The Luxury of Tea

Tea kanji

Kanji meaning tea

Christina here. Despite being half British, I’ve never been much of a tea drinker. I don’t mind it, but it’s not my favourite beverage. It doesn’t work on me as a panacea or cure-all either, the way most British people seem to see it. If I have a cold or the weather is chilly and damp as now, however, I do occasionally enjoy a cup of Twinings English Breakfast with lots of milk and sugar. It’s cosy and yes, quite comforting. And we all take for granted how cheap and easy it is to buy it – but that wasn’t always the case!

Wooden_tea_caddy _Museum_of_Liverpool Reptonix free Creative Commons licensed photos  CC BY 3.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby3.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Wooden_tea_caddy,_Museum_of_Liverpool

Although nowadays we can buy tea bags of every variety in the supermarket, or loose weight tea in specialist shops without any problems, in the 18th century it was a luxury commodity. Housewives kept the tea in lockable tea caddies so that only they could dispense it. And there was a reason for that – importing it was quite an undertaking. While doing the research for my first historical novel, Trade Winds, I read about the journey an East India merchant ship had to make in 1731/32 order to go to Canton in China to buy tea and other goods to bring back to Europe. I couldn’t believe how complicated and hazardous it all was!

First of all, you had to have a ship, of course, and capital from investors to buy trade goods to take with you on the outward journey. In England, that was probably usually provided by the East India Company, but in other countries such as Sweden the money was raised by subscription. If the venture succeeded, the investor stood to gain an enormous profit – but the ships didn’t always make it back, in which case you lost everything. The sailing time was approximately five to seven months to get there, a four-month stay in Canton while buying merchandise, and then another seven or eight months to return home. Profits were therefore slow in materialising so you had to think long term.

Tea caddy Daderot  Public domain  via Wikimedia Commons

Daderot, Wikimedia Commons

There wasn’t much in the way of trade goods that the Chinese wanted from the Europeans, so often whatever they brought was sold in other countries along the way, particularly Spain. In the port of Cadiz, merchandise could be sold in exchange for Spanish silver piastres or other silver currency – this was the preferred payment in China. The ship I researched had 73 chests of silver or 400,000 piastres, quite a treasure! (I assume they must have been fairly small chests though).

Tea tin chinaConditions on board were cramped to say the least – the captain and other important people slept in cabins, but the rest of the seamen had their hammocks below deck where they would never have been alone for a moment. If the weather was bad, they didn’t get any rest at all, but had to work around the clock. The food was boring and sometimes downright bad, as was the fresh water supply, and illness was rife. As much as a third of the crew might not make it home again. But despite these risks, and although the salary was poor, they had the added incentive of being allowed to bring some trade goods back for themselves, which made it worth it for many.

Tea tin birdsThe route took them past the Canary Islands, round the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, then across the Indian Ocean up towards Java. They went slowly through the Sunda Strait (between Sumatra and Java) and Banka Strait, followed by a crossing of the China Sea, which could be very treacherous depending on the time of year. On the coast of China at last, they headed for the Bocca Tigris – the “Tiger’s Mouth”, which is what the Portuguese called the opening of the Pearl River. Going upriver towards Canton could be challenging, as the current was strong, and the crew must have been extremely relieved when they finally dropped anchor off the island of Whampoa, just south of Canton. Most of them stayed there the whole time, while the supercargo (the man in charge of trade) and a few others were rowed to Canton itself, where they were to conduct business.

Tea tin redCanton was a city of three parts – a walled inner city, the suburbs outside the walls and a floating city (houseboats). Europeans were not allowed inside the walls but each country rented its own so called ‘factory’ (a building with living quarters and storage) near the river. They also had to pay various taxes to the Chinese authorities, who were very strict. The surrounding streets contained Chinese merchants and each street specialised in one type of goods, like silk, lacquerware and porcelain. And then there was the tea.

Tea chest

Tea was the most important product and it was measured in peculs. There were several harvests a year: one in February/March (new leaves which were the best), one at the beginning of April (also good) and a third halfway through May (not so good). Black tea, Bohea, was considered the best, but there were others like Pekoe and Souchong as well. The most difficult thing for a supercargo was to determine whether the tea they were given was of the quality they had ordered – they didn’t want to be cheated. They could refuse any tea they thought sub-standard so the packing could take ages while fresh baskets were fetched and inspected. Eventually, they ended up with hundreds of chests to take back.

Black twoIt was all extremely complicated as prices fluctuated from day to day. And the way the tea was packed was of the utmost importance so that it wouldn’t be ruined before it even reached Europe. You had to protect it against humidity at all costs. It was put into tea chests that had first been dried in the sun, then lined with lead on the inside. (I have some modern-day tea chests bought in Japan which are still lined with lead – see photos. Some of them are turned into pretty storage chests by being lacquered like this black one). A paper lining was added, and the tea, which was brought in baskets, was placed in the chests and stamped on for half an hour by two men. The tea was allowed to ‘rest’ for another half an hour before a piece of cotton material was put on top and the lid nailed shut. Before the return journey, the whole chest was also wrapped in oiled paper. Throughout, the supercargo had to keep checking so that it was the right type of tea and there was no cheating. He must have been exhausted!

Tea blueThe chests could never be allowed to rest directly on the ground but stood on top of planks. While in Canton, they were left outside in the sun during the day but brought indoors every night. You also couldn’t store anything spicy or with a strong scent next to them in case it ruined the tea’s flavour.

Loading the ship for the return journey could take as long as three months – porcelain went in first, then tea, followed by things like silk and spices, and at the top, provisions. Finally, the ship had to make its way back to Europe through storms and other dangers. No wonder the cargo was sold for an enormous profit after all that and it was considered a luxury item!

Are you a tea-drinker? And if so, what is your favourite type and how do you take it?

