Published on April 21st, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw
Everything Stops for Tea
Today it is National Tea Day. Yes, we know, for most Brits every day is tea day but we can still celebrate the nation’s favourite drink.
National Tea Day was founded as a community to bring people together and to raise money for charity. All over the country, tea lovers will be enjoying a cuppa or decadent afternoon tea at tea houses and hotels.
There is also a National Tea Day Festival taking place at Kensington Roof Gardens. One of nation’s favourite tea brands PG Tips will be on hand with free samples along with the PG Tips monkey.
For details of venues near you celebrating National Tea Day, visit the National Tea Day website.
Why The Brits Love Tea
Last year’s National Tea Day was the top trending topic on Twitter, confirming the British love affair with the cuppa. Yet, where did this obsession begin? Particularly, as coffee houses were well established in the country before the first tea chest arrived on our shores centuries ago.
It was back in 1662 when Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese bride of Charles II first brought tea to Britain. When she first landed in Britain at Portsmouth after a rough crossing she asked for a cup of tea, however as none was available she was given a glass of beer instead.
Tea when combined with milk and sugar soon became a favourite drink. Originally promoted as a health drink it soon overtook sales of ale and gin. By 1750, tea was the favoured drink of the lower classes. As a result, tea is also touted as one of the reasons behind the success of the Industrial Revolution. Workers would drink tea on their breaks as opposed to beer, therefore keeping them more productive.
Amongst the ranks of high society, tea also became a fashionable custom. The Duchess of Bedford introduced afternoon tea. In the early 1800’s the duchess complained of feeling fatigued during the afternoon, and so she began having tea in the late afternoon. This bridged the large gap between lunch and dinner which would not be served until 8pm.
Today afternoon tea is as popular as ever. If you want to treat yourself to an afternoon tea at Claridge’s you need to book at least 90 days in advance.
Stop for a Brew
If you are reading this blog whilst enjoying a cup of tea, here are some more fascinating tea facts:
1 in 10. The number of Brits who prefer to put the milk in first when they make a cup of tea.
3½ cups a day. We drink on average 3½ cups of tea a day and 96% are made with tea bags.
60 billion cups a year. According to the Tea and Infusions Organisation that is the number of cups we drink each year. In other words, 900 cups a year per person.
1908. The date when the tea bag was invented, New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan sent out samples of tea in small silk bags and they were found to work just as well as a metal trainer. In 1958, Tetley became the first company in the UK to sell tea in tea-bags.
70 years. The amount of time the Royal Voluntary Service has provided tea in the event of local and national emergencies. During the Blitz, the charity provided hot beverages to those who had lost their homes. This generosity has continued to more recent disasters including the Cumbrian floods in 2009. The service also gives tea in patients in hospitals and the elderly in their own homes.
11 Rules. Identified by author George Orwell, and published in his essay A Nice Cup of Tea these 11 rules will enable you to make the perfect cup of tea. Orwell described tea as one of the “mainstays of civilisation”. Not a fan of sugar in his tea, Orwell believed anyone who sweetened their tea could not be called a “true tea-lover”.
1994. The year when Clipper became the UK’s first Fairtrade tea company. You can buy a great value pack of 440 Clipper Fairtrade Tea Bags for your home or workplace from our Catering section at the Post Office Shop.