What is English Breakfast Tea?
Unveiling the Rich Tapestry of English Breakfast Tea
Tea drinking has become an indelible part of British culture, despite the fact that the British were relatively latecomers to the world of tea. Ironically, the first mention of tea in English literature is a translation of a Dutchman's travels to the East. Tea initially reached England through Holland, carried on Dutch ships.
As the popularity of tea grew, the British government became increasingly displeased that a small nation like the Netherlands had control over the tea trade to the UK. In 1651, the British government enacted the Navigation Acts, which prohibited the importation of any goods on non-British ships. Resourceful traders and Dutchmen, however, continued the trade by utilizing an interesting workaround – they transshipped the tea in Holland onto British ships.
In the early days, tea was revered as a health beverage with claims of various curative powers. In the 1650s, Garway's Coffee House declared that tea, among other things, had the ability to make the body active and robust. Tea was hailed as the epitome of wholesomeness, preserving perfect health until old age. The tradition of afternoon tea can be attributed to Anna, the wife of the seventh Duke of Bedford. At the time, societal norms dictated only two planned meals per day: a hearty breakfast and a late evening dinner. To alleviate the "sinking feeling" between these meals, Anna began instructing her servants to prepare tea and cakes in the late afternoon. Thus, a fashionable habit was born, which continues to thrive to this day.
The history of tea in Britain is deeply intertwined with a multitude of events and phenomena. Think of high tea, the iconic Brown Betty teapot, the American War of Independence, the Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the legendary Clipper ship races from Fuzchou, China, to Portsmouth, UK, the renowned Earl Grey, and, of course, the beloved English Breakfast tea.
With each sip of English Breakfast tea, you partake in a heritage that spans generations, a tapestry woven with tales of exploration, cultural exchange, and delightful rituals.
Indulge in the timeless allure of English Breakfast tea and experience the essence of British tea tradition.
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