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.
  • 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

  • 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

Jane Austen’s Tea Things

September 11, 2019 by Bruce Richardson

In a lecture to the North American Jane Austen Society Convention, I spoke about 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 conversation. London author Jane Pettigrew and […]


Was Brick Tea Tossed into Boston Harbor?

June 1, 2019 by Bruce Richardson

Was brick tea thrown overboard at the Boston Tea Rebellion? The answer is NO. I sometimes see this myth mentioned in historical accounts of the Boston Tea Party. Worst of all, I’ve seen stacks of tea bricks fro sale in at least two gift shops at historic sites with narrative signs that say the East […]


Was Tea Drunk at Breakfast in Colonial Boston?

February 28, 2019 by Bruce Richardson

English customs were generally imitated in this country, particularly in the urban centers of Boston where, as he visited 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 […]


What is Breakfast Tea?

January 15, 2019 by Bruce Richardson

Fans of Downton Abbey may be fascinated—and a bit envious—of the Crawley daughters’ morning ritual of awakening to a tray of hot tea placed upon their recumbent laps by their ladies’ maids. I suspect the great estate house was quite drafty, and a few cups of tea were surely consumed before the pampered ladies placed […]


I Love Coffee, I Love Tea

August 26, 2018 by Bruce Richardson

I had the pleasure of setting up a backstage tea bar at a recent performance of the long-running vocal group Manhattan Transfer. One of the quartet’s classic hits from 1975 was Java Jive, which included this famous chorus: I love coffee, I love tea I love the java jive and it loves me Coffee and tea and […]


Herbals Are Naturally Caffeine-free

July 2, 2018 by Bruce Richardson

Caffeine-free beverages are hotter than ever as more and more tea drinkers search for a satisfying alternative to lackluster decaffeinated teas. These drinks are called herbals, infusions or the French term tisanes. These natural blends are not true “teas” because they contain no tea leaves, but they do have a history as old as the […]


Isabella Stewart Gardner and The Book of Tea – Part 1

June 8, 2018 by Bruce Richardson

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a Boston legend, even in her lifetime. She was known as “The Queen of Back Bay,” but she had not always been a queen. She was far from beautiful and, in the age of Vanderbilts, only moderately wealthy. She kept her charities private while tales of her indiscretions, true or false, […]


Isabella Stewart Gardner and The Book of Tea – Part II

May 29, 2018 by Bruce Richardson

Isabella Stewart Gardner thought Okakura Kakuzo’s sad eyes and proud demeanor radiated the mysterious wisdom of the East. He dressed to dramatic effect in traditional Japanese dress when he lectured. To his audience, he became the embodiment of the culture of Japan, a country that had already captured the American imagination. He was the natural […]


The First Tea in Scotland

April 29, 2018 by Bruce Richardson

Tea was first served in the royal palaces of both Scotland and England by queens who grew up on The Continent where tea was already a fashionable beverage.   The Duchess of York, Italian born Mary of Modena, picked up her tea habit while living in the Netherlands. She poured the first tea in Scotland […]


What is Twankey Green Tea?

March 20, 2018 by Bruce Richardson

Not all tea was of equal quality during the 1700s. Two sometimes distasteful Chinese teas commonly found in London and Boston were Bohea (black) and Twankey (green). Both would likely be passed over by today’s savvy tea buyers. One reason for the appearance of these poor teas was that the demand for tea—any tea—to be […]