After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world: every morning, 2 billion people enjoy will a cup.
There are endless varieties of flavored blends and brews available, but each one is actually secretly named after a Catholic priest.
Father Georg Joseph Kamel was a Jesuit missionary who spent most of his life working as a botanist and missionary in the Philippines, documenting flora and fauna and introducing the countries nature to the European world. He discovered a new species of the tea plant and the Saint Ignatius Bean, a plant with healing properties. He died in 1706 in his adopted homeland from an infection.
Nearly 50 years later in 1753, the famous taxonomist Carl Linnaeus invented our modern system of naming organisms. In his honor, Linnaeus named the family of tea plants after the Latinization of the late priest’s name: Camellia.
In 2006, UNESCO considered the 300th anniversary of the death of Kamel among the world’s most important anniversaries. Today, over 11 billion pounds of Camellia sinensis are grown each year to satisfy ever-rising demand, all with a Catholic backstory.