Tea Story

For the history buff or cultural explorer in you, read on to find out how afternoon tea began and how tea rituals differ around the globe. We’ve cobbled together the story from the reference library listed at bottom. If you’ve got favorite afternoon tea book or website suggestions, please share!

From East to West: How Afternoon Tea Came to the United States

Hills of tea

Tea production was an intensely guarded secret for hundreds of years in the hilly subtropical and tropical transitional forests of Southeast Asia, predominantly China, to which the tea plant is native. As trade routes were established between Asian lands and the West, tea made its way to Middle Eastern, European, African and finally American societies.

As it migrated west, the tea ceremony changed dramatically, adapting to the cultural norms of the time and place. While the original tea ceremony of the East remains a meditative, precisely choreographed ritual, afternoon tea for Westerners has become a casual daily respite or regal social affair replete with savories and sweets.

In the colonies, tea drinking mirrored the customs of the aristocracy overseas, until the Revolutionary War broke out. To make do without purchasing tea from Great Britain’s East India Company, revolutionaries experimented with herbal teas. Thankfully, once independence was won, the United States embraced British tea rituals once more.

Today, American teahouses, restaurants, hotels and other afternoon tea venues — from historic homes to trains — serve afternoon teas as different from one another as our diverse heritage, some offering a tea service and selection in the British style, others Russian, Japanese, Indian or Chinese. Anything goes in the U.S., such as the Southern afternoon tea: a dolled-up, lavish cousin to the British afternoon tea; or the teabar: tranquil, decorated with modern, Asian-inspired lines, serving hundreds of the finest teas and freshly made quiche from a Swiss chocolatier; or the afternoon tea served by Italian-Americans in New Jersey: with endless, unconventional scone combinations and portions so generous it really feels like dinner. Mangia, Mangia!

Origins of Tea

28th Century BCChinese mythological tales cite the origin of tea-drinking to 2737 BC, when Chinese Emporor Shen Nung sips boiled drinking water into which a tea leaf has floated.

3rd Century – Many oral stories and some early written medical texts about tea drinks and their health benefits date back to this period in Southeast Asian countries, where the tea plant (camellia sinensis) is native.

6th Century – Indian and Japanese legends tell that Indian prince Bodhidharma “couldn’t keep his eyes open while meditating to become a Buddhist priest. Disgusted with himself, he cut off his eyelids and threw them to the ground. From his lashes the camellia (aka tea) plant sprouted.” (1) New tea gardens follow the spread of Buddhism across Asia, as Buddhist monks in China and Japan begin saving the seeds of tea trees, planting them along their travels.

8th Century – Chinese tea scholar Lu Yü writes the first book about tea: Ch’a Ching (The Classic of Tea), describing tea’s cultivation, processing, preparation and tea rituals of ancient Asia.

9th Century Tea, called “ch’a,” in China where it becomes the national drink during the Tang Dynasty (618 to 906), would remain China’s secret for the next 700 years. “China was not about to divulge the propagation and drying methods that had been dutifully kept within the confines of the Great Wall. A penalty of death was the price paid for even mentioning roasting and drying.” (5)  Tea leaves are so valuable that, compressed into embossed bricks, they are even used for money. Teahouses and tea gardens are now commonplace throughout China.

10th to 13th Century – Tea drinkers at his time consume whole tea leaves, whipping ground tea into hot water until it is frothy. (54)

14th Century – The practice of infusing tea leaves begins in China during the Middle Ages. “Steamed leaves were dried, added loose to water and left to steep before being poured into white porcelain to display the tea’s color. Drying the leaves allowed the tea to ferment or oxidize to a coppery red, and made it easier to store while preserving its essential characteristics. It also meant that it was fit to travel to far-off lands.” (55)

16th CenturyJapanese Imperial tea master and Buddhist monk Sen No Rikyu devises a simple, austere tea ceremony known as ‘wabi cha,’ or the “tea of quiet taste”, which requires a “humble reverence for tea and life. However, it did not appeal to the emperor who preferred a glittering, exhibitionist affair. Because of this difference in taste, Sen Rikyu was commanded to commit suicide.” (2)

In 1557, Portugal colonizes the Chinese port Macau, and begins bringing tea back to Europe. Arabs also bring tea to Europe by way of their trade with the Venetians in Italy, circa 1559. 

