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Friday, July 27, 2012

The United States Tea Act of 1893

Over a hundred years after the Boston Tea Party, America decided there would be NO MORE dumping tea - and no "dumping" of inferior tea onto our shores, either. The Import Tea Act of 1893 was created to stop England from dumping low-quality tea onto American buyers, who were assumed to be less discerning, more gullible tea consumers than the British. Eventually, a Board of Tea Experts and Tea Examiners (under the auspices of the FDA) was created to oversee the quality of all tea entering the United States, and it was operational for many years.

President Nixon was one of several presidents who tried to abolish the tea tasting office as a government boondoggle*, but the Tea Act itself first had to be repealed. In 1996, Bill Clinton finally got the job done, supposedly getting pretty huffy at the idea of paying government employees 'to sit around drinking tea all day.' [Hey, it was good enough for me when I worked for the government. *cough*]

Read more about this fascinating tidbit of American tea history by reading the article A Tea Taster's Life by Melissa Bienvenu.

*What a great word! A boondoggle is a project that is considered to waste time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations. Origin here.


MMm.. said...

I have a co worker hre who says boondoggle all the time. Good read here. TY!

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

LOL I can honestly say I don't think I've ever heard anyone say 'boondoggle'.

Which word, btw, now ranks up there with my favourite UK expression which is, 'gobsmacked.' I find myself using this one since I live over here and every time I say it, I want to snigger because it sounds silly (but a fun kind of silly).

La Tea Dah said...

Interesting post --- the wheels of government turn slow and in unusual ways.

LaTeaDah from Gracious Hospitality

Debs Dust Bunny said...

Drat! Just when I find the perfect job they do away with it! Oh well, I'll just have to be an unpaid tea drinker!

Marilyn said...

How interesting! You find the best tea tidbits.

Christy Kay said...

Oh, yeah. Tasting tea to make certain it's decent isn't worth it at all .... but spending millions for a study on why earthworms dig is soooo much more logical. Uh-huh. :-|

The Teaist said...

This was a fun read! Thanks!

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Thank you for the comments, everyone.

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