Tea Caddy George Harrison
‘I’m a tidy sort of bloke. I don’t like chaos.
I kept records in the record rack, tea in the tea caddy and pot in the pot box’
I found this quote from my favorite Beatle very amusing. I also share the sentiment, excluding the part about the pot, of course!
The tea caddy is a favorite kitchen item from my childhood. I have memories of opening our caddy and inhaling the rich smell of loose tea when Mum gave me instructions to “put the kettle on and make a pot of tea.”
A TEA CADDY is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea. The word is believed to have derived from ‘catty’, the Chinese pound. The earliest examples that came to Europe were Chinese porcelain in the shape of a ginger jar. They had lids or stoppers and were most frequently blue and white.
Later designs used a variety of materials, with wood becoming very popular. Tea was very expensive, so the caddies were locked, and the keys were only available to the lady of the house. In the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth century, the caddies became even more elaborate, often mounted in brass and delicately inlaid with knobs of ivory, ebony, or silver.
As the price of tea decreased toward the end of the nineteenth century, the use of lockable caddies declined. Those precious tea leaves which had held pride of place in ornate boxes and displayed on mantles and sideboards.
The Tea Caddy was replaced with cheaply produced tins and boxes stored in the kitchen. That was the style of caddy you would find in our kitchen!
I still use several caddies in my kitchen today. My favorite is fashioned from a tin that used to contain a British candy called Liquorice Allsorts. It makes an excellent tea caddy.
Do you have a favorite tea storage container? Your comments are always welcome. Tea Caddy George Harrison.