100 thoughts on “The Luxury of Tea”

  1. I am a tea drinker and love a strong black tea like Twinnings Irish Breakfast. I used to take it with milk and sugar but while in college I stopped using milk to cut corners. I still use only sugar. I’ve have had to cut back on drinking caffeine so I have one herbal tea that I will drink in the evenings.

    Reply
  2. I am a tea drinker and love a strong black tea like Twinnings Irish Breakfast. I used to take it with milk and sugar but while in college I stopped using milk to cut corners. I still use only sugar. I’ve have had to cut back on drinking caffeine so I have one herbal tea that I will drink in the evenings.

    Reply
  3. I am a tea drinker and love a strong black tea like Twinnings Irish Breakfast. I used to take it with milk and sugar but while in college I stopped using milk to cut corners. I still use only sugar. I’ve have had to cut back on drinking caffeine so I have one herbal tea that I will drink in the evenings.

    Reply
  4. I am a tea drinker and love a strong black tea like Twinnings Irish Breakfast. I used to take it with milk and sugar but while in college I stopped using milk to cut corners. I still use only sugar. I’ve have had to cut back on drinking caffeine so I have one herbal tea that I will drink in the evenings.

    Reply
  5. I am a tea drinker and love a strong black tea like Twinnings Irish Breakfast. I used to take it with milk and sugar but while in college I stopped using milk to cut corners. I still use only sugar. I’ve have had to cut back on drinking caffeine so I have one herbal tea that I will drink in the evenings.

    Reply
  6. Not sure I could drink it without milk, Maryellen, as I love putting lots in! But I’m with you on the caffeine and I have both the normal and decaffeinated versions of my favourite blends. I would never sleep otherwise 🙂

    Reply
  7. Not sure I could drink it without milk, Maryellen, as I love putting lots in! But I’m with you on the caffeine and I have both the normal and decaffeinated versions of my favourite blends. I would never sleep otherwise 🙂

    Reply
  8. Not sure I could drink it without milk, Maryellen, as I love putting lots in! But I’m with you on the caffeine and I have both the normal and decaffeinated versions of my favourite blends. I would never sleep otherwise 🙂

    Reply
  9. Not sure I could drink it without milk, Maryellen, as I love putting lots in! But I’m with you on the caffeine and I have both the normal and decaffeinated versions of my favourite blends. I would never sleep otherwise 🙂

    Reply
  10. Not sure I could drink it without milk, Maryellen, as I love putting lots in! But I’m with you on the caffeine and I have both the normal and decaffeinated versions of my favourite blends. I would never sleep otherwise 🙂

    Reply
  11. Thanks for an interesting post, I knew it was expensive, but didn’t know the details of how tea was imported a couple of centuries ago. I am a tea drinker, and I drink all kinds. Regular black teas, (I prefer varieties from Ceylon), flavored black teas like Earl Grey and chai spice tea, and sometimes I add my own flavoring, like mint leaves or orange peel. I also drink green teas and herbal teas, which I know are technically not tea. I have a whole cabinet in my kitchen full of tea! Depending on the variety, I can drink it with milk or black, and sugar or sometimes honey for the herbal teas.

    Reply
  12. Thanks for an interesting post, I knew it was expensive, but didn’t know the details of how tea was imported a couple of centuries ago. I am a tea drinker, and I drink all kinds. Regular black teas, (I prefer varieties from Ceylon), flavored black teas like Earl Grey and chai spice tea, and sometimes I add my own flavoring, like mint leaves or orange peel. I also drink green teas and herbal teas, which I know are technically not tea. I have a whole cabinet in my kitchen full of tea! Depending on the variety, I can drink it with milk or black, and sugar or sometimes honey for the herbal teas.

    Reply
  13. Thanks for an interesting post, I knew it was expensive, but didn’t know the details of how tea was imported a couple of centuries ago. I am a tea drinker, and I drink all kinds. Regular black teas, (I prefer varieties from Ceylon), flavored black teas like Earl Grey and chai spice tea, and sometimes I add my own flavoring, like mint leaves or orange peel. I also drink green teas and herbal teas, which I know are technically not tea. I have a whole cabinet in my kitchen full of tea! Depending on the variety, I can drink it with milk or black, and sugar or sometimes honey for the herbal teas.

    Reply
  14. Thanks for an interesting post, I knew it was expensive, but didn’t know the details of how tea was imported a couple of centuries ago. I am a tea drinker, and I drink all kinds. Regular black teas, (I prefer varieties from Ceylon), flavored black teas like Earl Grey and chai spice tea, and sometimes I add my own flavoring, like mint leaves or orange peel. I also drink green teas and herbal teas, which I know are technically not tea. I have a whole cabinet in my kitchen full of tea! Depending on the variety, I can drink it with milk or black, and sugar or sometimes honey for the herbal teas.

    Reply
  15. Thanks for an interesting post, I knew it was expensive, but didn’t know the details of how tea was imported a couple of centuries ago. I am a tea drinker, and I drink all kinds. Regular black teas, (I prefer varieties from Ceylon), flavored black teas like Earl Grey and chai spice tea, and sometimes I add my own flavoring, like mint leaves or orange peel. I also drink green teas and herbal teas, which I know are technically not tea. I have a whole cabinet in my kitchen full of tea! Depending on the variety, I can drink it with milk or black, and sugar or sometimes honey for the herbal teas.

    Reply
  16. I’m a split personality when it comes to tea. Traditional teas, such as pu’er and dragon well, I drink “black” like my coffee, so I look for clean, flavorful taste. The other side of me likes to experiment: genmai (Japanese tea with toasted rice), milky chai with dinner at Indian restaurants, and Mongolian yak butter tea with millet, for instance. I had that last one in Mongolia years ago and have wanted to duplicate it ever since. Finally found a recipe (and the millet, though not the yak butter, lol) and will be trying it soon. Not a fan of sugar in any of these. Too easy to load on the calories, and I don’t miss it.

