Origins of Tea Culture in Britain and China

Around 4000 years ago in 270 BCE, tea was discovered and used as medicine in the western Zhou dynasty. According to the myth, the Holy Farmer– the god of farming and medicine– was poisoned 72 times while tasting herbs. After stumbling upon the tea plant and drinking its brewed liquid, he was cured and purged of those toxins. The industry of cultivating tea began to emerge, and in the Han and Qin dynasties, tea was integrated into Zen culture. Taoists drank tea for self-cultivation and to maintain alignment of the soul and body, Buddhists drank tea for a deeper understanding of Zen, and Confucianists suggested one’s evaluation of tea through drinking it could judge their morality and character. By the Tang dynasty, tea was enjoyed by people of all classes, and thus tea art, ceremonies, and customs facilitated the development of tea sets.

Different teas have specific methods of preparation with distinct types of water, materials, and processing methods. The tea scholar Liu Bodang distinguished twenty different types of water for making tea. Well water was considered inferior, river water mediocre, and spring water, dew drops, and river streams through mountains were the best due to meeting the five qualifications of being light, clear, cold, sweet, and live. Tea drinking methods can be divided into pure drinking and blending. Pure drinking refers to brewing with water only, while blending refers to the addition of flavorings such as sugar and milk. Pure drinking in the natural environment was indicative of noble and scholarly taste, as well as harmony between heaven, earth, and man. Indeed, the tea ceremony is considered art in the elaborate process of picking, making and tasting, while the ceremony aspect refers to the spirit with which it is done and the virtue cultivated in the process.

Meanwhile, around 350 years ago, the East India Company began importing tea in 1644 under the charter of Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, it wasn’t until merchant Thomas Garaway began selling tea in dried and liquid form at his coffee house in 1660 with medical benefits such as “preserving perfect health until extreme old age, good for clearing the sight” and a cure for “gripping of the guts, cold, dropsies, scurveys” that it began to gain popularity. By 1700, tea surpassed gin and ale to become Britain’s most popular drink. Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, supposedly began the tradition of drinking tea in the afternoon to tide her hunger in the early 1840s. Afternoon tea rituals, which only the aristocracy could afford, consisted of a period between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. where tea was served in fine china alongside dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes, and pastries. Tea-drinking customs retain this air of elegance and aristocracy today. While fermented and clean green tea is a favorite in China, black tea became preferred in Britain due to its ability to withstand humidity and fog for long periods without losing flavor as well as its pleasantly mild taste— perfect for mixing with delicious condiments like milk, honey, and lemon.

How to Properly Make Tea

How to Properly Make Tea

The world’s oldest and most consumed beverage is growing in popularity, but many consumers don’t know how to properly make tea to experience the best flavor and benefits. 


  1. Make sure your teapot and mug are clean
  2. Warm water inside your teapot then pour it out
  3. Bring cold water to a boil in your teapot
  4. As soon as water begins to boil pour it over your tea bag (note: over boiling your water will alter the flavor profile of the tea)

* if you are using loose tea, use 1 teaspoon of loose tea per cup

  1. Brew tea according to time recommended on bag or box 
  2. Remove tea bag or tea strainer
  3. Add milk or sugar to taste
  4. Enjoy!

Average Brewing Times

  • Black Tea : 3-5 minutes 
  • Green Tea: 1-2 minutes
  • White Tea: 2-3 minutes 
  • Oolong Tea: 2-3 minutes
  • Herbal Tea: 5 minutes 

TIP: If you want the best flavor experience, refrain from microwaving your water to heat it, this will affect the flavor of the tea leaves.

Tea Trends 2023

The Rise of Cheese Tea

In the last few years the popularity of cheese tea has soared to the point where it nearly dominates the tea market. Cheese tea is a sweet and savory drink similar to boba tea that originated from Taiwan. The drink has spread to many Asian cities and all the way to the West. This tea is often made with green or black tea and topped with foamy whipped cream cheese and milk. Originally, this beverage was made with real cream cheese, used to make the whipped topping light and frothy. After many changes to the original recipe, now, the topping is generally made with milk and cream cheese to create a cloudlike froth.

Emphasis on the Frugal Luxuries

It is no question that most are feeling the effects of inflation and rise of cost of living as the dollar has inflated to 20% of its original value since 2019. As items at the grocery store continue to rise in price, many are turning back to the affordable basics and bringing back the simple luxury of a cup of tea. However, with this vacuum of luxury in our everyday lives, people are seeking to elevate their experiences in the simple pleasures. One way they are doing this is by indulging in the art of making good tea without breaking the bank. Consumers are not just searching for the cheapest option, but that which provides them the best experience from the origin of the leaf, to the environmental impact.

Holistic Healing and Herbal Tea

The COVID-19 pandemic paired with the global power of social media trends has all but redefined the way we look at health. Younger generations are straying from traditional medicine and seeking out more holistic and natural remedies. Estimates say that four billion people 80% of the global population use herbal medicinal products as a primary source of medical care. This comes from the recent distrust of traditional treatments and remedies. More of the population is deciding to own their own health by taking steps to improve their immune health. One of the front runners in this trend is the use of herbal tea for its immunity and anti-inflammatory properties.