After studying the history of Tea and England, a new perception began to unfold, an awareness that explained the inadequacy of the English tea industry. British history provides many reasons for the Camellia’s corruption. Here are just a few examples:
Tea Is Put Second
A great legend that has come from England’s misuse of tea is the origin of “tips.” It says that, thanks to England’s tea industry, waiters and waitresses worldwide work only as hard as they think they’ll be tipped. Tipping as a response to prompt service was supposedly born in the tea gardens of England. The fiction states that a small wooden box was placed on each table in the garden. The box was inscribed “To Insure Prompt Service” (or TIPS for short). A coin dropped in the box usually assured that the tea would arrive at the table before getting cold. Thus, the custom of tipping was born (of course, this is not entirely true, if not for the simple fact that it would be to “ensure” service, not “insure” service!).
Before 1840, China was almost completely closed to England in terms of trading. This made things quite difficult, as one could imagine, to import the main ingredient for England’s most popular hot beverage at that time. The cost for the relatively minute amount of tea leaves that did make it out of the country was exorbitant. This was further complicated by the fact that British importers, after spending fortunes, still had to go half-way around the world to get it back to their homeland. So England devised a plan: set up plantations in India (which at the time was under the Queen’s reign) not only of tea, but of another, much more dangerous product: the poppy plant. While its seeds serve as a personal favorite topping for bagels, the poppy plant can also produce the highly addictive narcotic Opium (not personally recommended on bagels). The English smuggled vast amounts of opium into China, virtually lulling an entire nation into an addicted submission. Through this, England was able to open the border for their importation of tea, only at the cost of approximately 13 million Chinese addicts. (for more information on the Opium Wars, read this previous post)
To be continued tomorrow…