Saturday, January 22, 2022

10 Tea-rrific Facts You Never Knew About Tea

Hot tea is a nice drink for the cold weather most of us are having. We are even having chilly days here in Houston Texas where I am at. In the US 159 million people drink tea each day, but in the US it’s mostly iced tea. In the south, like Houston, Texas, we also drink what's called sweet tea, which is a type of ice tea drink, made as a large batch, where the sugar is seeped in with the tea before the ice is added.

 1. Globally, tea is the second most consumed beverage. 

 2. The history of tea began in China. The ancient Chinese started to grow and brew it around 2732 BC and used it for medicinal purposes. 

 3. Then, it ventured into Japan. Buddhist monks sent to China returned home with the seeds in 815 AD.  Emperor Saga of Japan encouraged the growth of tea plants and is credited with the popularity of tea in that country. Tea was associated with Buddhism and used as a religious drink. Japanese tea ceremonies are still performed to this day.

4. It wasn't until the 1500s that tea made its way into Europe. By way of missionaries to China, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to discover the pleasures of tea. But, it was very expensive, so only the nobility drank it.

5. The Portuguese saw the value of trade in tea and brought it to England, but it didn't take off until 1662. That's when the English King, Charles II, married the Portuguese Princess, Catherine of Braganza. Her fondness for tea caught on in England. So the nobles switched from coffee in the English coffee houses to tea, but at the time only the nobility could afford it. 

So that’s a quick history of where tea started and how it reached England. Nows, let's speed up to 1837 which is the start of the Victorian era, which goes to 1901. During this period, most people in England drink tea. Tea was a big drink in Victorian England so since some of my books are Steampunk Romance I thought I'd write about tea time.

6. Once everyone is seated, the hostess pours the tea, filling each guest’s cup. During a Victorian tea party, the spout of the teapot faces the hostess or pourer. 

7. A teacup is shallow and wider than a coffee or chocolate cup to give the tea room to temper before drinking.

8.The hostess offers lemons, milk, or sugar for the tea. Milk and lemon are never added to the same cup, as citrus spoils milk. Cream is not offered as it is much too heavy for tea. An infinite variety of tasty sandwiches may be served at tea, sometimes filled with chicken or turkey salad, and cucumber sandwiches are often offered as well. The crust is always trimmed off the bread. 

9. Do not extend your pinkie finger when drinking tea, it is rude. 

10. When stirring tea, do not clink your spoon against the cup, instead, swish it gently to and fro. After stirring, place the spoon on the saucer behind the teacup. Remove the spoon before drinking your tea. Do not swirl the tea in your cup or you might slosh and stain the tablecloth. 

There is specific etiquette for gentlemen attending teas. They must stand when a lady enters or leaves the room, open the door for the ladies, and escort the ladies downstairs to their carriage or cab. One would never expect less of a true gentleman. 

 Here are two of my Steampunk books that are set in Victorian England.

Spinster Librarian Piety Plunkett is happy alone with her books, until her sister Polly transforms her with a bras octopus beautifying machine. With her new look, the librarian catches the lusty attentions of London’s most notorious rogue. Blake Blackmore enjoys the favors of beautiful women from the brothels of London to high society’s most fashionable debutantes but only the spinster librarian consumes his mind night and day. Piety insists she will not wed but devote her life to her position as head librarian, but Blake will stop at nothing to win her. He takes matters into his own hands and tutors her in carnal pleasure in three passion filled lessons. Now that she is sharing her body, instead of just her books, Piety is shocked yet pleased at how naughty she can be under Blake’s personal tutelage. But if anyone finds out about what goes on in the library after closing time, her reputation would be ruined. Is that Blake’ ultimate plan?

A Wild Ghost Chase Queen Victoria orders the premiere phantom hunter, Sexton Dukenfield, to track down England’s missing ghosts. On the job, Sexton stumbles into Ceridwen, a phantom Celtic warrior woman. Not only does Sexton find her intriguing as a clue to the missing spirits, her sultry beauty haunts him as well. Though they both burn with desire, it’s difficult to quench their fiery passion since Ceridwen is so translucent. On a mission through the bustling narrow streets of London, to a dreary match factory, and to the Otherworld and back to stop a genius scientist and his phantasm debilitater machine, the ghost and the ghost hunter also seek the secret …to freeing the boundaries of life and death. Is it possible…or just a wild ghost chase? More Here