Time for a Cuppa: Why We Love Tea
More than a morning kickstart or relaxing beverage before bedtime, tea plays an important role in many modern societies. It is deep-rooted in so many cultures around the world, including Australia’s. It’s a drink that comforts and warms you up in the cold months. Plus tea has tons of health benefits.
For all these reasons, we love tea at Saros Bar + Dining, so much so that we have a full page of organic teas on our drinks menu. Step aside cocktails and wine, it’s time for tea to shine.
Read on to learn about tea, from its fascinating history and different types of teas to the health benefits you could be brewing up in your next winter cuppa.
History of tea and tea around the world
There are many stories about how tea came to be, which makes it hard to prove where it actually originated. Legend has it that tea’s original roots can be traced back to 2737 BC China. Yep, BC (Before Christ), which means 4700 years ago.
Namely, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was relaxing under a tree when leaves from that tree fell into some boiling water his servant was preparing. The emperor, who also happened to be a herbalist, tried the newly created infusion, and the rest is history.
Another legend has it that tea leaves from the same shrub were used by people in southwest China for medicinal purposes, but instead of brewing the tea leaves, they were chewing them.
The Western world didn’t know about tea until the 17th century, when it was introduced by Portuguese and Dutch priests and merchants, who discovered it while trading in Macao, China.
And it wasn’t until the mid-17th century that the British were introduced to the drink. Yet today, it is the quintessential English beverage and such an important part of British identity, society, and culture.
Tea first arrived in Australia onboard the First Fleet at the end of the 18th century, and hundred years later, it made its way to British India.
Today, Turkey ranks Number 1 country in the world for tea consumption per capita, despite the fact that tea was introduced during the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century and gained popularity only four hundred years later.
According to 2023 statistics, China is the world’s largest tea producer and exporter, followed by India and Kenya.
Tea in Australia
Aussies’ first encounter with tea was not until the 18th century during the British colonial period.
The name that is tightly connected to tea in Australia is that of the politician and tea merchant, James Inglis who brought Indian and Ceylonese teas into the Australian colonies in the 1880s.
Heavily influenced by English trends, tea became an important part of Australian culture and society. Tea rooms and afternoon tea (or high tea) were the biggest trends of the 19th century, introducing tea lovers to desserts, cakes, and light sandwiches. High tea in Australia was and still is a fashionable social event for many.
Although historically, Aboriginal Australians were the ones to make concoctions using leaves from native Australian plants, it’s hard to prove they had any connection or influence over the tea invasion in Australia. However, it does prove that Australia was well ahead in terms of culture and traditions even before European colonists settled.
Different types of teas
Tea consumers are familiar with different styles and varieties of tea, such as green, black, pu-erh tea, purple tea, and white tea.
Surprisingly, all tea is derived from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis. The shrub is native to Southeast Asia, particularly the subtropical land stretching from Nagaland in India through Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam into Yunnan province in China.
As a result of different growing conditions, harvesting, and processing methods, all types of tea are different in flavour. According to Australian tea market statistics, the top three tea types consumed in Australia are green tea, black tea, and fruit-infused tea.
- Green Tea: unlike black and oolong teas, green tea is less processed and thus contains more nutrients and the most antioxidants of any tea. Many people drink green tea for its health benefits.
- Black Tea: more oxidized than any other type of tea, thus resulting in a darker colour, stronger flavour, and larger caffeine content than its counterparts. Black tea is considered high in antioxidants.
- Fruit-infused tea: as the name suggests, fruit teas are made from fruits, herbs, and spices and not tea leaves, so technically speaking, they are not purely tea. This type of tea is caffeine free and can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Health benefits of tea
The benefits of drinking tea regularly are many. They include:
- Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties
- Helps prevent heart diseases
- Improves digestion and helps treat bloating
- Helps to prevent some types of cancer
- Boosts your immune system
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Boosts mental health and brain function
Consuming tea on a regular basis can have a lasting impact on your overall health.
What is organic tea?
The rise of health-conscious consumers means more people are reaching for organic options when it comes to food, tea included. Unlike conventional tea, organic tea is grown, processed, and harvested without the use of chemicals. That means no herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, GMOs, preservatives, and fungicides.
Chemicals and heavy metals are known to have harmful effects on the environment and the human body, so choosing organically-grown tea protects your health.
Twelve tea-rific teas
Yes, we are well known for our wine and cocktails here at Saros Bar + Dining. But there is a whole side to us you might not know about. We love tea!
Our fabulous selection of teas is produced by an Australian-owned company called Blossom. And their teas are not just high quali-tea, they’re organic, which means there’s double to love. Flick past the cocktails, beer, and coffee to page 5 of our drinks menu to find a tasty cuppa.
Did we mention that tea is a fabulous digestive? It’s the perfect beverage for after a delicious meal at Saros. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Special Earl Grey: a full-bodied tea, blended with oils of bergamot and cornflower.
- Sencha Blossoms: the highest grade of Japanese green tea leaves and jasmine blossom
- Chai: a combination of perfectly balanced infusions and spices.
- Lemongrass, Ginger and Goji Berry: perfectly blended lemongrass and ginger, complemented with the goodness of goji berry.
- Rooibos Chocolate: naturally sweet and slightly nutty with a fragrance similar to honey, combined with the sweetness of chocolate and vanilla.
- Fruit Royale: hibiscus petals, deep flavours of blackcurrant blended with elderberries and tart green apples.
From full-bodied black tea to caffeine-free herbals, one of the 12 teas on our menu is sure to invoke the senses at any time of the day.
Get the par-tea started
New to tea trends or want to socialize with friends over high tea? Soaking in the health benefits or just looking to warm up with a cuppa this winter? Head down to Saros Bar + Dining to sip on some of the best tea in Melbourne.