Dusty, Ready-Blended Tea from the North

  • Hanna Hodacs
Part of the Europe’s Asian Centuries book series (EAC)


‘Gothenburg Congo’ was one of the categories used by Scottish tea dealers trading in clandestine tea.1 The increase in the consumption of Chinese tea in Scotland illustrates, as Andrew Mackillop has recently discussed, the importance of trade routes and merchant networks in explaining the diffusion of new consumer habits. Mackillop outlines the contours of a ‘North Europe world of tea’ where tea drinking habits evolved away from the official monopoly of the English East India Company and cosmopolitan centres such as London. The consumption of tea in eighteenth-century Scotland was instead shaped by its close proximity to Gothenburg, where the SEIC offloaded its Asian cargoes, and the Scottish networks heavily engaged in the Swedish East India trade. These links, Mackillop argues, not only gave Scottish consumers access to cheaper, albeit clandestine tea, but also influenced the Scottish taste for the more refined black tea types such as Congou.2 Bohea, another black tea but of lower quality, was otherwise the most common tea consumed in Europe and constituted the main cargo of the East India ships engaged in the Canton trade.


East India Company Scandinavian Company Public Sale British Market Dutch Republic 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanna Hodacs
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Swedish Academy of SciencesStockholmSweden

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