Tea is Serious Business

The queen with drip.

A few weeks ago I knew that tea was one of the most popular drinks in the world (and still is) and the economic backbone of the British empire. I did not know how hardcore the tea industry. Tea was no joke; it was serious business.

For my essay about tea in Europe, I talked about the tea crime rings in England and they are completely insane. Think about your modern day South American drug cartel; now just replace whatever drug they are smuggling with tea and there you go you have an 18th century tea gang. 

Obviously tea was not illegal like cocaine or heroin, it was extremely expensive from taxes imposed on it by the British. Tea was the most popular drink in England at the time, but if you were an average British citizen tea was way too expensive to purchase. So smuggled tea was the only tea purchasable by the majority of British people.

Tea smugglers would bring their contraband to hiding places by traveling through secret passages and hidden paths to evade authorities. Even smuggled tea was expensive so the smugglers would put extra crap in the tea to lower the price. These tea gangs were brutal, often torturing others they were not fond of. British communities created militias to protect against these gangs; so for a period of time the average Brit’s greatest fear were tea criminals.

As I stated earlier, the average British citizen had to rely on smuggled tea to get their fix because non-smuggled tea was so expensive. So if tea was ridiculously expensive then people would not have to buy smuggled tea which is exactly what happened. The British heavily lowered the tax on tea, basically killing the tea smuggling industry. This outcome of this action shows us that the heavy tax on tea created the tea smuggling industry and was making it thrive. So these powerful tea crime rings would have never existed if the British were a little less greedy.

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Categorized as fys106

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