It is understood that one-third of british people’s time is spent enjoying tea time, which also gave rise to many tea-based activities, such as tea banquets, garden tea parties, picnic tea parties and so on.

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Nov 12, 2022

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Tea has a long history, tea comes from the tea tree, and the place of origin of the tea tree has many different claims, but we now mostly believe that the origin was in central Southeast Asia, which is the junction of today’s northern India, northern Myanmar and southwestern China (Tenpaku et al.). There were tea plants about 70 to 80 million years ago, but tea was discovered and utilized only 4 to 5,000 years ago. From the 16th century onwards, tea became a product of cross-cultural exchange between European ports and the Far East, and nowadays tea plants are widely planted in various countries around the world, different tea cultures have developed among multiple ethnic groups and regions, people began to drink tea in different scenarios. The discovery and utilization of tea have enriched people’s lives.
China is the homeland of tea and the birthplace of tea culture. According to the historical records of the Shang Dynasty, Chinese people have been drinking tea for a thousand years. In the earliest days in Yunnan, people used tea as medicine. In the Tang Dynasty, tea gradually became a popular drink, and people used it as a refreshing beverage (Hinsch). In the bustling and lively Chang’an Street, many tea stores with thriving businesses promoted tea by advertising its health benefits to people, and people’s beverage choices began to become diverse. As time went on, teahouses began to appear in the big cities, allowing the tea to gradually begin to face the masses, rather than just being limited to the elite layer. Teahouse culture also emerged from there and gave rise to many recreational activities such as poetry, opera, art and so on, which enriched people’s lives. Along with the development of tea culture also came out tea sets, tea plates, tea tables, tea cups and other tools.
Britain is one of the largest tea-consuming countries in the world today. With the advent of the Great Age of Navigation, the trade between Asia and Europe became increasingly close, and tea, as one of the largest trade goods at that time, brought a new lifestyle to British society. With the Great Age of navigation in Britain, and later in the evolution of several hundred years, tea from the beginning as an extravagant accessory gradually become a civilian drink. It combine with the British socio-economic, humanistic features and folk customs, and then learn from the Chinese tea-drinking characteristics, and finally formed the current British tea culture. British people pay more attention to socializing while drinking tea, they like to match the cake dessert, and afternoon tea every afternoon when they meet with their friends for gossip, and it is still unfailing. They prefer to drink a taste and atmosphere. It is understood that one-third of British people’s time is spent enjoying tea time, which also gave rise to many tea-based activities, such as tea banquets, garden tea parties, picnic tea parties and so on. In Britain, more formal social activities are not in fast food restaurants but in teahouses (LIU). There are many quaint tea rooms all over the UK. Tea rooms are a favourite place for friends, mothers and daughters to spend quality time together and chat. Tea rooms provide an intimate, relaxed atmosphere conducive to friendly conversation and sharing of secrets (Wang).
The development of world trade routes allowed tea to spread to the West, all continents, and the world, gradually becoming a common drink for daily consumption and for entertaining guests. Tea developed a strong connection with religion and social customs in Japan, as Buddhist monks often drank tea. Tea was introduced to Japan and the Korean Peninsula from China through the eastern end of the Silk Road, and a famous aesthetic culture of tea drinking was formed in Japan, combining both Zen Buddhism and the tea ceremony, elevating the Japanese tea ceremony to an artistic and religious way of life, deeply influencing the secular and spiritual life of the Japanese people. With the development of the Japanese economy, the pace of Japanese life is becoming faster and faster, and the quick and easy tea drinks are gradually gaining popularity (Person et al.). Although there are some differences in the habits of different regions, many regions along the Silk Road have a tradition and culture of drinking tea. To this day, different cultures and regions around the world still incorporate this ubiquitous product into their culture with different flavors according to their own social customs. For example, the “kahwa” of the northern Indian subcontinent is often consumed on special occasions such as weddings and festivals. The tea is made with a tea cooker to which cardamom, cinnamon, almonds and saffron are added (Gupta). In Afghanistan today, there is a refined tea called “qymaq chai”, which is consumed at the time of marriage or engagement and is slightly pink in colour, with milk and cardamom added to it (Walker). Life in different cultures in different regions has been provided with more choices with the advent of tea.
The discovery and use of tea, the transformation of tea from only for the elite aristocracy to all the common people, broadened the variety of people’s drinks, the recreational activities derived from tea enriched people’s spiritual life, and the tools and products invented by tea also facilitated people’s lives.
References:
Gupta, Manoj. “Dwindling of Almonds in Kashmir Valley: A Case Study of District Pulwama.” Academia.edu, 30 Nov. 2017, https://www.academia.edu/35298180/Dwindling_of_almonds_in_Kashmir_Valley_A_Case_Study_of_district_Pulwama.
Hinsch, Bret. The Rise of Tea Culture in China: The Invention of the Individual. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018.
Person, et al. “Japanese Tea Culture: Art, History and Practice: Morgan Pitelka: Ta.” Taylor & Francis, Taylor & Francis, 16 Aug. 2013, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315888071.
SABERI, HELEN J., and H. Walker. “Silk kebab and pink tea.” Look and Feel: Studies in Texture, Appearance and Incidental Characteristics of Food: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1993. Oxford Symposium, 1994.
Theoriginofthe Tea Plant. – O-Cha. https://www.o-cha.net/english/conference2/pdf/2001/files/PROC/J05.pdf.
Wenting, L. I. U. “Cultural Implantation in College English Teaching Based on the Differences Between Chinese and Western Tea Culture.” Studies in Literature and Language 20.3 (2020): 70-73.
Wang, Ni. “A comparison of Chinese and British tea culture.” Asian Culture and History 3.2 (2011): 13.

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