A brief history of tea

Os with tea cup2727bc Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water. Some leaves from the tree blew into the water Shen Nung decided to try the infusion , the tree was a Camellia Sinensis and the resulting drink was what we now call tea.

In the latter half of the sixteenth century there are the first reports of tea being drunk by Europeans mostly by Portuguese, who were living in the east and working as traders and missionaries.

1606 the first commercial consignment of tea was shipped from China to Holland.

It was the marriage of Charles 11 to Catherine of Braganza that would prove to be the tuning point in the history of tea in Britain. She was a Portugese princess and a tea addict, tea gradually became a fashionable drink in courtly and aristocratic circles.

Virtually all tea in Britain had come from China, by 1901 fuelled by cheaper imports from India and Ceylon, the British Colony’s, the consumption per head rocketed to over 6lbs per head. Tea had become firmly established as part of the British way of life.