In the 1820′s, the British East India Company began large scale production of tea in India, and by the 1850′s the British learned how to commercially cultivate tea plants. It took the British several decades to learn how to grow and produce various types of Indian tea like Assam and Darjeeling. By 1875, the British had the knowledge to produce tea on their own island colony of Ceylon, Sri Lanka. In 1878, tea was cultivated in Indonesia by the Dutch and by the turn of the Century…early 1900′s, tea was also being cultivated in parts of Africa, like Kenya. The English and the Dutch managed to crumble China’s world tea dominance.
In 1904 St. Louis World’s fair, ice tea became all the rage. One plantation owner decided to dump a load of ice into his hot tea because the weather was so warm, no one was buying the hot tea. Ice tea was consumed in the 1800′s in tea and liquour punch cocktails but iced tea alone took off in popularity in the early 1900′s.
In 1908, the first teabags were invented.
Starting in the late 1880′s, fine hotels in America and England began to offer tea service in Tea Rooms and Tea Courts. Victorian ladies and gentlemen would meet in the late afternoon for tea and conversation. By 1910 fashionable hotels began to host afternoon Tea Dances. Tea Dances were very popular with singles and they were considered a very respectable way for singles to meet. The Tango became all the rage in 1910, and tea and tango became connected.
The London Ritz was the first hotel where young women were allowed to go alone to tea without a chaperone. Romance writer Barbara Cartland said that in the years following World War One, tea at the London Ritz was a great way to meet single men. “You’d have a long lunch with men you liked, a short tea with the rest,” she said. The editor of Vogue Magazine once fired a large number of female secretaries for “wasting too much time at the tea dances.” in the 1920′s.
to be continued….
Join us for our traditional high tea and enjoy a cup of your favourite tea!