Tea Trivia and History
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
God Save the Queen…from Cracked China!
The British Standards Institute has proclaimed that milk is best poured before the tea, though this is debated by some tea lovers. Those in favor say that the hot water scalds the milk, which brings out the tea’s flavor. (And they never use cream, as it masks the tea’s taste.) Others have speculated that the milk-first theory prevents the china from cracking in reaction to the boiling water. However, Queen Elizabeth II reportedly enjoys her tea by adding the milk afterward. Oh, those reckless royals…
Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, is reputed to have created the idea of afternoon tea in the early 1800s. She conceived the idea of having tea around four or five in the afternoon to ward off the hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. Some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had the idea of putting a filling between to slices of bread. These habits soon became a good reason for social gatherings and started a trend that is still a large part of our daily lives.
Tipping came about as a response to proper service developed in the tea gardens of England. Small, locked wooden boxes were placed on the tables throughout the garden. Inscribed on each were the letters “T.I.P.S.” which stood for the sentence “To Insure Proper Service”. If a guest wished the waiter to hurry, to insure that the tea arrived hot from the often distant kitchen, he dropped a coin into the box upon being seated. Thus, the custom of tipping servers was created.