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Archive for the ‘Tea Culture’ Category

Doing my spring cleaning I discovered that I had in my cupboard 17 blends of tea; I would have bet to have more than 10, but 17 is quite a number!

That’s make me start thinking about how much tea people consume in the world; so, I did my research and fascinating and surprising data came out.

Did you know that Turkey resulted to be the  leading consumer of tea worldwide??? Well, it is,  with its 2,5 kg of annual per capita consuption!

I would have never imagine that!

Well, I guess it’s true since it is one major producer.

Follows Uk with its 2,1 kg of consumption per capita per years,  followed in turn by its neighbour isle, Irland, with 1,5  kg of tea leaves.

I would have bet Uk to be first in tea consumption… This is the evidence that preconception are not right for most of the times!

What I found really surprising is that Japan and China are respectively only at the 8th and 14th place, with 900 gr. and 600 gr.!!!! This really astonish me, since China and Japan have both a great tradion in tea drinking with their own rituals.

What about Italy?

Well, Italy is only 25th in the list of the major consumer tea; thinking about Italy tradition in coffee drinking, it’s not really surprising.

I only guess that they haven’t counted me in this survey!!!

I made few counts and resulted that I drink in a year …. 2,9 kg of tea!!!!

4 cups a day ( not really, I usually drink 5 or 6 , but I decided not to exagerate), 2 mg of tea per cup, 365 day in a year…. !!!!

What about you? 🙂

Have a good brew and let me know! 😉

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At the beginning of 1773 the British East India Company was controlling tea trading between India and all the British colonies, even those in America; this passage guaranteed a high margin of gain for British merchants but it also meant a higher price for the American colonists. As a consequence, the colonist started importing tea from Holland; this was seen with concern by the British parliament, beacause all the British warehouses were full of tea that was left unsold, which would have certainly lead the British East India Company to bankruptcy. That was something that the British government could not just let happening.

The North ministry’s solution was the Tea Act, which received the assent of King George on May 10, 1773. This act permitted the company, for the first time, to export tea to the colonies on its own account. This would allow the company to reduce costs by eliminating the middlemen who bought the tea at wholesale auctions in London. Instead of selling to middlemen, the company now appointed colonial merchants to receive the tea on consignment; the “consignees” would in turn sell the tea for a commission. In July 1773, tea consignees were selected in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Charleston. Cutting this costs of the company allowed it to sell its tea cheaper than the colonial merchants who were selling smuggled tea from Holland, without even eliminating the taxes for the American colonists.
On the evening of December 16, 1773, in Boston,  a group of men calling themselves the “Sons of Liberty” went to the harbor, dressed as Mohawk Indians. They boarded three British ships that were supposed to unload the tea of the British East India Company, the Beaver, the Eleanor and the Dartmouth, and dumped all the forty-five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor.

The struggles of the “Sons of Liberty” lead to victory. In February, 1775, Britain passed the “Conciliation Resolution”, which ended taxation for any colony that satisfactorily provided for the imperial defense and the upkeep of imperial officers. The Tea Act was replaced by the Taxation of Colonies Act, in 1778.

At the very least, the Boston Tea Party and the reaction that followed served to rally support for revolutionaries in the thirteen who were eventually successful in their fight for indipendence.

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“At 9 o’clock she made breakfast- that was her part of the household work- The tea and sugar stores were under her charge.” ( “My Aunt Jane Austen” by Caroline Austen)

Of course, Jane Austen loved tea. Everyone who have read at least one of her novels knows it. Just think what a relevant role tea plays in her novels: In “Emma”, Miss Bates doesn’t drink coffe, ‘A little tea if you please’; in “Sense and Sensibility”, it’s tea everyone’s drinking when Elinor notices Edward’s mysterious ring set with a lock of hair; in “Pride and Prejudice”, the great honour Mr. Collins can praise with Elizabeth and her friends, is dinking tea with Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Tea has not always been part of  British life: Henry VIII, around 1520, used to have breakfast with some ale, for example. But, in the Georgian Era, when Jane Austen set up her writing ‘career’, tea drinking was like breathing for English people; that’s why there were more ‘tea meal’ than ‘normal meal’, and we will go through them all 🙂 .

  • Breakfast wasn’t a formal meal: people chatted, or read letters or newspapers; the menu itself was quite frugal, with hot rolls or muffin with some good butter, or some toast and pound cake, and tea, of course.
  • Afternoon tea. Legends wants the 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anne, to be responsible for having introduced in England the habit of drinking tea between noon and the supper, inviting all her friends to join her in this new fashionable meal. Tea was usually drunk with milk and accompanied with sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries, usually served on a tiered stand.
  • Evening Tea was a special moment in which family and friend gathered together after the day’s activities; since evening tea came after dinner, we wouldn’t have found the rich menu of afternoon tea, but only some toasts or, at least, slices of bread and butter.

Now I know what I’ll do tonight right after dinner: sit down with my favourite Jane Austen book, “Persuasion”, while enjoying a wonderful cup of tea 😉 .

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