For centuries the cup of tea has been seen as British as the Union Jack and the Queen. This is despite the fact that Tea is impossible to grow in the UK and has to be imported from abroad. It first came via Tea Clipper ships such as the Cutty Sark and then distributed around the country in vast quantities. Whilst you may not have that amount to move it’s reassuring to know that https://www.uk-tdl.com/man-van.html can get stuff shifted for you using just a man and Van Slough area or anywhere else. How was our national drink brought to this country? Read on.
Tea came to the country from the plantations of China and India at the start of the 18th Century. Anything that could make the water taste better was seen as a bonus and as you had to boil the water for the infusion to work it removed any bugs. Not that they knew that at the time. It wasn’t cheap and the only places that it could be sampled were in coffee houses, yes that’s right, we had coffee before we had tea. The wallets of the pub landlord were put out as here was an alternative to the very popular Gin and ale. Worse news was for the government tax revenues they decline if people didn’t drink the alcoholic beverages and sure enough Charles 2nd ordered a tax on Tea.
This led to tea being smuggled in and putting its price up even more. It being illegal some smugglers would add non-tea derivatives to bulk it out like the leaves from the sloe bush or minced up willow. It didn’t stop the drink from become the beverage of choice for the lower classes and was the most popular drink by the middle of the 1700’s. By 1784 the Government had greatly reduced tea taxation and the product became more affordable. There were still cases of it being doctored so legislation was brought in to stop that and the quality, taste and strength of the brew was greatly improved.
There was now a great need to get the tea from the Far and Near east as quickly as possible so that the demands of the public could be met and more importantly so that greater profits could be made. This saw the creation of the high mast multi sailed Clipper ship. With the trade wind behind them they could reach speeds of up to 18 knots. A yearly competition was set up to reward the crew that could get back first and also unload their precious cargo in the fastest time at the docks.
The demand for tea in the 18th Century is where our love truly began as the new social custom of afternoon tea, with sandwiches and cake, began to fill in the gap between lunch and supper. There was also the birth of the Tea Shop for people to partake of the drink and food. Lovely. More tea vicar?