The true story behind England´s tea obsession

The true story behind England´s tea obsession

A stiff upper lip and an almost genetic love of tea are what makes the English English. Except that the latter was actually influenced by a Portuguese woman

By Billie Cohen

Imagine the most English-English person you can think of. Now I’m fairly certain that no matter what picture you just conjured up, that person comes complete with a stiff upper lip and a cup of tea in their hand. Because that’s what the English do. They carry on and they drink tea. Tea is so utterly English, such an ingrained part of the culture, that it’s also ingrained in how everyone else around the world perceives that culture.

Tea is such an ingrained part of the culture, that it’s also ingrained in how everyone else around the world perceives that culture 

And while it’s fairly common knowledge that Westerners have China to thank for the original cultivation of the tannic brew, it’s far less known that it was the Portuguese who inspired its popularity in England – in particular, one Portuguese woman. Think about that next time you’re sipping steaming oolong from delicate mugs at the Ritz, or standing under the portrait of Earl Grey in the Victoria & Albert Museum…