England–The Land of Tea

Almost everyone who knows me would agree that I love tea. Black tea, herbal tea, fruit tea, white tea. Tea with lavender or mango or apple or blueberry. Sugar is a must, of course. But I am an all-around tea lover.

I should have been born in England.

I have only lived here, studying abroad, for five days, and we have already had tea as many times. Not just a grab-and-go cup as we move from one orientation activity to the next, but an actual, official tea time in the morning or afternoon. It is blocked off as part of the schedule. We didn’t have tea on Sunday, but had it twice on Monday, so it made up for any lack the day before.

I can’t decide if the English like tea because of its taste, or if they really just need caffeine that often.

Not that I’m opposed to drinking that much tea. But in America, a cup of tea usually goes along with whatever activity you happen to be doing at that moment–working at a desk, reading a book, picking up the kids from school. In England, however, having tea is an institution. When it’s tea time, everything stops. People grab a mug and sit down with a steaming cup of deliciousness, plus perhaps a scone smothered in jam and clotted creme.

What a mouth-watering tradition.

And it really is a tradition. As Americans, we don’t have many food customs that we partake in on a regular basis, aside from eating three meals per day. But people in England have been drinking tea at 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon for centuries. I didn’t quite realize how much of a cultural activity it was until I arrived.

I am definitely in favor of this particular tradition.

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