Have a cuppa tea

Te 3If you are walking from the Strand Campus to the Maughan Library you will probably find a little tea shop from a very famous brand. Don´t think it twice, give tea a chance and enjoy a free “cuppa” tea and smell all the variety of teas they have in the shop.
You may be used to drink coffee instead of tea but I assure you, there is nothing more British than tea. You can have tea any time you want in the day, even before going to sleep, and definitely you cannot miss going to a fancy hotel for an “afternoon tea”. Yes is expensive but you don´t have to do it every week!
Tea has been the nation drink of Great Britain since the seventeenth century, when it was popularized by the Portuguese wife of Charles II, Catherine of Braganza. Tea was brought to London by the East India Company and became so popular that it was highly taxed provoking smuggling and adulteration. Because tea was taxed according to the amount of liquid it had not the amount of leaves, it was brewed in the morning and taxed in that moment so the costumers that had tea in the afternoon had a really different drink that what we are used to have now. This situation continues until 1784, when the government had slashed the taxes over tea in order to cut the power of the criminal networks that where smuggling it.
Tea continues to be a staple of British culture. Together with butter scones, jams and clotted cream is the beast treat you can have in the middle of the afternoon. Student in London were not the first to fill hungry at 5 pm after having a really early lunch. On the contrary, drinking tea at five o´clock with crustless sandwiches became fashionable between high class women in the nineteenth century. But for the men working full time shifts the tea was not a treat between lunch and dinner but the main meal they had when their work was over. A strong black tea with a hot and hearty meal was called the “high tea” and was a really humble tradition compared to its cousin the “afternoon tea”.
So if you fancy a real British experience and you want to consider yourself a real Londoner stop ordering frozen mocha lattes and try a cuppa tea!

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