Forgotten Tea Party Revolts, and Their Matching Teas!

Posted by Hannah Frank

Memorial Day is upon us and patriotism is in the air, especially here in Philadelphia. The Benjamin Franklin impersonators have that summery spring in their step as they wander Independence Hall, recounting tales of the Revolution; the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington crossing the Delaware, the Boston Tea Party.

In fact, Boston wasn’t the only historical Tea Party revolt as Quirk author Joseph Cummins explores in his book “Ten Tea Parties” (now only $3.99 on Nook until 5/26). From York, Maine to right here in Philadelphia, each tea party had it’s own style, it’s own flavor. While all those tea parties might have been necessary back in the day, this Memorial Day we’ve matched each historical Tea-Tipping with a flavor of our favorite actual tea. Drink up!  

1.The Boston Tea Party – Earl Grey Tea

The rowdy original Tea Party, the Boston flavor is certainly Earl Grey. Men dressed as Natives snuck onto a British ship and dumped the tea into the harbor in the dead of night. Strong, dark, and the “usual” flavor.


2. The Philadelphia Tea Party – Silver Needle White Tea

Philadelphia’s Tea party was one which teetered between violence and civility. Though tar and feathering of the offending ships’ captain was threatened, the matter of the illegal tea was solved peacefully and graciously by both parties: colonists footed the bill for the return journey, and the captain agreed not to unload any of his cargo after being officially refused. It was a delicate situation, much like the delicate taste of this tea. 


3. The Princeton Tea Party – Dragonwell Green Tea

In 1774, students at Princeton University burned all the tea on campus and in town, to demonstrate their disgust with the British. A nice cup of Dragonwell would have fired them up, but alas, they burned it all up. Dragonwell green tea has a distinctive sweet aftertaste and a hint of lingering chestnut, and graduates summa cum laude.


4. The New York Tea Party – Peppermint Tea

Good ‘ole spicy NYC certainly left a strong taste in the mouth of the unwitting sea captain who attempted to bring tea into their harbor while the citizens were in the midst of reprimanding another captain for the same crime. 


5. The Chestertown Tea Party – Matcha Tea

Every Memorial Day, the small 5,000 resident town of Chestertown, Maryland swells by thousands as tourists pour in to re-enact and celebrate the tossing of tea off a replica of the 1774 ship the Geddes. The tradition is a strange one, considering historians aren’t sure it it even happened! Matcha seems like a good match since it’s always changing it’s story—I mean flavor. Starts off as with one taste (vegetable) and move on to another (sweet). 


6. The York Tea Party – Lemon Tea

Hardy and spiteful York, Maine, where rich old Jonathan Sayward, a British Loyalist to the end of his days, insisted on smuggling in some tea. The townspeople confiscated “the wicked Drug” and stowed it in a store basement where it was “stolen” by some “natives” and never seen again, though rumor has it Sayward had a few tea parties of his own in the following weeks. 


7. The Annapolis Tea Party – Peggy Stewart Tea

Poor Anthony Stewart – new father, good samaritan, and tea tariff paying scum. A mob forced Stewart to burn his ship the Peggy Stewart because he had paid for tea from Britain, so that a group of indentured servants might be able to come ashore in Maryland. Annapolis still sees this as a right and just act and the Baltimore Coffe and Tea Co. now offers a Peggy Stewart brand tea with a “smokey” flavor to commemorate the deed. 


8. The Edenton Tea Party – Chamomile Herbal Tea (with Lemon)

The first collected women’s movement in American history, the women of Edenton, North Carolina banded together and signed a document stating their official boycott of tea. They even sent a copy of their proclamation to newspapers in England. Mild yet strong, Edenton is certainly a Chamomile infusion, with a little added lemon. 


9. The Wilmington Tea Party – Jasmine Tea 

While still flower and fragrant, Jasmine tea has a little more kick to it. Just like the ladies of Wilmington, North Carolina  who, following the suit of their Edenton sisters, took all their tea from their homes and burned it all in the town square. It was a small by incredibly powerful act by these colonial genteel women, and one we’re proud to honor with a sip of some Jasmine leaf water.


10. The Greenwich Tea Party – Chai Tea

Another spicy and rousing tea burning rounds out the ten with Greenwich, New Jersey. A smuggling town turned patriots, these colonial tea-totalers dressed as natives as well when destroying the tea of the East India Trading Company. Turns out the EITC thought enough was enough and lawyered-up over the whole matter. So did the colonists, but the revolution was already in full swing and no one was charged or indicted. Fiery, warming, and spicy – just like Chai. 

Hannah Frank

Hannah Frank

Hannah Frank is a creative writer, television aficionado, and cool ranch Doritos fan. She wishes she could live forever and is currently seeking advice on how to do so which does not include exercise, kale, or vampires.

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