04-11-2009, 03:43 AM #1
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America's transition from tea-drinking to coffee-drinking tradition
America had a tea-drinking tradition in her early days, introduced by the European colonizers. New York (known as New Amsterdam then) was a tea drinker's haven with all the same traditions and rules of etiquette, and the same favorite tea wares in Britain, Holland, and Russia.
However, good drinking water was then not readily available and so special water pumps were installed around Manhatten. Tea gardens became popular and New York had three Vauxhall Gardens, one Ranelagh, and others that took the same names as London's favorites.
In the cities, tea was drunk in the same elegant fashion as in Europe. In Philadelphia and Boston particularly, tea and expensive silver and porecelain were symbols of wealth and social status, and among the less affluent families, the drinking of tea represented breeding and good manners.
In the early 1700s, the Quakers drank their "cups that cheer but not inebriate" with salt and butter, while in New England., acented China teas were popular. In rural areas, tea was brewed in a more simple rustic way and a pot kept hot on the stove all day, ready for pouring whenever visitors arrived or for the family when they came in from work in the fields.
The Boston Tea Party ended America's liking for both the British and their tea. The British chose to tax the Americans on all imports of tea into America, to go toward the support of the army and government officials in the colonies. Americans were mad and refused to allow British ships laden with tea to come into the ports. Feelings ran high, and there were many incidents, which resulted in the Americans throwing 340 chests of tea overboard in Boston harbor. The British government's closure of Boston Harbor and the arrival of British troops on American soil marked the beginning of the War of Independence and America's dumping of tea-drinking and birth of its coffee-drinking tradition.
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