17th Century  Black tea (called “red tea” in China where it originated) is invented (until this point, teas are green or oolong).

As Russia and China work to establish a safe route for trade caravans to travel, the Chinese ambassador to Moscow makes a gift of several chests of tea to Tsar Aleksey Mikhaylovich, soon making tea a much desired import. “The Russian aristocracy enjoyed English-style tea ceremonies even before the British made it a part of their culture. There were lavish parties at which society women drank tea as their male companions downed cold vodka.” (3)

Russian Samovar
Russian Samovar

England Begins Taking Tea

1662 – Though Portuguese and Dutch traders have for decades been importing tea to Western Europe, it is King Charles II’s marriage to the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, that ultimately makes tea-drinking popular amongst the British aristocracy.“When Catherine married Charles, she was the focus of attention – everything from her clothes to her furniture became the source of court talk. Her regular drinking of tea encouraged others to drink it. Ladies flocked to copy her and be a part of her circle.” (51)

“Indeed, the China trade eventually started England on a tea-drinking way of life, forever replacing ale as the national breakfast drink.” (4)

tea equipage of the 19th century

17th – 18th Centuries – Knowing how to properly use tea equipment and owning fine porcelain china sets you apart from your lessers, which is why teasets and tealeaves are often only handled by the mistress of the house. A noblewoman keeps the key for the locking tea caddy or teapoy, from which she smartly blends her own teas, in full view of her guests, to reassure them of the quality of the tea she serves. 

“It took between 12 and 15 months for precious shipments of tea to travel to Britain by sea. The costs of bringing the tea from halfway across the globe, and heavy taxation, meant that initially only the wealthy enjoyed it in its unadulterated form.” (56)

“By the 18th century [in England], tea had become a national passion, and, even though it was so expensive, was brewed throughout the land. Once gentlefolk had drunk the first brew, their servants would make tea for themselves from the used leaves, and then in turn sell the twice-used leaves at the back door.” (6)

Unknown artist, eighteenth century, A Family Being Served with Tea, ca. 1745, Oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

At first, in Europe, tea is enjoyed only by the aristocracy, served as a digestive after the lengthy midday meal, and doubling as an evening entertainment. Guests withdraw to the drawing room to share news and gossip over tea and slices of bread, crumpets, toast or cake.

1784 – British Parliament passes the Commutation Act, reducing the duties on imported tea from 119% to 12.5%, which makes tea more affordable for the middle classes.

Tea Off to A Rough Start in America

17th Century – Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam bring the first tea to America in the early 1600s, but Americans do not take instantly to the custom of taking tea. “There were still those new Americans who were unfamiliar with the tea leaf. Their dislike of the brown brew probably stemmed from the fact that it was stewed for two or three hours. Some tried to serve it like spinach with salt and butter, others ate it on toasted bread.” (7)

Late 18th Century – Americans Revolt and Turn to Herbal Teas
“The Boston Tea Party was a protest against the massive taxation of the thirteen colonies, and one of the main reasons that America became a coffee-drinking nation was the vetoing, by the American housewife, of tea-drinking in support of her husband’s discontent with the British.” (8) “In 1773, the English forced their extra tea onto the American colonies by sending three tea ships from the East India Company to Boston. Angered by this attempt to control their market, colonists decided to rebel. A band of patriots disguised themselves as Mohawks, attacked the tea chests with axes, and emptied 342 of them into the water. The Boston Tea Party was one of the main events that led to the American Revolution.” (9)

Published the day after the Boston Port Bill closed Boston's port in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, 1774
Published the day after the Boston Port Bill closed Boston’s port in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, 1774

“The Daughters of Liberty supported the boycott of British tea. One patriot hosted a party to formally bid adieu to her treasured teaware:  A Lady’s Adieu to Her Tea-Table:

