Shore Time: Resurrecting Afternoon Tea

Compiled by Amelia Blades Steward | Photo by Milada Vigerova/Gettyimages

“While there is tea there’s hope.” — Arthur Wing Pinero

Historical Timeline of Tea

  • 1368-1644 — Steamed tea leaves were dried and added loose to water and left to steep

  • Early 1600s — Tea introduced to Europe by Portuguese and Dutch traders

  • 1658 — Charles II married Catherine of Braganza and tea became fashionable at court

  • Late 1600s — Tea took off in America

  • 1840 — The Duchess of Bedford in England requested a mid-afternoon snack which created the ritual of “Afternoon Tea”

Making a Good Cup of Tea

Fortnum & Mason (Est. 1707 as Grocers and Tea Merchants) recommends:

  • Buy the best quality of tea you can afford

  • Check out new local tea merchant Doehrn Tea Co. — offering delicious high-quality loose leaf teas and tisanes.

  • Fill the kettle with cold water

  • Warm the teapot by rinsing it in hot water

  • Use 1 tsp. of tea for every ¾ C. of water

  • When water is boiling, pour it over the tea and steep for 3 — 5 minutes

Fun Facts About Tea

  • America’s clipper ships sparked Britain to use its clipper ships to race from China to Britain in Tea Races in the early 1850s

  • Tea comes from the evergreen bush, Camellia sinensis and is manufactured into black, green, oolong, white, or puer tea

  • Teabags were introduced in 1908 in New York

Footnote: “Tea at Fortnum & Mason,” Ebury Press, A Random House Group Company, 2010, pp. 10-20.

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