"A country of tea drinkers ~ thanks to Portugal!" England Local Custom Tip by aaaarrgh
England Local Customs: 129 reviews and 170 photos
Ok, maybe this is a closer version of the truth, about England's obsession with tea. It is still fashionable with some people to drink 'speciality' teas, like Earl Grey, and certainly tea is remarkably refreshing, whatever the weather!
It surprised me to find out that tea-drinking came from the Portuguese. They were great sailors and explorers, bringing things like tea, and bananas, to Europe. English King Charles II married a Portuguese woman, Catherine of Braganza. In the 1660's, Catherine introduced tea to the English polite society.
Tea-drinking reached a height of fashion in the late C18th/early C19th century England. Fashionable tea gardens opened in London.
The fashion of 'Afternoon Tea' was invented by Anne, Duchess of Bedford, in the 1830's. Any excuse for a cake and sandwich, eh?
At this time the Great Tea Race also began between India and London - the winner was the first ship to bring the first cargo of new season tea to London Docks. It was an incredibly popular event for spectators, second only to the Derby horse race.
[Information from the Wait Collection of Teapots, Newport Museum]
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