Offering a teen’s perspective, fourteen-year-old Luke DeVille brings his unique insight to interesting tea topics. We’re glad to know teens enjoy tea and are happy to share his writings with you.
As we get closer to Independence Day, I always start to think about all the events that sparked the Revolutionary War. The Boston Tea Party, for example, has always been important to me because it symbolizes American beliefs and our defiance of tyranny. However, it suddenly occurred to me that not many people have asked the question, “What kind of tea was dumped into Boston Harbor?” Out of curiosity, I decided to find out.
Turns out, there were several kinds of tea that were chucked overboard, 340 crates, to be exact. Thousands of tea leaves ranging from black tea to green were poured into Boston Harbor. In 1767 the local newspaper, “The Boston Post-Boy” published a poem about the event:
Throw aside your Bohea and your Green Hyson Tea,
And all good things with a new fashion duty;
Procure a good store of the choice Labradore,
For there’ll soon be enough here to suit ye.
Basically, this poem is talking about the green and black teas that the British had taxed and the Colonists had tossed. Bohea was the term used for black tea and Hyson was a common green tea. It wasn’t just these two, though, there were also several other kinds of teas involved such as Congou, Singlo, and Souchong. These teas were imported from foreign eastern countries such as India and China, making them very expensive to ship. That was why the British had put a high tax rate on them in the first place.
Labradore was referred to as a Canadian herbal tea which the Colonists were considering using as a cheaper alternative to their pricey imported tea. Nobody in the colonies wanted to pay big bucks for all that expensive tea, so Labradore seemed like a great idea. However, the government did not seem to like it. In fact, many British officials claimed it was bad for your health and caused dizziness and vertigo.
In the end, we the people were sick and tired of paying an arm and a leg for expensive green and black tea. So, we did what we do best, we stood up for what we believe in. What better way to do it than dress up as Native Americans and chuck that tea into the water? Then we could use Labradore instead and not pay as much.
Who knew tea could have such a huge influence on creating our country? Even though I now know a lot about Colonial America and tea, I still have one question left to ask. Did those redcoats like their tea with salt water?