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Features

Features

Tea rituals, teapots, reading tea leaves – it's all here, together with the colourful history of tea advertising, the parallel stories of coffee and chocolate, and an interview with the man who runs the Tea Museum

Tea and the Health of a Nation

As a nation we get through a staggering 48 billion cups of our favourite brew every year – 74,245 cuppas during a lifetime, or 1,227 a year – according to a survey by Sainsbury’s. The Tea Council has calculated that the average person drinks three cups a day, with 95% of the UK population using tea bags, 98% adding milk and 45% stirring in sugar. So just what effect is all this tea having on us?

Tea and the Health of a Nation
Drinking Rituals

Drinking Rituals

The Japanese tea ceremony – “chanoyu” – is a near-religious ritual, influenced by Zen Buddhism, in which each participant is encouraged to give their full appreciation of the tea. A ceremony can be held on any occasion, but is always an unhurried process, often lasting for several hours.

How to Make the Perfect Cup!

Edward Bramah is the founder of the Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee in London. He has more than 50 years' experience in all aspects of tea, including planting and tasting.

How to Make the Perfect Cup!
How Do You Make Yours?

How Do You Make Yours?

Most tea drinkers know exactly how to make the perfect cup of tea – but getting them to agree on a method is another thing! If you’ve ever made a cuppa for somebody else, the chances are that they have politely complained about it being too strong, too milky or served in the wrong cup. When it comes to tea making, one size does not fit all.

Weird and Wonderful Teapots

The humble cup of tea is a versatile drink, offered in times of crisis, shock, celebration or simply during a good old chat. Equally adaptable is the vessel it’s brewed in. Teapots have been made into every possible shape imaginable and it’s sometimes a job to spot where the spout, handle and lid actually are.

Weird and Wonderful Teapots
The Arrival of Coffee and Chocolate

The Arrival of Coffee and Chocolate

Although they originated in different parts of the world, tea (from China), coffee (North Africa) and chocolate (South America) arrived in England within a few years of each other, in the middle of the 17th century.

Miscellaneous Paraphernalia

The English began drinking tea from a vessel just like the Chinese version, small, made of very thin china, and with no handles – so it was really a bowl of tea!

Miscellaneous Paraphernalia
Orwell, and A Nice Cup of Tea

Orwell, and A Nice Cup of Tea

The fierce debate about how to make the perfect cup of tea isn't a new one. This contribution to the argument, from George Orwell, was published six decades ago...

Advertising

Early tea advertising stressed its supposed health benefits. Thomas Garway was one of the first coffee house proprietors in London to offer his customers tea as well as coffee, in 1657. His broadsheets claimed that tea was renowned for “making the body active and lusty” and “preserving perfect health until extreme old age”.

Advertising
Reading Tea Leaves

Reading Tea Leaves

Reading tea leaves is a form of divination: the art of discovering the unknown or predicting the future. Some people call it tasseomancy or tasseology or tasseography, which makes it sound more scientific. It's related to other forms of divination, such as reading the shapes of melted wax (ceroscopy) or molten lead or tin (molybdomancy) dropped in water, which were practised during the Middle Ages.

Ten things...

Tea might seem the most commonplace drink - but do you really know your Camellia sinensis from your Camellia assamica?

Ten things...