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Black tea culture

The English black tea has centuries of history, and the royal household has made quite some contributions to the thriving of English black tea culture. Now get a view for the origin of English black tea.

In 1662, the Portuguese princess Catherine was married to British king Charles II, she had the name of “queen of tea”, and her dowry contained 221 pounds of black tea and elegant Chinese tea sets. In the time when black tea was as expensive as silver, the queen’s lofty beverage taste aroused enthusiastic imitation among the nobles.  The tea had become the symbol of identity, tea box was locked up, and the key kept by the hostess, only when entertaining guests can it be tasted. And even the tea dregs left by the guests were stolen by girl servants to sell in the market for benefits.


It was until 1826, that the English began to grow vast areas of wild tea tree in Sri Lanka and India’s north mountain district, and tea became cheaper than beers. Since then, from Dover in England to Aberdeen in Scotland, the whole Britain was swept by tea drinking, “when the tea pot was carried into the study, the whole room is floated with fragrant aroma. As a cup of tea was finished, whole body is comforted. When returning from a stroll in small rains, a cup of hot tea will provide warmth and sweetness hard to describe." The leading roles in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ were all drinking tea when they showed the multi-life in Britain.

To begin and to end everyday life with tea, the British just incessantly enjoy the living regulations binding with tea. When opening the eyes in the morning, he lies on the bedside and enjoys the early morning tea; when breakfast, he takes another breakfast tea; it is also named as eye opening tea, it is made by careful selecting India Darjeeling, Sri Lanka Ceylon, and Black Tea around Kenya districts, and to concoct them delicately, its aromatic scent makes it most appropriate for morning comfort. Assorted with baconic sausages and eggs, it is a thick tea formula with the function of deoiling. No matter how busy he is in the morning, he will spend 20 minutes to taste the “tea break”; before the ring out, it is the regular time for afternoon tea; by this time, the especially fragrant count tea becomes the priority. The count tea regards Chinese tea as the base, and is concocted by adding bergamot, it smells fragrant, and flavor is not thick. After returning home and just before the supper, there will be a former high tea with meet and ice-cream; and before sleeping, the “farewell tea” shall not be forgotten. 

Besides, Britain still has multi named Tea-Party, Tea in garden and the Picnic-Tea at weekend outing, apart from traditional British tea, these days, the English has added all kinds of fresh flowers\ fruits and expensive essences into the black tea, thus has concocted the currently very populous flower tea, fruit tea and essence tea. Shall sugar, milk or lemon be added? Well, there is no strict rule among classical British afternoon tea, just to each man’s taste. But the basic principle is: thick tea added with milk shall produce lubricating mouth taste, and thin tea or flavor-added fruit tea shall focus on origin taste.

The origin of English black tea


Originated from India or Sri Lanka. Around the 80th of the 18th century, the British collected large sums of tea tree seeds to be kept inside portable incubators made of special glass for transportation to Sri Lanka and India, they then cultured more than 100 thousand tea saplings, thus established large scale tea garden planting, and the English black tea culture had then come into being.

In 1670, the British East India Co began to sell teas to European mainland. Though as early as 1620, a group of puritan from Britain settled down at Massachusetts, two years later, they bought the Manhattan island from the aborigines, and named it as New Amsterdam, by then they had been importing teas from Dutch East India Co. In 1664, New Amsterdam was occupied by the British army, and the name was changed to New York, since then Britain monopolized America’s tea trade, and caused the American to inherit British men’s tea drinking habit.  Up to the 17th century, shops in Boston were also selling the black tea.

