July 26, 2020
Literature is awash with tea. You could probably fill oceans with the amount of tea that is drunk in books written over the last three centuries. But what do you do if you want to emulate your favourite novel/writer? What tea would they have consumed? Often, we don't know (unless it's George Orwell. He was pretty strict.) But, we can probably have a guess...
For example, Jane Austen writes a lot about tea and it's very important to the social gatherings in her novels. As she was writing in the late 18th/early 19th century and her characters often had a disposable income, it's likely that they're drinking a lighter tea that could take a little milk. As tea was not widely cultivated in India until after Austen's death, this would come from China. To recreate the experience of a Georgian tea party, why not try a Ceylon? Although it would not have been available in Austen's time, it's a perfect combination of brightness and body.
Darjeeling is the natural choice for high-class tea parties and gatherings in literature, whether it's Wilde's farce 'The Importance of Being Earnest' or the endless rounds of tea in Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. This light tea pairs well with cucumber sandwiches, cakes and any other delight served up to impress guests. The 'champagne of teas' also has a reputation for being sophisticated and the natural choice for those wanting to impress...
Tea isn't just for grown-ups, though- it appears with great frequency in children's literature. The most famous example of course is the Mad Hatter's tea party in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This chaotic soiree is a how-to as to how not to run a tea party! Although we wouldn't recommend the messiness of the party, we would recommend a fun tea to channel the energy- how about Honey tea, which brings back memories of childhood tea parties?
Another childhood favourite- Mr Tumnus and Lucy's tea party in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- is famous for the cosy description of delicious food. As Narnia is famous for being in perpetual winter, a warming chai or thick hot chocolate could be just the ticket here, or a rose tea (such as Rose Congou) to pay homage to the Turkish Delight that features so heavily as a dangerous treat in the novel.
Whatever your literary preference, there is a tea for everyone. After all, as C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Narnia chronicles, is famous for saying, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
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