We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes two different two-part sequences: “Black Tea Takes Over” and “Sir Tea”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

Black Tea Takes Over

There seems to be something in the climate, that stupefies the finer parts of a man if he lives there too long. The flavor of the tea seemed to me somehow symbolic. I remember pleading with the local shopkeeper to find me some Chinese tea. It chanced that the owner of a a neighboring plantation was in the shop. He butted in, remarking superciliously that he could put in the China flavor for me. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but can you take the Ceylon flavor out?'”

“Confessions” by English author and occultist Aleister Crowley, who studied Buddhism in Ceylon in 1906

Part One

Steam, smelly steam brought the tea trade into the industrial age. An age-old handmade product could now…(Read more)

Part Two

In response to mass merchandizing and advertising, the British increased their consumption of (heavily sweetened) tea steadily right through World War I, and their counterparts in the British dominions followed suit. Australia absorbed tea at the astonishing rate of…(Read more)

Sir Tea

T stands for Tommy, and also for tea,
It is well-known on shore
He is quite to the fore,
But a little bit backward at sea.

Caption of a kindly 1913 caricature of Lipton before his fourth attempt to win yachting’s America Cup

Part One

Considered to be the father of modern advertising, Thomas J. Lipton was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1850. At the age of fifteen he…(Read more)

Part Two

Before long, he had the world believing Orange Pekoe, the old tea term used to denote the largest grade of leaf, was not the name of a leaf size but a type of tea unto itself for which they should accept no substitutes. “It’s brisk!” his advertisements explained…(Read more)

Photo “Old tea bag” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Quinn Dombrowski and is being posted unaltered (source)