The Chinese originally called tea “Kia”. (And I thought that was car I drive!) During the 6th century AD that the name evolved into "Cha". But, on its arrival in the West it became Té which is still the name for tea in many countries.
The tea trade was a significant factor in establishing connections between east and west. In China, tea leaves were used as a substitute for coins. That would seriously help my IRA! In Europe, tea was used as a symbol of high status and as a stimulus for many technological developments, for instance, the development of fast sail boats such as the "Clipper", which shortened the time it took to sail from China to Europe and made it possible to provide shipments of fresh tea to the west.
The French drank tea from wooden cups, but the British made tea fit for the royals and the wealthy class by designing ornate porcelain cups. I find it so intriguing when I do research that historically the wealthy tried to keep so many wonderful things to themselves. We are so fortunate today to be able to have access to some of the finer things in life.
Tea was sipped from these beautiful dainty cups that became "tea cups". Hand painted cups were common until the 1920s when mass production took over, and then coffee began its ascent into the beverage world.
A significant rise in tea consumption resulted from the appearance of tea bags at the beginning of the 20th century. The inventor of tea bags was a New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan who had a custom of sending tea samples in white silk bags to his customers, and they were intrigued by this new ground-breaking product. Upon the appearance of tea bags, the price of tea was lowered. The possibility of drinking tea without special brewing utensils made tea suitable for mass consumption, turning it into the world's most prevalent hot beverage.
These are "sentiment" cups...a Hallmark moment in porcelain...many made in Germany where fine china was a major export.
How nice would one of these be with some tea and cookies? Little gifts...unexpected...there are no "apps" for that!
And, since it is Irish week down the coast in Wildwood, I leave you with an Irish blessing...