Tea if by Sea, Cha if by Land
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I just wanted to share something quite fascinating with you. You may have heard the word chai before, but what does it mean? Both tea and chai actually mean the same thing, but the use of the word depends on how and where it was traded.
If tea was traded through a land route, the word used was "Cha", while when traded by sea the word used was "Te”.
Tea originally came from China so the word "tea" comes from there as well. Tea, in mandarin, is called cha but the dutch traders who first brought back tea in the early 1600s, bought it from traders on junk ships from the port of Amoy in Fujian province. In the Amoy dialect tea is te (pronounced "tay"). Hence the Dutch called it thee and, as they were the first importers of tea, they spread the word as well as the product. From there on, the French called it thé, the Germans thee, it became te for the Spanish, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Hungarian people, tea in English, thea in Latin, tee in Finnish, teja in Latvian, tey in Tamil and thay in Sinhalese.
For those countries where the tea trade was either originally or mainly via the caravan routes over land, the Chinese word "cha" became the most common root. It is cha in Japanese, Hindi and Persian, shai in Arabic, ja in Tibetan, chai in Russian and chay in Turkish.
I thought this was an interesting piece of knowledge for all of us in the tea business!
To get back to business, our Teak display shipped yesterday and it looks amazing! It will be prominently featured in our store on the Venice Boardwalk, which is visited by approximately 15 million visitors each year.
Have a wonderful day