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A nice cuppa

Did you know its been 365 years since Briton’s first got the taste of tea in their own country? Yes, 1657 was the first recorded mention of tea in Britain when it was served at Thomas Garway of Garraway’s Coffee House in Exchange Alley, London.

We’ve come a long way since then of course in 2021 Briton’s drank 35.6 billion cups of tea, that’s 100,000,000 cups a day!

Britain was and, remains one of the world’s largest consumers of tea, only China and Japan drink more; but then they were responsible for creating the drink in the first place.

In 1662 the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza came to Britain to marry King Charles II and as her dowry she brought dozens of chests of tea. Today this may sound odd but back in the 17th century tea was a precious, sought after and ludicrously expensive commodity. So lucrative was the trade that during Elizabethan times the East India Company had a monopoly on the importation of goods from the Far East.  They were not against withholding tea from the market, thus making it rarer and see the price skyrocket to line their pockets. Profiteering is nothing new.

But sometimes such practices have a habit of blowing up in one’s face. One such occasion was the infamous ‘Boston Tea Party’ which led to the War of Independence and ultimately to Britain losing its American colonies and it all started over the price and availability of tea.

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