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tea-msg – 2/6/11


History of tea. And when it got to Europe.


NOTE: See also the files: beverages-msg, beverages-NA-msg, infusions-msg, wine-msg, beer-msg, wassail-msg, cider-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: nostrand at bayes.math.yorku.ca (Barbara Nostrand)

Subject: Re: Tea

Organization: York University

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 04:22:12 GMT


Noble Cousins!


Those who have a copy of the Pikestaff A&S issue for AS XXVII please

look up my own rather humble article on tea.  I was able to find in

a history book on the subject (an English text in this case) an

early (if not the first) reference to tea by a European.  It dates

from the 16th century and rather clearly depicts tea as a novel drink.

I do think that the tannin in wine, etc. must be coming from some

secondary or incidental source such as oaken barrels.  This is

especially true as no one has thus far found it mentioned in a

early recepie.


                                      Your Humble Servant

                                      Solveig Throndardottir

                                      Totally Ignorant



Subject: Re: ANST - Teatime

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 98 18:26:10 MST

From: Jocelyn Hinkle <scribe_ari at yahoo.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


As far as Tea as a practice goes I do have a little info.

   Starting in china. (ledgend) -The emperor was sitting in his garden

with a cup of hot water when a willow leaf dropped in his cup creating

the first tea.


Tea was first brought tot England by Princess Catherine of Braganza Of

Portugal, bride to Charles II, as part of her dowry, in the

Seventeenth Century. It was only consumed by the Aristocracy, being

much too expensive for anyone else. Once used, the leaves were given

to their servants. Twice used leaves were given to the poor. Soon

after ships began importing teas from the East making them more

accessable to all. Formal Tea began when Anna, the Seventh Dutchess of

Bedford, along with her friends, asked her butler for a cup of tea and

something to eat to tide them over till dinner. Word got out and

social teas began. Many foods served with teas have place names from

where they got their start, i.e., Coventry Tarts, Eccles Cakes, and

many other recipies used during the time of Henry the VIII. Savories

and sweets, being the main things served, included scones,

shortbreads, Madelines, Meringue Kisses, cakes, tortes, and tarts.





From: bronwynmgn at aol.com (Bronwynmgn)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Lesbian/Bisexual Gathering at Pennsic

Date: 31 Jul 1998 13:53:39 GMT


"Oddinsgothi" <oddinsgothi at email.msn.com> writes:

>I would be curious to know what period the term "tea" comes from as, in the

>Midrealm, I seem to recall a Queen's arts tea.  Is this not period?


Duke Cariadoc's research indicates that the drink tea was first brought to

Europe in 1610 and to England in 1644.  He says the the Oxford English

Dictionary lists the first use of the word in English (but in the form "Cha")

in 1598, apparently describing the use of tea in China.  So it is doubtful that

the term "tea", meaning an afternoon gathering to drink same, was used before

1600 or even 1650.  My guess would be the term and the gathering are a

Victorian invention, but I have no evidence at hand.

So no, any sort of "tea" isn't period for Europe (It would be for China, on the

other hand, but I doubt their "tea customs" are anything like European ones),

regardless of whether a Queen hosts it or not ;-)





From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] New Books of Possible Interest

Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 22:07:01 -0600


The first mention of tea in English is in Lindschooten's Travels, 1597.  The

first imports into England were in the early 1600s.  The first public sale

of tea was at Thomas Garraway's coffee house in 1657.




>I suspect they probably mean tisanes - what we would call "herbal teas" -

>since, as you are no doubt aware, Camillia sinensis was unknown in Britain

>until... hmmm, I forget the date, but quite late in our period, I think.




Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 17:48:23 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Tea (Camellia)

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I've seen a fair amount of literature about the arrival of hot

> chocolate, coffee, and tea into Europe. I have the book on coffee and

> coffeehouses in the Muslim world.

> But i've been wondering about the arrival of tea into the Muslim

> world. I know that it wasn't until the 18th century that it arrived

> in the Maghrib. So now i'm curious about black or green tea in Iran,

> Iraq, the Levant, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt.

> Anyone know some good sources?

> Anahita


William Ukers, All About Tea.  It's out of print (when I last checked),

but worth going after through ILL.


Ukers was a scholar working for a major association of the tea and coffee

industry in the early 20th Century.  He produced two major sholarly works,

All About Coffee and All About Tea, which were the bibles of the industry

and covered history, art, social aspects, cultivation, production and sales.

I know that a very expensive paperbound edition of All About Coffee was

still in print a few years ago.


For coffee, Ukers and Hattox (the Coffee and Coffeehouses you have) are the

best sources available.  I've skimmed Ukers work on tea and I don't think

you will find anything better although you might find more detailed

histories with narower scope.





