OWL Magazine Korea

Enjoying British Tea Culture in Singapore: “Tea Time”

While coffee culture has thrived in the United States, in Britain, the tradition of tea-drinking has flourished. Britain is known as the “land of black tea” and holds the top spot for black tea consumption.

It is said that the average Briton consumes about seven cups of tea per day, highlighting the significance of tea culture in the country.

“The Tea Culture in Britain”

The roots of Britain’s tea culture trace back to the 17th century. It is believed to have begun with the influence of Catherine of Braganza from Portugal and King Charles II from the Netherlands.

After Charles II of the Netherlands introduced tea to Portugal, when Princess Catherine of Portugal married King Charles II of the Netherlands, tea culture spread to Britain. It particularly took hold in the upper echelons of British society.

Additionally, direct imports of tea from China began in the 17th century, and in the 19th century, with the importation of tea from the Assam region of India, tea culture firmly established itself in Britain.

“When did British Tea Culture Popularize?”

Initially, tea culture represented a sociable life of the upper class. However, in the 1860s, as tea began to flow into Britain in large quantities from India, it transformed into an everyday staple.

With tea now being mass-produced, it became accessible not only to the upper class but also to the middle class. This mass accessibility further propelled the development of Britain’s tea culture.

“British Tea Culture: Tea Time”

In British noble society, meals were typically lavish in the morning, light at lunch, and followed by a hearty dinner in the evening, which usually occurred after 8 PM.

To bridge the gap between lunch and dinner, especially during the challenging period of hunger, the tradition of serving a light meal with tea, known as “Tea Time,” was born. As this practice spread among British noblewomen, it eventually evolved into the tea culture we know today.

“Various Tea Times in Britain”

There are various tea times in Britain. One of the most well-known is “Afternoon Tea.” Other tea times include:

  1. Early Tea: It’s tea enjoyed in bed in the morning to wake up from sleep. It’s also called “Bed Tea” because it’s consumed in bed.
  2. Breakfast Tea: It’s a tea time accompanying breakfast, often mixed with milk for a smoother taste, providing nutrition and satiety. It’s a hearty morning meal with toast, eggs, bacon, fruits, etc.
  3. Elevenses: A tea time between 10 and 11 in the morning for a mood lift, more about dispelling drowsiness than pre-meal tea.
  4. Afternoon Tea: The most well-known tea time, it’s a social gathering for tea. Most enjoyed by the British, it’s a time to relax around 4-5 PM, often with scones and cookies, enjoying milk tea made by mixing with milk.
  5. High Tea: A tea time around 5-6 PM with a simple meal. In the past, it was used interchangeably with Afternoon Tea, but now it refers to a different time slot for tea.
  6. After Dinner Tea: Refers to a leisurely tea time after dinner. It often involves consuming sweet desserts like chocolate and cookies, and it’s also common to enjoy it with whiskey or brandy.
  7. Dinner Tea: It’s a tea time enjoyed during the evening meal.
  8. Digestion Tea: A tea time for aiding digestion after the evening meal.
  9. Night Tea: A tea time before going to sleep.

“Experiencing British Tea Time in Singapore”

As Singapore was once under British colonial rule, remnants of British tea culture can be found throughout the city. Much like how you can find cafes selling coffee all over Korea, Singapore is dotted with tea houses that serve tea with scones, cookies, and more.

One well-known establishment is “TWG,” which specializes in creating and selling premium teas in Singapore. It’s not just a tea shop; you can also sit and spend time there.

“At TWG, you can taste a wide variety of teas.”

When you visit a TWG store, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a truly wide variety of teas. The menu can be overwhelming on your first visit, as you’ll find around 200 different types of tea.

If you’d like to experience leisurely tea time in the afternoon like a local while visiting Singapore, consider going to a tea house during Afternoon Tea hours. Order tea and enjoy a relaxing time.

Experiencing tea time in Singapore offers a different atmosphere compared to enjoying tea time in Britain, and it’s a chance to appreciate the unique blend of cultures in the city-state.