From China to Japan, India to the United Kingdom, tea is an essential to many people like a country’s identity. Though every country has its own word for tea, almost all pronunciations stem from just two root words: ‘te’ and ‘cha.’ Here is the story behind the world’s words for tea.
In the early years of tea cultivation in China, the leaves were unprocessed and had a bitter taste, earning the resulting drink the name ‘荼 tu’, meaning ‘bitter vegetable’. Mandarin’s current word for tea, ‘茶 cha’, didn’t come into recorded existence until 760 C.E., when a scholar named Lu Yu wrote the Cha Jing, or the Classic of Tea, in which he mistakenly omitted a cross stroke from the character ‘tu’, resulting in a much different word: cha.
For nearly a thousand years, tea stayed the secret of the East. When the Portuguese arrived in China in the 1500s. They taste tea for the first time and were quick to realise its potential and decided to focus on exporting tea instead of spices. The Portuguese called the drink cha, just like the people of southern China – Guangzhou – Hong Kong and Macau did.
Around 1607 the Dutch encountered tea in the Fujian province, where Hokkien was the major language, its pronunciation varied depending on the dialect. Following in the linguistic footsteps of the Hokkien folk of Fujian, the Dutch called the drink ‘thee’.
从中国到日本，印度到英国，对这些国家的人民来说茶是一种必需品，也可以说是一个国家的身份象征。 尽管每个国家 / 地区都有自己的“茶”这个词，但几乎所有的发音都仅来自两个词根：“ te”和“ cha”。以下是茶这个词背后的故事。古代中国在中国古代茶叶种植的早期，茶叶未经加工且味苦，因此就把它名为“荼”，意为“苦菜”。直到公元760年，“茶”这个新字才出现。当时，茶圣陆羽写了《茶经》，他错误地从 ‘荼’ 字中省略了一笔画。 因此产生了一个非常不同的词 ：茶。
近千年来，茶一直是东方的神密物品。 1500年代葡萄牙人到达中国时。 他们第一次品尝到茶，很快就意识到了它的潜力，并决定专注于出口茶而不是香料。 葡萄牙人称其为“cha”，就像中国南方如-广州-香港和澳门一样叫法。
1607年左右，荷兰人在福建省第一次接触到茶，其发音因地方的方言而异。 荷兰人便跟随福建省的福建人的语言脚步，将这种饮料称为“ thee”。