It was criticized by John Wesley, accepted early by Samuel Pepys and had 358 years written an essay on how it can be perfectly made written by George Orwell. The British people and tea were in love. Did you know that there is a day Google uses a doodle to celebrate the nation’s favourite beverage? It has an unusual animation that uses a union jack label alongside honey, milk, sugar and a strainer to display a teabag being immersed in a chain of smiling cups.
Mercurius Politicus, a London republican newsprint, in September (23rd) of 1658, accepted the first tea advertisement in the British Isles. It had pronounced that ‘Tcha’ a name the Chinese called their drink or ‘Tay also known as Tee’ as was called by other nations was obtainable in the city at a coffee house. However, it was the Portuguese, Catherine of Braganza who was married to Charles II and a tea addict that transformed the drink into a fashionable one. In 1792, as was seen in Gillray cartoon, John Bull and his household - Anti-Saccharites, in their tea left off the use of sugar. Before you knew it, it was taken by those in the middle class, then big taxes were paid on it and subsequently, tea started becoming smuggled. If it wasn’t William Pitt junior, maybe no one would have had the brains to take out the taxes.
It was after then that it became affordable for the working class; they could now settle down for a good brew. In the middle of the 18th century, tea had become the most populous drink in the country overtaking gin and ale in the hearts of the British people.
It was only a matter of time and the East India Company made use of tea clippers like the Cutty Sark, to convey the harvest from China and India as quickly as probable. In the year 1908, the teabag was designed; modernizing how 165m cups of tea taken in the UK on a daily basis is made.
However, the tea time is now threatened.
For about five years now, sales of tea bags have been falling, probably because the younger generations do no longer love it like they used to. A third of the age group of 55 to 64 takes a soothing cup of char over five times daily. If you compare it to the age group of 16 to 34, only 16% of them do the same.
Green tea, on the other hand, has gone up in sales.
Another thing is the explosion in the teacup; it is far from over. The grandson of General Ne Win, a former dictator, had slammed Aung San Suu Kyi, labelling him a 'disgrace' because he had served Lipton tea at a feast. Maybe Twinning's, Fortnum and Mason's Queen Anne Tea would have been preferred. Soon teas were taken in time periods and you hear people having that 'Morning Tea or Afternoon Tea.'
Who Loves Afternoon Tea?
For Henry James, there were hardly any hours in life that were friendlier than the hour committed to the ceremonious afternoon tea. Afternoon tea, that most exemplary of English traditions is, maybe surprisingly, a somewhat new custom. '
We already know the tradition of drinking tea started far back in China in the third millennium BC and in England in the 1660s. It was not until the middle 19th century that the idea of 'Afternoon Tea' came up. The concept of afternoon tea in the UK was introduced in 1840 by the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna.
She normally gets hungry around four in the afternoon because of the long gap between lunch and dinner in her household. The dinner usually came late at about eight in the evening which required her to demand bread and butter with a tray of tea.
At a time much earlier, the Earl of Sandwich came up with the concept of placing fillings in-between two bread slices.
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Some cake was also brought to her room in late afternoons. This became habitual for her and soon she started inviting her friends to join her. This afternoon break for tea soon became a trendy social event.
In the 1880's the upper classes and society ladies would wear long gowns, hats and fashion accessories for their afternoon tea. It was normally served in the drawing room around the four and five o'clock hours. When you mention traditional afternoon tea, delicate sandwiches, those served with cucumber slices and scones with preserves and clotted cream come to your mind.
It also comes with pastries and cake.
From silver teapots, Ceylon or Indian grown tea is transferred into bone china cups. In this day and age, however, in the normal suburban home, afternoon tea will probably be a cup of tea with just biscuits or cake. If you haven't experienced the afternoon tea UK tradition, you can take a trip to one of the best hotels in London or visit an old-fashioned tea room in the western part of the country.
A popularly known tea is the Devonshire Cream Tea which consists of vital ingredients, strawberry jam, scones, Devon clotted cream, and china teacups having hot sweet tea. The best cream tea is claimed by a lot of counties in the UK's West Country. These are the Somerset, Cornwall and Dorset. In London, you can find wide hotel selections that serve the ideal afternoon tea experience. Some of these hotels are Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, the Ritz and the Savoy, the Dorchester and Claridges.