A brief history of tea

There are many types of tea, black tea, white tea, green tea are just a few of the most well know and popular. But what is the history of tea and what makes it such a popular drink around the world? This short blog post will give you a brief history of tea and explain a little about its allure.

Did you know………Tea was first introduced in 1657 when Thomas Garraway started selling Green Tea in his tobacco and coffee house.

Tea was sold only in these sort of coffee houses and these were frequented by men only and so initially it was seen as a male drink.

The many health benefits of drinking tea were possibly the biggest
factor for its success here.

It was Catherine of Braganza who was Charles II new bride who is credited with making tea an acceptable drink for women. She drank tea with her friends and quickly it became the norm for ladies to drink tea as well as men.

The first sales of tea were VERY  expensive and it was seen as a drink of class and status. It was only when greater trade started with China in the 1700’s that tea became more affordable and actually took over coffee as the drink of choice for Brits.

Sugar wasn’t introduced to tea until around 1685 but it wasn’t until 1720 that milk and sugar were added to the newly introduced black tea.

Because tea drinking started off as a beverage of the super rich it held a ritual and by association if you drank tea you were successful. These rituals have continued to this day and this is one of the reasons people are so passionate about how to make a cup of tea!

In the 1770’s and 
80’s it was fashionable to drink tea from the saucer…….luckily saucers were a little larger than they are now and resembled bowls.

Tearooms became the norm in the 1830’s as a place where ladies could meet, drink and eat without the need for a male escort - without risk to their reputations. And they catered for all levels of society.

Earl Grey tea was aptly named after Charles Grey 2nd earl of Grey and British Prime Minister at the time received a gift of 
tea flavored with bergamot oil. It was specifically blended to suit the water at Howick Hall which was full of a preponderance of lime.

A 2010 survey showed that people who drink Earl Grey tea are regarded as being “Posh” the associations of tea and wealth are many and varied.

So there you have a brief history of tea in the UK and isn’t it amazing that this little drink that we all enjoy is so remarkable and varied.

Until then I’m off to put the kettle on for a quick cuppa



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