How Tea Became Fashionable Again
It was my birthday last month. My best birthday present? Not a Topshop voucher, new perfume or shiny bike, but a floral teapot and tea cosy. I love tea, cupcakes and tea parties and I’m not the only one. Tea has become cool again for the under thirties and long may the trend stay.
History of Tea
No one is completely sure of the origin of tea drinking, but we can be fairly confident that it originated in China, with the Chinese having drunk tea for thousands of years. Although the Brits tend to be regarded as the tea drinking nation, the Chinese were drinking it long before we jumped on board. Britain began to import tea in the 1660s when King Charles II married Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, an avid tea lover. In the UK tea was initially promoted for its medicinal purposes. It was a very important part of global trade and is still now sometimes seen as a symbol of British colonialism. In 2012, we import and drink more tea than ever but we do now also have our own tea plantation. Just the one down in Cornwall. In the States, coffee has been favoured over tea, although they do glug a lot of iced tea.
Our newfound love of tea is part of the trend for all things ‘vintage’. Cupcakes came over from America and trendy bakeries opened up in London. What better accompaniment to cake than tea? Afternoon tea is an all British affair which boomed in popularity in the Victorian era. Top afternoon tea destinations such as Harrods and The Ritz can charge extortionate amounts for a cuppa, sandwiches and cake, and we love it for the whole experience, the setting, the opportunity to wear a pretty dress. Afternoon tea is a chance to gossip, to sit down and watch the world go by.
I got my first teapot for Christmas, a small French painted design. My newest teapot is made of bone china with a vintage floral pattern. Most importantly, it can be used to make loose tea. Not that stuff in the teabags but fresh, fragrant and free tea leaves. Fresh, loose tea tastes so much better. All I need now is a set of dainty tea cups and saucers, then I’m all ready to host my very own tea parties. A vintage cake stand is the ultimate kitchen accessory as the competition heats up on who can make the best cupcakes. There are plenty of new teapots out there to buy, but collecting second-hand pieces is the real way to do it. All tea lovers need an everyday teapot, a posh teapot and an extra large teapot. Cups and saucers don’t need to match. With the weather heating up, why not take your tea party outside? Summer time calls for light, fruity flavoured tea and its very satisfying filling up your cupboard with many different sorts. Find yourself a good tea connoisseur, because as with wine, there is much to learn. A nice cuppa always makes things better, especially from a cute teapot.
Photo credit: Emma Waight
Emma is a fashion blogger and freelance style writer for www.clothes.org.uk . Click here to read the blog for fashion news and style advice.