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Boston Tea Party 240th anniversary--how many cups of tea were dumped?

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Do you know what today is? This is a historical date in our history and for all tea lovers. On this date in 1773, the infamous Boston Tea Party took place. This was not exactly a fun event to attend and certainly was not your afternoon tea in Boston, either. When you think of what happened, can you help but think that tea lovers all over were crying or actually bawling? After all, people couldn't just run down to the corner Starbucks to drown their tears, either.

On December 16, 1773, disguised as American Indians, American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped the entire supply of tea sent by the East India Company—about 340 chests (over 92,000 pounds)—into Boston Harbor, in defiance of the American boycott of tea carrying a tax the Americans had not authorized. That cargo was worth more than $1.7 million in today’s dollars. So it was no wonder that the British government responded harshly. The rest is history. This writer is not an expert on the American Revolution, but suffice it to say that the Boston Tea Party was one of the causes of the American Revolution.

Now, picture 92,000 pounds of tea being destroyed in front of your eyes. I know, it hurts, really hurts! For you trivia types, how many cups of tea was that? Tea is generally measured at 181 cups in one pound, or 453 grams, of tea. And that is with just one steeping. When you are making tea from loose tea, you can easily get two cups, and often four or five out of one ounce of that tea. Historically, though, tea has been measured at 6 ounces/cup, and not the 8 that we Americans are used to drinking in our large mugs.

So, how many cups of tea did the colonists destroy or rather, how many cups of tea were the colonists deprived of from this act of, albeit, nonviolent, protest? Try 16,652,000 cups of tea. Wow! (Pass me another tissue, please, I am still crying!) But wait! You can brew at least two cups out of each ounce of loose tea. So the real loss was at least 33,304,000 cups of tea. (Oh, just give me the entire box of tissues!)

None of my readers would think of tossing out their tea in protest of anything. When stored properly, tea can last, in some cases, for years. When brewed, you can keep brewing until you no longer taste a nice flavor or see a nice color. But keep in mind that oolong teas are meant to be brewed multiple times, up to nine times in my experience. As for your leftover tea, toss it out in your garden as mulch or water for your plants; or put it down your sink disposal to sanitize it. Try using it in place of a liquid in your stews, soups, and just about anything calling for a liquid. In short, don’t waste the tea regardless of what you might like to protest.

Be nice to your tea. Enjoy it, and share it.

FOR MORE INFO:
Boston Tea Party and its aftermath (the harbor smelled for days after the dump)
Tea Act

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