Friday, January 21, 2011

Tea Time

 Did you know tea was discovered by accident or so the legend goes?  Long ago boiling water was necessary to purify the water for drinking.  It seems dried leaves made their way into such water during a trip Emperor Shen Nong and his court were on.  According to legend it was around 2737BC.  The Emperor tasted the mixture and it was pleasing to his taste buds.

Around 800 AD a book on tea called “The Cha Ching” was written by LULU.  In it he told how to grow and prepare tea.

Tea made its way to Japan , then to Europe before or around 1560 AD.  Tea was expensive to because of the high cost of shipping.  B

By 1652 tea was being served in England .  King Charles II and his wife both loved tea.  By this time tea was a popular drink in many countries.

It seems the British were custom to only two meals a day, however, legend has it that because of tea, Anna the Duchess of Bedford, introduced the afternoon meal with tea.

High Tea was the main meal of the day and the wealthy also had Low Tea for the enjoyment of special tidbits.  Of course one must have fitting conversation and a fitting display of tea, tidbit and tea sets that were pleasing to the eyes as well.

Tea Gardens were common in those days, with wonderful concerts, flowers, and games.

Around 1690AD America began to sell tea.  Tea Gardens, Tea Courts and Tea Dances began to spring up all across America and England . 

Colonial women were no exception to the love of tea.  Well you can just about guess the rest from here with Boston being one of the main trading centers for tea.  Smuggling began to take place as the British tea was taxed to heavily.  We know the Indians used, herbs, spices and used tea also.  People began to purchase tea from the Indians and as a result the tea tax was introduced in 1767.  Rage escalated and Indians threw hundreds of pounds of tea into the Boston Harbor , or so it seemed.  The Indians were actually men from Boston who dressed as Indians, and we know this as the Boston Tea Party.

Aren’t we thankful to Thomas Sullivan who made the first tea bags?  Now we can brew tea one cup at a time and whatever flavors our little hearts desire.

One hot afternoon at the 1904 Worlds Fair an Englishman by the name of Richard Blechynden became discouraged when is hot brewed tea wasn’t selling.  One can imagine the desire to have a cool refreshing drink during this hot weather.  A good cold summer drink must have ice and so Mr. Blechynden did just that, added ice.   

While doing research a couple of weeks ago I came across an ad for The Newark Central Tea Co. on 3rd St .  Maybe my ancestors shopped there.

Have your own old fashioned tea party this season and better yet have one for the little ones and continue this wonderful tradition.

Sources:  http:/

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