According to history record, the appearance of the black must be certainly at Yuan Dynasty. At the time when ocean trade was very active, the tea was one of the three major export products, it was shipped to Japan, Korea and south ocean countries. The sea ports in Ming Dynasty were even more active, and the radiation of tea had seen continuous expansion, the tea itself has entered an overall developing period, the tea drinking and tea craftwork had both reformed and progressed, new teas were promoted and advocated. By that time, apart from the original green tea, new teas including post-fermented tea, black tea and flower tea had all appeared, among these, the black tea’s appearance had the deepest effect. And in Britain, the tea had really developed into the tea life and tea culture, the tea culture had caused the black tea to become the first level tea with largest production and influence in the world. At this time the tea had also become the fuse for American war. For the purpose of objecting the tax increase made by Britain, in the cold night of 16th December 1773, a group of violent anti-Britain tea merchants, dressed as American Indians, climbed on the east India co ships anchoring at Boston harbor and threw 342 cases of tea into the sea, the action angered British government, and the American War of Independence broke out two years later.

During the period when being colonized by Portugal or Britain, Sri Lanka was named as Ceylon, however, only the term Ceylon black tea is now being kept. When the British were colonizing, the country’s title was Ceylon, and in 1972, after the country changed into a publican, it was declared to substitute “Republic of Sri Lanka” for Ceylon, but up to now, many government entities still use the former name Ceylon, after 2011, Sri Lanka made a full rectification of names. However the famous term “Ceylon black tea” was about to be preserved, this commodity is the most famous export product of Sri Lanka. Sri lank ranges as the 4th largest tea production country in the world, tea industry occupies 15% of total GDP and reaches about 700 million.

The name “Ceylon” is the sound translation of a Portuguese name, and Portuguese were the first European colonizer of the island, this name is used through Portuguese colonizing period and being used continuously afterwards, and the term “Sri Lanka” is regarded as more ancient, and more close to the Sinhalese and Tamil names. Presently the country still preserves many titles relating “Ceylon”, e.g. Ceylon Bank, Ceylon Electric Power Committee, Ceylon Oil Company and Ceylon Fishing Company, etc.

The Sri Lankan regard the symbolic de-colonizing activity with different views, some think this should have been done early, some think the term “Ceylon” is bind with historic meaning, while the term Sri Lanka has been contaminated by terrorism and war.

Periods when Sri Lanka was colonized by Portugal and Britain.

The republican of Sri Lanka is located at the south of Asia, it is an island in the Indian Ocean south to the ‘South Asia Sub-Continent’. The area is 65610 sq. km., the population is 16.59 million (1988). Sinhala nation accounts accounted for 74% of the population, and Tamil for 18.l%, molar group 7.1%. Sinhala language is the official language, and English is widely used in the society. The capital is Colombo. Among the residents, 69.3% of them believe in Buddhism, 15.5% in Hinduism, 7.6% Muslim, and 7.5% Christian. The Muslin population is around 1.24 million, and lives mainly in districts including Colombo, Putalamu, Galle, Bie Lou Vala, Mannar, Ampera, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, etc., and their origin can be classified as Sri Lanka moors, Indian moors and Malays.

During the 7th to 8th century, the Islamism was introduced by Sri Lankan emissaries visiting Medina, later it was widely spread by Arabian immigrants. Since then, the Arabians intermarried with the local Sinhalese, Tamils and south Indian people, merging into a new nation—Sri Lanka moors. Meanwhile, the Indian moors at Indian west seashores and Mumbai made continuous immigration to Sri Lanka. In the 12th to 13th century, some local kingdoms wanted to enlarge the land and thus paid more respect to the Muslins, granting high positions and large areas of fief, the political and economical position of the Muslin had been increasing incessantly. After 1505, Sri Lanka fell to the colony of Portugal. The Portuguese regarded Muslin as “enemy”, they persecuted the Muslins by burning the Muslin residential districts. In the early 17th century, they again chased many moors out of the western shore, obliging them to immigrate. During the 17th to 18th century, Sri Lanka was colonized by Holland. The Holland colonizer implemented the policy of  “control the locals by local ways”, and recruited corps constructed of Malayans from Indonesia Java districts to be maneuvered to Colombo for the purpose of security, and to suppress the rebels. Later some more Malayans moved to the district, forming the Malayan Muslin community in Sri Lanka. In 1798, the British became the colonizer of Sri Lanka; the British endeavored to drive a wedge between Buddhists and Muslins, and caused bloody conflicts between the two religions. After Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, Muslin’s political position was promoted considerably.