FAREWELL the Tea-board with your gaudy attire,
Ye cups and ye saucers that I did admire;
To my cream pot and tongs I now bid adieu;
That pleasure’s all fled that I once found in you.
…No more shall my teapot so generous be
In filling the cups with this pernicious tea,
For I’ll fill it with water and rink out the same,
Before I lose Liberty that dearest name…’ (10)

Many of today’s herbal teas were devised during American colonial times, as “irate colonists boycotted the East India Company, purchased tea from Dutch smugglers, and drank substitutes of infused leaves and roots.” (11) In 1796, “wounds were to be healed when Thomas Twining (son of the first Richard Twining) paid a courtesy visit to General George Washington at his presidential home.” (12)

old-fashioned tea punch recipe

1800s – Tea punches are the first iced teas. “Iced tea’s popularity parallels the development of refrigeration: the ice house, the icebox (refrigerator), and the commercial manufacture of pure ice, which were in place by the middle of the nineteenth century. The term ‘refrigerator’ was used for the first patented ice box in 1803 and were common in the mid-19th century in the United States. English and American cookbooks shows us that tea has been served cold at least since the early nineteenth century, when cold green tea punches, that were heavily spiked with liquor, were popularized. The oldest recipes in print are made with green tea and not black tea and were called punches.” (53)

British Afternoon Tea Ceremony Is Born in Victorian Era

1830sAs artificial lighting becomes widespread in the 1800s, the dinner hour moves from midday to later and later in the evening, and the ritual of taking tea after dinner jumps to an earlier slot in the late afternoon. By the 1830s, there is a 7-hour gap between lunch and dinner, so light refreshments are most welcome as part of the tea ritual during afternoon social visits. Callers gather in the drawing room or parlor, where dainty finger foods are served with tea, so that finely dressed guests can manage to hold their teacup while neatly helping themselves to refreshment.

The popularity of afternoon tea is often attributed to Anna Maria Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, of Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. In the mid-1840s, during her stay with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, England, the Duchess purportedly complained of feeling faint around five o’clock, and would call for a pot of tea with light savory and sweet refreshments. Back home at Woburn Abbey, the Duchess continued to invite friends to afternoon tea, popularizing the custom in her upper class social circles, which included the Court of Queen Victoria, for whom she had formerly served as a lady-in-waiting.

The Duchess of Bedford served afternoon tea in her home’s Blue Drawing Room.
[Photo Credit: Woburn Abbey]

This aristocratic tea with its dainty snacks was quite different from the ‘high tea’ served around the same time in working class homes. The latter was a hearty meal consisting of cold meats, cheeses and bread, eaten when the men came home from the factories or fields.” (13) At the same time, the Industrial Revolution saw the working class migrating from farms to factories, mines, offices and shops. Employees were traveling more for work, taking lunch with them, and looking forward to their main meal when they got home in the evening around 6 pm. This was not an elegant, refined meal, but a hearty supper, called high tea, for the high kitchen table it was served on.

“Afternoon tea really was more of a social event than a meal. Ladies did not go to afternoon tea gatherings to eat but to meet their friends, catch up on gossip, chat about the latest fashions and scandals, be seen in the right places among the right people and, in passing, to drink tea and nibble daintily on a small finger of bread and butter or a little sweet biscuit. Once the trend had been set, all of fashionable society started to hold tea parties to suit almost any occasion – drawing room teas for groups of 10 or 20 visitors, small intimate teas for 3 or 4 friends, tea in the garden, ‘at home’ teas, tea receptions for up to 200 people, tennis teas, croquet teas, and picnic teas. The growing middle classes imitated the rich and found that tea was a very economical way of entertaining several friends without having to spend too much money. Pots of tea and a few small tea-time treats such as crustless sandwiches, hot buttered toast and scones, little pastries, and a cake or two were all that were required and expected.” (14)

(c) Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council);
Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

1848 Great Britain seeks to establish its own tea supply. Scottish botanist Robert Fortune goes undercover in China, learning their tea production methods, and smuggling their tea plants out of the country to enable the East India Company to set up competing tea operations in India.

