fancy afternoon tea. A cup of tea also keeps us refreshed since it contains more than 90% water; it also contains catechins (an antioxidant) and biotin (vitamin H).

Top tea facts

  • The teabag was invented in the United States in the early 20th century

  • Tea was created more than 5,000 years ago in China

  • China, Sri Lanka, and Kenya export the most tea worldwide

  • Thanks to its huge population, China consumes the most tea out of any country. However, Turkey, Ireland and the United Kingdom also take top spots

  • Tea contains half the amount of caffeine found in coffee

  • Britain consume 165 million cups daily or 60.2 billion per year

  • 98% of people take their tea with milk, but only 30% take sugar in tea

  • Thomas Twining opened the first known tea shop in 1706

Treat yourself to afternoon tea

In Britain, where there is tea, there are usually biscuits and cakes too—it's really hard to have one without the other! If you fancy indulging in some culinary delights and a good old cuppa, here are a few of our favourite afternoon tea spots across the UK:

Created by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and Michelin-star-approved Pierre Gagnaire, Sketch London is the most instagrammable tea lounge on the list, all thanks to its breath-taking décor, squashy pink velvet sofas, cheeky cartoons on the wall and quirky waiters.

A truly iconic and very British experience, Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea in London is set in elegant and refined surroundings of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Every scone, cake and sandwich is freshly-baked by Fortnum's chefs.

The Pump Room Restaurant, Bath, is one of the city’s most elegant restaurants to dine for afternoon tea. They offer three kinds of tea: traditional, champagne and celebration champagne, and all their food is sourced from local suppliers.

Betty’s Café Tea Rooms, Harrogate, began in 1919 by a young Swiss confectioner. They offer a selection of rare and fine tea along with delicate cakes, scrumptious biscuits and indulgent chocolates, all served on fine bone china made by Royal Crown Derby.

The most affordable afternoon tea on our list, at £13.95 per person, is from Jekyll and Hide in Birmingham. This venue offers delightful homemade sandwiches and freshly made cakes six days a week!

Afternoon tea at Coombe Abbey is served in the light and airy ornate conservatory, surrounded by the Warwickshire countryside. They serve a traditional Abbots afternoon tea which includes sandwiches, cakes and scones.

It may be more of a festival than an afternoon tea but 'Fes-Tea-Val' at Chiswick House and gardens in London absolutely deserves a mention. This event takes place on 21st and 22nd April and is a great day out for families, foodie enthusiasts, tea lovers and those who love to party! The event is filled with celebrity baking sessions, mixology masterclasses, music from top DJs and singers, plus the chance to drink plenty of tea!

Taste teas from around the world

There are many varieties and colours of tea on the market, but most tea – black, white and green – are formed from the same plant, camellia sinensis. There are two dominant varieties of camellia sinensis: sinensis (from China) and assamica (from India). The ‘colour’ of the tea produced is dependent on the oxidisation process – white and green teas are unoxidised, while black tea is fully-oxidised. Herbal teas differ from these teas since they are not derived from the camellia sinensis plant at all. Herbal tea actually refers to hot-water infusions made from fruits, herbs, flowers or spices, making it its own unique brew. Below is a list of our favourite teas from around the globe:

  1. Camomile tea is derived purely from the camomile plant – a daisy-like herb that is renowned for its health benefits. This pretty but humble plant is dried and infused with hot water to produce a delicate but floral aroma that helps you unwind.

  2. Ceylon tea is often described as brisk and bright, but its final flavour can depend on which region of Sri Lanka the camellia sinensis plant is grown. Ceylon from Uva, the most well-known tea-growing region, will often taste sweet and woody, whilst the Nuwara Eliya region tends to produce Ceylon tea with a delicate and floral fragrance.

  3. Fukamushi Sencha is a Japanese green tea. ‘Fuka’ in Japanese means ‘deep’ and ‘Mushi’ means ‘steaming’. In English this tea may be known as Deep Steamed Sencha – a green tea that’s steamed to form a deeper and bolder flavour.

  4. Bai Hao Yin Zhen, also known as ‘silver needle tea’, is a fairly rare form of white tea since the camellia sinensis’ unopened buds are only at the perfect stage of harvest. Once this tea is brewed you’ll be greeted by a delightfully pale shade of yellow. The delicate, mellow but sweet flavour captured in every cup is the epitome of sophistication in Chinese culture, and thus this tea is often reserved for special occasions.

  5. Masala chai is a loose leaf black tea from India that is mixed with various spices to achieve an intense, aromatic and spicy flavour. The word ‘chai’ literally translates as ‘tea’, and the masala element refers to the blend of warming spices added to a spice-base known as ‘karha’.

  6. At Forever we love tea so much that we have created our very own – Aloe Blossom Herbal Tea. The refreshing aroma of this tea is met by deliciously warming notes of spice, including cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, fennel, allspice and clove, mixed with fruity tones from orange peel and blackberry leaf and the delicate fragrances of aloe blossom, camomile and gymnema sylvestre. This caffeine-free and unique blend is packed with benefits thanks to these vitamin-rich ingredients, and it’s a wonderfully uplifting drink to calm you down after a busy day’s work. Milk and sugar are not needed for Aloe Blossom Herbal Tea; simply serve with boiling water for a low-calorie alternative.

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