Now that you’ve gotten to know a wonderful company located here in the U.S., I’m going to give you 5 reasons on why you should have a cup of tea – today!
This book though counselled moderation rather than abstinence (and noted indeed that an excess of cold is equally as damaging as an excess of heat). But a few decades later in 1748 John Wesley, the great preacher and founder of the Methodist movement, was arguing for complete abstinence from tea, on the grounds that it gave rise to 'numberless disorders, particularly those of a nervous kind'. He cited the example of himself, claiming that tea drinking had caused in him a 'Paralytick disorder', which had cleared up since he began to abstain from the beverage. Wesley urged that the money previously spent by an individual on tea should instead be given to the poor, and as an alternative hot infusions could be made from English herbs including sage or mint. His argument was certainly thorough (although medically entirely incorrect), and he even touched on how one ought to deal with the awkward situation of having to refuse an offered cup of tea. The tract is shot through with the emphasis on the religious importance of self-denial that was a central tenet of early Methodism, but in fact at later in his life Wesley went back to tea drinking.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, there could be no doubt about the importance of tea to the British people. This was acknowledged by the government during the First World War. Tea was not initially rationed, but tea prices began to rise as a result of ships being sunk by German submarines, and so the government took over the importation of tea and controlled prices. During the Second World War, the government took even more drastic action to safeguard this essential morale-booster. Just two days after war broke out, it took control of all tea stocks, and ordered that the vast reserves then stored in London must be dispersed to warehouses outside the capital in case of bombing. When during 1940 enemy blockades prevented ships from getting through, the Ministry of Food introduced a ration of 2oz of tea per person per week for those over the age of five. This was not a lot, enough for two or three cups a day of rather weak tea. But there was extra tea for those in the armed forces, and on the domestic front for those in vital jobs such as firemen and steel workers. Tea was also sent in Red Cross parcels to British prisoners of war abroad.
Some poorer households also adopted the practice of afternoon tea, and in some areas women pooled their resources and equipment in order to make such occasions affordable. But more common among the working classes was 'high tea'. During the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when most people worked in agriculture, the working classes tended to have the main meal of their day at midday, with a much lighter supper late in the evening. But after the industrial revolution, more and more people were employed for long shifts in factories or mines, and hot midday meals were thus less convenient. They were also not appropriate for the increasing numbers of children who were at school during the day. The custom developed of having a high tea in the late afternoon, at the end of the working day, consisting of strong tea, and hearty, hot food. Unlike afternoon tea, high tea was the main meal of the day, rather than a stop-gap between lunch and dinner.
Contemporary manuals on etiquette and good housekeeping are full of advice on how to conduct a correct afternoon tea. The idea of needing an instruction book in order to enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit with some friends seems rather alarming these days, but although nineteenth century afternoon teas were elaborate affairs from our point of view, in those days they were considered relatively informal occasions. Invitations were issued verbally or by note, and rather than attending for the entire duration guests were free to pop in when it suited them and likewise leave when they wanted to. The hostess would pour the tea, but it was the responsibility of the men to hand the cups round. If there were no men present, this job fell to the daughters of the hostess or other young women present (goodness know what happened if there were no men and no daughters available!). There was a fashion for women to wear tea gowns, but these were softer and less restrictive than evening gowns, and it was not always deemed necessary for women to wear gloves. Nonetheless many did, and the author of The Etiquette of Modern Society points out that a thoughtful hostess should always provide biscuits with tea, since these can be eaten more easily than sandwiches without removing one's gloves.
A bad cup of tea is, in my view, worse than no cup of tea at all. It might have all the ingredients (not that there are many) but if it’s not done right it can be awful.
I have never been a coffee drinker but have loved a nice cup of tea for as long as I can remember. When I first moved to Texas, oh so many years ago, I was introduced to Sweet Tea. Now sweet tea in Utah is completely different than sweet tea in the south. I had switched from a cup of hot tea to iced tea that fast and blended in the south so well…except for my accent. Unfortunately, I have also been a soda drinker most of my life. Tea has been the one thing that has helped me curb and to squash the soda drinking habit at times. In order to keep my soda habit at bay, I am always on the look out for new teas to keep me intrigued and my palette satisfied.
By 1785 the government (under pressure from legal tea merchants whose profits were being seriously undermined by all the smuggling) slashed the duty on tea, making it much more affordable. This wiped out the illegal smuggling trade virtually overnight. It still was not cheap, and for many years tea was often adulterated with leaves from other plants or with leaves that had already been brewed, which made it more affordable but much less pleasant! There was a great deal of concern about adulteration - some unscrupulous individuals added poisonous chemicals to make green 'tea' the right colour - and these concerns led to an increase in popularity in black tea, and a parallel increase in the addition of milk to tea. Such was the popularity of the beverage that many employers provided free tea to their employees (just like tea breaks in offices and factories today!) while household servants were often provided with a tea allowance. Although it is not documented, these employers were surely well aware that a cup of tea was just the thing to refresh their employees and perk them up.
But not everyone agreed that tea was an appropriate drink for the working classes. Indeed, from the early eighteenth century well into the nineteenth century a debate raged among middle and upper-class commentators about the benefits or otherwise of tea drinking - and particularly about whether the lower classes should be allowed to drink tea at all. This was partly based upon a consideration of whether tea might be injurious to health (it was a long time before the benefits of tea to health would be scientifically proven) but also partly based upon snobbery and a belief that the poor existed essentially to serve the needs of the rich.
Let’s talk about the two teas I received – and . Both are equally amazing with my favorite being the Garden Grove. Then again, I am a succker for green tea as evident by my Instagram profile pic of me sucking down an iced green tea from Starbucks – Ha!!
In the following years the debate about the health-giving properties of tea got under way in earnest. An anonymous 'Gentleman of Cambridge' published a pamphlet claiming (based on the work of a physician who had served no less a figure than the King of Denmark!) that tea was virtually a cure-all. He cited conditions as varied as scurvy, rheumatism, inflammation and poor sight, all of which he said could be cured by the daily drinking of large quantities of tea. He also noted that it was particularly beneficial to the 'fair sex' (meaning women), which was a great contrast to the doctor of Montpelier, who was very concerned that hot liquors could heat the womb and adversely affect a woman's fertility (his evidence for the adverse effect of heat included the Biblical figure Rachel, who had rather a hot temper, and had to wait many years to conceive).