Thursday, June 25, 2009

Time for Tea

There is a small kitchen that goes with the meeting rooms, and you know where this leads. Meetings and a cup of tea, possibly a biscuit or two. It would possibly have been Co-op 99 Tea. Always described as an iconic brand, and it has an interesting history.

"Many inter-war tea advertisements made health claims for their products, Brooke Bond launching their popular 'Digestive Tea' at 2/6d a pound in 1932, which echoed the claims of Ty-phoo. Brooke Bond was, however, overtaken by the Co-operative Wholesale Society which promoted its 'No.99' blend, implying 'just what the doctor ordered'. In the 1930's the CWS held 30 per cent of the tea market, the largest share of all."
from Liquid pleasures: a social history of drinks in modern Britain by John Burnett - 1999.

In 1929 when this Co-op store opened Britons were consuming 10 lbs of tea per person in a year. That's 4.55 kilos of mostly loose tea, though tea bags were invented in 1903. The '99' health connection is that doctors in assessing vocal fremitus ask the patient to repeat the phrase 'ninety-nine' whilst placing the palm of the hand on the patient's chest. They probably still do.

'99 Tea' used to be blended and packaged at a CWS tea and coffee works in Crewe, Cheshire until the 1980's. Don't know where it is assembled now, but it is fairtrade these days.

1 comment:

Sioux said...

99 tea was produced at Crewe into the 1990's regards, Sioux Richmond

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