Although the tea does not grow in England, tea has a great place in English culture. They even spare two times of the day into the tea. The first one is afternoon tea, also known as ‘low tea,’ is served between 3 and 7 p.m. The second one is called ‘high tea,’ also known as ‘5 p.m tea.’ This tradition, which has an important place in our culture, including delicious scones and silver teapots in England, has an exciting story. Let’s have a look at this experience together.
The Chinese decided to sell tea to the English as a result of the strong demand in the 1600s. The Chinese demanded gold and silver not money in exchange for tea. Also, they did not provide any information to the English about how to drink and how to grow it. So much so that they added milk to the tea and they couldn’t even differentiate the green and black tea trees etc.
Over the years the Chinese have increased the price of tea. The English silver and gold sources were beginning to sink, and they had to do something. In 1828, the English established a secret organization. This organization was Lord Bentick’s Committee, who was appointed as ambassador to India at that time. The organization aimed to cultivate tea in India. Also during this time, the British botanists were sent to China to study how the tea was planted, and also villagers were brought from China to India. In 1848, Robert Fortune, the agent, lived in China for three years and collected information and brought tea seeds. Then, in Sri Lanka and India, tea began to be cultivated.
Despite all this, the English continued to buy tea from China. The British, who were tired of importing tea with valuable items such as silver and gold, found something that caught the attention of the Chinese. They purchased the opium from Turkey, and cotton from Bengal. China has prohibited the opium, which is often used by Chinese traders. The British then waged war against China. The Chinese were defeated and opened their four ports to Great Britain for trade.
The British loved the tea since the 1700s. But the tea in these periods was only drunk by bourgeois and aristocrats because it was too expensive. The upper class turned to tea to avoid the sourness of alcoholic beverages. After a while, the afternoon tea, served with snacks, became a tradition. A new trading product has been added to exchange between China and the UK. The Chinese have now started to produce porcelain teacups for the British. In 1742, Great Britain began to produce teacups themselves. After a while, tea prices have dropped, and then everyone started to drink tea. Afternoon tea had become a ritual for everyone. All the people loved drinking tea so much that they began to carry tea bags, sugar, and cups with them.
The British tea services may differ from region to region. But in general, the same things are eaten and drunk. Afternoon tea time is a full meal in some areas, while others take a snack style. Snacks such as bread and butter are served with porcelain or silverware eating utensils. Sandwiches with cucumber and salmon are eaten, and snacks such as muffins, cakes, cream, jam, sponge cake, crumpet, and donuts are also available. The things that served are usually food to be eaten without using a fork. The cup must be kept in the correct position by providing a finger balance, and the person serving tea should not break the conversation.