From: tmcd at panix.com

Date: May 11, 2005 10:30:10 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Tea


On Wed, 11 May 2005, ysabeau <ysabeau at mail.ev1.net> wrote:

> Tea is an English word. Chai is the word for tea in India, so

> saying Chai Tea is the equivalent of saying Tea Tea.


> It is possible that we were brewing infusions and calling them tea

> long before tea leaves were imported. Then when the tea leaves came

> from whereever, it was continued to be called tea.


That kind of thing is possible in general: consider that we "dial" a

phone to make the other end "ring", even though there's rarely a dial

and very rarely a real bell.  But in this case, it appears not to be

possible. The Oxford English Dictionary (1st ed.) has the English

first citation for "chaa" to 1598, "tay" (the older pronunciation) to

1655, "tee" to 1658.  I mentioned slightly earlier English uses

earlier today.  The Portuguese and Dutch ran across it first and had a

few late 1500s references in Europe.


The late Renaissance had brewed drinks, I gather, but they weren't

called "tea".


Danielis de Lindocollino


Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com



From: Tim McDaniel <tmcd at panix.com>

Date: May 11, 2005 12:40:49 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Tea


On Wed, 11 May 2005, Sandy Straubhaar <orchzis at hotmail.com> wrote:

> this decades-long mania in certain regions of the Known World

> ... for Teas.  Queen's Tea, Artisan's Tea, whatever.  _We_ don't

> know what Tea is!!  We are (mostly) not Chinese!  Nor are we

> Victorian Englishpersons!


To expand on that: the 1911 Enc. Brit. at

<http://27.1911encyclopedia.org/T/TE/TEA.htm>; says


   It is somewhat curious that although many of the products of China

   were known and used in Europe at much earlier times, no reference

   to tea has yet been traced in European literature prior to

   1588. No mention of it is made by Marco Polo, and no knowledge of

   the substance appears to have reached Europe till after the

   establishment of intercourse between Portugal and China in I517~

   The Portuguese, however, did little to- wards the introduction of

   it into Europe, and it was not till the Dutch established

   themselves at Bantam early in the 17th century that these

   adventurers learned from the Chinese the habit of tea drinking and

   brought it into Europe.


   The earliest mention of tea by an Englishman is probably that

   contained in a letter from Mr Wickham, an agent of the East India

   Company, written from Firando in Japan, on the 27th June 1615, to

   Mr Eaton, another officer of the company, resident at Macao, and

   asking for a pot of the best sort of chow. How the commission was

   executed does not appear, but in Mr Eatons subsequent accounts of

   expenditure occurs this item three silver porringers to drink chaw

   in. ...


   Pepyss often-quoted mention of the fact that on the 25th September

   1660, I did send for a cup of tee, a China drink, of which I never

   had drunk before, proves the novelty of tea in England at that

   date. ...


So "a tea" in the sense of "a reception or party at which tea is

served" has to be later than 1588.

<http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=tea&;searchmode=none> says

of tea 'Meaning "afternoon meal at which tea is served" is from

1738. ... The Boston tea party apparently not so called before 1864.'

<http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=reception>; says, of

reception, 'Sense of "ceremonial gathering" is 1882, from French.'


I would guess that "a low-key and polite daytime party in which light

refreshments are served" ought to be a period concept (hey, any chance

to schmooze with the court) ... but if so, what word was used?


Danel Lincoln



Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 15:41:04 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Andalusian = Middle Eastern?

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Master Cariadoc suggested:

>> Do we know when tea came into use in the Middle East? I can't think

>> of period references, although given the close ties between the

>> Ilkhans and the mongol rulers of China, it doesn't seem impossible.

> Who were the "Ilkhans" and what connections to the mongol rulers  

> of  China are you talking about?


The Ilkhan Sultanate controlled Persia from 1259 to 1335.  It was  

founded by a grandson of Ghengis Khan.


> Even so, it seems unlikely to me that tea/chai would have made it  

> to the Middle East but not to Europe.

> Stefan


The first European reference to tea is in the late 16th Century from a

missionary in Asia.  The first imports of tea into Europe were in the latter

half of the 17th Century from Asia, so the Middle East does not enter  

into the transfer of tea to Europe.


Probably, the first known reference to tea is in the writings of Confucious

between the 5th and 6th Centuries BCE.  The first teacups appear in the Han

dynasty (3rd C. BCE to 3rd Century CE).  It's rise to serious commercial

crop was most likely between the 7th and 9th Centuries.  Tea use  

expanded into Japan and then into Southeast Asia.


Brick tea was used as part of the trade for horses to tribes in Central

Asia, Mongolia and Tibet where it was churned with yak butter and barley or

millet to make porridge. (Kramer, Ione, Tea Drinking and its Culture; in

Murphy, Patrick, and Dingdo, Wu (eds.), Handbook of Popular Chinese  

Culture, pp. 55-76.)


