"When your day seems topsy turvy and as stormy as can be, there's nothing quite as tranquil as a nice hot cup of tea."

    There are many ideas about tea etiquette and the when and how tea was first made popular in England. Catherine of Braganza helped the tea cause when she married Charles II in 1662 and brought with her from Portugal a casket of tea. She became known as the tea drinking Queen, England’s 1st! By 1669 the English East India Company ordered its first tea cargo but prices were high due to huge government taxes. The lady of the house would keep the key to her locked tea caddy, away from her servants, and ladies drank this precious and fashionable drink at home while the men went out to the coffee houses.

    While drinking tea as a fashionable event is credited to Catharine of Braganza, the actual taking of tea in the afternoon developed into a new social event sometime in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s. In an unfinished novel Jane Austin hints of afternoon tea as early 1804. It is said that the afternoon tea tradition was established by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. She requested that light sandwiches be brought to her in the late afternoon because she had a “sinking feeling” during that time because of the long gap between meals. She began to invite others to join her and thus became the tradition.

Tea trivia too:

    Sugar/lemon — sugar is placed in cup first, then thinly sliced lemon and never milk and lemon together. Milk goes in after tea — much debate over it, but according to Washington School of Protocol, milk goes in last. The habit of putting milk in tea came from the French. “To put milk in your tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry.” (Tea superstition). It was in 1904 that Richard Blechynden created iced tea for the St. Louis World Fair. Then in 1908 Thomas Sullivan “accidently invented the tea bag, when he sent tea to his customers in silk bags; they began to steep the tea in the bag instead of opening them.

    The “High” in High Tea does not imply fancy, high class or expensive. The word actually refers to the time of day in which tea is served (evening) and that it is served at  a dining room table (high table). High Tea is an evening tea generally served at 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm and features sandwiches, scones, heavy cakes, biscuits and, of course, plenty of tea.

    In Tibet tea is served mixed with salt and rancid yak butter. In Burma (now Myanmar) pickled tea known as Lahpet is eaten.

    Tea leaves are a natural means of keeping mosquitoes away. All you have to do is use slightly damp leaves to add the scent of tea to the areas you want to keep insect-free.

    Tea is a natural antioxidant, and rich in vitamins: it contains vitamins B2, B1 and B6. Tea, however, is also rich in potassium, manganese, folic acid and calcium.

    Amongst the many thousands of qualities that tea can boast, it has relaxing effects that can help improve your sex life. In particular, Ashwagandha tea is regarded as a stimulant to virility.

    The world’s oldest gas pump is still going strong, and can be found in Zillah, in Washington State. It’s known as the Teapot Dome Service Station, as it happens to look like a teapot.


Maryann Scott