Tea......The Nations Favourite Drink!

Tea is one of the most celebrated discoveries of the world, with the British being one of the highest tea consumers on the planet. UK residents have been drinking tea for over 350 years, and this beverage has changed the way we work, socialise and relax. I has woven its way through our history and been instrumental to English society and it's enlightenment. Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living; Suggests that 'there is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quite contemplation.' 

 

The tradition of tea drinking dates back as far as the third millennium BC, with westerners thanking China for the original cultivation of the Camellia Sinensis Plant. By 1839, Assam tea was extensively grown India and there was no looking back once, The East Indian Company capitalized on the import of tea from China...This was essential in encouraging its growth through Europe.

 

Europe's first mention of tea drinking tends to occur in the later part of the 16th Century mainly amongst the Portuguese, although the Dutch are recorded as having imported the first known shipment of tea from China. The arrival of tea on British shores wasn't until the mid 17th Century and it was a rather costly affair.

 

It was actually King Charles 11 and his Portuguese wife Queen Catherine Braganza that influenced the trend for British tea drinking. The Queen bought the beverage over from Portugal, introducing it around at parties and it has been recorded as having to be in every corner of court. King Charles 11 obviously agreed with his wife's love of tea as he was central in laying down the ground work for its advanced growth in the East. His actions made tea more affordable, therefore accessible to all, Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), leading poet and compiler of the English Language first Dictionary said, 'We just can't get enough of it.  As the Chinese proverb goes 'Rather three days without food than a day without tea.'.'

The first reference of tea drinking in Britain was recorded in the diaries of Samuel Pepys, 25th September 1660: He refers to the quintessential tea of 'tcha', 'as the drink that I never had drank before'. This was the catalyst that influenced our nations love affair with tea drinking, making the beverage fashionable, unifying itself into the very foundations of our society. Billie Cohen (18th August 2017) wrote: 'that if you imagine the most English person you can, that your image it would probably come complete with a stiff upper lip and a cup of tea'...Suggesting tea is integrated into the very core of society and culture, making it the nations favourite drink for all occasions. 

Writer Sydney Smith: A memoir of the Reverend...'Thank God for tea! what would we do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea'.