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

A Victorian Afternoon Tea Guide

October 17, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

In country houses of Victorian England, the preparation of sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and other recipes for tea was carried out not in the kitchens but in the stillroom, where the maid worked under the direct supervision of the housekeeper. The stillroom in previous centuries had been the province of the mistress of the house, and […]


What European City is the Center of today’s Tea Market?

September 28, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

The tea tossed into Boston harbor in 1773 was shipped in wooden chests weighing nearly 300 pounds. Some Indian teas today are still shipped in wooden chests weighing 50-60 pounds.
Which great European city is the capital of tea?
Here’s a hint: it’s not located in the UK.
The last gavel came down on the great London tea […]


The Beauty of the Chinese Gaiwan

August 26, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

If I could own but one vessel for steeping tea, it would be a simple Chinese gaiwan—preferably porcelain and, if given a choice of sizes, always diminutive. I was reminded of its elegance on a recent trip to London where Juyan Webster made cup after cup of tea for me in her shop, The Chinese […]


Annual British Afternoon Tea Awards

July 31, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

Fortnum & Mason opened in 1707 and has been a fixture of London commerce throughout the years.
There seems to be no end to the list of Best Afternoon Tea Places published in British newspapers and magazines or broadcast on the BBC. The world has long been enthralled with this quintessentially British ritual which we consider […]


Tea Ware Buried 300 Years at Sea

June 9, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

Fishermen working off Vietnam’s Ca Mau peninsular in 1998 snagged their nets on a submerged obstacle. As their nets rose bulging with cups and saucers rather than fish, the men realized they had stumbled upon a treasure trove of centuries-old Chinese porcelain. They began dredging up and selling as much as possible before the authorities […]


The Tea Gardens of 18th Century London

May 18, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

Tea in a Pleasure Garden by George Morland, 1790, London engraving.
The London tea gardens of the eighteenth century first brought tea out-of-doors in England. One of the reasons why gardens in the suburbs began to be more frequented than the centrally located but wholly masculine coffeehouses was that they offered their attractions to the fair […]


Why Did England Prefer Tea over Coffee?

April 18, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

Why does England drink more tea than coffee? Before the British East India Company turned its thoughts to tea, Englishmen drank mostly coffee.
The Tea Clipper ‘Houqua” c.1850
Within fifty years of the opening of the first coffee house in England, there were two thousand coffee houses in the City of London, alone!
It is interesting to note […]


Tea in His Boots

March 14, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

A special meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society was held in Faneuil Hall on December 16, 1873 to “commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor.”
Faneuil Hall
A letter, written by Society member William T. Davis of Plymouth, MA was read aloud and included in the minutes. As a boy, […]


The First English Poem on Tea

March 6, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

In the last quarter of the seventeenth century, Edmund Waller (1606-87) wrote the first English poem which included the word tea as a birthday ode to Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II and the first British queen to drink tea c.1662.
Agnes Strickland in her Lives of the Queens of England, published in the 1840s, […]


The First Tea Imported into London

February 28, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

The first importation of tea into England by the English East India Company was in 1669, when that company brought 143 pounds from Bantam, in Java. We will disregard two small gifts of tea that The Company purchased from their Dutch counterparts as wedding gifts for King Charles II and his Portuguese bride Catherine of […]