One does need to consider that the source of tea was China and that in the

late 14th Century trade between the Levant and China was disrupted for an

extended period, which might account for a lack of tea in the Middle  

East, even if there had been a trade in it earlier.


The first reference to tea in India is from the late 16th Century, which

suggests that the Chinese tea trade did not extend very deeply into Western

Asia and al-Islam.





Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 23:01:21 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Tea

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>



The earliest mention of tea in the literature of Europe was in 1559. It

appears as "Chai Catai'(Tea of China) in the book 'Delle Navigatione et

Viaggi (Voyages and Travels) by Giambattista Ramusio (1485-1557).....

Ramusio's book was a collection of narratives of voyages and discoveries

in ancient and modern times, including those of the Persian merchant

Hajji Mahommed, who visited Venice, who is credited with first bringing

tea to Europe. The reference describing tea says, 'One or two cups of

this decoction taken on an empty stomach removes fever, headache,

stomach ache, pain in the side or in the joints . . . besides that, it

is good for no end of other ailments, which he could not remember, but

gout was one of them. He said 'it is so highly valued and esteemed that

everyone going on a journey takes it with him, and those people would

gladly give a sack of rhubarb for one ounce of Chai Catai'. The beverage

was first called Cha, from the Cantonese slang for tea. The name changed

later to Tay, or Tee, when the British trading post moved from *


<http://www.ibiblio.org/chinesehistory/geo.html#guangdong> to *

Amoy(Xiamen) <http://www.ibiblio.org/chinesehistory/geo.html#xiamen>,

where the word for tea is T'e.





Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 09:22:41 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] zakuskas

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Am Freitag, 21. Juli 2006 10:21 schrieb David Friedman:

>> Ok Jadwiega, here is what I served at the Judge's Luncheon. ...  

>> For drinks

>> I served cranberry/raspberry juice and hot tea with cherry,  

>> raspberry or blackberry preserves to go in it.

> Did the Russians get tea from the Mongols? It wasn't in general use

> in Europe until a little after 1600, as best I recall; I don't

> remember if it's mentioned in Domostroi or not.


AFAIR tea was not common in Mongol culture until well after the Empire.

Certainly Genghis' hordes were far more partial to fermented drinks.  I would

speculate tea became popular in Russia around the same time it did in the

rest of Europe - there certainly is little evidence of a trans-Siberian tea

trade (or anything-trade) to Russia prior to the 1600s.





From: nweders at mail.utexas.edu

Date: February 22, 2007 3:43:55 PM CST

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Tea


At 03:24 PM 2/22/2007, you wrote:

> I think it depends on your definition of tea...herbs steeped in hot water

> such as chamomile have been used for much longer. Was it called tea before

> they discovered black tea? Hmmm...I'll have to go look that up when  

> I have moment.


Here's the OED on the word tea


1. a. The leaves of the tea-plant (see 3), usually in a dried and prepared

state for making the drink (see 2); first imported into Europe in the 17th

century, and now extensively used in various parts of the world.

   According to Meyer, Konversations-Lexikon, the first mention of it in

Europe is due to the Portuguese in 1559 (under the name cha); chia is

mentioned in Maffei's Historia Indica in 1588. Under the name te, thee, it

was imported by the Dutch from Bantam (where brought by Chinese merchants

from Amoy) c 1610; first known in Paris 1635, in Russia (by way of  

Tartary) 1638, in England about 1650-55.





Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 18:55:18 -0400

From: "Jim and Andi" <jimandandi at cox.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Tea Information

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Not well known fact:


Strange as it may seem, not India either. The British introduced tea to

India and it was only well into the 19th century that they actually

convinced any of the natives to drink it!




-----Original Message-----

From: sca-cooks-bounces+jimandandi=cox.net at lists.ansteorra.org

[mailto:sca-cooks-bounces+jimandandi=cox.net at lists.ansteorra.org] On

Behalf Of David Friedman


To the best of my knowledge and belief, "tea" as the name of a social

event is long out of period. In my view, the practice of having

"teas" at events is in the same category as announcing a Queen's Arts

Cocktail party--one more way in which the SCA decreases historical

knowledge instead of increasing it.



Date: Sun, 17 May 2009 17:13:22 -0400 (EDT)

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Tea Information

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


Madhavi wrote:

<<< Strange as it may seem, not India either. The British introduced tea to

India and it was only well into the 19th century that they actually

convinced any of the natives to drink it! >>>


Tea appears to be the endemic beverage of much of the modern Near and Middle East, too. Yet they were not drinking tea in Persia during SCA period. And while mint tea - gunpowder green tea and fresh mint - is THE beverage of modern Morocco, the actual tea was not introduced until the late 18th century by the English as a gift to a local ruler.


Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org