When it comes to pastimes, my husband shares the same sentiment as C.S. Lewis: “You can never get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Doug spent the better half of last year reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s 4-volume, 1400-page Hobbit and Lord of the Rings aloud to the family and Karl Knausgaard’s 6-volume, 3800-page autobiographical My Struggle silently to himself. (The latter is a bestseller in Norway, whence my husband’s family originally hails.)
Moreover, he did the bulk of that reading with an enormous, 32-oz cup of hot tea sitting beside him.
As is his thoughtful habit, Doug frequently prepares the same size cup for me, although the books I read are typically much shorter and the tea I sip much cooler by the time I drain the last drop from the cup.
Given my husband’s fondness for new books and hot tea, when I spotted a slim volume entitled Tea is Always a Good Idea (edited by Elizabeth Gilbert) in the hidden corner of a bookshop shortly before Christmas, I knew we had to have it in our library.
And since January is National Hot Tea Month, I thought this would be a great time to share what we discovered by reading this book, in the form of a short quiz:
Tea Time Trivia
- According to legend, tea was first discovered by whom?
a. by Tutankhamun, Pharaoh of Egypt
b. by Shennong, Emperor of China
c. by Charles Grey, Earl of Bergamot
d. by Fiacre, patron saint of medicinal herbs
- Herbal, spice, and floral “teas” are more accurately known as tisanes, infusions, and decoctions. All true teas come from the plant Camellia sinensis. They include black, green, white, and all but which of the following?
- In 1773, a group of American patriots dressed as Native Americans threw 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. Why?
a. to protest the poor quality of tea
b. to celebrate God’s bountiful blessings
c. to protest the British tea tax
d. to counteract an algae bloom in the bay
- American Thomas Sullivan invented the tea bag in 1908. Of what were those original tea bags made?
a. rice paper
b. cotton muslin
c. waxed parchment
d. hand-sewn silk
- In 1930, William McKerchor introduced the CTC manufacturing method, which made tea more affordable by speeding up the production process. What does CTC refer to?
a. Crush, Tear, Curl
b. Controlled Toasting Conveyer
c. Cold Tea Compress
d. Cut, Trim, Crate
- Tea is the second most consumed beverage on earth. What’s the first?
c. Coca Cola
- China is the top tea growing country by weight. What is the top tea exporting country by value?
a. United Kingdom
d. Sri Lanka
- On average, US citizens use ½ lb. of tea annually as opposed to the 7 lbs. of tea a year consumed by natives of the country with the highest per capita consumption rate:
b. United Kingdom
- In Morocco, it is customary to offer guests at least three cups of tea per visit. What do these three cups symbolize?
a. life, love, and death
b. laughter, luxury, and longevity
c. eating, drinking, and merrymaking
d. sun, moon, and stars
- In Tibet, black tea is traditionally served with what mixed into it?
a. cinnamon and sugar
b. yak butter and salt
c. turmeric and lemon
d. sweetened condensed milk
- Pu-erh tea is grown in the Yunnan province of China and sold in brick-like cakes. Ounce for ounce, some pu-erh is even more expensive than gold. Why?
a. it’s wrapped in 24-ct gold foil
b. its scarcity drives the price up
c. aging/fermenting process takes so long
d. all of the above
For Further Study:
You’ll find the answer key for this quiz on page 2 of this printable version – but no fair peeking until you’ve given it the old college try!
If you’re a fan of trivia quizzes, you may want to try your hand at some of the others we offer on this website:
- Hipster Quiz: I Mustache You Ten Questions
- St. Patrick’s Day Quiz: It’s Not Easy Being Green
- Reformation Day Quiz: Fun Facts about Martin Luther
- Thanksgiving Quiz: Let’s Talk Turkey
- Christmas Quiz: Elf Movie Trivia
If you’d like to learn more about tea, we’d recommend visiting a tea plantation. Our family toured the one in Charleston, SC, a few years back and found it fascinating. The kids were especially excited to find out tea comes from the same kind of shrubs we had growing in our backyard at the time. That gave a whole new meaning to the term home-brew!
And if you’re interested in learning more about beverages in general and how they’ve shaped civilization as we know it, then you should read the highly entertaining book, A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage.
Great Gifts for the Tea Enthusiast:
Do you have tea lovers in your family? If so, they might enjoy some of the same tea-related products our family likes and uses…