Tea to warm the cockles and soothe the soul…
Tea is a much loved drink in many parts of the world and may be called Britain’s national drink. While tea has been around in England for hundreds of years, it’s origins lie in Asia.
2737 BC is said to the year when tea came into being, when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a camellia sinesis tree and some leaves dropped some water is servant was boiling. Being a herbalist he tasted the concoction and tea was born!
Tea was first observed in British history in 1658 having been brought to Europe from China, via Java, by Dutch merchant traders. It was at this time considered an exotic herbal tonic of the East and not consumed by the general population.
In 1662 King Charles married Portuguese Princess and tea addict, Catherine of Braganza who made tea fashionable in the court and among the wealthy classes. It was from then that the tea addiction spread to the rest of Britain. The the famous East India Company was there to facilitate this.
With the reduction of exorbinant taxes of tea in the 1700’s, the end of the East India Company’s monopoly of the tea trade in the 1800s and the rise of tea imports from other places such as India, tea became an affordable staple of British pantries.
It remains a key British pastime and a key part of the British diet today.
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