Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Portuguese Popularized Tea in England

Catherine of Braganza
Tea, today, is an institution in British society. This good smelling drink is always part of the British everyday lives, from in morning and in the afternoon. The story of tea in Britain began during the 1600’s. It was introduced in England in 1650’s. it was not still in the main spotlight of the affluent and off course, the aristocracy. Tea only began to kick off from in England when the King of England needed to have a queen. Her bride to be would play a key role to the spread of tea to the higher ranks of the British society and popularize across the country, which would eventually be part of British life. 

During the time when England was well-known as the maritime superpower, trade between the west and the east flourished. Many exotic goods, never seen before, arrived to many British ports. One of this goods was tea from Asia. It was in the mid-1600 when tea arrived in England. Dutch traders that have trade networks in India and China brought tea leaves to the British Isles. Then in 1657, a merchant of a name of Thomas Garraway began to sell tea in his shop in Exchange Alley. To boost up his sales, he advertised tea as medical herb that could cure some ailments.

However, what boost profoundly tea, and would bring it to the attention of the nobles and the King of England was credited to a foreigner queen.  In 1662, Catherine of Braganza, a princess of Portugal and a drinker of tea, arrived in Portsmouth, England. Her arrival in England was due to marriage. She was to marry the King of England, Charles II. And married she did in the same year of her arrival. Along with Catherine, was a chest filled with tea leaves. She introduced tea to the royal court to impress the King. She then also brewed fresh pot of tea for her affluent friends in England. Back then, Royals were considered as trend setters. So if the Queen drinks tea, the nobles to be in should also drink it. Many those in the court eventually emulated tea drinking. It helped tea to be a thing to do for aristocrats. 

After Queen Catherine, Tea continued to grow in England over the next century. Little by little, it started to play key roles in the lives of the British. Finally it became part of the tradition and culture of Britain.
Moffat, M. Afternoon Tea: A Timeless Tradition. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2012. 

Pettigrew, J. Afternoon Tea. Hampshire: Jarrold Publishing, 2004. 


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