GIVEAWAY DAY 8: British Isles

GIVEAWAY DAY 8: British Isles

Tea began making its way to Europe via the trade routes of Dutch and Portuguese companies in the 17th century and by the 20th century Britain was consuming over 1/2 of the world’s tea supply. Today, one cannot think of British culture without also thinking of black tea swirled with milk and sugar...and perhaps paired with a biscuit or a scone. Today hundreds of millions of cups are consumed each day. From hearty morning brews, to elegant high tea (and the many cups inbetween) taking time to sit and enjoy a hot cuppa is a British tradition that is still is going strong today.

Many tales speak to the complexities of British tea culture. When tea originally came to Europe, it was seen as an exotic medicine. As tea reached more of society, the Crown levied a tea tax, which led to widespread smuggling. In the 19th century the English began to colonize India and Sri Lanka and established tea estates in these regions, forming the British East India Company to monopolize the tea trade and secure access.

There are a few events said to have paved the way for Afternoon Tea as it exists today. The Duchess of Bedford began sharing her love of tea in her court to abolish the “sinking feeling” she experienced between breakfast and dinner. Then the Temperance Society brought forward Afternoon Tea in an attempt to reduce public drunkenness among those living through the Industrial Revolution. Tea was brought in as the drink replacement at lavish Temperance parties, where guests and their families were invited to tables covered with sweets and tea - so long as they sat through sermons condemning alcohol. Much came to evolve around Afternoon Tea, with television broadcasters examining how they might hold influence in society by scheduling programming around tea time.

The British have had much influence on global tea culture, and several Westholme blends draw inspiration from this. Cowichan Breakfast is our rendition of the classic English Breakfast, and our Mad Hatter draws inspiration from the beloved Lewis Carroll novel perspective on afternoon tea parties - a memorable place holder in the story of the Westholme Tea Garden.

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