    Reply
  17. I’m a split personality when it comes to tea. Traditional teas, such as pu’er and dragon well, I drink “black” like my coffee, so I look for clean, flavorful taste. The other side of me likes to experiment: genmai (Japanese tea with toasted rice), milky chai with dinner at Indian restaurants, and Mongolian yak butter tea with millet, for instance. I had that last one in Mongolia years ago and have wanted to duplicate it ever since. Finally found a recipe (and the millet, though not the yak butter, lol) and will be trying it soon. Not a fan of sugar in any of these. Too easy to load on the calories, and I don’t miss it.

    Reply
  18. I’m a split personality when it comes to tea. Traditional teas, such as pu’er and dragon well, I drink “black” like my coffee, so I look for clean, flavorful taste. The other side of me likes to experiment: genmai (Japanese tea with toasted rice), milky chai with dinner at Indian restaurants, and Mongolian yak butter tea with millet, for instance. I had that last one in Mongolia years ago and have wanted to duplicate it ever since. Finally found a recipe (and the millet, though not the yak butter, lol) and will be trying it soon. Not a fan of sugar in any of these. Too easy to load on the calories, and I don’t miss it.

    Reply
  19. I’m a split personality when it comes to tea. Traditional teas, such as pu’er and dragon well, I drink “black” like my coffee, so I look for clean, flavorful taste. The other side of me likes to experiment: genmai (Japanese tea with toasted rice), milky chai with dinner at Indian restaurants, and Mongolian yak butter tea with millet, for instance. I had that last one in Mongolia years ago and have wanted to duplicate it ever since. Finally found a recipe (and the millet, though not the yak butter, lol) and will be trying it soon. Not a fan of sugar in any of these. Too easy to load on the calories, and I don’t miss it.

    Reply
  20. I’m a split personality when it comes to tea. Traditional teas, such as pu’er and dragon well, I drink “black” like my coffee, so I look for clean, flavorful taste. The other side of me likes to experiment: genmai (Japanese tea with toasted rice), milky chai with dinner at Indian restaurants, and Mongolian yak butter tea with millet, for instance. I had that last one in Mongolia years ago and have wanted to duplicate it ever since. Finally found a recipe (and the millet, though not the yak butter, lol) and will be trying it soon. Not a fan of sugar in any of these. Too easy to load on the calories, and I don’t miss it.

    Reply
  21. I like tea, as long as it is very, very weak! (I know! This separates me from almost every tea ddrinker in the world!)
    But, in recent years, I’ve been told to cut back on caffeiene! So — I have a drink I call soda tea. It is made in a coffie maker, 1 bag Jasmine green tea and 2 bags of whichever herbal is next on the list, are placed in the coffemaer’s basket, and steeped like coffee — so it is indeed, very very weak. When hot, whe add 1 tbsp. honey. This takes the edge off any bitterness there may be in the tea mixture, but doesn’t sweeten the drink. We store this in the refrigerator in 1-qt/ 1-liter bottles. We pour 1/2 a bottle of tea into a traveler’s drinking cup (complete with straw) and add 1 can of unsweetened flavored soda water (LaCroix is a common brand of this type of water). Voila “Soda-tea!) No calories, no caffeine soda water! (Probably not totally caffiene and calorie tea, but the amount of either is so weak it would be hard to measure.) My health has improved since I’ve started dinking this, so has my intake of liquids. And, because we vary the herbal teas, and also the flavors of soda water, the taste veriers from bottle to bottle of drink.
    It’s weird, but it is working for me.

    Reply
  22. I like tea, as long as it is very, very weak! (I know! This separates me from almost every tea ddrinker in the world!)
    But, in recent years, I’ve been told to cut back on caffeiene! So — I have a drink I call soda tea. It is made in a coffie maker, 1 bag Jasmine green tea and 2 bags of whichever herbal is next on the list, are placed in the coffemaer’s basket, and steeped like coffee — so it is indeed, very very weak. When hot, whe add 1 tbsp. honey. This takes the edge off any bitterness there may be in the tea mixture, but doesn’t sweeten the drink. We store this in the refrigerator in 1-qt/ 1-liter bottles. We pour 1/2 a bottle of tea into a traveler’s drinking cup (complete with straw) and add 1 can of unsweetened flavored soda water (LaCroix is a common brand of this type of water). Voila “Soda-tea!) No calories, no caffeine soda water! (Probably not totally caffiene and calorie tea, but the amount of either is so weak it would be hard to measure.) My health has improved since I’ve started dinking this, so has my intake of liquids. And, because we vary the herbal teas, and also the flavors of soda water, the taste veriers from bottle to bottle of drink.
    It’s weird, but it is working for me.

    Reply
  23. I like tea, as long as it is very, very weak! (I know! This separates me from almost every tea ddrinker in the world!)
    But, in recent years, I’ve been told to cut back on caffeiene! So — I have a drink I call soda tea. It is made in a coffie maker, 1 bag Jasmine green tea and 2 bags of whichever herbal is next on the list, are placed in the coffemaer’s basket, and steeped like coffee — so it is indeed, very very weak. When hot, whe add 1 tbsp. honey. This takes the edge off any bitterness there may be in the tea mixture, but doesn’t sweeten the drink. We store this in the refrigerator in 1-qt/ 1-liter bottles. We pour 1/2 a bottle of tea into a traveler’s drinking cup (complete with straw) and add 1 can of unsweetened flavored soda water (LaCroix is a common brand of this type of water). Voila “Soda-tea!) No calories, no caffeine soda water! (Probably not totally caffiene and calorie tea, but the amount of either is so weak it would be hard to measure.) My health has improved since I’ve started dinking this, so has my intake of liquids. And, because we vary the herbal teas, and also the flavors of soda water, the taste veriers from bottle to bottle of drink.
    It’s weird, but it is working for me.

