Tuesday, March 30, 2010
One Sunday in February I went to a free drop-in interactive talk called Everything Stops for Tea about tea drinking during the Second World War at the Imperial War Museum in London. John-Paul, the very well informed museum guide advised me that the title of the talk comes from the famous song of the same name Everything Stops for Tea.
He went onto show us ration books and photographs of bomb raid survivors being handed mugs of tea. A special tea van would arrive after raids to provide hot tea to people to help comfort them. Jean-Paul pointed out that tea was of great importance to the government which recognised the associations that we have with it, not only as a great ‘comforter’ but also a commodity which is integral to our notions of ‘normality’ and rituals – the morning cuppa, elevenses etc and significantly - a drink that can be offered after a crisis or to help comfort people who may be in shock. Infection and disease is less likely to spread when water is boiled to make tea and tea is believed to have antiseptic properties, hence soldiers saving the dregs from their tea mugs to shave with. The government identified areas that were least likely to be bombed for the storage of tea and a special commission was set up to monitor tea supplies. Tea rationing did not end until 1952 when the government believed that the consumption of coffee would ease the pressure on the ‘steadily improving’ tea supplies enough to end the rationing of tea. Although the event is aimed mainly at families I really enjoyed seeing the tea related photos from the World War II and chatting about tea to John-Paul.
You can view more details about the end of tea rationing on the BBC news website, it’s called ‘1952: Tea rationing to end’.
Friday, January 22, 2010
This blog aims to be about tea drinking, tea making, different types of tea, what's going on with tea and about people who enjoy tea, including me. I’m Nigel and together with my partner I started in 2007 Tiger Spring Tea a very small tea company selling and promoting loose tea (rather than tea bags). The idea was to bring the enjoyment of drinking quality loose tea into everyday life - not just for special occasions. Our name comes from happy recollections of discovering and drinking Tiger Spring tea, a famous high grade Long Jing (Dragon Well) tea. This green tea is from the Chinese province of Zhejiang and bears the name of a place of pilgrimage for all lovers of this type of tea from the Tiyun Mountains, where according to legend, the best quality water used to make this tea, comes from the Tiger Spring.