1850s – Nevada’s newly discovered silver deposits and the “booming silver-plating industry leads to the proliferation of specialized silver pieces, many of them tea wares such as showy hot-water swing kettles, butter dishes, spoon holders, sugar tongs and cake baskets.” (41)

1860s – The Age of the Clipper Races: when the East India Company’s monopoly on trade with China ended in 1834, the race to be first to market in England began. “It was the Americans who introduced the streamlined and yacht-like clipper ship to international trade, substantially reducing the time it took to transport goods across the globe. By the early 1850s, Britain had its own fleet of fast new ships. They would set off from China for Britain on the same tide and race back to collect a prize for the crew, and a supreme prize for the first tea delivered from the racing vessels.” (57)

“Individual merchants and sea captains with their own ships raced to bring home the tea and make the most money, using fast new clippers which had sleek lines, tall masts and huge sails. The race began in China where the clippers would leave the Canton River, race down the China Sea, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, up the Atlantic, past the Azores and into the English Channel. The clippers would then be towed up the River Thames by tugs and the race would be won by the first ship to hurl ashore its cargo at the docks.” (52)

(c) Taeping and Ariel, the Great Tea Race of 1866 by John Steven Dews
This famous tea clipper race set the record for fastest trip to England: 99 days!

“The romantic age of the clipper races continued for 20 years, until the clippers were replaced by steamships. Tea was no longer a toddler by the time it reached Britain from China and India; when the Suez canal opened in 1869, its journey time meant that it was a mere babe of three months when it fetched up in the basin of the Thames.” (58)

1864England’s Aerated Bread Company opens the first British tea shop for middle-class women. “Soon Fortnum and Masons, The Ritz, and Brown’s Hotel had all opened tea rooms, and it became quite fashionable for women to visit these tea rooms in the afternoon. These tea rooms were, by the way, the only place where a lady could meet her friends without a chaperone without damaging her reputation.” (15) Eventually, “sweet and savory tidbits joined the tea table, until the Victorians were tucking into substantial spreads that included groaning cake stands, plates of bright jellies and meringues, and potted meats.” (16)

Late 1800’s – Miniature tea set sales begin. “The miniature tea sets we now think of as gifts for children were originally created in the late nineteenth century by china manufacturers as salesmen’s samples. But when salesmen made their presentation to homemakers, the mothers wanted to buy the tiny sets for their children.” (17)

"Afternoon Tea (The Gossips)" by John Everett Millais, 1889
“Afternoon Tea (The Gossips)” by John Everett Millais, 1889

1877Philadelphia’s department store Wanamaker’s institutes the first American department store food service. “Department stores were home to some of the longest-lived tea rooms, beginning in the nineteenth century and going strong until the 1960s, with a few surviving today. These tea rooms, more than any other kind, earned reputations as places where well-behaved ladies — often actually wearing hats and white gloves — enjoyed dainty luncheons. Department store tea rooms established and maintained a standard of bourgeois decorum where good manners were required and ladyhood was cherished.” “Teatime in department stores had delicate tea sandwiches made of fig, lettuce, watercress, and a greater range of teas than found in most tea rooms.” (42)

1890 – Scones are added to the afternoon tea menu. In the 1870s, recipe books for afternoon tea menus begin to be published. Eventually, “sweet and savory tidbits joined the tea table, until the Victorians were tucking into substantial spreads that included groaning cake stands, plates of bright jellies and meringues, and potted meats.” (16) Originally more of a farmhouse food that you might quickly put in the oven when a friend pops over, scones begin to appear at afternoon tea around 1890.

Tea Culture Popularized in 20th Century West

Early 1900s – The 3-tier afternoon tea tray emerges. New upscale hotels and grand department stores are built with palm courts or tea salons, whose chefs formalize the afternoon tea menu with the 3 courses on tiered tray we recognize today. “In the fall and winter social seasons of the 1910s, the hotel palm court was the place to be, half the crowd come to watch and the other half adorned were seated at reserved tables, to be seen.” “Hotel tea rooms often held tea dances, featuring full orchestras, popular in pre-WWI era, called thé dansants, even more popular once national Prohibition started in 1920.” (45)

The Palm Court in New York City’s The Plaza hotel opened in 1907.
[Photo credit: The Plaza New York]

Women’s clubs, charities, suffragist groups, and alumni associations hold teas in tearooms and at home, as meetings and fundraisers.

