A Cup of Positivi-tea in Strange Times

Published on 2020-04-01 / By Washingborough Hall Hotel

Tea is a stalwart staple in British culture. On average each of us drinks over 3 cups a day. The humble cuppa, and the rituals attached to it, brings us together, and helps us through many uncertain times in our lives. It gets us up in the morning, comforts us in times of need and keeps our cake company, with “I’ll pop the kettle on” routinely being the first words uttered when friends pop round, after some tough news or a busy day.

So put the kettle on, and read our brief history of tea, and how it can help you through this strange time...

A history: rich tea...

tea growing in india

Tea was brought to India from China by the British Empire. When it was first popularised in Britain, in the 1660s, tea was six to ten times more expensive than coffee. It wasn’t just a luxurious commodity; it was a status symbol. 

china tea set

In 1662 tea’s social standing became still more exalted, when Charles II’s bride Catherine of Braganza adopted the drink on behalf of the ladies of court. Tea drinking became a central aspect of aristocratic society in England by the 1680s, particularly among women who drank it while gossiping at home. 

pot of tea

As the market drove the price down, tea worked its way into the homes of the aspirational middle classes, and later the homes and factories of the working classes. Eventually tea coursed through every household, warming the cockles and spurring the tongue. Such is the unique power of a steaming pot of tea.

Afternoon Tea & The Victoria Sponge


Afternoon tea is an elegant affair. The ritual is traditionally served between 3-5pm and involves a pot of tea to share, accompanied by an array of dainty savoury and sweet bites. Rarely enjoyed at home these days; afternoon tea is more likely enjoyed at a hotel or restaurant as a celebration or treat with family or friends.

loose leaf tea selection

Afternoon tea dates back to around 1840. It is Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, lady in waiting to Queen Victoria, who we have to thank for it. It was common for the aristocracy to breakfast like kings, lunch like princes, and supper late into the evening. Following the introduction of gas lighting, evening dining was pushed back further. This was far too long for the Duchess. One afternoon she requested a sustaining tray of tea, bread and cakes, and enjoyed the meal so much that it became a court staple. 

victoria sponge cake

Queen Victoria was partial to an afternoon tea too, with her sweet of choice being a sponge cake. Following Alfred Bird’s invention of baking powder in 1843, a new classic arose - the Victoria sponge.

Keep calm and pop the kettle on

tea on the phone

Now, more than ever, in these strange times, a cup of tea is a lovely comfort. Here are a few ways you can make your cuppa work even harder to lift your mood and boost your positivity over the next few weeks:

• Use tea-time to help instill a routine into your days at home

• Keep your spirits up by enjoying a regular cuppa over the phone with your friends and family

• Spend time baking your favourite cake or biscuits to accompany your tea

• Make your favourite brew and sit in the spring sunshine for five minutes a day thinking of happy memories and looking forward to the future

Tea is far more than just a drink – it has become part of our daily life and accompanies our tears, our laughter and our celebrations, so, at this strange time, we hope it brings you some comfort and helps you retain some normality when all else seems out of control.

We've put together this little book of positivi-tea filled with little tasks, positive thoughts and tips on how to make your cuppa work even harder to lift your mood and boost your positivity over the next few weeks.

We hope it brings a smile to your face...now, relax and pour yourself a cup of positivi-tea ☕ 

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