How tea connected the World.
Today we can trace the tea roots back to China thousands of years ago...
When tea was first shipped from China to the outside world in 1600s, trade was strictly restricted to a handful of ports. At the Amoy (Xiamen in today’s name) port in Fujian, tea was called tay (te) in the local dialect and from here tea was exported along the sea routes to European countries and later the Americas, and thus adopted the name tea.
The other land route started from Guangdong (or Canton in English) adopted cha, a local dialect pronounced in the region, countries like Korea, Japan, Russia, Turkey adopted this name instead. Note, Portugal despite its strong naval traditions adopted cha from Macau (neighbouring to Hong Kong) which was a Portuguese colony at the time.
It is also worth noting that in this first period of tea trade, exported teas were primarily of Single Origin (or Single Estate) as opposite to blends that developed later for tea bags.