British Tea: A Necessary Luxury

Is there a scene more typical of English life than that of a tea set? Charlotte Bronte captured that archetypal tableau in her 1853 novel Vilette when she describes an English tea and suggests the complex negotiation of social identity that revolved around the ritual of the tea table. “How pleasant it was in its…

Tea in a Time of War

Cafe owner pours tea in a London street.As German bombs fell on London in September 1939, the British tea industry faced a dilemma they had feared for some time. How would they protect the commodity that fueled an empire?  That fuel was tea.Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, recounted the tumultuous time: “When London was being persistently…

The Traditional British Cup of Tea Is Changing

The UK needs to nurture younger tea drinkers.The traditional English cup of tea, once considered a necessary luxury, is undergoing its biggest change since tea was first advertised for sale in London in 1657. British tea consumption has fallen from 2.5 ounces per person per week to less than an ounce. That means Britons are drinking…

Sweet Tea Began in England

Queen Elizabeth IForeign dignitaries visiting the court of Queen Elizabeth I often remarked upon the shocking condition of the monarch's teeth. They were rotten, a deplorable condition aggravated by her addiction to sugar. But don't blame tea with sugar for her decaying teeth because she didn't live long enough to taste the exotic new herb from…