1903 – An open-mesh, fabric Tea Leaf Holder is patented by Roberta Lawson and Mary McLaren of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By the 1920s, teabags are being commercially produced, first using gauze and later, paper.

1904 – Iced tea is popularized in St. Louis. An Englishman named Richard Blechynden, a tea dealer at the St. Louis World Fair, “was trying to introduce Indian tea to Americans, but in the stifling weather he was getting few takers. After he dropped some ice cubes into the brew, thirsty people came flocking.” (18)

1910 – Rural tea rooms begin cropping up along the new roads of America. “In the early days, most tea rooms were in New England and the Northeast, where the number of automobile registrations was high and roads were better. In the teens, when car travel was still primarily recreational, touring parties tended to be large, with four to seven people in one vehicle. A few carloads could fill a small tea room.” “Often tea room guests ate on terraces, verandas or piazzas (as yards, porches and patios were romantically known then).” “Quaint interiors supplied an excellent background for an antiques business and many tea rooms made a practice of displaying antique furniture or tableware by letting patrons use these items. Visitors were sometimes surprised when other guests bought a hooked rug from the floor or carried off the table they had been sitting at.” (43)

Riverside Tea Room, Thousand Islands, New York
[Image Credit: Jan Whitaker “From Patrons to Chefs, a History of Women in Restaurants” Boston Hospitality Review]

1918 – “Russian tea rooms run by refugees from the 1917 revolution proliferated in cities for a time.” “In its American interpretation in the early 1920s, Russian tea was typically hot tea with a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry, served in a tall glass with a handle.” (46)

1920s – Alcohol is out and tearooms are in. Restaurant-goers unable to partake of alcohol during the United States’ prohibition era turn to tea rooms for their meals out, fueling a tea room boom. “By the 1920s, the tea room was a recognized national institution, with its stronghold on the main streets of cities, towns, and suburbs. It was a popular rendezvous for working women, shoppers, and businessmen, as well as whole families eating their evening meal.”

At a time when the social norm is that a restaurant is no place for a woman, tea rooms are often run, staffed and patronized by women. “The restaurant business was closely associated in many people’s minds with catering to appetites of all kinds, including sexual appetites. For a woman to enter this business at the turn of the century, even as an unescorted patron, was a risk to her reputation.” (44)

“It was almost commonplace for upper-class women to enter the restaurant industry, usually via tea rooms.” (47) Tea rooms open in many parts of the country, occupying former stables, barns, mills, windmills, tollhouses, shipyards, churches and even a bowling alley and old coal boat.

Atlanta’s former Frances Virginia Tea Room (1927 – 1962),
image courtesy of Fulton County GAGenWeb

“However, few early roadside tea rooms were to be found in the rural Midwest, or in the West except along the Pacific coast. Only a small number of tea rooms existed in the South (where eating out became commonplace only after WWII) except along the coastal route to Florida, which was heavily traveled by Easterners.” “As driving became more commonplace and a more diverse motoring public took to the roads in the late 1920s, tea rooms accompanying roadside cabin camps, general stores and gas stations opened. Often these were mom-and-pop operations, with mom running the tea room while pop pumped gas. Lacking the style and ‘class’ of other roadside tea rooms, some of these tea rooms undoubtedly represented what highway beautification programs sought to eradicate.” (48)

“When national candy manufacturers began selling wrapped and branded candy bars in the 1920s, they threatened the livelihood of small producers, who then began devoting part of their candy store space to tea rooms.” (49)

1930s – “The 1930s saw the heyday of another manifestation of the tea craze: tea dances. Held in ballrooms, town halls and hotels, they drew hundreds of young people on weekend afternoons. An entrance fee of about 30 cents bought tea, sandwiches and cakes, and a chance to dance to the music of the big bands popular at the time.” In the 1980s, tea dances “enjoyed a renaissance in modern England. Those same 1930s revelers, in their retirement, found tea dances an ideal way to kick up their heels in their golden years.” (20)

A jazz band at the tea dance in Hotel Esplanade Berlin, 1926
A jazz band at the tea dance in Hotel Esplanade Berlin, 1926

