In the morning, I tumble to the kitchen and use an ELECTRIC TEA KETTLE to instantly brew a warm cup of Breakfast tea. Being Goldie Locks, usually the tea is too hot for me and I let it cool while I eat a bowl of cereal. Munching my bland cereal, I remember when I became habitual for tea in Japan. I remembered thinking to myself, “there must be a reason that tea was naturally selected as the drink for this region.” I try to apply the same type of thinking to why the Britons drink so much tea.
So why Tea? From the microscopic research I have done on Tea I concluded the Tea is for Empire. ( this phrase “for Empire” appears in British books and seems to be an encouraging statement about working for the Empire) Tea was an exotic thing that came from afar and could only be readily available to the public if the ocean trade routes were fully functioning/which meant that the empire was at full steam ahead. So I guess that tea was a glorious gift to the Britons from their glorious empire. This notion that tea is for Empire comes from a deduction I made about tea’s importance to these salty islanders, apparently when FDR offered the Britons Lend-Lease Aid Churchill put tea at the top of the list because tea would improve morale. A weft of tea must be a reassuring signal for the Britons that society is on track.
The history of tea in the west is one worth laughing over. As seriously as the British take their tea, they don’t know the far-fetched away they received it. Tea came from Asia. When the Europeans stole tea plants and took them along the silk route out of Asia the leaves and plants dry-rotted in the desert during the long treks home. When the King and Queen finally received it, the presenters thought that it had spoiled since they were accustom to fresh green tea in Asia. So to literally save their necks they threw the stuff away. Some people fetched it from the trash and began to brew blackened tea. This started the Tea craze in Europe. The modern idea of roasting tealeaves to make black tea is a harp back to the fortuitous mistake the Europeans made when they accidentally cooked the tea under the sun on their long caravans back from Asia.
Of course this story is lost to history. I learned the history of black tea in Japan. They smirked at the foolish, yet innovative mistake of the Europeans.
So this brings me to why I think that tea is popular here. Tea is quick pick me up, it can be drunk throughout the day, and it also makes you happy when the lack of sun and abundance of rain make seasonal depression one furlong closer to you.
Although the British Empire is “over” I believe that much like many parts of British life it is not invisible, but settle. The British retain an economic harmony with the 53 or so nations that it once had dominion over. This collection of freed allies is called the Commonwealth and accounts for 1/3 of the world’s population These post-colonial ties provide lucrative trade for the British. Jamaican bananas and Canadian raw goods are just to name a few. ( We Americans often think of Canada as our radical brothers living up north, however we forget that the Queen of England is their ceremonial head of state). The Commonwealth is not at all an exploitation of the people who were formally oppressed. It provides these nations with equally if not more beneficial trade with Britain. The Commonwealth leads many humanitarian missions to the former colonies.
So the Empire no longer rules with an iron fist, globalization has washed over the warden and his whistle and replaced him with a trade initiative. Although Britain has let her caged birds fly they still pick the leaves for my morning tea. Tea is From Empire.