    Reply
  24. I like tea, as long as it is very, very weak! (I know! This separates me from almost every tea ddrinker in the world!)
    But, in recent years, I’ve been told to cut back on caffeiene! So — I have a drink I call soda tea. It is made in a coffie maker, 1 bag Jasmine green tea and 2 bags of whichever herbal is next on the list, are placed in the coffemaer’s basket, and steeped like coffee — so it is indeed, very very weak. When hot, whe add 1 tbsp. honey. This takes the edge off any bitterness there may be in the tea mixture, but doesn’t sweeten the drink. We store this in the refrigerator in 1-qt/ 1-liter bottles. We pour 1/2 a bottle of tea into a traveler’s drinking cup (complete with straw) and add 1 can of unsweetened flavored soda water (LaCroix is a common brand of this type of water). Voila “Soda-tea!) No calories, no caffeine soda water! (Probably not totally caffiene and calorie tea, but the amount of either is so weak it would be hard to measure.) My health has improved since I’ve started dinking this, so has my intake of liquids. And, because we vary the herbal teas, and also the flavors of soda water, the taste veriers from bottle to bottle of drink.
    It’s weird, but it is working for me.

    Reply
  25. I like tea, as long as it is very, very weak! (I know! This separates me from almost every tea ddrinker in the world!)
    But, in recent years, I’ve been told to cut back on caffeiene! So — I have a drink I call soda tea. It is made in a coffie maker, 1 bag Jasmine green tea and 2 bags of whichever herbal is next on the list, are placed in the coffemaer’s basket, and steeped like coffee — so it is indeed, very very weak. When hot, whe add 1 tbsp. honey. This takes the edge off any bitterness there may be in the tea mixture, but doesn’t sweeten the drink. We store this in the refrigerator in 1-qt/ 1-liter bottles. We pour 1/2 a bottle of tea into a traveler’s drinking cup (complete with straw) and add 1 can of unsweetened flavored soda water (LaCroix is a common brand of this type of water). Voila “Soda-tea!) No calories, no caffeine soda water! (Probably not totally caffiene and calorie tea, but the amount of either is so weak it would be hard to measure.) My health has improved since I’ve started dinking this, so has my intake of liquids. And, because we vary the herbal teas, and also the flavors of soda water, the taste veriers from bottle to bottle of drink.
    It’s weird, but it is working for me.

    Reply
  26. I keep lots of different types in stock too for when friends come over, but am very conservative in my own tastes. Despite living in Japan for three years I never took to green tea (especially not the tea ceremony variety which was unbelievably bitter!), but I like the idea of adding your own flavouring, Karin!

    Reply
  27. I keep lots of different types in stock too for when friends come over, but am very conservative in my own tastes. Despite living in Japan for three years I never took to green tea (especially not the tea ceremony variety which was unbelievably bitter!), but I like the idea of adding your own flavouring, Karin!

    Reply
  28. I keep lots of different types in stock too for when friends come over, but am very conservative in my own tastes. Despite living in Japan for three years I never took to green tea (especially not the tea ceremony variety which was unbelievably bitter!), but I like the idea of adding your own flavouring, Karin!

    Reply
  29. I keep lots of different types in stock too for when friends come over, but am very conservative in my own tastes. Despite living in Japan for three years I never took to green tea (especially not the tea ceremony variety which was unbelievably bitter!), but I like the idea of adding your own flavouring, Karin!

    Reply
  30. I keep lots of different types in stock too for when friends come over, but am very conservative in my own tastes. Despite living in Japan for three years I never took to green tea (especially not the tea ceremony variety which was unbelievably bitter!), but I like the idea of adding your own flavouring, Karin!

    Reply
  31. You’re very adventurous, Mary! I’d love to try the yak butter tea just once as I’ve read about it, but I’m not at all convinced I’d like it. I think you’re right though – certain types of tea, like Earl Grey, should be drunk with just a slice of lemon or something (although I still add milk and sugar, very naughty of me!).

    Reply
  32. You’re very adventurous, Mary! I’d love to try the yak butter tea just once as I’ve read about it, but I’m not at all convinced I’d like it. I think you’re right though – certain types of tea, like Earl Grey, should be drunk with just a slice of lemon or something (although I still add milk and sugar, very naughty of me!).

    Reply
  33. You’re very adventurous, Mary! I’d love to try the yak butter tea just once as I’ve read about it, but I’m not at all convinced I’d like it. I think you’re right though – certain types of tea, like Earl Grey, should be drunk with just a slice of lemon or something (although I still add milk and sugar, very naughty of me!).

    Reply
  34. You’re very adventurous, Mary! I’d love to try the yak butter tea just once as I’ve read about it, but I’m not at all convinced I’d like it. I think you’re right though – certain types of tea, like Earl Grey, should be drunk with just a slice of lemon or something (although I still add milk and sugar, very naughty of me!).

    Reply
  35. You’re very adventurous, Mary! I’d love to try the yak butter tea just once as I’ve read about it, but I’m not at all convinced I’d like it. I think you’re right though – certain types of tea, like Earl Grey, should be drunk with just a slice of lemon or something (although I still add milk and sugar, very naughty of me!).