Post-WWII – “To further streamline operations, post-WWII department stores whittled down their menus, eliminating afternoon tea and featuring quick lunch specials more in keeping with luncheonettes than stately dining rooms. Little by little, the grande dame department store tea room all but vanished.” (50)

Afternoon Tea Customs Around the World

1893 tea brochure
1893 New Zealand Grocer Flyer, Courtesy of New Old Stock

France
“The French don’t take milk in their tea – perhaps all the better to balance the violet-flavored creams and the cloudlike charlottes on their dessert plates.” (21)

“First concocted in France in 1653, tea punch has become a popular beverage all over the world. Punch is typically made with lemon, sugar and fruit juice, but there are any number of tasty variations to this festive drink.” (22)

England
“In the early days of tea drinking in England, mugs of silver, pewter, or just plain earthenware were used, the same mugs that had hitherto been used for the drinking of ale and porter…The Brits thought that pouring scalding-hot tea into the newfangled Chinese tea “bowls” would crack the delicate porcelain, so they put the milk in first!” (23)

“To own a porcelain teacup in the 18th century was to enjoy high social standing. Proud owners had their portraits painted holding a favorite cup. Guests toted to parties their own cups in special padded cases. Handles didn’t exist until about one hundred years ago. Before that, tea was drunk, Chinese-style, from a bowl whose saucer served as a lid to keep the beverage hot. Tea was poured into the saucer to cool before drinking.” (24)

“After a tea party, my mother followed the well-established habit of having two bowls of water sent to the drawing room, one soapy, the other for rinsing, along with a fine linen cloth, where she washed the cups and saucers herself. This, of course, was exactly what the mistresses of the household did in the seventeenth and eighteenth century England. China and porcelain of this fine quality were considered far too valuable for the servants to handle, and that is probably why so much of it survives to this day.” (25)

“In the 18th century, the hostess would blend her own balance of green and black teas, taking them from her caddy and measuring them with her silver caddy spoon into a crystal mixing bowl.” (26)

If you placed your teaspoon across your cup or left it inside, it signaled to your hostess that you had had enough tea. By passing your cup back with the spoon on the saucer, she would understand you would like another pour.

“Whiskery Victorians drank from Moustache Cups, which had a small ledge inside the brim upon which a moustache could rest without getting wet.” (27)

High Tea at ZenTea
Photograph courtesy of Hilary Coles / ZenTea

“The general rule is that the earlier tea is served, the lighter the refreshments. At three, tea is usually a snack – dainty finger sandwiches, petits fours, fresh strawberries; at six, it can be a meal – or ‘high’ tea – with sausage rolls, salads and trifle.” (28)

“You cannot visit Devon or Cornwall [England] without sampling the famous Cream Tea, with scones, jam, and clotted cream the rich colour of yellow garden roses.” (29)

“Afternoon tea must always start with sandwiches. You are not allowed to move on to the cakes and muffins until you have blunted the teeth of your appetite with a sandwich.” (30)

“Among the many old-fashioned roses is the group known as ‘tea roses.’ First introduced into Europe in the mid-nineteenth century, they were given their name by some unknown person – who thought they smelled like a newly opened tin of tea (perhaps because most tea imported to England in those days was perfumed with flowers).” (31)

dublin tea importer
Dublin Tea Importer, courtesy of New Old Stock

Ireland
“Superstitions abound, particularly in the Irish kitchen. Stir clockwise so as to appease any specters. Cross all baked goods with a knife slash so as to release the devil. Bake Barm Brack, a yeast tea bread full of dried fruits and spices, with a ring in the middle. It is traditionally eaten at Halloween, and whoever gets the ring is said to have marriage in the immediate future.” (32)

China
“The tea ceremony developed from the Zen ritual. ‘Zen’ means meditation. Zen followers strive for communion with the inner essence of things. Zen masters believe that the banal and the spiritual are equally important. Everything, large and small, matters. At the core of Zen is the belief that greatness lies in the potential for everyday events to transcend the ordinary.” (33)

“Dim sum, classical Chinese tea fare, is eaten either at a teahouse or served at home. Literally translated, dim sum means ‘a point on the heart’; this translation illustrates the reverence for this culinary ritual.” (34)

