Since 2005 the International Tea Day has been observed in many tea producing countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India and Tanzania. International Tea Day is to draw global attention of governments and citizens on the impact of global tea trade on workers, small growers and consumers. The first International Tea Day was celebrated in New Delhi on 15th December 2005.
Since the 18th century the United Kingdom has been one of the largest per capita tea consumers in the world, with average per capita supply at 1.9 kg per year. The popularity of tea occasioned the furtive export of slips, a small shoot for planting or twig for grafting to tea plants, from China to British India and its commercial culture there, beginning in 1840; British interests controlled tea production in the subcontinent. Tea, which was an upper-class drink in Europe, became the infusion of every class in Great Britain in the course of the 18th century and has remained so.
In Britain, the drinking of tea is so varied that it is quite hard to generalise. While it is usually served with milk, it is not uncommon to drink it black or with lemon, with sugar being a popular addition to any of the above. Strong tea served with milk (and usually one or two teaspoons of sugar) in a mug is commonly referred to as builder's tea.
Before it became Britain's number one drink, China tea was introduced in the coffeehouses of London shortly before the Stuart Restoration (1660); about that time Thomas Garraway, a coffeehouse owner in London, had to explain the new beverage in pamphlet and an advertisement in Mercurius Politicus for 30 September 1658 offered "That Excellent, and by all Physicians approved, China drink, called by the Chinese, Tcha, by other nations Tay alias Tee, ...sold at the Sultaness-head, ye Cophee-house in Sweetings-Rents, by the Royal Exchange, London". In London "Coffee, chocolate and a kind of drink called tee" were "sold in almost every street in 1659", according to Thomas Rugge's Diurnall. Tea was mainly consumed by the fashionably rich". Two pounds, two ounces were formally presented to Charles II by the British East India Company that same year. The tea had been imported to Portugal from its possessions in Asia as well as through the trade merchants maintained with China and Japan. In 1662 Charles II's Portuguese queen, Catherine of Braganza, introduced the act of drinking tea, which quickly spread throughout court and country and to the English bourgeoisie. The British East India company, which had been supplied with tea at the Dutch factory of Batavia imported it directly from China from 1669. In 1672, a servant of Baron Herbert in London sent his instructions for tea making, and warming the delicate cups, to Shropshire;
The earliest English equipages for making tea date to the 1660s. Small porcelain tea bowls were used by the fashionable; they were occasionally shipped with the tea itself. Tea-drinking spurred the search for a European imitation of Chinese porcelain, first successfully produced in England at the Chelsea porcelain manufactory, established around 1743-45 and quickly imitated.
Between 1872 and 1884 the supply of tea to the British Empire increased with the expansion of the railway to the east. The demand however was not proportional, which caused the prices to rise. Nevertheless, from 1884 onward due to new innovation in tea preparation the price of tea dropped and remained relatively low throughout the first half of the 20th century. Soon afterwards London became the centre of the international tea trade. With high tea imports also came a large increase in the demand for porcelain. The demand for tea cups, pots and dishes increased to go along with this popular new drink. Now, people in Britain drink tea multiple times a day. As the years passed it became a drink less associated with high society as people of all classes drink tea today which can be enjoyed in many different flavours and ways.
Tea is not only the name of the beverage, but of a late afternoon light meal at four o'clock, irrespective of the beverage consumed. Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford is credited with the creation of the meal circa 1800. She thought of the idea to ward off hunger between luncheon and dinner, which was served later and later. The tradition continues to this day. There used to be a tradition of tea rooms in the UK which provided the traditional fare of cream and jam on scones, a combination commonly known as cream tea. However, these establishments have declined in popularity since World War II. In Devon and Cornwall particularly, cream teas are a speciality. A.B.C. tea shops and Lyons Corner Houses were a successful chain of such establishments. In Yorkshire the company Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate, run their own Tearooms. Café Tearooms, established in 1919, is now classed as a British Institution. In America it is a common misconception that cream tea refers to tea served with cream (as opposed to milk). This is certainly not the case. It simply means that tea is served with a scone with clotted cream and jam.
Do you like to drink tea?
Explain the reasons for the popularity of this beverage.