If you’re curious about what “tea” is called around the world, you might be astonished to learn that it’s either called “tê” or “Chá” in almost all languages globally.
The Chinese character for tea (茶) actually has different pronunciations depending on the dialect. Tea is referred to as “Chá” in most Chinese dialects. A notable exception is the
Min Nan dialect of the Min Chinese (tê). Min Chinese are mainly scattered throughout Fujian and Guangdong provinces in the coastal regions of China. They have been known to
play a significant part in the first stage of the globalization of tea.
As legend has it, tea was accidentally discovered by the emperor Shen Nong some 5,000 years ago in China. However, tea did start to go global until 4,000 years ago. The product
of tea was first introduced to Europe in the 16th century during the Age of Discovery when European nations embarked on voyages of exploration and evolved into the colonial
periods. Early on in colonization, Portugal was the first to discover tea (Chá) in China and brought it back home. By the late 16th century, the “tê” name form made its way to Europe
via the Dutch East India Company, as most of the Dutch ports were located in the coastal regions under the influence of Min Chinese. As a result, aside from Portugal referring to
tea as “Chá”, the tea names in countries such as Spain (te), German (tee), France (thé ), and the UK (tea) are all derived from the root name “tê” thanks to Dutch influence.
Here is a list that shows the word for tea in some of the most popular languages: Chinese 茶 (chá) Japanese 茶 (cha) Korean 차 (cha) Vietnamese trà Thai ชา (cha) Hindi चाय (chai) Urdu چائے) chai) Persian چای) chai) Arabic شاي) shay) Turkish çay Russian чай (chay) Portuguese chá Spanish té French thé German Tee Italian tè Dutch thee Swedish te Norwegian te Danish te Finnish tee
No matter what the word for tea is in your language, one thing is for sure: tea is a delicious and refreshing beverage that is enjoyed by people all over the world.