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

Proper Scone Etiquette

February 14, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

When eating an English scone, what goes on first? The clotted cream or the jam?
This is one of life’s most pressing questions for students of tea traveling for the first time through the tearoom-filled villages of Southwest England and The Cotswolds, or taking tea at a stylish London hotel like Claridge’s or Browns.
You certainly don’t […]


One Lump or Two?

January 30, 2017 by Bruce Richardson

A Yixing Teapot and a Chinese Porcelain Tete-a-Tete by Pieter Gerritsz van Roestraten (c.1630-1700).
Until the sixteenth century, sugar was imported from Brazil, the Azores and the Canary Islands at great expense. When supplies began to come from the West Indies, the price was brought down by half. Figures for 1660 show sugar consumption in England […]


Carson’s Guide to Tea at Downton Abbey

December 8, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

Downton Abbey’s Head Butler Carson
No doubt, Carson  was well-schooled in the myriad duties entrusted to his care at Downton Abbey. If a question of protocol did arise, he surely had the butler’s bible of the day sitting on his desk.
Published in London in 1823, The Footman’s Directory and Butler’s Remembrancer contained the answers to every […]


Tea Infused the Women’s Right to Vote Movement

November 8, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

America’s suffragette movement, like the 1773 rebellion in Boston, was steeped in tea.
On July 9, 1848, five key members of the American women’s suffrage movement met for tea in Waterloo, New York. The participants in the tea party were Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and hostess Jane Hunt. The setting […]


Colonial Green Teas Had Roots in China

October 28, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

Two of the five Chinese teas aboard the three ships docked in Boston Harbor in December 1773 were green teas: hyson and singlo. The better of the two was singlo. Here is the tally of chests of singlo green tea for each ship:
Beaver – Singlo (1st Sort) – 20 chests containing 1,637 lbs. at 2s8d
Dartmouth […]


Making Tea in a London Coffee House

October 8, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

Green Dragon Tavern and Coffee House Boston
The citizens of both London and Boston often had their first taste of tea while visiting coffee houses where barrels of ready-made coffee, tea, and cocoa were prepared every morning for customers – mostly male – who visited throughout the day.
In the 1878 edition of The Coffee Publichouse: How […]


Tea and the Madness of King George

September 24, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

Was it tea that brought on the madness of King George?
Dr. Willis, psychiatrist and guardian to George III during His Majesty’s debilitating illness and confinement at Kew Palace, suggested it was specifically Chinese tea that drove men mad. As I’ve previously written, both King George and Queen Charlotte were avid tea drinkers.
In A Treatise on […]


The Tea Things of George Washington

August 20, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

Was George Washington a tea drinker?
George Washington owned this Chinese famille rose tea set as a bachelor. Image courtesy of Mt Vernon
Yes! Every man of means – whether living in England or the Colonies – was schooled in proper tea drinking. Even as a bachelor, George Washington acquired choice household essentials which exemplified his gentility […]


More Tea Things of George Washington

August 10, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

At Martha Washington’s invitation, French officers of General Rochambeau’s army dined at Mount Vernon on July 20, 1782. The Comte de Custine de Sarreck, commander of the Saintonge regiment, sent ahead of his arrival a splendid tea and coffee service specifically made for the Washingtons at his Niderviller porcelain factory. The monogram GW decorates each […]


The Tea Things of John and Abigail Adams

July 14, 2016 by Bruce Richardson

What do we know about the the tea habits of John and Abigail Adams?
Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe
A year after the Boston Tea Rebellion, John Adams, serving in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, asked his friend Eldridge Gerry to deliver a parcel of tea to his beloved Abigail who was taking care of the Adams […]