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Where Did the Word "Tea" Come From?

There's only two main ways to say tea in the world: tea and cha. But where did they come from?


The former often finds itself in variations such as in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans, and the latter is used in words like chay in Hindi.


Both tea and cha come from China... but what makes them so different?


*Heads up: this article is for certified tea nerds only*



What's the Difference Between Tea and Cha?


The word "tea" (茶) originates from China, and was spread via the ocean by Dutch traders.


The origin of "tea" came from the coastal province of Fujian, where it was pronounced te. This eventually wound up as the French thé and the German tee. The main exception to this is in Portugal, due to the fact that Portuguese traders went through Macao where they called it chá.


Conversely, the word "cha" travelled by land along the Silk Road. It became known as chay in Urdu, shay in Arabic, chay in Russia, and chai in Swahili along the way.


There are many different variations of the word cha. For example, in Japan, tea is called o-cha, meaning "honourable tea". The -cha suffix is then used in many different tea names: matcha (ground tea), sencha (simmered tea), and hojicha (roasted tea).


Who knew?!



Are There Any Other Ways of Saying Tea?


Why yes, there are!


Other cultures call 'tea' something different - especially in countries where tea is grown naturally. For example, "tea" in Burmese is lakphak, Belarusian is harbatu, arbata is Lithuanian, herbata is Polish, and itiye is Zulu.


So, go on! Put the tetera on, pop in some оставља, and make yourself a delicious cup of চা!

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