Tea Tidbits and Trivia

British Tea Favorites
British Tea Favorites

And now, without any further ado, a few tea-related bits that didn’t quite merit a full article but were too good not to share.

Who drinks their tea the strongest? Hard to say, but in The Little Tea Book, published in 1903 by Arthur Gray, the author noted, “In the interior of Australia all the men drink tea. They drink it all day long, and in quantities and at a strength that would seem to be poisonous.”

The British really, really like tea. No, duh. If you don’t believe it, then consider that during the Cold War one of the matters that British disaster planners examined was what effect a nuclear war might have on the country’s highly critical supplies of tea.

Here in the United States we never quite embraced tea (or at least the hot kind) with the same fervor as the Brits, but in 1897 we did convene a Board of Tea Experts to keep an eye on the quality of our tea imports. The board was in operation for almost a century, but was finally disbanded during the Clinton administration in 1996.

Even the most expensive teas nowadays are a relative bargain compared to what they cost in earlier times. In the early eighteenth century, according to some estimates, a pound of premium tea might cost about as much as a skilled craftsman would earn in three weeks.

They apparently did tea a little differently in earlier times. In the 1832 edition of Lydia M. Child’s The American Frugal Housewife, she advised that one should not “let coffee and tea stand in tin” and noted that “green tea is excellent to restore rusty silk.” Which may be valid enough advice – who’s to say? But when it comes to Child’s advice about steeping tea for 10-15 minutes, you’d be advised to get a second opinion.

Maybe he actually said it and maybe not, but one of the more clever witticisms about tea is typically attributed to one Abraham Lincoln, “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” Well, at least it’s honest criticism.

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2 thoughts on “Tea Tidbits and Trivia

  1. Pingback: 20 Reasons to Drink Tea in September « Tea Blog

  2. Great post William! There were some amazing facts there, especially the Clinton Administration. Wow! And yes, some Aussies do like their Tea, really really strong. In fact, Yorkshire Red and Yorkshire actually favourites here.

    Thanks for the article. It was really interesting, well written and very informative!

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