Tea: Why the British Love It
We British drink millions of cups of tea every single day. While we also enjoy a drink of coffee, it is tea that tends to be our favourite cup. But why do we love tea so much? we’re going to take a look at this now:
With more than 60 billion cups of tea drunk every year (Approximately 900 cups for everyone living in Britain) tea is certainly a way of life. But why do we love it so much? First of all, we need to delve deep into the reason behind the taste of tea.
The flavour of your next cup of tea will be determined by how the tea is grown, how it’s processed, and also how it’s brewed.
How Tea is Grown
Tea is grown in some very tropical places and although some tea bushes need a lot of light others don’t. Matcha tea bushes are grown in the shade as the lack of sun causes the bush to produce more chlorophyll and fewer polyphenols which give the tea a dry taste.
Some tea leaves are left in the sun for some time, green teas are not left in the sun at all, whereas oolong tea leaves are dried, bruised and cooked. Black tea is left to dry for a long time before it’s cooked. Keeping the tea leaves in or out of the sun affects the flavour, and as we British love black tea the most the leaves need to be kept in the sun for the right amount of time.
Marketing Tea to the Middle and Upper Classes
Whether your favourite tea cup is made from bone china or has an original tea cup design that is bright and colourful, we Brits love tea, and we are happy to drink at least a few cups every day, preferably out of our favourite cup. Studies have shown that tea was first imported to the UK in 1660 and it was marketed to the middle and upper classes.
Considered to be something of a medicinal drink, more and more people wanted to enjoy a cup or two. One of the reasons behind tea’s so-called medicinal properties is likely to be down to the water that was used in tea. Water had to be boiled, and when water is boiled all of those nasty and harmful germs are destroyed. Thus, the middle classes and the upper classes refrained from drinking dirty water and instead enjoyed clean water.
The caffeine contained in a cup of tea no doubt made the drinkers feel more alert, and its detoxing properties may have aided their health too.
The Working Classes and Tea
Fast forward to the 19th century and the working classes were now enjoying tea. Tea was cheaper than coffee and it tastes good when you add even more water to it, whereas coffee does not. Britain’s wet and often cold climate makes a cup of tea the ideal drink and as prices started to fall, more and more people were indulging in a cup of the good stuff more often.
Why we British love tea is likely to be down to the fact that tea was and still is a relatively cheap product to buy. Not only did it boost the health of those drinking it back in 1660, but its flavour was quite unlike anything drunk before. Fast forward to the 19th century and every day working class people could now drink as much tea as they wished, and so the legend continues. We British are used to drinking tea, we have done for centuries and our love of tea has been passed down to us by our ancestors and it looks as though this tradition will continue for quite some time.