Friday, January 3, 2014

330. Chinese Tea was Popular in Colonial North America

Since the early 1700's, tea had been used as a social beverage in the colonies. Judge Samuel Sewall had a good record of Boston life in the turn of the 17th century. The guests enjoyed tea in a meeting at the residence of Madam Winthrope, he wrote on April 15, 1709.

According to Peter Kalm, who toured North America in the mid-18th century, tea had not only replaced milk as a breakfast beverage, but also was drunk in the afternoon. From the letter that Ms. Alice Addertoungue wrote to Benjamin Franklin in 1732, we can tell that tea was widely used in social gatherings. Alice told Franklin, “The first Day of this Separation (with her mother—writer) we both drank Tea at the same Time, but she with her Visitors in the Parlor.”

During the tea hour, social and economic affairs were discussed. Interestingly, since teatime provided an ideal opportunity to get acquainted, young men and women enjoyed it very much. Tea had become the excuse for many a social gathering. Being invited to drink tea became a special thing for the colonists. Benjamin Franklin wrote a note showing his appreciation for Mr. Fisher’s “Company to drink Tea at 5 o’clock this afternoon, June 4, 1745.”

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