Whether you are new to tea or fancy exploring teas that you haven't tried before or teas from a different country or region then one of our taster sets might be just the ticket.
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world…after water and one of the cheapest beverages you can drink. Britain has been a nation of tea drinkers for over 350 years but the story of tea begins much earlier in China. According to legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting under a Camellia Sinensis tree while his servant boiled drinking water. By accident, some leaves blew into the water and Shen Nung who was a well known herbalist decided to try the infusion which we now know as tea.
It was many centuries later in the late sixteenth century that tea started to be drunk by European traders and missionaries and most of these were Portuguese. However, it was the Dutch who established a trading post on Java where in 1606 the first consignment of tea was shipped from China to Holland. Tea was an expensive luxury but soon became a fashionable drink among the wealthy.
The British East India Company had a monopoly on importing good from outside Europe since 1600 but tea drinking in Britain did not catch on until the mid 1600s when Charles II married a Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. She was addicted to tea and firmly established it in court which led to it gaining popularity throughout the wealthy classes as a whole.
By the 18th century, tea was hugely popular but was also still very expensive, the monopoly on imports held by the east India company meant that prices were inflated and in addition there was a huge tax on tea. This led to smuggling in order to satisfy demand for cheaper tea which was being drunk in the poorest homes. Tea smuggling was more profitable than either gin or brandy and at one point the same amount of tea was smuggled into Britain as was legally imported. Smugglers could even insure their cargo at Lloyds. However a big problem with illegal tea was adulteration with other ingredients such as sheets dung, other plant materials and dyes in order to make it more profitable. Green tea had been very popular in Britain but various poisonous chemicals were used to brighten the colour such as copper carbonate and lead chromate. This is what led to the British becoming a nation of black tea drinkers!
Explore and try teas before you commit to buying a large packet - taste the flavours first. This also makes an ideal present for tea lovers. Please join us on one of our tea tour holidays for a total adventure!
Black tea taster set
Caffeine free taster set
Flavoured tea taster set
White tea, green tea and oolong taster set