The Tea Master's Blog

Author: Bruce Richardson
Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Mr. Richardson, a native Kentuckian, is a leading tea expert and spends much of his time educating Americans in the art of celebrating the communal cup of tea. He is a writer, photographer, tea blender, and frequent guest speaker at tea events across the country. and can often be found appearing on television and radio talk shows, or as a guest speaker at professional seminars such as World Tea Expo.
Books
  • The Great Tea Rooms of Britain
  • The Great Tea Rooms of America
  • The New Tea Companion for The National Trust of England with London's Jane Pettigrew
  • Tea in the City, a three-volume set of travel guides to tea in New York, London and Paris with Jane Pettigrew and Elizabeth Knight.
  • Tea & Etiquette


Accomplishments
  • Owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and Benjamin Press
  • Contributing editor and designer for the 2011 edition of The Book of Tea by former Boston MFA Asian Arts Director, Okakura Kakuzo.
  • Columnist for Tea Time magazine

A Dutch Doctor Prescribes Tea

August 15, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

To the 17th century European palate, the taste of tea often elicited a “what’s all the fuss about?” comment. After all, the well-to-do had recently been treated to the new taste of coffee and cocoa. But after sipping a cup of tea for the first time, more than one Dutch or English consumer, after paying […]

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The Ladies of Boston Swear off Tea

July 20, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

A lengthy, illustrated article appeared in the December 1852 edition of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine recalling the events leading up to the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the defiant role New England women played in setting the course for opposing George III’s tax schemes. A portion of the article reads as follows:
In America meetings were […]

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Parliament’s Private Tea House

June 25, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

The House of Commons Tea Room, 1880
The streets along the River Thames during the late 1800s were teaming with vendors. There were stalls selling tea and coffee day and night. The quality of the drinks and food offered was poor and would not have attracted any but poorer working folk, but at least the workers […]

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The British Tea Room Was Born in Glasgow

June 2, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

Glasgow tea maven, Kate Cranston
In 1903, The Builder’s Journal and Architecture Record reported: “Glasgow is a very Tokio for tea-rooms. Nowhere can one have so much for so little, and nowhere are such places more popular or frequented.” The central figures in the tea movement in Glasgow at the time were the Cranston family. Stuart […]

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The Oldest Tea in Britain

May 2, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

300 year-old Chinese green tea in the Natural Museum of History, London.
British researchers have found what they believe to be the oldest tea in Britain, and to the surprise of contemporary British tea drinkers, the tea is green!
The unassuming box of Chinese tea was acquired around 1700 by a ship’s surgeon James Cuninghame. Cunninghame subsequently […]

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Poetic Tea Verses from the 18th Century

April 12, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

London lexicographer Samuel Johnson, an unapologetic over of tea, kept the kettle on throughout the day and late into the night.  He summed up his preference for someone making tea for him:
“Now hear it then, my Rennie dear,
Nor hear it with a frown;
You cannot make the tea so fast
As I can gulp it down.
I therefore pray thee, Rennie […]

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Adding Milk or Sugar to Tea

March 29, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

 
Victorian lustreware creamer from the Sunderland Pottery. English pottery of the late 1700s and early 1800s often was decorated with popular verse, humorous sayings, slogans or Biblical texts.
Tea was a relatively new commodity in both the colonies and England and, despite the fact that more and more people were brewing and drinking it, not everyone knew […]

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How Did Tea Get Its Name?

March 12, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

The thing we call a tea would taste just as sweet if we called it by any other name.
How differently would the words of Juliet have sounded if only Shakespeare had known the beverage we call tea?  It’s too bad that the Chinese beverage would not appear in London until forty years after his death. […]

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Tea Customs of Colonial Boston

February 28, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

Oh, how the colonists loved to imitate the customs of their English cousins.
When he visited Boston in 1740, Joseph Bennett observed that “the ladies here visit, drink tea and indulge every little piece of gentility to the height of the mode and neglect the affairs of their families with as good grace as the finest […]

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Was English Breakfast Tea Onboard the Boston Ships?

February 11, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

Was English Breakfast one of the teas tossed into Boston Harbor?
1862 Great Atlantic Pacific Tea Company Trade Card
All the teas onboard the three ships in Boston Harbor in December 1773 carried teas that would have been enjoyed by our British cousins at breakfast. But there was no such blend known as English Breakfast.
Despite its name, […]

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