The Tea Master's Blog
While the Boston Tea Party is often the most common story of tea’s role in rebellious acts, the drink found its way into the homes and lives of another group interested in revolution: the American women’s suffrage.
On July 9, 1848, five key members of the American women’s suffrage movement met for tea in Waterloo, [...]
June 11, 2014 by Bruce Richardson
In the finer homes of colonial Boston or London, the procedure for making tea was fairly simple: a servant brought in the “tea things” on a teaboard (tray), the hostess placed a few teaspoons of tea leaves into a teapot, and heated water was added directly from a silver urn resting on a china table [...]Read More...
May 15, 2014 by Bruce Richardson
Teaspoons played a very important part in the etiquette of tea drinking. The Prince de Broglie recorded how he was taught the complexities of etiquette while on a visit to England in 1782:
“I partook of most excellent tea and I should be even now still drinking it, I believe, if the Ambassador had not charitably [...]
May 4, 2014 by Bruce Richardson
With prices for tea remaining high throughout the early 18th century and the passion for it growing, poets and essayists summed up popular attitudes of the day. Many praised tea, recommending it for health reasons, as London tea merchant Thomas Garway had done a hundred years before. Some pointed out its benefits as an alternative [...]Read More...
April 10, 2014 by Bruce Richardson
I received a call a few months ago from MTV asking how monkeys were trained to pick tea.
I had to break the news to them that westerners had been falling for that story since way before the time tea was tossed into Boston Harbor. It was one of the marketing ploys used to make Chinese [...]
April 7, 2014 by Bruce Richardson
Marshall Field’s Tea Room, Chicago
In 1890, Harry Gordon Selfridge, manager of Marshall Field’s in Chicago, enrolled the help of Sarah Haring to assist with a new project at the store. She was in many ways, a typical American woman of her era—wife of a businessman and a mother. Neither aristocratic nor impoverished, Haring was needed [...]Read More...
December 29, 2013 by Bruce Richardson
English Women Drinking Tea After Dinner coloured engraving by French School
Hostesses in the fine homes of Beacon Street certainly had all the accoutrements for serving tea in colonial Boston but the term “high tea” would not come into use for another 100 years. Even then, upper class Bostonians did not refer to their teatime by [...]
December 10, 2013 by Bruce Richardson
All the tea aboard the three East India ships in Boston Harbor on the night of December 16, 1773 came from China, not India.
The East India Company shipped Chinese teas from the port of Canton to their London docks and warehouses. From there, the tea was transported to American cities along the Eastern Seaboard. [...]
November 21, 2013 by Bruce Richardson
Two ladies out for a drive in their Ford
America’s love affair with tea rooms began a century ago and the area around Boston was the first to witness this boom as tea rooms popped up in every little village. The sudden popularity of tea rooms was brought about by three remarkable social phenomena:
the advent of the automobile,
the temperance movement, and
women’s quest [...]
November 5, 2013 by Bruce Richardson
I spoke recently to the North American Jane Austen Society at their annual convention in Minneapolis. My talk was on The Tea Things of Jane Austen. This Regency period writer often used tea as a literary tool to bring the sexes together, and the term “tea things” was sometimes used to set the stage for [...]Read More...