Never Too Much

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S. Lewis

Britain – 1800’s: tea consumption reached an all-time high. Everyone wanted to drink tea but the price was considerable, especially with the amount of import tax levied by the government. It was only a matter of time before the smugglers took over with a vengeance. With supply limited and demand growing exponentially, there was money to be made. The East India Company was not pleased that their monopoly was being challenged. They used their powerful lobby in Parliament (many MPs were their shareholders). William Pitt the younger became Prime Minister in 1783. Even though he was only 24 years old, his strategy was brilliant. Rather than taxing tea imports, he introduced a massive tax increase on windows. In one simple move, tea smuggling came to a standstill.

10 thoughts on “Never Too Much

  1. I’ve been following your fabulous tea posts but not able to comment so far. C S Lewis has summed it up perfectly, hasn’t he. I travel with my own mug and several varieties of tea – the facilities in hotel rooms are never good enough to provide sufficient comfort after a long journey or day of meetings. And we have a well stocked cupboard at home of various leaf teas. As I sit here finishing off my morning cup of assam, it’s so nice to read your interesting tea histories – thanks so much!

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    • C.S. Lewis always seemed to sum up things quite well. I can just imagine him with a book and a steam pot of tea. Tea has always given me a sense of “home” and “comfort.” When there were any important discussion, someone would always put on the tea kettle!

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  2. I didn’t know that either. Some people are quite brilliant aren’t they? Interestingly if you go round old towns in the UK you often seen houses with windows bricked up for those who wanted to reduce the taxes.

    Have just had my early morning cuppa!! Can understand why the Brits go mad for it, but it never really caught on in the same way on the continent. We’re going to France on Friday for 10 days and I shall take a big supply of British tea bags with me. I think most British people do!!

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    • And I am having my afternoon tea! We Canadians share the same love of tea as our UK cousins. I just stopped by my favourite tea haunt – “The Blue Teapot” at Londsdale Quay yesterday afternoon. Their motto “any time is tea time…”

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    • I am not surprised! I have been reading up on the history of tea and have been surprised by the amount of intrigue, espionage, theft and outright greed that came along with this seemingly innocuous drink. Thank you for adding to the discussion. I am enjoying following your blogs – I grew up with C.S. Lewis along with John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.”

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