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Tea Glossary and FAQ's

With 85% of the British population drinking tea infusions every day there is an understandable thirst for knowledge on all aspects of tea. Here are a few answers to some of the most popular questions asked about tea. If your question is not answered here then drop us an e-mail.

Q: How many of cups of tea do the British drink each day?

A: 165 million cups daily or 60.2 billion per year.

Q: Are we now a coffee drinking nation?

A: No, the number of cups of coffee drunk each day is estimated at 70 million.

Q: Who is the largest per capita tea drinking nation?

A: Republic of Ireland followed by Britain.

Q: Who is the largest producer of tea in the world?

A: China with 1,850,000 tonnes, India is second with 1,200,000 tonnes (2013 production).

Q: What percentage of British tea is consumed from a tea bag?

A: 96%

Q: What percentage of tea is taken with milk?

A: 98%

Q: What is an antioxidant?

A: An antioxidant is a compound, which retards oxidation. In the body antioxidants can 'soak up' free radicals.

Q: What is a free radical?

A: Free radicals are unstable substances which can disrupt biochemical processes in the body and have been implicated in cancer and heart disease.

Q: Does tea contain antioxidants?

A: Tea, like fruit and vegetables is a natural source of polyphenols and flavonoids which have antioxidant activity.

Q: Does the addition of milk reduce the antioxidant value?

A: The addition of milk does not appear to affect the bioavailability of the tea flavonoids

Q: Do green and black teas come from different plants?

A: No, they both come from the same plant known by its botanical name Camellia sinensis.

Q: Does tea contain the same level of caffeine as coffee?

A: No, at least half the level of coffee.

Q: How do you produce decaffeinated tea?

A: Simply by "washing" the tea leaves towards the end of the production process in an organic solvent. The method is strictly governed by legal limits.

Q: How many varieties of tea are there?

A: Tea Council estimates about 1,500 varieties of Camellia sinensis.

Q: Is green tea better for you than black tea?

A: Both varieties come from the plant Camellia sinensis and both have similar amounts of antioxidants and minerals.

Q: Why does tea refresh you in hot weather?

A: It simply raises the body temperature momentarily, you perspire and the perspiration on your skin creates a cooling effect.


Tea Advisory Panel (TAP)

TAP The Tea Advisory Panel was created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors. For further information please call 0207 052 8989. Read more...

TEA a brief history...

Tea is so much a part of everyday life in Britain that we might never stop to think about how a unique plant from faraway China became the nation's favourite drink. But the history of tea is fascinating, and in this section we can follow its story from the earliest times in Imperial China right up to its present place at the heart of British life. Read more...