When someone mentions the British, the first few things that will pop up your mind is their gorgeous accent, their classy demeanours, their royal family and their tea. They embody that classy elegance and even lift their pinky finger when drinking that cuppa.
The rest of the world did not only accept the hot beverage, but they also created their own versions and flavours. People enjoy matcha, pu-er, tisanes (herbal and floral infusions) and so much more. Businessmen in Australia are even getting their own bubble tea franchise at a reasonable rate. But, how did that long English tradition begin exactly?
The Beginning of the British Obsession
Tea is one of the most classic English drinks, but it was not discovered in their country. The Chinese started this custom in the III millennium BC, and it only reached England in the mid-17th century. The regular tea shipments by the Dutch and Portuguese in 1610 started the tea revolution in the country.
The first to introduce this beverage in 1657 was a London coffee house owned by Thomas Garway in Exchange Alley. He used to sell dry and liquid tea to the community. By 1750, even Britain’s lower classes loved the drink.
The Government Forbids Tea
The popularity of tea in the country distressed the government. There was a huge cutback on sales of ale and gin, and the government’s liquor tax revenue got affected. Shortly after, Charles II countered the growth of the beverage by prohibiting the selling of tea in private houses. However, it was impossible to impose since the majority was against it. Instead, he enforced a 1676 act that taxed tea and obliged coffee house operators to get a license.
The beginning of the tea revolution was not all laughs and tea parties. English tea might have had rough beginnings, but the success of the industry today opens up an everlasting future.