The History of Tea
Tea is nearly 5000 years old and is thought to have been discovered in 2737 B.C. by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung when a leaf from a nearby bush fell into a bowl of hot water the emperor was drinking. It wasn't until the 17th century that tea became popular in Europe and the American colonies. We can all probably remember the famous Boston Tea Party.
Ice tea came about in 1904 by accident at the World's Fair in St. Louis. It was a hot summer and no one was interested in hot tea, so to cool the guests, tea was poured over ice and served cold. Then in1908, Thomas Sullivan wanted to give out sample tins. His customers used them to steep their tea in and found them very convenient. The silk bags were eventually replaced with filter paper and the tea bag was born.
Afternoon tea started when Anne, 7th Duchess of Bedford, asked for tea and bread with butter to be brought to her room one afternoon around 4PM. Soon, Anne invited friends to join her. In the 1880's, fashionable women and the "upper-class" turned the afternoon tea into a social event, complete with long gowns, hats, and gloves.