One of the first things I did when I got back from Spain was to put the kettle on and sit down for a nice cup of tea. There’s definitely something special about sitting back with a cup of English tea. It just never tastes the same when you go abroad. It’s hard to believe but the humble teabag has just celebrated its 100th birthday. Britons have always been renowned for being a nation of tea drinkers (although many people here do drink coffee too and some prefer it to tea!) Indeed a cup of tea has become almost like a national icon to many people in this country. Tea is often referred to as “the best drink of the day”. People often reach for a cup of tea as a pick me up or to cheer them up in times of crisis.
However contrary to popular opinion, it was actually an American and not a Brit who actually invented the first teabag. New York Tea Merchant Thomas Sullivan sent samples of tea leaves to some of his potential customers back in 1908, wrapping them in silk pouches to save money. However most customers were unsure what to do with them and dunked them in boiling water just as they arrived and so the teabag was born! British tea company Tetley saw the possible marketing potential of the teabags a few years later and launched them as an alternative to leaf tea. There’s no doubt that teabags are a much cleaner and quicker way to make tea than using leaves, especially with today’s busy lifestyles. Teabags can now be found in virtually every home in Britain. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without them.