History of tea in America- More Information

Why America turned from tea to coffee,
and is now returning to tea, a history of tea.


  1650 to 1773: The History of Tea from New boston tea partyAmsterdam to the Boston Tea Party

When the British took what is now New York from the Dutch, they brought their newly acquired tea customs with them. Parliament quickly banned Dutch tea imports, giving Great Britain a monopoly on all tea entering North America. American colonists then began their love affair with the beverage. As America’s population grew, the demand for tea increased. By 1765 loose leaf tea had become the most popular beverage consumed in British North America.

The boston tea party a part of American history of tea

In 1787, in an attempt to recoup the costs incurred in a world-wide conflict that we know as the French and Indian Wars, Great Britain imposed a duty on tea and other imports into the American colonies. After several years of angry protests by the colonists, parliament rescinded the taxes on everything but tea. In 1773, a group of colonists frustrated by the tea tax, disguised themselves as American Indians, boarded the East India company ships, and dumped their entire cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. The event became known as The Boston Tea Party. Similar actions were taken in Philadelphia, New York, Maine, North Carolina, and Maryland. Boycotted teas were left to rot on the docks at Charleston. New York and Philadelphia sent tea-laden ships back to England.

  1774 to 1790: Our Difficulties with Great Britain

American protests and British recriminations led to a declaration of independence, aboston tea party war that lasted nine years, and the formation of the United States of America. During these difficult times, tea imports from Great Britain ceased. There was some lucrative smuggling of Dutch teas, but America’s love affair with tea was suspended until around 1790 when Boston sea captains began trading directly with the Chinese for porcelains, tiles, and teas. During this tea dry period, coffee became an important and increasingly popular substitute.

  1790 to Present: American Becomes a Player in the Tea Trade

As soon as the Revolutionary War ended, Americans began direct trade with China. Clipper ships speeded up the transport of tea, and by paying for tea with gold bullion, America was able to break the British monopoly. During the mid-nineteenth century, the Great America Tea Company began buying tea by the shipload, reducing its retail price by 66 percent. Plant disease in the coffee growing areas of the world destroyed coffee production for two decades, and tea use started to rise again. Thomas Lipton entered the tea business and lowered retail prices further.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the introduction the of the tea bag brought convenience to tea making, and become quite popular. Iced tea was invented and served at the St. Louis world fair. Except for a period of rationing during World War II, tea consumption, mostly in tea bags, increased steadily throughout the remainder of the century.

The new millennium is experiencing a major change in attitudes and preferences about tea. While it seems that the convenience of tea bags will keep them around indefinitely, the multitude of blends available with loose leaf teas, and their purported health benefits promises continued steady growth of tea consumption in the United States.

Other articles on Tea History

Tea history the begginning
Iced tea history

Top of American History of tea
From American History of Tea to Your Cup of Tea

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