The ubiquitous tea bag was invented by Thomas Sullivan. He put tea in little silk bags to give samples to customers. He called it marketing. Customers called it convenient and thought they were supposed to put the whole thing in their tea pot. We call it innovation. Not everyone thinks tea bags are a good thing, but most of the western world appreciates not having loose tea floating around in their drink.
If the Queen visits, you need to know that to serve tea formally one requires a formal tea service. That means teapot (duh), sugar bowl, milk pitcher, coffee pot (for the heathens), slop bowl, teacups and saucers, and the tray (because how else would you carry everything out?). The slop bowl is not for the pigs, nor is it for the used tea leaves (one leaves the leaves in the tea pot, m’dear). The slop bowl is to hold the hot water you used to warm the tea pot prior to pouring in the hot water for tea. Don’t worry. The Queen doesn’t usually drop in unannounced, so you have time to figure it all out.
Once upon a time, there was breakfast and there was dinner but there was no lunch. In the 1800s, Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, got hungry in the afternoon. So she invited guests for tea and sweets (and conversation). This is where afternoon tea began.
In ancient China, tea was a form of currency. Tea leaves were pressed into bricks and scored on one side so it could be broken to make change.
It takes about 2,000 little tiny tea leaves to make a pound of tea. A pound of tea makes about 200 cups of brewed tea.
The best tea is grown at high elevation and is hand picked.
Tea plants can grow into tall trees (up to 52 feet tall according to one source I read). It is difficult to reach 52 feet high to harvest the leaves, so most plants are pruned to waist height.
Tea plants require 50 inches of rain annually.
All of which means we will continue to purchase tea and not attempt to grow any in the backyard.