    Reply
  36. That sounds really interesting, Sue, I’d never heard of that! Glad it’s working for you and you enjoy it. I happen to be one of those people who like my tea very weak as well – my husband calls it “dishwater”, but to be fair, his is so strong a spoon would stand up in it

    Reply
  37. That sounds really interesting, Sue, I’d never heard of that! Glad it’s working for you and you enjoy it. I happen to be one of those people who like my tea very weak as well – my husband calls it “dishwater”, but to be fair, his is so strong a spoon would stand up in it

    Reply
  38. That sounds really interesting, Sue, I’d never heard of that! Glad it’s working for you and you enjoy it. I happen to be one of those people who like my tea very weak as well – my husband calls it “dishwater”, but to be fair, his is so strong a spoon would stand up in it

    Reply
  39. That sounds really interesting, Sue, I’d never heard of that! Glad it’s working for you and you enjoy it. I happen to be one of those people who like my tea very weak as well – my husband calls it “dishwater”, but to be fair, his is so strong a spoon would stand up in it

    Reply
  40. That sounds really interesting, Sue, I’d never heard of that! Glad it’s working for you and you enjoy it. I happen to be one of those people who like my tea very weak as well – my husband calls it “dishwater”, but to be fair, his is so strong a spoon would stand up in it

    Reply
  41. I drink multiple (large) cups of tea throughout the day and cannot imagine what kind of dragon I would be without it. Last spring when supplies of seemingly everything began to run out, I stocked up on enough tea to probably last a lifetime! But like Christina, I’ve never taken to green tea. I take mine with a little (oat!)milk, but I can do without in a pinch. I like black tea, wickedly strong, and am amenable to most flavors, especially Earl Grey. But I truly enjoyed learning the history, Christina. I’ve read a fair bit recently about harsh conditions for workers on tea plantations, so I do try to buy “responsibly” sourced tea, although one never knows if the company’s assertions are based on fact.

    Reply
  42. I drink multiple (large) cups of tea throughout the day and cannot imagine what kind of dragon I would be without it. Last spring when supplies of seemingly everything began to run out, I stocked up on enough tea to probably last a lifetime! But like Christina, I’ve never taken to green tea. I take mine with a little (oat!)milk, but I can do without in a pinch. I like black tea, wickedly strong, and am amenable to most flavors, especially Earl Grey. But I truly enjoyed learning the history, Christina. I’ve read a fair bit recently about harsh conditions for workers on tea plantations, so I do try to buy “responsibly” sourced tea, although one never knows if the company’s assertions are based on fact.

    Reply
  43. I drink multiple (large) cups of tea throughout the day and cannot imagine what kind of dragon I would be without it. Last spring when supplies of seemingly everything began to run out, I stocked up on enough tea to probably last a lifetime! But like Christina, I’ve never taken to green tea. I take mine with a little (oat!)milk, but I can do without in a pinch. I like black tea, wickedly strong, and am amenable to most flavors, especially Earl Grey. But I truly enjoyed learning the history, Christina. I’ve read a fair bit recently about harsh conditions for workers on tea plantations, so I do try to buy “responsibly” sourced tea, although one never knows if the company’s assertions are based on fact.

    Reply
  44. I drink multiple (large) cups of tea throughout the day and cannot imagine what kind of dragon I would be without it. Last spring when supplies of seemingly everything began to run out, I stocked up on enough tea to probably last a lifetime! But like Christina, I’ve never taken to green tea. I take mine with a little (oat!)milk, but I can do without in a pinch. I like black tea, wickedly strong, and am amenable to most flavors, especially Earl Grey. But I truly enjoyed learning the history, Christina. I’ve read a fair bit recently about harsh conditions for workers on tea plantations, so I do try to buy “responsibly” sourced tea, although one never knows if the company’s assertions are based on fact.

    Reply
  45. I drink multiple (large) cups of tea throughout the day and cannot imagine what kind of dragon I would be without it. Last spring when supplies of seemingly everything began to run out, I stocked up on enough tea to probably last a lifetime! But like Christina, I’ve never taken to green tea. I take mine with a little (oat!)milk, but I can do without in a pinch. I like black tea, wickedly strong, and am amenable to most flavors, especially Earl Grey. But I truly enjoyed learning the history, Christina. I’ve read a fair bit recently about harsh conditions for workers on tea plantations, so I do try to buy “responsibly” sourced tea, although one never knows if the company’s assertions are based on fact.

    Reply
  46. I am a tea drinker. I drink a great deal of iced tea, because I live in Texas and it is a law here. That tea is always black tea of some sort.
    I love Earl Grey, the tea, ’cause I don’t know the man.
    I like mint tea, and cinnamon tea. I like English Breakfast tea. I drink chamomile tea. I really enjoy peach tea. I have had a tea called “joy” that is very good. As you can see, I like tea in many flavors.
    I believe that it is amazing after all the cost and danger and time, that anyone ever got a cup of tea at all.
    Thanks for this post. It is really interesting.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  47. I am a tea drinker. I drink a great deal of iced tea, because I live in Texas and it is a law here. That tea is always black tea of some sort.
    I love Earl Grey, the tea, ’cause I don’t know the man.
    I like mint tea, and cinnamon tea. I like English Breakfast tea. I drink chamomile tea. I really enjoy peach tea. I have had a tea called “joy” that is very good. As you can see, I like tea in many flavors.
    I believe that it is amazing after all the cost and danger and time, that anyone ever got a cup of tea at all.
    Thanks for this post. It is really interesting.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  48. I am a tea drinker. I drink a great deal of iced tea, because I live in Texas and it is a law here. That tea is always black tea of some sort.
    I love Earl Grey, the tea, ’cause I don’t know the man.
    I like mint tea, and cinnamon tea. I like English Breakfast tea. I drink chamomile tea. I really enjoy peach tea. I have had a tea called “joy” that is very good. As you can see, I like tea in many flavors.
    I believe that it is amazing after all the cost and danger and time, that anyone ever got a cup of tea at all.
    Thanks for this post. It is really interesting.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  49. I am a tea drinker. I drink a great deal of iced tea, because I live in Texas and it is a law here. That tea is always black tea of some sort.
    I love Earl Grey, the tea, ’cause I don’t know the man.
    I like mint tea, and cinnamon tea. I like English Breakfast tea. I drink chamomile tea. I really enjoy peach tea. I have had a tea called “joy” that is very good. As you can see, I like tea in many flavors.
    I believe that it is amazing after all the cost and danger and time, that anyone ever got a cup of tea at all.
    Thanks for this post. It is really interesting.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  50. I am a tea drinker. I drink a great deal of iced tea, because I live in Texas and it is a law here. That tea is always black tea of some sort.
    I love Earl Grey, the tea, ’cause I don’t know the man.
    I like mint tea, and cinnamon tea. I like English Breakfast tea. I drink chamomile tea. I really enjoy peach tea. I have had a tea called “joy” that is very good. As you can see, I like tea in many flavors.
    I believe that it is amazing after all the cost and danger and time, that anyone ever got a cup of tea at all.
    Thanks for this post. It is really interesting.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  51. Thank you, Annette – I can imagine iced tea is very necessary in a hot climate! I’ve never liked it myself but my daughter loves it. So pleased you found the post interesting!

