Updated: Dec 28, 2020
We all love combining our beloved beverage Tea and the elegant little snacks called biscuits. It is quite a common practice among households throughout the globe to have a cup of tea two times a day. Tea has been a cultural symbol for nations like Britain and is associated with the British empire, even though it originated in ancient China. While the Romans had their version of biscuits, the word has its origin in the English language during the 14th century.
Over the years, tea and biscuits became a popular duo, and their marriage will continue to be successful forever. Both tea and biscuits come in large varieties with different tastes and nutritional values.
Some of the most famous teas are Black tea, Earl Grey, Masala chai tea, Green Tea, Matcha, Sencha, Oolong tea, Pu'erh Tea, White Tea, Herbal Tea, Chamomile tea, Chrysanthemum tea, Hibiscus tea, Rooibos tea. Biscuits have also evolved with time, and several varieties have been developed in different geographical areas. Some of the common types of biscuits are Rolled Biscuits, Drop Biscuits, Scones, Shortcakes, Angel Biscuits, Biscotti, Cookies.
Now lets us have a look at the individual history of both Tea and biscuits.
History of Tea
While Tea is mostly associated with Britain and has been a common beverage in the nation for over 350 years, its origin is in China. According to the popular legend, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung who reigned near 2737 BC, was brought boiled water by his servant. The emperor was sitting under a tree species called Camellia sinensis, and some leaves from the tree fell into the water. The emperor has always been a curious herbalist and decided to drink the water, and then only Tea was discovered. Camellia sinensis.
The story cannot be verified, but it is a fact that the Chinese people have been consuming Tea much before the western population. Tea was then introduced to Japan by Chinese Buddhist monks traveling to Japan. The introduction of Tea to the West happened most probably during the period of merchant adventurism either by Dutch merchants. The first consignment of tea was shipped from China via Java to Holland. Tea gained the status of a fashionable drink in Holland and eventually spread throughout Europe to be consumed by the wealthy elites.
Tea then arrived in England, where it became a part of the popular culture that still goes on. The credit of bringing Tea to England in large quantities goes to the East India Company that had a great monopoly over the Asian trade. Tea gained popularity in England because of the Portuguese princess Catherine, who married Charles II of the British royal family. Catherine was a tea addict and was responsible for making it a popular beverage in Britain.
Since then, Tea became a popular commodity traded both nationally and internationally, and no nation on earth could resist its charm. With the advent of modern industrial states, Tea was sold in different processed varieties under many brands. Tea still remains one of the essential commodities traded throughout the globe in both national and international markets. The popularity of Tea has been the same for ages. While it was a drink of the elites during its early popularity now, it has become a common drink for every social level.
History of Biscuits
The first biscuits were probably baked in Persia somewhere around the 7th century BC. With Spain's conquest by the Moors and the Crusades during the 12th and 13th centuries, Arabic cooking methods were introduced to Europe. As we know them, the modern biscuits emerged in France during the 14th century and were a common food item sold on Paris's streets.
The name biscuit has its origin in the Latin term "bis Cotum" which literally means twice baked and eventually came to be called Biscuit in the English language and Biscotti in Italian. With the decoding of recipes from the Elizabethan era, we know that the early forms of biscuits were very hard with a dry texture.
Biscuits became quite a popular food item among sailors during the era of merchant adventurism. In those days, ships had preserved meat and rations on board and used to collect fresh food from anywhere they can get. Biscuits became a common food item that could be preserved for a long time and provided the sailors' necessary nutrition.
The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century enabled Biscuit and cakes' mass production and became quite a common food item. While the biscuits used by the sailors were a kind of survival food, the modern Biscuit came with added sugar that gave it a refined taste and added to its popularity among the masses. To this day, biscuits are among the most widely produced food items globally and come in different varieties. It is one of the most profitable food items too, and is consumed with or without Tea.
The recipes for creating new varieties of biscuits are developed regularly, and corporations engaged in production try to regularly come with new variants. The love for biscuits is not restricted to age and is enjoyed by everyone. Biscuit manufacturers try to come up with several new flavoured biscuits that can tickle the young ones' taste buds to attract kids. Throughout its history, the Biscuit has seen a constant evolution as a food item and gained significant popularity among every social level.
We hope that you found the history of Tea and biscuits an exciting read. History does not restrict itself necessarily to people and events but is common to all things that are important to us. The history of food is no less fascinating than that of humans who live on it; the evolution of food is also the evolution of human civilisation. The journey of tea from the Chinese emperor’s cup of boiled water to modern factories is the perfect example of how food has been an important part of human civilisation, and the same goes for biscuits.