Tea in Britain – Learning English

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Tea is the most quintessential of English drinks. It was not until the mid 17th century that beverage first appeared in England. The use of tea spread slowly from its Asian homeland and reached Europe around 1560. Dutch and Portuguese traders imported tea to Europe with regular shipments by 1610.

Thomas Garway who owned one of the first London coffee (!) houses sold tea both liquid and dry to the public as early as 1657.

Tea gained popularity quickly in coffee houses. By 1700 over 500 houses sold it and 50 years later this drink had become the favoured one of Britain’s lower classes also.

In the early 1800’s Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, launched the idea of having tea in the late afternoon. Afternoon tea is said to have originated with one person.

Today you find tea shops all over Britain.