    Reply
  52. Thank you, Annette – I can imagine iced tea is very necessary in a hot climate! I’ve never liked it myself but my daughter loves it. So pleased you found the post interesting!

    Reply
  53. Thank you, Annette – I can imagine iced tea is very necessary in a hot climate! I’ve never liked it myself but my daughter loves it. So pleased you found the post interesting!

    Reply
  54. Thank you, Annette – I can imagine iced tea is very necessary in a hot climate! I’ve never liked it myself but my daughter loves it. So pleased you found the post interesting!

    Reply
  55. Thank you, Annette – I can imagine iced tea is very necessary in a hot climate! I’ve never liked it myself but my daughter loves it. So pleased you found the post interesting!

    Reply
  56. Wow, what a journey to import tea. Very interesting. But then tea is interesting to me anyway, I once went to a tea tasting where we tried anything from white over yellow and green to red or brown and real black tea. Which is where I learned that what is commonly known as black tea is actually red tea in China. Black tea is even darker and much more bitter.
    So I seem to like red tea 😉 with either milk or a bit of lemon but absolutely abhor Earl Grey … which I admit is odd, since it is tea with a citrus flavour. Anyway a day without a cup of tea is unthinkable

    Reply
  57. Wow, what a journey to import tea. Very interesting. But then tea is interesting to me anyway, I once went to a tea tasting where we tried anything from white over yellow and green to red or brown and real black tea. Which is where I learned that what is commonly known as black tea is actually red tea in China. Black tea is even darker and much more bitter.
    So I seem to like red tea 😉 with either milk or a bit of lemon but absolutely abhor Earl Grey … which I admit is odd, since it is tea with a citrus flavour. Anyway a day without a cup of tea is unthinkable

    Reply
  58. Wow, what a journey to import tea. Very interesting. But then tea is interesting to me anyway, I once went to a tea tasting where we tried anything from white over yellow and green to red or brown and real black tea. Which is where I learned that what is commonly known as black tea is actually red tea in China. Black tea is even darker and much more bitter.
    So I seem to like red tea 😉 with either milk or a bit of lemon but absolutely abhor Earl Grey … which I admit is odd, since it is tea with a citrus flavour. Anyway a day without a cup of tea is unthinkable

    Reply
  59. Wow, what a journey to import tea. Very interesting. But then tea is interesting to me anyway, I once went to a tea tasting where we tried anything from white over yellow and green to red or brown and real black tea. Which is where I learned that what is commonly known as black tea is actually red tea in China. Black tea is even darker and much more bitter.
    So I seem to like red tea 😉 with either milk or a bit of lemon but absolutely abhor Earl Grey … which I admit is odd, since it is tea with a citrus flavour. Anyway a day without a cup of tea is unthinkable

    Reply
  60. Wow, what a journey to import tea. Very interesting. But then tea is interesting to me anyway, I once went to a tea tasting where we tried anything from white over yellow and green to red or brown and real black tea. Which is where I learned that what is commonly known as black tea is actually red tea in China. Black tea is even darker and much more bitter.
    So I seem to like red tea 😉 with either milk or a bit of lemon but absolutely abhor Earl Grey … which I admit is odd, since it is tea with a citrus flavour. Anyway a day without a cup of tea is unthinkable

    Reply
  61. I used to love tea and drank it with milk, no sugar. I gave up sugar years ago. A cup of tea was a great comfort on a cold wet day, of which we get many here in Ireland.
    When I was fifty, despite having been reared on it, I developed an intolerance to milk. There was no way I could drink tea black and I was devastated. I tried lots of teas after that and now I’m settled on nettle tea and fennel tea. I really love the nettle but I drink at least two cups of fennel a day as it aids digestion and I have a really bad stomach. I’ve had to give up lots of things I enjoy over the last couple of years.
    Now I couldn’t drink ordinary tea and milk if you paid me!! Isn’t it strange how we get used to things.
    Great post Christina. Very interesting and informative.

    Reply
  62. I used to love tea and drank it with milk, no sugar. I gave up sugar years ago. A cup of tea was a great comfort on a cold wet day, of which we get many here in Ireland.
    When I was fifty, despite having been reared on it, I developed an intolerance to milk. There was no way I could drink tea black and I was devastated. I tried lots of teas after that and now I’m settled on nettle tea and fennel tea. I really love the nettle but I drink at least two cups of fennel a day as it aids digestion and I have a really bad stomach. I’ve had to give up lots of things I enjoy over the last couple of years.
    Now I couldn’t drink ordinary tea and milk if you paid me!! Isn’t it strange how we get used to things.
    Great post Christina. Very interesting and informative.

