Herbal Tea Pot Set - Butterflies
These delightful ceramic tea pot sets come with a built in strainer and 6 matching cups, already packed in a gift box.
Herbal tea and all things related are seriously on trend at the moment, this teapot set would make a perfect gift for yourself or for someone else.
The history of tea is an epic saga, a journey through time and an odyssey across continents. Nations have defined themselves by the tea trade and culturally by their tea ceremonies. Yes, tea is that powerful. Its longevity rivals almost all other customs and trades; its place in people’s hearts, not only in England and the British Isles, but throughout the world - the Orient, India, Africa is profound. Its importance to the world cannot be overstated.
It is fascinating to think that our comforting morning cup has such a rich and international history. It was sipped in Ancient China as long ago as 2737 BC, and continues to be a bedrock, a staple member of households everywhere - from Buckingham Palace to the streets of India, and your kitchen table.
With a history dating back more than 5000 years it was inevitable that many myths and legends about the origins of tea steeped into storytelling. The most ancient legend tells us that Shen Nung, emperor, scholar, herbalist recognised this new drink when one day leaves from an overhanging tree drifted loose and fell into his boiling cauldron of water. From this wonderful chance happening, tea grew to become popular with the Chinese as both a digestive aid, and later, during the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD) became a formal ceremony.
At some point in the third century Buddhist monks discovered Tea in China and brought it over to Japan and Tibet. By the 1100s three formal zen Buddhist tea ceremonies had been created to aid meditation.
The beginnings of tea in Europe started slow. Marco Polo arrived on China’s shores in 1271 – but no tea was ever mentioned. The Arabs had dominated trade between China and the West and this monopoly wasn’t challenged until the Dutch established their first trading port on the island of Java and sent their first cargo of tea, by sea, to Amsterdam in 1606. It was for this reason that tea came to North America before England.
Tea swiftly became a favourite amongst the upper-classes, being an expensive indulgence, with a high tax and long journey across the oceans - particularly in Portugal, where Catharine of Braganza fell in love with it. It was thanks to her marriage to that Merry Monarch, Charles II that tea finally reached the drawing rooms and court of England.
After Queen Catharine had first championed tea in England, English merchants were quick to set up a rival company to the Dutch. The English East India Company was born – but the price of tea remained costly with a tax amounting to 118%. Tea was reserved for the drawing rooms of the elite and became associated with upper-class entertainment with aristocratic families acquiring costly table linens, fine porcelain and silverware to store and serve the precious commodity. Tea parties became a regular occurrence, and were made more fashionable in the 1800s by the 7th Duchess of Bedford who is credited with the invention of “afternoon tea”.
Tea rooms grew up alongside coffee houses first in Glasgow then London and later the provinces, and were considered more respectable and lady-like; allowing ladies to entertain without risk of gossip.
Because of the high taxes placed on tea, relative to the rest of Europe, unscrupulous merchants were tempted to mix real tea leaves with less valuable and sometimes downright disgusting ingredients; leaves from other plants, sheep dung and even rat droppings. Tea smuggling and tampering became rampant and the government introduced heavy penalty fines of £10 per pound, to combat the growing black market in tea, known as “smouch”.
In the 1840s Britain declared war on China, who blocked all tea exports. By this time other tea growing regions across India and Sri Lanka had been discovered; and most importantly of all the sleek tea clipper ship was invented – almost 3 times as fast as the sluggish cargo ships. This created fierce competition between tea merchants; the tea race was born as they battled to be the first to arrive home with the expensive merchandise, thrilling the British public with tales of the seven seas. You can find the Cutty Sark fastest tea clipper in Britain fully restored by the Thames in Greenwich.
Today tea is enjoying an overdue and highly deserved rise in popularity. People all over the world enjoy every day affordable tea, relish the camaraderie of tea times with friends and are surprised at the diversity and array of teas available on the market. Tea is enjoyed at home in the mornings, at work as well as in more formal and celebratory settings like tea parties and smart hotels.
Awareness and appreciation is growing, of the different ceremonies associated with tea – from China and Japanese social etiquette to the very British slogan “you can’t beat a cuppa in a crisis”. The tea trade supports countless growing economies and sourcing products with care is a very important matter.
The world would be a very different place without tea and who knew just how much history exists in every single, tasty cup?
Teapot: Width 14cm - Height - 12cm x Depth - 6cm - 650ml
Cup: Height - 7cm Depth - 5cm - 80ml
Please Note: If you order this product in combination with any other products from our store this product will arrive separately within 6-7 working days.