To the Rituals of this Beautiful Brew.
Second only to water, let’s look at the Rituals of Tea.
The celebration of tea and the celebration of the ways people and countries through the centuries have loved, shared, enjoyed, this beautiful beverage and where it stands today.
Such an important, inextricable part of our daily lives.
From our early morning cuppa in bed, at the kitchen bench ( or our second at the kitchen bench! ) to our lounge chair, to a shared cuppa with friends, to a grand gala, to a garden party, to a special afternoon tea, to our last enjoyable supper drink before bed.
Our Life with Tea!
Let’s visit England
Princess Catherine of Braganza
Well as we know according to history, tea was introduced to England socially, by the arrival of Princess Braganza, from Portugal, betrothed to wed King Charles the 2nd. She arrived in 1662, to marry the King and she brought with her to the English Court, a trunk load of tea. An extremely expensive and desirable commodity to have and I presume would have been a part of her trousseau., or perhaps she just had to have her cup of tea!
This she shared with her friends, invited to her bedchamber to sip and enjoy and converse, while drinking tea.
Of course what is enjoyed by royalty, well it must follow, that it must be good and so copied by the nobility and all who could afford this special beverage, and wished to enjoy it as well.
Women drinking tea, could not visit the coffee houses, definitely not accepted way back then, where the men sat drinking their beverages, discussing the politics of the day, reading, etc. So it became a drink to be enjoyed by the women and their friends in their homes.
Queen Anne’s reign; (from 1702-1714). Well, I found very little about her love of tea, accept that she mixed her cups of tea with discussing the issues of the day with her politicians! So I shall continue my search into her life, she was not a well person, suffering with arthritis and so many pregnancies, with only one surviving to the age of eleven, William. She was actually the niece of Charles the Second and of course, his wife Catherine of Braganza.
I continued to research Queen Anne and really cannot find anything regarding her love of tea.( But the Teas and China carrying her name are just fabulous and so desirable)!
As the love of drinking tea grew, I know that a cup of tea at breakfast, became more popular than drinking a mug of ale with a hearty breakfast. I can only presume that ale was the regular drink to have or perhaps wine, rather than drinking water, (which would’ve had a very high chance of making you sick!) At least these drinks were fermented and treated, so less bacteria, and tea, better still, because not only did it not make you dizzy and silly, but beautifully brewed in hot water!
Well, fast forward to; Anna.
The Seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840.
Anna’/s full name was; Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford and she was a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria and Lady in Waiting of Her Bedchamber., (1837-1840)
Dinner times changed over the decades and where dinner may have been served from around four in the afternoon, by the 1900’s it was much later, around nine in the evening.
According to history, Anna found it quite a long wait between lunch and tea and around four o’clock, she felt really hungry and requested, tea and bread, she invited friends to join her for tea and bread and then… .. well there you are… the ritual of the afternoon tea arrived!
To the Pleasure of Tea!
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(My resources; Wikipedia and UK Tea &Infusions Association).