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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who tried to abolish the tea tasting office as a government boondoggle*, but the Tea Act itself first had to be repealed.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.

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