Have you ever wondered by is tea called tea? This is what we discovered about the word “tea”.

The various words used to refer to tea were developed with the trade routes. The countries to which tea was brought by a sea route use words that begin with the letter T- “tea” in English, “Tee” in German, “the” in French, “te” in Italian - that are all variations of the term “t’e”, borrowed from min nan hua, a Chinese dialect from Fujian Province. On the other hand, countries to which tea was brought by an overland route (Tibet, India, Iran, Russia) use words beginning with the syllable “tch” or “ch”, borrowed from the Mandarin word “cha”. Even today, tea is called “chai” in India and “cha” in Japan.

 One must wonder what came before, the word “cha” or “tea”? Since, tea was first discovered in China, where it was called “te” pronounced “tay”.It was because of the Dutch that this word changed to “tea” to the world. In the 1600s, the Dutch were a major player when it came to international trade. Because of this, they were one of the first Westerner cultures to trade tea and import it to Europe. For some unknown reason in the 1800s, the English changed the pronunciation from “tay” to “tee.” This is where we get the word “tea.” But for many parts in Europe, tea is still pronounced as “tay”. The pronunciation “tee” is American and English. However, “tee” is still a widely known pronunciation across the world.

Whether you pronounce it as “tay” or “tee” or call it “Cha” or “chai” - tea leaves is widely popular and loved beverage across the globe!