A Dork's Guide To Tea.

This week, my students are learning all about the tea trade. We've seen the Cutty Sark (amazingly restored tea clipper that is in Greenwich), we've talked about the expansion of the British Empire, later this week we'll have a cooking class on how to make scones... and today we are having afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason to discuss the introduction of tea to British culture and the impact it has on culture today. (Yes, I love my job.)

Since I've taught this before a few times, let me toss out some random tea facts for you: 

- Did you know that regardless of what type of tea it is (green, white or black), all tea comes from the same plant. The difference in type comes from which part of the plant they use and how long it is "fermented."

-Tea is fermented! Though not for as long as wine or beer.... just a few hours in hot drying trays does the trick.

-The average Brit drinks eight cups of tea per day. That's a national average and it is astounding to me. Eight cups a day!

-The tradition of putting milk with your tea started years ago. The upper class started putting a bit of milk into their tea cups before pouring the hot tea in. This cooled it down and prevented the thin china from cracking.

- As a result, putting your milk in first is a trait more aligned with the upper class. 

There you go. You all get A for today's lesson.

Oh, speaking of tea- have you seen the London Tea Club? Each month you get fancy vials of tea delivered to your door of cool new blends. It looks like an amazing way to try out teas you may never knew existed... or even better, make the coolest gift to give a friend.

*image via pinterest