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Tea as a measure of social status in colonial times

Posted by Darren Hartford on


Middleton Place, Charleston, SC Beginning in the 1690’s, preparing, serving, and drinking tea was a ceremonial act that was woven into the daily life of the more wealthy colonists. For those who could afford the luxurious tea, much pride was found in performing a dignified tea service on each occasion.[1] The host or hostess who prepared and served the tea followed a process that included specific manners and equipment. As accompaniment, the colonists brewed tea with equipment that added to the appraisal of their social status. A tea canister was used to store the dry tea leaves; these canisters could be bought in sets to match the likes of the other tea equipment and equipage. Some tea canisters had a lid...

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