Love for tea has no boundaries and when it comes to France, they have had an interesting past with the consumption of tea. Whereas in today’s world where coffee has taken the place of tea in many countries, there are still some countries that have revived the love and manufacturing of tea in their way, France is one of them.
Moreover, to understand the revival of tea in France we would have to look deep into the history of France and tea. As it is known that French cuisines and beverages are unique in their way. Similarly, they have made unique and new versions of tea to make it special from ordinary tea.
History of Tea in France: Unbelievable!
Whenever we talk or think about the originators of tea, the name of England comes to our mind instantly. That is because we have always thought that England is the first country that started the consumption of tea. Little do we know that France is one of the first countries that had a love for tea even before England.
On the other hand, England is known for the trade of tea all over the world. Today when we think about some big companies that are undoubtedly famous, the names of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon come to our mind.
But in the quondam world of the 17th century when these companies were yet to be born, the East India tea company had ruled the world. Yes! They ruled the world. They had their own army, their own territory and full control over the trade of tea. That is the main reason that tea is mainly characterised as a British beverage.
Tea in France: Alien?
As we all know that French people do not like to imitate or follow British people, that is why they had been cut off from tea for a long time. And it would be totally fine if you have a question that struck your mind instantly, “Do they drink tea in France?” Because we are here to answer all your queries.
So, the answer to the aforementioned question is yes! French people do drink tea and they have always been. But the contrast is in the ways and styles that both of the countries follow. That is to say, British people like to have their tea mostly with milk but in France, they only prefer black tea over any other type of tea.
Moreover, the concept of having tea with milk is surprisingly alien for French people. And now they have been making variations in tea, to make it their speciality.
France: The Pioneer of Tea?
Well, it would not be wrong to say that tea came first in France and then in England. France was being ruled by a king in the 17th century. And for this reason, the people were largely influenced by the likes and dislikes of their king.
King Louis XIV, who was also famously known as the Sun King, had a habit of drinking tea at that time. This habit was influenced by a Turkish ambassador and soon after this, the first cafe was opened in France. Owing to this habit of the King, tea was being consumed in France on a large scale.
Why was Tea Famous in France?
The first and foremost reason for the popularity of tea in France is that the King used to have tea and the other reason was health. Yes, health! French people have always been conscious about their health and tea, other than the favourite beverage of the King, was used as a medicine.
Now there comes the interesting trade connection between France and England. France used to import tea from England’s East India tea company in the 18th century. At first, they used to import green tea as a medicine and consumed it for medical or health purposes.
But over time, the taste and the tendency of the French people changed and they developed a liking for black tea. The fragrance and indulgent taste of the black tea were the main reasons that got them addicted to black tea more than any other type of tea. And this black tea in the 21st century is still the favourite and most loved by the French people.
Tea and the Elite
At first, tea was only a beverage of the elite. That is to say, at that time, coffee was cheap and tea being rare, was really expensive and became a beverage of the elite. Furthermore, women of the elite class would go to cafes to have tea and parties. Whereas the male of the aristocratic class used to have coffee.
Now there might be a question that would have struck your mind till now: Is coffee or tea more popular in France? The answer to this question in the context of the 18th or 19th century is that coffee was more famous in France at that time.
The reason for this favouritism and more consumption of coffee is that France itself is the biggest producer of coffee and that is why coffee is more popular and cheap in France. Whereas, as we have stated above, tea being expensive became the drink of the elite and women in particular.
Now that we have set the stage for the popularity of tea in France by digging deep into the history. Let’s move on towards the popularity of tea in France in the present world.
The Reality Behind the Popularity of Tea in France
The popularity of tea in France is not a new concept. Although in the 20th-century tea lost its importance and consumption in France, it is in the 21st century and in these two to three decades in particular that France has revived the love of tea all over again in their unique way and variations.
Renaissance of Tea in France
The renaissance or rebirth of tea in France has marked the date in the 21st century and now there are many big tea companies and brands of France that have taken the initiative of making tea popular in France all over again.
Now, tea is no longer an alien beverage for the French people. The companies that make tea in France have made a claim as the pioneer of tea in France since the 17th century.
And their claim can not be denied as it is evident that the Nina’s used to make tea for the French Queen using the produce from the Royal orchards and still have access to the Royal orchards to make tea till now.
Role of French Tea Companies: Huge!
Owing to the role of specialist tea brands of France, the consumption of tea has tripled in France in the past three decades. These tea brands or companies include Mariage Freres, Kushmi tea, Freres Damman and many more. These French tea brands have made their special place in the market.
That is to say, these tea brands have made their boutiques in Tokyo, New York and Berlin and have set their foot as the French ambassador of tea in the International market. These brands are responsible for the renaissance of tea in France and owing to these brands the consumption of tea in France has been increased.
Despite tea being considered a British beverage, it had its roots in France for centuries and has revived today as well. French people now love to drink tea in their own casual way and make their own innovative variations of tea.
As we have stated above that the love for tea has no boundaries, French people have followed the same mantra. Moreover, in this revival of tea consumption, some French tea-producing brands have played a huge role and it can be said that tea is popular in France today.