Tea Gardens

To us nothing represents the ideal of a British summer than being able to take afternoon tea in the garden, these days it’s more likely to be a mug of tea as we sit on the patio, rather than the period drama image of delicate china, butlers and white table cloths, but it still sums up the joy a lovely summer day and taking a moment to enjoy it and relax.


St. Helen Tavern and Tea Gardens

But did you know that outdoor drinking of tea, in Britain, has an interesting history? Tea gardens were inspired by the Dutch “tavern garden teas” and flourished in Britain in the eighteenth century, tea was not the only beverage served but it was the most popular and fashionable. They opened for the summer and were often only open on Saturday and Sunday. They were designed for the drinking of tea, strolling and entertainment, a place where men and women took tea together. This was the first time that it was socially acceptable for women to enter a mixed public gathering and not be criticised. It is rumoured that Lord Nelson met his future wife Emma at a tea garden. The tea gardens attracted a mix of social classes including the aristocracy, who were known to visit on occasion.

The other interesting thing about tea gardens is that it is where the custom of tipping originated. On the table in the tea garden there would be a wooden box with the acronym T.I.P.S. on it. Into this box the gentleman would put some money “to insure prompt service”.

Think it’s now time to go and make a pot of mama tea and imagine we’re in our own tea garden!

To buy Mama Tea, or find out more about us, please go to the website; www.mamatea.com.


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