“[In China] When the teapot is empty, a guest should signal the host by taking the teapot lid off. When one’s cup is filled, thanks are said by simply rapping two fingers sharply on the table top. This way, general conversation is not interrupted.” (35)

“Over 400 years ago, the Royal Physicians developed herbal teas at the request of the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The Emperor was very specific — his tea must provide pleasure and health, have an attractive appearance and a pleasant aroma. The Emperor instructed that these four characteristics must be met.” (36)

Japan
“When participating in a tea ceremony in Japan, you enter through a three-foot-high swinging gate, so low you are forced to bow and be humble. Symbolically, one gives up one’s ego. The required waiting station or “machiai” allows guests to make the transition from everyday life into the spiritual dimension of tea. This interlude prepares the guests to appreciate fully the quality of the tea celebration.” (37)

India
“In India, whenever you stop at a train station, you can buy tea in a baked clay pot. After you have enjoyed your tea, you may throw the cup out the window. Clay back to clay.” (38)

Africa
“In Northwestern Africa, harsh life on the Sahara is relieved by the refreshing ritual of drinking tea. During wars, nomadic traveling, or any desert adventure, all activity stops many times a day for tea. Everyone is required to drink three glasses when a pot of the sugary mint tea is made. There is a saying that accompanies the taking of tea, and it provides insight into the essence of life lived under a glaring sun where sometimes one’s only company is one’s shadow on the sand. It is said that the first cup of tea is as bitter as life; the second as sweet as love; the third as gentle as death.” (39)

Russia
“To begin [a Russian tea ceremony], offer tea to your guests with the choice of a spoonful of preserves or a cube of sugar. The jam can be spooned directly into the tea, or eaten right from the dish with intermittent sips of tea. It flavors the drink and gives a boost of tart sweetness to the strong infusion. The sugar cube is traditionally clamped between the teeth while drinking the tea.” (40)

Afternoon Tea Reference Library

1, 2, 3, 7, 11, 15, 35, 39, 40 Israel, Andrea. Taking Tea. (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987). Print.

4, 21 Waller, Kim and the editors of Victoria magazine. The Art of Taking Tea. (New York: Hearst, 2002). Print.

6, 23, 25, 28, 30 Simpson, Helen. The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea. (New York: Arbor House, 1986). Print.

13, 20, 27 Hynes, Angela. The Pleasures of Afternoon Tea. (Tucson, AZ: H.P. Books, 1987). Print.

14  Pettigrew, Jane. “How Afternoon Tea Was Invented.” TeaMuse. Adagio Teas, December 2008. Web.

15  Copeman, Dawn. “It’s Time for Tea.” Timetravel-Britain.com. Web.

16 Foley, Tricia. Having Tea. (New York: C.N. Potter, 1987). Print.

8, 12, 16, 26, 29, 32, 34 Smith, Michael. The Afternoon Tea Book. (New York: Atheneum, 1986). Print.

9, 18, 22 Napier, Tanya. The Totally TEA-rific TEA Party Book. (San Francisco: Barron’s, 2002). Print.

17, 19, 31 Stuckey, Maggie. Country Tea Parties. (Pownal, Vermont: Storey Books, 1996). Print.

10, 24 Knight, Elizabeth. Tea with Friends. (Pownel, Vermont: Storey Books, 1998). Print.

33, 37, 38 Stoddard, Alexandra. Alexandra Stoddard’s Tea Celebrations: The Way to Serenity. (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994). Print.

36 Long Life Herbal Tea Packaging

41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50  Whitaker, Jan. Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn, a Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America. (New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 2002). Print.

51 Watkins, Sarah-Beth. Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen. (Croydon: Chronos Books, 2017). Print.

52 “The History of Tea.” UK Tea & Infusions Association (https://www.tea.co.uk/history-of-tea). Web.

53 “History of Iced Tea and Sweet Tea.” What’s Cooking America (https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/IcedTeaHistory.htm). Web.

54, 55 Marsden, Emma. Tea at Fortnum & Mason. (London: Ebury Press, 2010). Print.