Tea Times Reading Questions and Answers

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  • IELTS reading sentence completion

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Tea times reading passage

Tea times

The chances are that you have already drunk a cup or glass of tea today, Perhaps, you are sipping one as you read this. Tea, now an everyday beverage in many parts of the world, has over the centuries been an important part of rituals of hospitality both in the home and in wider society.

Tea originated in China, and in Eastern Asia, tea making and drinking ceremonies have been popular for centuries. Tea was first shipped to North-Western Europe by English and Dutch maritime traders in the sixteenth century. At about the same time, a land route from the Far East, via Moscow, to Europe was opened up. Tea also figured in America’s bid for independence from British rule – the Boston Tea Party.

As, over the last four hundred years, tea leaves became available throughout much of Asia and Europe, the ways in which tea was drunk changed. The Chinese considered the quality of the leaves and the ways in which they were cured all important. People in other cultures added new ingredients besides tea leaves and hot water. They drank tea with milk, sugar, spices like cinnamon and cardamom, and herbs such as mint or sage. The variations are endless. For example, in Western Sudan on the edge of the Sahara Desert, sesame oil is added to milky tea on cold mornings. In England tea, unlike coffee, acquired a reputation as a therapeutic drink that promoted health. Indeed, in European and Arab countries as well as In Persia and Russia, tea was praised for its restorative and health-giving properties. One Dutch physician, Cornelius Blankaart, advised that to maintain health a minimum of eight to ten cups a day should be drunk and that up to 50 to 100 daily cups could be consumed safely.

While European coffee houses were frequented by men discussing politics and closing business deals, respectable middle-class women stayed at home and held tea parties. When the price of tea fell in the nineteenth century poor people took up the drink with enthusiasm. Different grades and blends of tea were sold to suit every pocket.

Throughout the world today, few religious groups object to tea drinking. In Islamic cultures, where drinking alcohol is forbidden, tea and coffee consumption is an important part of social life. However, Seventh-Day Adventists, recognizing the beverage as a drug containing the stimulant caffeine, frown upon the drinking of tea.

Nomadic Bedouin are well known for the traditions of hospitality in the desert. According to Middle Eastern tradition, guests are served both tea and coffee from pots kept ready on the fires of guest tents where men of the family and male visitors gather. Cups of “bitter” cardamom coffee and glasses of sugared tea should be constantly refilled by the host.

For over a thousand years, Arab traders have been bringing Islamic culture, including tea drinking, to northern and western Africa. Techniques of tea preparation have been adapted. In West African countries, such as Senegal and The Gambia, it is fashionable for young men to gather in small groups to brew Chinese “gun-powder” tea. The tea is boiled with large amounts of sugar for a long time.

Tea drinking in India remains an important part of daily life. There, tea made entirely with milk is popular. “Chai” is made by boiling milk and adding tea, sugar, and some spices. This form of tea making has crossed the Indian Ocean and is also popular in East Africa, where tea is considered best when it is either very milky or made with water only. Curiously, this “milk or water” formula has been carried over to the preparation of instant coffee, which is served in cafes as either black or sprinkled on a cup of hot milk.

In Britain, coffee drinking, particularly in the informal atmosphere of coffee shops, is currently in vogue. Yet, the convention of afternoon tea lingers. At conferences, it remains common practice to serve coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. Contemporary China, too, remains true to its long tradition. Delegates at conferences and seminars are served tea in cups with lids to keep the infusion hot. The cups are topped up throughout the proceedings. There are as yet no signs of coffee on such occasions.

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Tea times reading questions

Questions 1-8

The above reading passage has nine paragraphs (A-I).

Choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Find and write the appropriate numbers (i-xiii) on your answer sheet.

There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use all of them.

1. Paragraph A
2. Paragraph B
3. Paragraph C
4. Paragraph D
5. Paragraph E
6. Paragraph F
7. Paragraph G
8. Paragraph H
9. Paragraph I

List of Headings

i. Diverse drinking methods
ii. Limited objections to drinking tea
iii. Today’s continuing tradition – In Britain and China
iv. Tea – a beverage of hospitality
v. An important addition – tea with milk
vi. Tea and alcohol
vii. The everyday beverage in all parts of the world
viii. Tea on the move
ix. African tea
x. The fall in the cost of tea
xi. The value of tea
xii. Tea-drinking in Africa
xiii. Hospitality among the Bedouin

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Questions 9-14

Complete the sentences below.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage to complete each blank space.

Write the correct word on your answer sheet

10. For centuries, both at home and In society, tea has had an important role in______
11. Falling tea prices in the nineteenth century meant that people could choose the________ of tea they could afford.
12. Because it contains ______ Seventh-Day Adventists do not approve of the drinking
13. In the desert, one group that is well known for Its traditions of hospitality is the_______
14. In India, _______, as well as tea, are added to boiling milk to make “chai”.
15. In Britain, while coffee is in fashion, afternoon tea is still a________

Enhance your sentence completion skills in the IELTS Reading section. Click here to access our comprehensive guide and learn effective strategies for filling in missing words or phrases in sentences.

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Recommended Questions:

Renewable Energy IELTS Reading Question with Answer

Tea times reading answers

Solution for question no 1 : iv – Tea – a beverage of hospitality
Solution for question no 2 : viii – Tea on the move
Solution for question no 3 : i – Diverse drinking methods
Solution for question no 4 : x – The fall in the cost of tea
Solution for question no 5 : ii – Limited objections to drinking tea
Solution for question no 6 : xiii – Hospitality among the Bedouin
Solution for question no 7 : xii – Tea-drinking in Africa 
Solution for question no 8 : v – An important addition – tea with milk
Solution for question no 9 : iii – Today’s continuing tradition – In Britain and China
Solution for question no 10 – rituals of hospitality/hospitality
Solution for question no 11 – different grade(s) and blend(s)  
Solution for question no 12 – caffeine
Solution for question no 13 – nomadic Bedouin(s)
Solution for question no 14 – sugar and spices
Solution for question no 15 – lingering convention/convention


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