A tale of many sips

Tea, one of the world’s oldest beverages, certainly has its own history, tales, rumours and legends that can be enjoyed over a refreshing cup of Ceylon Tea.

By Time Out editors |
A tale of many sips
A tale of many sips

Mythical origins
That tea originated from China is well known. Yet, the evidence of its discovery has been lost with time. A popular legend relates to the prehistoric Chinese ruler Shen Nung. It is believed that leaves from the twigs used as firewood had accidentally floated into the boiling water, a brew he tried, liked and then introduced to the Chinese as tea. Shen Nung is said to have identified many herbs by testing them on himself, and tea was an antidote he used when he consumed 70 poisonous herbs. 

Boston Tea Party
A group of colonists of Massachusetts protested the British parliament’s enactmentof the 1773 Tea Act by dumping tea that had arrived at the Boston harbour into the sea. The Tea Act, they protested would give the East Indies Company a monopoly over the American tea industry. Despite Americans demanding the governor return the tea that had arrived to the harbour, the tea was not sent back. As a result, in a midnight raid, the American colonists unloaded the tea in the ships Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver into the water. The East India Company reported £9,659 worth of damage. 

Earl Grey Tea 
According to the Grey family, the blend of black tea infused with oil of bergamot is believed to have been specially blended for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister of the UK (1830 to 1834) to suit the water at his residence Howick Gardens. The flavour had reduced the taste of lime in the water. Lady Grey served this brew to special guests, even when she entertained in London. 

English Breakfast Tea 
Did you know that English Breakfast Tea is not really English? Despite its name,the origins of this blend are traced to either New York or China. One claim is that the owner of Canton Tea Company, Robert Davies created the blend in 1843 after experimenting with various blends of tea imported from China. According to the Journal of Commerce, it was a blend of “congou as a base, adding a trifle of flowery Pekoe and a particular chop of Powchong.” Another tale states it originated from the Bohea tea of the Far East. Despite the popularity of the blend in the US, it was not until Queen Victoria tasted the brew during a stay at Balmoral Castle and enjoyed the blend that it became popular as “English Breakfast Tea” across the world. Ceylon English Breakfast is a blend of Dimbula teas and delicate Nuwara Eliya teas, a blend cherished by the world. 


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