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Tea and coffee in the British Isles and the USA

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British tea culture

Extracts from Wikipedia.

The British are heavy tea consumers, with each person consuming on average 2.1 kg per year. The popularity of tea dates back to the 19th century when India was part of the British Empire, and British interests controlled tea production in the subcontinent. It was, however, first introduced in Britain by Catherine of Braganza, queen consort of Charles II of England in the 1660s and 1670s. As tea spread throughout the United Kingdom people started to have tea gardens and tea dances. These would include watching fireworks or a dinner party and dance, concluding with a nice evening tea. The tea gardens lost value after World War II but tea dances are still held today in the United Kingdom.

Tea is usually black tea served with milk (never cream) and sometimes with sugar. Strong tea served with lots of milk and often two teaspoons of sugar, usually in a mug, is commonly referred to as builder’s tea. Much of the time in the United Kingdom, tea drinking is not the delicate, refined cultural expression that the rest of the world imagines—a cup (or commonly a mug) of tea is something drunk often, with some people drinking as much as 6 cups of tea a day.

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English tea ritual:

Whether to put milk into the cup before or after the tea is, and has been since at least the late 20th century, a matter of some debate with claims that adding milk at the different times alters the flavour of the tea.

There is also a proper manner in which to drink tea when using a cup and saucer. If one is seated at a table, the proper manner to drink tea is to raise the teacup only, placing it back into the saucer in between sips. When standing or sitting in a chair without a table, one holds the tea saucer with the left hand and the tea cup in the right hand. When not in use, the tea cup is placed back in the tea saucer and held in one’s lap or at waist height. In either event, the tea cup should never be held or waved in the air.

Moorish Mint
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Tea as a meal:

Tea is not only the name of the beverage, but of a late afternoon light meal, irrespective of the beverage consumed. Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford is credited with the creation of the meal circa 1800. She thought of the idea to ward off hunger between lunch and dinner. The tradition continues to this day.
Scones at the Tea Cozy
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There used to be a tradition of tea rooms in the UK which provided the traditional fare of cream and jam on scones, a combination commonly known as cream tea. However, these establishments have declined in popularity since World War II. In Devon and Cornwall particularly, cream teas are a speciality.  It is a common misconception that cream tea refers to tea served with cream (as opposed to milk). This is certainly not the case. It simply means that tea is served with a scone with clotted cream and jam.


i <3 good coffee
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Why do Americans drink coffee and not British tea?

In 1773 the Boston Tea Party went down in history as a revolt against the unfair taxes, fines and fees of King George III. The revolutionaries did not want to do anything that would help support the British army (the British made money by selling tea to the Americas). So they started drinking coffee and other beverages instead.

They have created coffee houses chains which are famous and popular all over the world (including Britain) and where you can buy many types of flavoured coffee drinks.

Caramel Eclair Latte
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Different types of coffee drinks:

Information taken from WiseGeek.

The global expansion of franchises such as Starbucks® have shown us that coffee means big business, and that there is a huge demand in the marketplace for different types of coffee drinks. Whereas the average local coffee shop once offered little more than regular and decaf on their menu, independent coffee houses, restaurants, and even vending machines have added a large variety of coffee drinks to their menu in recent years to stay competitive. With the addition of steamed milk, cocoa, cinnamon, flavored syrups or “shots,” alcohol, and other ingredients, coffee can be transformed into any number of specialty coffee drinks.

Starbucks Christmas Party '09
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One of the most popular coffee drinks made with steamed milk foam is the cappuccino, which originated in Italy but has expanded beyond Europe to become a worldwide favorite. Another Italian coffee drink, café latte, is also made with steamed milk foam; however café lattes contain much more milk foam than cappuccinos. Many other variations have been made to the traditional cappuccino and latte, such as adding cocoa to create a mocaccino or café mocha, as well as adding flavor shots or ice to create an iced coffee drink. Both cappuccinos and lattes include espresso, an extremely concentrated type of coffee which contains roughly two to three times the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee. Espresso is also one of two ingredients in another type of coffee drink, café macchiato, which is additionally composed of a teaspoon of steamed milk foam.

In addition to coffees which already have a unique flavor upon brewing, such as French vanilla roast, flavor shots can also be added to regular coffee to create different types of coffee drinks. Some of the most popular flavor shots added to coffee include hazelnut, butter pecan, raspberry, caramel, banana, mint, orange, and almond. Shots of liqueur, such as Baileys® Irish Cream, Amaretto, and Tia Maria® can also be added to coffee, and are often available as as an after-dinner drink in restaurants. Irish coffee is a particularly popular type of alcoholic coffee drink, and contains coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream. On Saint Patrick’s Day, Irish coffee makes for an easy alternative for bar patrons who wish to forego the traditional green beer, but still celebrate.

irish coffee
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In addition to drinks that contain coffee, there are also drinks which contain no coffee at all, but are still grouped amongst coffee drinks due to their wide availability in most coffee houses. Some of these drinks include: chai lattes, steamed milk, fruit smoothies, gourmet hot chocolate, and green tea lemonade. Decaffeinated coffee drinks are also offered in most coffee shops, and prepared by simply replacing the coffee portion of the drink with decaffeinated coffee and leaving all other ingredients the same.

To attract customers, some coffeehouses have specialized in coffee art which you can see in the following video:


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