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The name for tea, in Southern China. Coming from the Cantonese ideogram. Pronounced "tay" in the dialect of Amoy.
The "chah" pronounciation traveled to India, Persia, Russia and Japan; "tay" was brought to Europe via Java by the Dutch, and athough it was spelt "tea" in 1660, it was generally pronounced "tay" until the middle of the 18th century, by which time ritain was importing 3 million tons a year.
In Japan, tea was "chah"; and although introduced in the early 9th century, but didn"t become popular until the 12th century. See "Tea, Popular Regions and flavours"