Why we call it Tea September 29 2015

Another story about the origin of the word "tea"  follows. In China, tea is most commonly known as "cha." The reason we call it by another name is an interesting mix of history and geography.

When tea first reached Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, it came from the trading port of Amoy, which is now known as Xiamen in the Fujian Province of China. In the local Fukienese dialect, tea is called "tey" rather than the more common "cha." So in Western Europe, and later in America, the word "tea" stuck, while in other countries, such as India, Russia and Turkey, they were introduced to the brew as "cha" by traders who traveled overland along the Silk Road.

When I was growing up in England, we always called it a cup of cha. I guess this was because Liverpool was a sea port and the sailors from many lands would go ashore and to our pubs and cafes and ask for it under that name.