Whether you are doing ‘dry January’ or trying to get back into a routine after the festive period, one thing we can all rely on is the comfort of a cup of tea. People have been drinking tea in the UK for over 350 years and today 84% of the UK’s population drink tea daily. Other tea drinking nations include Turkey and the Republic of Ireland.
Legend has it that tea was discovered by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2737BC. The emperor was sitting beneath a tree whilst his servant began to boil some water ready to drink. Chinese mythology states that a leaf from a Camellia sinensis tree fell into the water and instead of fishing the leaf out of his drink he decided to try the concoction. Whether this is entirely how it happened we will never know, but all tea made today still originates from the Camellia sinensis plant, be it black, green, white or oolong tea.
The tea trend really took off during the Tang dynasty in the 8th century and became China’s national drink. However it wasn’t until the 1600’s when Europe got wind of their secret. It was Kings Charles II’s wife, Catherine of Braganza, (later to become the Queen of England), who really popularised the drink with British noble society.
Popularity for tea grew dramatically in the 18th century but the price was still impossibly high for this humble drink with 119% tea tax added. This was later slashed by William Pitt the Younger and tea became a drink for all! Milk was added to the beverage over time to reduce the bitter taste of the leaves and to lower the temperature to avoid bone china tea cups from cracking.
At Shop Kit Kemp we have some wonderful china teacups fit for all your tea desires. Our Mythical Creatures range might transport you back to 2737BC when tea was first discovered alongside our whimsical and lyrical creatures.
Or you might be tempted by our Sailor’s Farewell design. This exquisite range of china shows a sailor waving goodbye to his loved-one as he sets off on an adventure. Perhaps he was going on a voyage to bring her some tea!
We would love to invite you to make your tea time even more luxurious and join us at one of our hotels in London or New York for an Afternoon Tea fit for a queen. This is the perfect way to get yourself through those January blues and have a much needed catch up with an old friend. Tea is served all day and can be taken in the hotels restaurants or Drawing Rooms. Book online here.