Posted in Kafevend Blog
Whilst these days we are often thought of and indeed often think of ourselves as a tea drinking nation, there was a time when we much preferred coffee. When tea was introduced to England in the 17th century by the Portuguese Princess and English Queen, Catherine of Braganza, it was very much the reserve of the social elite, whilst coffee had grown to be enjoyed by many in the proliferation of coffee houses throughout Britain.
The tides of favour began to turn in 1706, when an English merchant named Thomas Twining purchased Tom's Coffee House at 2l6, The Strand, London. Having worked for the East India Company merchant Thomas D'eath, from whom he purchased the coffee house, and being one of the first merchants to participate in the tea trade, he was well placed to carve himself a niche in the fledgling market. Despite resistance from purveyors of coffee and hefty taxes, Twining established a company that has lasted three centuries and is still going strong.
Twinings has a few claims to fame such as having the oldest continually used company logo and the creation of tea blends like Earl Grey. Twinings' burgeoning reputation for selling particularly fine teas also meant that high society women, who had traditionally been excluded from coffee houses had an exotic new drink to share with their friends at home.