Article & Photos By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com


Winter is upon us so button up that overcoat and warm up with a mug of something hot. Why not brew a cup of herbal delight? Join in the celebration of National Hot Tea Month which is being observed in the United States for the first time in January 2016, according to englishteastore.com. As well, the Tea Council of USA, Inc. has declared tomorrow, January 12th, as the “first-ever” National Hot Tea Day.


Tea has long been considered to hold health and medicinal properties, and to have social implications. In 1773, Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty, an underground resistance, edged the American Revolution along with the “Boston Tea Party” proving this mystical beverage also held political power.


From HISTORY.com a depiction of the "Boston Tea Party".

From HISTORY.com a depiction of the “Boston Tea Party”.

Starting with tea’s political influence, described as the “first act of resistance” to Britain’s “taxation tyranny” notes HISTORY.com, Adams and fifty-nine other Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British tea ships at midnight on December 16 and proceeded to dump 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773. That bill had granted the “faltering” East Indian Company a significantly lower tea tax and a “virtual monopoly” in the American tea trade. In retaliation for the “Boston Tea Party” HISTORY.com further notes, British Parliament enacted the Coercive Acts of 1774, known also as the Intolerable Acts, which closed Boston to merchant shipping, formally established British rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and required colonists to quarter British troops.


‘He who steepeth last however, steepeth best’ – to paraphrase a well-known English proverb. The colonists responded with a call of the Continental Congress and a united American resistance. Ah, the power of tea.


Socially, tea has gone from the drawing rooms of the rich to the mugs of everyman. Due to the high cost, once upon a time this “aromatic, uplifting” drink is said to have been available mainly to the aristocracy. Glasgow-born Sir Thomas Lipton helped to change that through innovative, entrepreneurial efforts, liptontea.com proudly proclaims. In 1893, Lipton established a tea packing headquarters in America, in Hoboken, New Jersey.


English tea time is often associated with treats such as crumpets or scones, a tradition happily carried over to the U.S and extended to other baked goods such as cookies. Englishteastore.com points to two popular English tea time traditions; afternoon tea begun by the wealthy and served with a sweet to satisfy a late afternoon appetite, and high tea, typically part of the working class day served essentially with supper between 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.


Much has been written about the health benefits of drinking tea. Various online sites talk about valuable antioxidants found in real tea which includes green, black, white and oolong. Healthland.time credits tea with boosting exercise endurance by increasing the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, helping to reduce the risk of heart attacks and cancer, helping to “fight free radicals” which can damage DNA, hydrating the body, keeping waist circumference in check by lowering metabolic syndrome, possibly counteracting negative impacts from smoking and also diabetes – compounds in green tea may assist diabetics in better processing sugar, as well, “green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength” and “might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases” – particularly degenerative diseases.


Healthland.com cautions that repeatedly drinking piping hot beverages may increase the risk of esophageal cancer, so be sure to let hot tea cool appropriately. In addition, they emphasize that not all teas have equal quality, and that health studies – which have not been conducted on humans – are inconclusive to date.


Another source, farinet.com, also suggests tea may have multiple health benefits like inhibiting arthritis, improvement of bone density, again – helping to safeguard against some cancers. Black tea they indicate may help one’s system battle flu, while consuming more than two cups of tea daily may decrease the risk of death after a heart attack. Tea might help control high blood pressure they add, and rinsing the mouth with tea may enhance oral health with prevention of cavities and gum disease.


*** Consult a physician about medicinal uses and health matters. ***


Happy sipping in the New Year!


A cherished family heirloom, this tea cup was brought to America by a Bennett Family great-great grandmother on the Reeve side.

This tea cup was brought to America from England by a Bennett Family great-great-great-grandmother on the Reeve side.



(Writer’s note: For hot tea lovers among us, myself included, how lovely to have this whole month of January dedicated to the celebration of hot tea. As a tea devotee, little can compare to the soothing effect of a steamed cup of tea – properly cooled – particularly when brewed in a cleverly designed teapot. My current favorite is Lipton Decaffeinated Greentea topped with slightly less than a teaspoonful of local honey.)