TEA and TEAPOTS – Dr Dawn Gould


Sources state that the history of tea goes back thousands of years and probably originated in south west China and was first thought of as a medicinal drink. Europe became aware of tea when their citizens began to visit that part of the world in the 15thand 16th centuries. The leaves reached Britain in the 17th century. They in turn brought the consumption of tea and its commercial worth to India in the 18th/19th centuries in an attempt to compete with the monopoly that the Chinese had over the product


When tea was delivered to parts of the world it would have arrived shaped like a brick. Pieces would be broken from the whole and boiled in water. Later powdered tea became available. Powder was mixed in hot water. When the powder settled the tea was sipped from a wide bowl.


In previous years a visitor to a home would have been offered a cup of tea from a teapot filled with hot water with tea leaves steeping therein. The liquid would be poured into a cup on a saucer with a teaspoon thereon. In today’s world when offered tea to drink, more often than not, the liquid is handed over in a mug. A teaspoon is offered on a separate saucer to spoon sugar and or milk and possibly to remove a teabag.  But no matter whether it was/is offered in a cup or a mug it is after all still tea.


Styles change. Manners have become more casual although there are still homes and restaurants that offer the earlier complete tea ceremony.