Tea Trivia: So You Thought Matcha Originated in Japan?

If you consider yourself a green tea connoisseur, check out this video on the history of tea to see how well your knowledge holds up.

TED-Ed is well known for making bitesized animated videos on educational topics ranging from Plato’s ideas (both the bad and the good ones) to how solar panels work and the history of tattoos. One of their latest shows recounts the history of tea from the very beginning, and if you think you already know everything of value, consider these facts:

  • Tea was discovered as early as 6,000 years ago in China, but was originally eaten as a vegetable and mixed in with porridge. It wasn’t until around 1,500 years ago the Chinese discovered its use as a beverage.
  • The Chinese ground tea leaves into a fine powder and whisked it into a delicious frothy drink that most of us will know today as matcha.  Known as moucha (末茶) in Chinese, the characters for it mean “to grind” and “tea” and are similar to the Japanese characters for matcha: 抹茶.
  • The tea trade was at one point so important — and so expensive — that it was one of the causes behind the break out of the first opium war between China and England.

For more fun facts about tea, including when and how it came to Japan, watch the video above!

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