Tea, once considered a luxury for the rich had become a necessity in Jane Austen’s time. From Jane Austen’s letters to her sister, Cassandra, we see that the Austen family purchased their tea from Twinings.
I am sorry to hear that there has been a rise in tea. I do not mean to pay Twining till later in the day, when we may order a fresh supply.
-Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra, 6 March 1814
If Jane went to the Twinings warehouse, 216 The Strand, to order her supply, she would have crossed through a doorway that looks almost the same as it does today. Once inside she would have been able to choose from a dozen or more varieties of tea:
Black Teas: Medium Teas: Green Teas:
Bohea Imperial Hyson
Pekoe Bing Gunpowder
Often in the Regency era tea was either called Bohea, meaning black or Hyson, meaning green. In her works, Jane Austen only refers to “tea” probably referring to black and “green tea”. Unfortunately, Twinings has no record of the type of amount Jane purchased, although she once referred to “China Tea‘” It is likely that the Austen’s would have bought several pounds at a time.
Jane Austen’s Tuesday Tea will be a weekly meme aimed at bringing you tea ideas, recipes, and tea settings that are centered around either Jane Austen or her works.
Recipes will be linked as they are added: