9.01.2009

Tea of the Week: English Breakfast

Congrats to Katherine Indovina for winning last weeks Summer Punch Rooibos! Katherine I need your snail mail addy to get it to you. This weeks tea is a traditional favorite, English Breakfast. It is robust, full-bodied with light floral undertones (sometimes referred to as "coppery"). When blended with milk, it produces a comforting aroma eerily similar to warm toast and honey. More about this tea.

tea-in-art-mary-cassat-afternoon-tea Today the habit of tea drinking is inexorably linked to the British despite the fact that the British were fairly late on the tea scene in historical terms. Ironically the first mention of tea in English literature is a translation of a Dutchman’s travels to the east. Tea was first brought to England via Holland on Dutch ships. Since tea was becoming an ‘in’ beverage the British government became quite incensed that a tiny nation such as the Netherlands would control the shipment of tea to the UK. In 1651 the British government passed the Navigation Acts which forbade the importation of any products on non-British ships. Traders and Dutchmen, being resourceful continued the trade in the usual manner but for one little wrinkle - The tea was transshipped in Holland onto British ships!

Early in British life tea was known as a health beverage and claimed all sorts of curative powers. Afternoon tea was the invention of Anna, wife of the seventh Duke of Bedford. At that time custom dictated only two planned meals per day: a hearty breakfast and a late evening dinner. Anna in a effort to ease the “sinking feeling” began instructing her servants to prepare tea and cakes in the late afternoon. Thus began a fashionable habit which still exists today.

On the home front, everything is getting back to normal since school has started. The last two mornings I’ve gotten up to less than 50 degrees outside, definitely sweater weather! I’ve been researching old teapot cozy patterns this week, seriously thinking about knitting some. If all goes well I might put them up for sale on the website. You all have a great week!

1 comment:

Jason Witt said...

I'm all for taking tea to counter that "sinking feeling" in the afternoon between a couple larger meals. But I'm not in agreement that sweet snacks should be taken with that afternoon tea. At least not every day. Rather, the tea alone should be used to ward off hunger without any milk or sweeteners in it. It does sound appealing to have the tea taste like warm toast with honey. However, it's even better to have a thin waistline and be confident in good health. --Spirituality of Tea