Besides charming country manors and a delightful sense of humour, the British are best known for the excessive amount of tea they consume. In fact, it’s estimated that Britain consumes a staggering 165 million cups of tea a year - though let’s be honest, it’s probably double that.

A nation of tea drinkers

Whilst us thirsty Brits have been drinking tea nearly every day for the best part of 350 years, it wasn’t invented here. Tea was originally imported from China, but tea as we know it was popularised by a Portuguese lady named Catherine of Braganza.

The daughter of Portugal’s King John IV, Catherine was chosen to marry King Charles II in 1662 due to her father’s connections and incredible wealth. As with all wealthy women at the time, Catherine came with a dowry. It’s widely reported that several trunks of loose tea leafs were included in this dowry. Though the British were drinking tea long before this, unlike Portugal at the time, they weren’t in direct trade with China. Therefore, obtaining tea was extremely expensive and there wasn’t much demand for it. However, the union of Catherine and Charles changed this.

Chinese tea

As Catherine continued to drink her daily tea when she arrived in Britain, the Royal Court adapted this pastime and thus Britain’s love for tea was born. But the story doesn’t quite end there.

Whilst tea is consumed world-wide, most countries drink their tea black with no milk.  Surprisingly, the reason behind this has nothing to do with the taste but rather the china used.  During the 17th and 18th Century it was extremely popular in Britain to drink your tea from delicate china cups, however, the china cups couldn’t withstand the heat of a freshly boiled pot of tea and sadly broke. Due to the high price of china, it was unrealistic to keep buying replacement cups, so we did what we do best and adapted, adding milk to the china before the tea (so wrong). This cooled down the pot and thus saving it from cracking.

Fine China

Whilst we no long use such delicate cups, many Brits still love adding milk to the cuppas. Whether you add milk or not, its a well-known fact that tea taste soooo much better from your favourite mug. That’s where Harrison Cropper, your trusty Garstang Gift shop comes in to play.

Stocking a wide range of stunning mugs and tea pots, your morning cuppa has never looked so stylish or tasted so good (this we can promise so long as you add the milk LAST and perhaps a chocolate digestive or 2).

Choose from stunning watercolour design mugs made from fine bone China mugs from British born brand Voyage Maison. From floral design mugs to bird prints and nature scenes, there’s something for every country and wildlife lover alike with Voyage Maison mugs. One of our personal favourites is the Wilderness plum mug, it features a beautiful forest scene with deer.

Wilderness Plum Mug - Voyage Maison

For something a little quirkier, try British brand Wrendale Designs, known for their wildlife designs that are full of character. From mice mugs to hare mugs, there’s an animal for everyone with Wrendale Designs mugs. Plus the high quality fine bone China won’t crack when you pour in your tea! We love this large hare brained mug.

Hare Brained Large Mug - Wrendale Designs

For the active people amongst us, try our range of eye-catching travel mugs. We love the eco-friendly Emma Bridgewater travel cups. Manufactured from a rice husk material, a by-product of rice milling, these travel cups will biodegrade on your compost heap in 90 days. They feature some of Emma’s signature designs such as Black Toast, and are perfect for transporting your tea on the go thanks to their light weight.

Emma Bridgewater Black Toast Rice Husk Travel Cup

At Harrison Cropper we really do have you covered when it comes to tea – what can we say, we’re British! So why not pop in store to find your new special mug.  We look forward to seeing you.

July 23, 2020 by Lisa Crane