trading places
home contact us site map
world in 1600 getting there bantam expansion india china impacts
china
image strip
why china trade silk porcelain tea opium
 
tea
 

Tea was the new wonder commodity for the Company. It began to trade in Chinese tea in the early 1650s but it was not an instant success. At the time people in Britain drank ale for breakfast (water was largely unfit to drink) so there was a ‘market gap’ for a safe, thirst quenching drink. Tea was not unknown but it was a luxury item favoured by the aristocracy.

Brewers, sensing competition, persuaded the British Government to tax tea. Adulteration, smuggling and the Boston Tea Party were direct results. However, once the Company had access to Canton and the political issues were settled, demand took off. Green varieties were favoured initially but black teas soon took over in popularity.

In 1713 the Company brought in 214,000 lbs (97,078 kgs); by 1813 the total was almost 32 million lbs (14.5 million kgs).

  tea picking   tea curing
   

Tea Picking No 2 in a series of prints, The process of planting, growing and curing tea. 1808.
Maps K.Top.116.19-2 b & d.
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

Tea Curing No 4 in a series of prints, The process of planting, growing and curing tea. 1808.
Maps K.Top.116.19-2 b & d.
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

   
tea warehouse  
   

Scene in a tea warehouse at the Canton factories by a Chinese artist c 1800
Add.Or.4665
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

 

 

   

World in 1600Getting ThereBantamExpansionIndiaChinaImpactsHOMECONTACT US SITE MAP

Why ChinaTrade SilkPorcelainTeaOpium