The history of tea in the U.K.Tea is so much a part of everyday life in Britainthat we might never stop to think about how aunique plant from faraway China became thenation´s favourite drink. But the history of teais fascinating, and in this slideshow we canfollow its story from the earliest times inImperial China right up to its present place atthe heart of British life.
Tea in Britain…• Britain is a tea-drinkingnation. Every day they drink165 million cups of the stuffand each year around 144thousand tons of tea areimported.• Tea in Britain is traditionallybrewed in a warmed chinateapot, adding one spoonfulof tea per person and one forthe pot. Most Britons liketheir tea strong and dark, butwith a lot of milk.
The legend of tea…There are various legendssurrounding the origins of tea.Perhaps the most famous is theChinese story of Shen Nung, theemperor and renownedherbalist, who was boiling hisdrinking water when leaves froma nearby tea shrub blew into thecauldron. He tasted the resultingbrew, and the beverage of teawas born.
The roots of tea in Britain• The first dated reference to tea in Britain is from an advert in a Londonnewspaper. It announced that China Drink, called by the Chinese, Tcha, byother Nations Tay alias Tee was on sale at a coffee house in SweetingsRents in the City.• The first coffee house had been established in London in 1652, and theterms of this advert suggest that tea was still somewhat unfamiliar tomost readers, so it is fair to assume that the drink was still something of acuriosity.• It was the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza that would proveto be a turning point in the history of tea in Britain. She was a Portugueseprincess, and a tea addict, and it was her love of the drink that establishedtea as a fashionable beverage first at court, and then among the wealthyclasses as a whole. Capitalising on this, the East India Company began toimport tea into Britain, its first order being placed in 1664 - for 100 lbs ofChina tea to be shipped from Java.
The traditional way of making tea is:• Boil some fresh cold water.(We use an electric kettle toboil water)• Put some hot water into theteapot to make it warm.• Pour the water away• Put one teaspoon of tea-leaves per person, and oneextra tea-spoon, into the pot.• Pour boiling water onto thetea.• Leave for a few minutes.• Serve
Adding milk into the tea…• The tradition actually originates in France around1680. Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, a Frenchwriter, talks about adding milk to her tea in herletters.• Milk is only added to strong teas where theflavour of the tea can be tasted trough the milk.• The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea is amuch-debated topic.• By adding the milk afterwards, it is easier todissolve sugar in the tea and also to ensure that thedesired amount of milk is added, as the colour ofthe tea can be observed.• Some people add milk to their china cup first tomake cure that the boiling tea from the pot doesnot crack their cup.Interesting FactYears ago, the milk was pouredinto the cup first, so as not tocrack the porcelain.
Why Do They Like Tea SoMuch?•They drink tea becauseit’s traditional.• For British people,drinking tea it’s not only asocial habit, it’s also a mildaddiction. Tea containscaffeine, caffeine isaddictive and it meansthey crave it more.• Tea is also good for yourhealth – antioxidants andall that.
Britains favourite teas…There are currently almost 1,500different teas in Britain. They all varyin style, taste and color.Indian TeasIndia is one of the main growersexporting 12% of the world’s teas.• Darjeeling which comes fromNorthern India and is a light delicatetea – perfect for Afternoon Teas.• Ceylon Tea is slightly stronger thanDarjeeling. It is aromatic with aslightly sharp taste.• Assam is a strong tea which standsup well to being blended.
China TeasThe birthplace of tea Chinaproduces 18% of the world’s tea .Two favorite types are:• Lapsang Souchong is perhaps themost famous of china teas, thebest coming from the hills innorth Fujian. It has a smokyaroma and flavor.• Yunnan is a black tea from theprovince of Yunnan. Therich, earthy flavor is similar toAssam and makes a greatbreakfast tea.
Prince of Wales tea blendis a blend of China blackteas typically served inthe afternoon withscones in Britain. Theblend was originallydevised forEdward, Prince ofWales, later King EdwardVIII. Prince of Wales tea ismild, but full-bodied, witha bright liquor and strong.
Rich tea• It’s an early form of teabiscuit, created as a light betweenmeal snack to be served with tea.• The biscuits are popular in theUnited Kingdom andIreland, where their plain flavourand consistency makes themparticularly suitable for dunking intea and coffee.• Originally called TeaBiscuits, they were developed inthe 17th century in Yorkshire forthe upper classes as a light snackbetween full-course meals.
Tea Words and phrases…• Tea break, High tea, tea time, tea party, teatowel, teaspoon and many more terms havederived from the tradition of drinking tea.• Tea breaks are when tea and biscuits are served.The traditional time for tea breaks are at 11:00am (Elevensee) and 4 pm in the afternoon.• If something is not quite to your taste, it’sprobably not your cup of tea.e.g. Windsurfing is not my cup of tea.
Did you know…?• If someone asks you if youwould like a cuppa, theyare asking if you would likea cup of tea.• If someone says let me bemother or shall I bemother, they are offeringto pour out the tea fromthe teapot.
Thanks for watching!Now… Let’s have a cuppa!!! ;)