Thursday, May 17, 2018

Royal Week ~ Keep Calm and Drink Tea!

Royal Wedding week  for HRH Prince Harry and his fiancée Ms. Meghan Markle and it wouldn't be complete
without a small discussion and a little history about
"taking tea."

Warming us when it's chilly outside and cooling us down
when poured over ice cubes in the summer ~ tea is
the perfect drink no matter what side of
the Pond one lives on!

Tea and Brits
Tea and the British go together like... well...
tea and biscuits...

This week I shared a post about porcelain fit for a king
so today I thought I'd share a little about how tea time
as we know it came to be.

Tea as a drink has its origins in China in the year 2737 BC
when Emperor Shennong was away from home with his army.
His servant was preparing hot water for him to drink and a leaf
from the camellia sinensis bush blew into his cup.
The leaf went undetected and Emperor Shennong drank from
the cup and found the brew to his liking.

By English wikipedia, Public Domain, Link

In the 1500's, Portuguese priests and merchants were offered tea  to drink in China and they enjoyed it and brought tea leaves back to their part of the Western world.
Tea became a popular drink in the United Kingdom
during the next century.
The East India Tea Company brought tea production to India
during this time in order to compete with China.
 Consumption of tea was mostly for the upper classes initially
as tea was expensive but with England being able to
produce its own tea the drink was made available
to everyone.

Anna Maria, Marchioness of Tavistock.jpg
Anna, Duchess of Bedford By Unknown -, Public Domain, Link

Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, started the tradition of afternoon tea back in 1840 by inviting in a few friends to share a light meal to stave off hunger between the noon meal and dinner
which then was served at 8:00p.m.

The idea took off as apparently everyone was hungry and
high tea became very fashionable.

What's the difference between the different tea repasts
you ask?

According to a nice post by Tea Time magazine afternoon tea
{also called a low tea} is a light afternoon snack where little finger or tea sandwiches, scones and cake is served.
High tea is a little more substantial with savories and meats included with the tea and is more like what we would call supper.
High tea is served at 5:00p.m.

Not really a tea but too beautiful not to share.  :)

Here is a table set for a light dinner at the Biltmore Estate
that I shared in my Biltmore at Christmas post last December.

A cream tea is a tea that serves scones with clotted cream and a small pot of jam.
In the Victorian Tea Society when we had teas at each other's
homes we really had an afternoon tea.
Once in a while if a friend just happened to stop by
then I might have a cream tea as a mid-morning snack
but actually a cream tea is a type of afternoon tea
in the United Kingdom.

Tea accoutrements

Tea tins

Earlier this year I found this tea tin at HomeGoods and
since it works with our British tea theme today plus it's my
favorite color...  Just had to share here with you today!
On the back of this sweet pink tin of black tea by the
Keep Calm and Carry On Beverage company, Ltd.
there is a summary of how
the famous saying on WWII British posters came to be:

"On the eve of WWII the British Government printed 2.5 million Keep Calm and Carry On posters. The aim of the simple five word statement was to convey tot he country a message of reassurance for the troubled times that lay ahead.
"The posters went unused and subsequently destroyed at the end of the war.  Some 55 years later a second hand book dealer in the North of England discovered a copy of the poster in a box of books bought for auction.  That find marked the rebirth and launch of the Keep Calm and Carry On message into the 20th Century."

Tea tins have been in production for over a century now  but tea was first stored in small locked tea chests or boxes within the home {think the Boston Tea Party of Dec. 16, 1773}.

Tea bags

There are first cutting and second cuttings of tea with the first cut referred to as the best tea for that harvest from the camellia sinensis bushes at a tea plantation.  Brewing a cup or pot of loose leaf tea is still the best tasting way to enjoy tea.

There are differing types of tea ~ white, black, oolong, rooibos, green tea and more.

There are also tisanes which are herbal blends and not really teas but most people call them tea anyway.

The invention of the tea bag is considered as 1908 with little hand-sewn bags of fabric, usually silk.  Patents were applied for as early as 1903 with production beginning in 1904 and successful marketing of tea bags by 1908, hence the date.

Tea spoons

Spoons specifically for tea were originally called mote spoons and were created by Colonial pewter and silversmiths here in America.
These spoons were long-handled with slots in the spoon face itself for removing tea leaves from one's cup and from the crevices of the tea pot's spout. 

Pretty interesting stuff, huh?

I hope  you've enjoyed this little history of tea today and
please check some of my other posts featuring tea
by just searching "tea," "teatime" and "table settings" in
the search bar along the top, I believe it is.

*Set your recorder  to record the royal wedding which
will begin at 4am EST this coming Saturday morning on all
the major news channels starting at various times.
Check there programming for the correct time for that
station ~ especially if you aren't planning to
get up to watch it live.

Sharing with
Feathered Nest Friday
Thursday Favorite Things
Sweet Inspiration
Inspire Me Monday
Friday Features
Hearth and Soul
Create Bake Grow and Gather
Tablescape Thursday
Best of the Weekend ~ Pender and Peony
Tuesday Cup of Tea ~ Antiques and Teacups

Happy tea to you,

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Happy hugs to you,
Barb :)

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