    Reply
  63. I used to love tea and drank it with milk, no sugar. I gave up sugar years ago. A cup of tea was a great comfort on a cold wet day, of which we get many here in Ireland.
    When I was fifty, despite having been reared on it, I developed an intolerance to milk. There was no way I could drink tea black and I was devastated. I tried lots of teas after that and now I’m settled on nettle tea and fennel tea. I really love the nettle but I drink at least two cups of fennel a day as it aids digestion and I have a really bad stomach. I’ve had to give up lots of things I enjoy over the last couple of years.
    Now I couldn’t drink ordinary tea and milk if you paid me!! Isn’t it strange how we get used to things.
    Great post Christina. Very interesting and informative.

    Reply
  64. I used to love tea and drank it with milk, no sugar. I gave up sugar years ago. A cup of tea was a great comfort on a cold wet day, of which we get many here in Ireland.
    When I was fifty, despite having been reared on it, I developed an intolerance to milk. There was no way I could drink tea black and I was devastated. I tried lots of teas after that and now I’m settled on nettle tea and fennel tea. I really love the nettle but I drink at least two cups of fennel a day as it aids digestion and I have a really bad stomach. I’ve had to give up lots of things I enjoy over the last couple of years.
    Now I couldn’t drink ordinary tea and milk if you paid me!! Isn’t it strange how we get used to things.
    Great post Christina. Very interesting and informative.

    Reply
  65. I used to love tea and drank it with milk, no sugar. I gave up sugar years ago. A cup of tea was a great comfort on a cold wet day, of which we get many here in Ireland.
    When I was fifty, despite having been reared on it, I developed an intolerance to milk. There was no way I could drink tea black and I was devastated. I tried lots of teas after that and now I’m settled on nettle tea and fennel tea. I really love the nettle but I drink at least two cups of fennel a day as it aids digestion and I have a really bad stomach. I’ve had to give up lots of things I enjoy over the last couple of years.
    Now I couldn’t drink ordinary tea and milk if you paid me!! Isn’t it strange how we get used to things.
    Great post Christina. Very interesting and informative.

    Reply
  66. Very interesting, Christina! I wrote a book that had a lot of tea trade material, but I’ve never heard all the elaborate details of packing and shipping. Very labor intensive!
    I’m more of a coffee drinker, but can enjoy tea when it comes my way. In England, I drink it with milk. Here I’m more likely to drink a blend that has ginger and peach along with black tea, and I’ll add a bit of honey as well. As for the Mayhem Consultant, he’s all “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” *G*

    Reply
  67. Very interesting, Christina! I wrote a book that had a lot of tea trade material, but I’ve never heard all the elaborate details of packing and shipping. Very labor intensive!
    I’m more of a coffee drinker, but can enjoy tea when it comes my way. In England, I drink it with milk. Here I’m more likely to drink a blend that has ginger and peach along with black tea, and I’ll add a bit of honey as well. As for the Mayhem Consultant, he’s all “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” *G*

    Reply
  68. Very interesting, Christina! I wrote a book that had a lot of tea trade material, but I’ve never heard all the elaborate details of packing and shipping. Very labor intensive!
    I’m more of a coffee drinker, but can enjoy tea when it comes my way. In England, I drink it with milk. Here I’m more likely to drink a blend that has ginger and peach along with black tea, and I’ll add a bit of honey as well. As for the Mayhem Consultant, he’s all “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” *G*

    Reply
  69. Very interesting, Christina! I wrote a book that had a lot of tea trade material, but I’ve never heard all the elaborate details of packing and shipping. Very labor intensive!
    I’m more of a coffee drinker, but can enjoy tea when it comes my way. In England, I drink it with milk. Here I’m more likely to drink a blend that has ginger and peach along with black tea, and I’ll add a bit of honey as well. As for the Mayhem Consultant, he’s all “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” *G*

    Reply
  70. Very interesting, Christina! I wrote a book that had a lot of tea trade material, but I’ve never heard all the elaborate details of packing and shipping. Very labor intensive!
    I’m more of a coffee drinker, but can enjoy tea when it comes my way. In England, I drink it with milk. Here I’m more likely to drink a blend that has ginger and peach along with black tea, and I’ll add a bit of honey as well. As for the Mayhem Consultant, he’s all “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” *G*

    Reply
  71. What a fascinating article, Christina; thank you! I’m imagining common seamen eating Chinese food for three months (but perhaps they had to stay on board ship?) and then bemoaning mushy peas when they returned to England.
    I drink tea very rarely and typically only when I’m sick (usually something lemony and herbal and served with honey); hot chocolate is my standard morning drink. My husband is a tea drinker; Earl Grey in the morning with cream and sugar. In the afternoon, he might drink a black currant black tea, English breakfast tea, or an herbal tea.

    Reply
  72. What a fascinating article, Christina; thank you! I’m imagining common seamen eating Chinese food for three months (but perhaps they had to stay on board ship?) and then bemoaning mushy peas when they returned to England.
    I drink tea very rarely and typically only when I’m sick (usually something lemony and herbal and served with honey); hot chocolate is my standard morning drink. My husband is a tea drinker; Earl Grey in the morning with cream and sugar. In the afternoon, he might drink a black currant black tea, English breakfast tea, or an herbal tea.

    Reply
  73. What a fascinating article, Christina; thank you! I’m imagining common seamen eating Chinese food for three months (but perhaps they had to stay on board ship?) and then bemoaning mushy peas when they returned to England.
    I drink tea very rarely and typically only when I’m sick (usually something lemony and herbal and served with honey); hot chocolate is my standard morning drink. My husband is a tea drinker; Earl Grey in the morning with cream and sugar. In the afternoon, he might drink a black currant black tea, English breakfast tea, or an herbal tea.

