A Taste Of Empire And Brewing Up A Storm'

Decent Essays

When one thinks of British breakfast, an English office work break, or London afternoon tea, the fundamental component of each is tea. As a result, it comes as no surprise that there is so much scholarly research available on the origin of this key element of daily British life. In this essay, I am going to compare and contrast two readings: A Taste of Empire, 1600-1800 by James Walvin and Brewing Up a Storm by Kenneth Pomeranz and others.
Pomeranz emphasizes the economic interrelation between Britain and other countries that eventually leads to Britain’s decision to export Opium to China. Walvin focuses more on the growing British taste for sweet tea across various social classes.
According to Pomeranz, the booming transcontinental trade that lasted up to the Industrial Age was the popularity of “drug foods” such as “coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, tobacco, and later opium” (77-78). Out of all the drug …show more content…

He particularly focuses on the birth of tea culture itself, explaining the British predilection to tea, which gradually grew from medicinal use to “sweetened bitter tea” (Walvin 13). He also goes into detail regarding the origin of the “British sweet tooth [, which was] developed because of the Atlantic slave system for sugar production” (Walvin 13).
Walvin also explains the role of British social dynamics in Britain’s exploding tea culture: as Jonas Hanway says, “the labourer and mechanic will ape the lord” (qtd. in Walvin 13). He also deeply analyzes the figure, Ignatius Sancho -- a black shopkeeper --, and his ironic role “making a livelihood by selling slave-grown produce to British customers” (Walvin 13). In the end, he concluded that colonized will eventually “become accustomed to acquiring and enjoying imported [colonizer’s] goods” (Walvin

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