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

Everything Stopped for Tea

January 31, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

The song “Everything Stops For Tea” was first performed by Scotsman Jack Buchanan and featured in the 1935 musical film Come Out Of The Pantry, which was set in New York.
In Great Britain, everything did stop for tea throughout the first half of the 1900s as British workers took their tea break. By 1900, tea [...]

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The Buzz About Tea and Caffeine

January 23, 2015 by Bruce Richardson

Tea drinkers in colonial Boston looked forward to the lift brought about by the caffeine found in their teacups. Today, caffeine remains the world’s most popular drug, easily surpassing nicotine and alcohol. And more than 85% of Americans ingest significant amounts of this legal drug on a daily basis—usually via coffee, tea, cola, or chocolate.
While [...]

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Chinese Porcelain Arrives in Europe and America

December 28, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

Although pottery dates back thousands of years, true porcelain is thought to have first been made in China during the Han Dynasty, 202 BC – 220 AD. Chinese potters in Zheijiang province are believed to have developed kilns for firing ceramic pots containing small quantities of kaolin clay at temperatures of 1260° C or higher. [...]

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Tea’s Journey from Canton to London – and beyond

December 15, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

In the early 1700s, the passage from Canton to London of the first consignments of tea was complicated and protracted. Farmers all over China grew tea as one of various crops on their small land holdings. The first two spring pickings of the season yielded the best quality and were mainly exported. Third and fourth [...]

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The First Mention of Tea by an Englishman

November 15, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

The earliest mention of tea —as “chaw”—by an Englishman is the famous Wickham letter of 1615.
The letter was found in a set of old records entitled Japan Miscellanies, consisting of copies of letters from Richard Wickham, the East India Company’s factor at Hirado (Japan’s only port of trade to the world located in Nagasaki Prefecture).
Wickham [...]

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Catherine – The First British Tea-Drinking Queen

November 5, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

It is said that when Catherine of Braganza arrived from Portugal to marry Charles II in 1662, she brought with her a casket of tea. Since the Portuguese had been importing tea to Europe from the beginning of the seventeenth century, Catherine had grown up drinking tea as the preferred everyday beverage.
Catherine of Braganza (age [...]

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Tea Caddies in Salem

October 31, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

Tea caddy early 1800s, Guangzhou, China.
The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA houses a treasure chest of historic tea wares that colorfully illustrate the art of tea in Chinese and Japanese cultures at the time of the Boston Tea Party. Originally a maritime museum, these extensive collections includes many exquisite items carried to the colonies [...]

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Telling your Fortune in a Teacup

September 25, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

Within the American tea room movement of the 1920s, gypsy tea rooms emerged as a unique phenomenon with roots that extended back to the 1880s.
Many immigrant women had established fortune telling enterprises in major American cities, but the practice had been frowned on and ordinances were enacted to ban payment for fortune telling services. In [...]

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Who Invented the Teabag?

September 22, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

 
Tea mythology claims that the teabag was invented by New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan in 1904 when he sent out samples packed in small silk pouches. That may not be true.
As often happens in history, we cannot always look to a single creation event to permanently enshrine a flashpoint of human discovery. Ideas more often [...]

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Kew: Home of George III

August 10, 2014 by Bruce Richardson

Kew Palace from the Gardens. Photo by Bruce Richardson 2014.
On the morning of Saturday 25 October 1760, George II died suddenly at Kensington Palace.  His eldest son, Frederick, had died in 1752 and the crown therefore went to Frederick’s first born son, the 22 year old George, whose boyhood had been spent largely with his mother [...]

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