If you’re reading the articles that we cover here at Bingo Scanner, you’ll know how much we love bingo. What’s more, you’ll probably know that bingo is considered as one of the favourite pastimes in the UK. In the UK, bingo is used as an educational tool, as a party game, and the rise in popularity of online bingo resulted in developing plenty of unique and fun bingo games. Online bingo became the most popular type of bingo. Online bingo games are similar to the bingo games played in bingo halls but have some advantages. For example, online bingo has many offers, bonuses, and jackpots, and you can meet numerous people in the online chat provided in the bingo rooms. Plus, players use plenty of bingo superstitions to boost their luck when playing online bingo games.
But, what about tea in Britain? Is British Tea as popular as British Bingo? Let’s find out!
This might sound like a stereotype, but British people are tea people. People from many countries enjoy drinking tea, but UK citizens are considered as the most popular tea drinkers. On average, every UK citizen consumes around two kilograms of tea each year. The stereotype of British tea drinkers is generally considered as a positive one, and people often use phrases like “English as teacup” or “not my cup of tea” to explain things that they are doing. What’s more interesting is that the history of tea in Britain is fascinating.
A brief history of tea in Britain
Did you know that the story of tea doesn’t start in Britain? In fact, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled water when some leaves from the tree fell into the water. Shen decided to try this combination and that’s how tea was born. It’s impossible to know whether this story is completely true, but tea drinking certainly was established in China many centuries before it came to Europe.
Tea was first brought to Britain in the early 17th century by the East India Company. Then, tea was an expensive drink and only rich people were able to try it. By 1657, tea was available in London’s coffee houses. At that time, people called tea as Tcha, Tree, Tray, or China Drina, and they sold it as a remedy for virility, fatigue, and poor health. As we mentioned, tea was very expensive, with prices starting from £10 per pound (£22 per kilogram) which is around £2,000 in today's money.
In 1662, Queen Catherine of Braganza, King Charles II’s wife, introduced the ritual of drinking tea to the English Royal Court. This made tea as a custom drink and habit adopted by the aristocracy. The first tea shop was opened in 1717 by Thomas Twinning and tea started to appear throughout all country being available for everyone. Through Canton River, seven million tons of tea were exported each year, and half of it was on British-owned ships.
Of course, the Crown saw the popularity of tea as a luxury good and a great source of income, and by the 18th century, taxation of tea imports increased to 119%. This led to massive smuggling of tea, and people started to sell low-quality tea products. People dried used tea leaves and mixed them with new leaves and other plants in order to produce new tea. This smuggling was eliminated after 1784 when tea taxation went to 12.5%, but adulteration was the main problem until the government made it illegal in 1875.
The afternoon tea
The tradition of afternoon tea was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. According to the story, the Duchess would get hungry around 4 PM, while the evening meal was served at around 8 PM. In order for the Duchess to not be hungry in the long period between lunch and dinner, she asked a tray of bread, tea, butter, and a cake to be brought into her room late in the afternoon. That became a habit and she started inviting her friends for an afternoon tea.
This habit has become a fashionable social event that upper-class women used during the 1880s. Then, these women would wear long gowns, hats, and gloves, and enjoyed their afternoon tea, which they served between 4 PM and 5 PM. Traditionally, the afternoon tea was served with dainty sandwiches and cakes. Today, the afternoon tea is only a mug of tea with a biscuit or a small cake.
Types of tea
There are many types of tea that British people enjoy drinking. From English Breakfast tea to Earl Grey and the Lapsang Souchong tea. All types of tea come from the plant Camellia Sinensis and they are processed in different ways.
One of the most popular types of tea in Britain is Black tea from Liptons, Twinnings, PG Tips or Tetley. This tea is very dark and that’s why it is usually served with milk. Another popular type of tea in Britain is the green tea that is made by limiting the amount of oxidation while producing a delicate flavour. Green tea is also very popular for its health benefits.
Tea and pottery
When tea was introduced in China, people used to drink it from tea cups without handles. However, when tea became one of the most popular drinks in Britain, British people wanted to find teacups that will match their habits. This led to the growth of the pottery and porcelain industry, and that’s how the British people started drinking tea from tea cups made from these materials.
Tea in the UK today
Tea has been and is still an important part of the lives of British people. Even if people don’t drink tea that much like they did in the past, tea won’t get out of the market soon. People in the UK are proud of their tea-drinking tradition and it will remain. So, don’t forget to enjoy your cup of tea when you visit some city in the UK!
Here at Bingo Scanner, regardless of providing you with the most popular bingo sites, bonuses, and promotions, we love sharing interesting facts and stories that revolve around the UK culture, one of which is the history of tea in Britain. If you enjoy this article, stick with us while we go through the most popular aspects that make Britain so Great!
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