    Reply
  74. What a fascinating article, Christina; thank you! I’m imagining common seamen eating Chinese food for three months (but perhaps they had to stay on board ship?) and then bemoaning mushy peas when they returned to England.
    I drink tea very rarely and typically only when I’m sick (usually something lemony and herbal and served with honey); hot chocolate is my standard morning drink. My husband is a tea drinker; Earl Grey in the morning with cream and sugar. In the afternoon, he might drink a black currant black tea, English breakfast tea, or an herbal tea.

    Reply
  75. What a fascinating article, Christina; thank you! I’m imagining common seamen eating Chinese food for three months (but perhaps they had to stay on board ship?) and then bemoaning mushy peas when they returned to England.
    I drink tea very rarely and typically only when I’m sick (usually something lemony and herbal and served with honey); hot chocolate is my standard morning drink. My husband is a tea drinker; Earl Grey in the morning with cream and sugar. In the afternoon, he might drink a black currant black tea, English breakfast tea, or an herbal tea.

    Reply
  76. That makes sense Katja, the kind I drink is kind of reddish really! The tea tasting sounds very interesting – maybe that’s what I need to start to fully appreciate tea and not just when it’s cold outside!

    Reply
  77. That makes sense Katja, the kind I drink is kind of reddish really! The tea tasting sounds very interesting – maybe that’s what I need to start to fully appreciate tea and not just when it’s cold outside!

    Reply
  78. That makes sense Katja, the kind I drink is kind of reddish really! The tea tasting sounds very interesting – maybe that’s what I need to start to fully appreciate tea and not just when it’s cold outside!

    Reply
  79. That makes sense Katja, the kind I drink is kind of reddish really! The tea tasting sounds very interesting – maybe that’s what I need to start to fully appreciate tea and not just when it’s cold outside!

    Reply
  80. That makes sense Katja, the kind I drink is kind of reddish really! The tea tasting sounds very interesting – maybe that’s what I need to start to fully appreciate tea and not just when it’s cold outside!

    Reply
  81. Oh such a shame you had to give it up, Teresa! It’s weird how we suddenly develop these things. But great that you have found nettle and fennel tea and that they help your digestion. I’ve never tried but I might give them a go!

    Reply
  82. Oh such a shame you had to give it up, Teresa! It’s weird how we suddenly develop these things. But great that you have found nettle and fennel tea and that they help your digestion. I’ve never tried but I might give them a go!

    Reply
  83. Oh such a shame you had to give it up, Teresa! It’s weird how we suddenly develop these things. But great that you have found nettle and fennel tea and that they help your digestion. I’ve never tried but I might give them a go!

    Reply
  84. Oh such a shame you had to give it up, Teresa! It’s weird how we suddenly develop these things. But great that you have found nettle and fennel tea and that they help your digestion. I’ve never tried but I might give them a go!

    Reply
  85. Oh such a shame you had to give it up, Teresa! It’s weird how we suddenly develop these things. But great that you have found nettle and fennel tea and that they help your digestion. I’ve never tried but I might give them a go!

    Reply
  86. Thank you, Mary Jo! And yes, that sounds a lot like my husband too – any tea and lots of it! I don’t drink much coffee. Even though I like it, my stomach doesn’t for some reason. Lovely taste though!

    Reply
  87. Thank you, Mary Jo! And yes, that sounds a lot like my husband too – any tea and lots of it! I don’t drink much coffee. Even though I like it, my stomach doesn’t for some reason. Lovely taste though!

    Reply
  88. Thank you, Mary Jo! And yes, that sounds a lot like my husband too – any tea and lots of it! I don’t drink much coffee. Even though I like it, my stomach doesn’t for some reason. Lovely taste though!

    Reply
  89. Thank you, Mary Jo! And yes, that sounds a lot like my husband too – any tea and lots of it! I don’t drink much coffee. Even though I like it, my stomach doesn’t for some reason. Lovely taste though!

    Reply
  90. Thank you, Mary Jo! And yes, that sounds a lot like my husband too – any tea and lots of it! I don’t drink much coffee. Even though I like it, my stomach doesn’t for some reason. Lovely taste though!

    Reply
  91. Thank you, Kareni, glad you liked it! The seamen had to stay on the island of Whampoa the whole time so I imagine they probably cooked for themselves. I feel very sorry for them to have missed out on Chinese food, even if it would have been strange for them! LOL on the mushy peas (which I actually love!). Yes, I also drink tea when I’m sick, it’s very soothing for the throat.

    Reply
  92. Thank you, Kareni, glad you liked it! The seamen had to stay on the island of Whampoa the whole time so I imagine they probably cooked for themselves. I feel very sorry for them to have missed out on Chinese food, even if it would have been strange for them! LOL on the mushy peas (which I actually love!). Yes, I also drink tea when I’m sick, it’s very soothing for the throat.

    Reply
  93. Thank you, Kareni, glad you liked it! The seamen had to stay on the island of Whampoa the whole time so I imagine they probably cooked for themselves. I feel very sorry for them to have missed out on Chinese food, even if it would have been strange for them! LOL on the mushy peas (which I actually love!). Yes, I also drink tea when I’m sick, it’s very soothing for the throat.

    Reply
  94. Thank you, Kareni, glad you liked it! The seamen had to stay on the island of Whampoa the whole time so I imagine they probably cooked for themselves. I feel very sorry for them to have missed out on Chinese food, even if it would have been strange for them! LOL on the mushy peas (which I actually love!). Yes, I also drink tea when I’m sick, it’s very soothing for the throat.

    Reply
  95. Thank you, Kareni, glad you liked it! The seamen had to stay on the island of Whampoa the whole time so I imagine they probably cooked for themselves. I feel very sorry for them to have missed out on Chinese food, even if it would have been strange for them! LOL on the mushy peas (which I actually love!). Yes, I also drink tea when I’m sick, it’s very soothing for the throat.

    Reply

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