“Never trust a man who, when left alone with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on!” — Bill Connolly
Nothing keeps a party going like a warm pot of tea. Conversely, nothing stops a party like a cold pot of tea. It was this realization that led to the invention and popularity of the tea cozy.
The first documented use of the tea cozy was in 1840. Although tea had been introduced to England in the 1600s, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that tea took on a more formal place in the course of the day for the upper class. The honor of establishing this now long-standing tradition of taking Afternoon Tea, is credited to the Duchess of Bedford. This quotidian ritual was enjoyed by members of the aristocracy who neither had to work and were, at that time, the only ones who could afford to drink tea every day, as tea was still an expensive, exotic import.
Afternoon Tea became a rather posh affair. Surely if the aristocracy was going to have a gathering, they would want to use (and show off) their best bone china (another expensive and exotic import), and feast on an array of fancy cakes and pastries. Tea parties were a regular Who’s Who of British society. Being the host of or being in attendance at the “right” party was a reflection of one’s own status. Tea parties became a time to socialize, to network, to gossip and to catch up on the latest news (internet would not be invented for another 250 years).
However, with all the chatter at teatime, the teapot would get cold. Necessity, being the mother of all invention, spawned the creation of a little woolen jacket that would keep the tea from getting cold and keep the guests from leaving.
Perhaps now that tea is an affordable commodity, it has lost its exclusive status. However, getting together to enjoy a pot of tea is still a reason enough to assemble a party of people. And wherever there is a pot of tea, there is need for a cozy. And should you be left in a room alone, by all means….try it on!
Madam Potts’ blog, Mad Pots of Tea!
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