I knew that there are two main words for the popular beverage made from Camellia sinensis, namely TEA and CHA. I remembered that it depended on which port in China the tea left from. In the south of China the infusion drink was called teh, or tê, which is also how it is pronounced in German, where it is written Tee. (I think it is the only word in German that has a consonant followed by two identical vowels)
In the north of China the drink was called cha.
Nosso Chá is the result of the first harvest of green tea in continental Portugal. Our tea plantation is situated in what is known as “the land of the camellias” on the coast of Northern Portugal and is the first of its kind in this location. Chá Camélia uses only organic, artisanal production methods. Nosso Chá is picked by hand and processed in an Asian style.
Very impressive. I also found the following quote, but can’t find any evidence to support the claim of TEA being an acronym.
Luso Chá celebrates the first European imports of tea by the Portuguese in the 19th century, in which the boxes were marked with the acronym “TEA”, an abbreviation for Transport of Aromatic Herbs. The origin of the word TEA that the English then gave to this incredible drink.
I looked at the Wikipedia entry for tea and found that my memory was mostly correct.
The etymology of the various words for tea reflects the history of transmission of tea drinking culture and trade from China to countries around the world. Nearly all of the words for tea worldwide fall into three broad groups: te, cha and chai, present in English as tea, cha or char, and chai. The earliest of the three to enter English is cha, which came in the 1590s via the Portuguese, who traded in Macao and picked up the Cantonese pronunciation of the word. The more common tea form arrived in the 17th century via the Dutch, who acquired it either indirectly from the Malay teh, or directly from the tê pronunciation in Min Chinese. The third form chai (meaning “spiced tea”) originated from a northern Chinese pronunciation of cha, which travelled overland to Central Asia and Persia where it picked up a Persian ending yi.
Cha from the Portuguese and Tea from the Dutch. Chai is Cha plus a Persian “yi”. All this learning about tea… I had to get up and make a glass of matcha.
I love that organic green tea is produced in northern Portugal and will find a store in Lisbon that carries it.