A Conversation for Tea in Britain: a Social History

Robert Fortune

Post 1

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

According to a new book, ''For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink', Sarah Rose, Hutchinson, (2009), all tea we had had in Britain until 1840 was of inferior quality, shipped from China by the East India Company. (The Chinese kept the best tea for themselves).
Robert Fortune, a contemporary of Darwin, was curator of the Chelsea Physiuc Garden.
He smuggloed himself into China, disguised as a Chinaman, replete with false pigtail, and brought back cuttings, seeds, soil samples etc, and planted seedlings omn the foothills of the Himalayas - which most resembled the best tea-producing areas of China.
Interestingly, while in China, he discovered that the Chinese were dyeing the tea intended for Britain with Prussian Blue, as they thought that the British preferred it greenewr than it was naturally.


Robert Fortune

Post 2

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned


How interesting.. I knew someone planted around the mountainous areas of India. I thought it was because of China kicking the foreigners out. So one enterprising plantation owner dug up his best tea bushes to transplant.

I also believe that Indian tea is still produced from cuttings of those very same bushes today smiley - smiley

Perhaps another EG for the future?


Robert Fortune

Post 3

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

Well, there's already an Entry on 'Chinese Tea' A884487, to which I've suggested a small addition in EF. I'm considering writing an Entry on Robert Fortune. (There was a two-page abstract of the aforementioned book in the Daily Mail (UK)on Thursday 5th March, if you'd care to read it in your local library smiley - smiley


Robert Fortune

Post 4

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned


As it so happens, I have that copy.. Not read it yet smiley - ok

Good luck smiley - goodluck with your proposed new Entry. I look forward to reading it...

... I wonder if that's where the saying 'worth a fortune' comes from?


lil x


Robert Fortune

Post 5

BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows

'... I wonder if that's where the saying 'worth a fortune' comes from?'

Hadn't thought of that smiley - laugh


Robert Fortune

Post 6

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned


Sayings have come the strangest places smiley - winkeye


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