Presidents’ Day is coming up soon, and it had me wondering about our nation’s great leaders and their tea drinking habits. Char was a big history buff and used to read endless books on our founding fathers. I remember her telling me that George Washington was a quite the tea fan. I was curious to learn more, and also see if other Presidents enjoyed our favorite beverage.
After a bit of research it appears that George Washington was definitely the biggest Presidential tea drinker. He drank 3 cups of tea every morning. George and Martha had many lovely tea sets and drank a range of teas. His first recorded presidential tea order was for six pounds of hyson tea, and six pounds of green tea. Other teas they are recorded to have during their time at Mount Vernon was: bohea, congou, green, gunpowder, and imperial. Many of these have old fashioned names we don’t use anymore. Here is an article that explains them a bit.
Tea events became popular with the First Ladies. Abigail Adams often held afternoon tea functions for her acquaintances, and Dolly Madison often took tea with every meal. At a local used bookshop Kat found a wonderful book called Tea With Presidential Families by Beulah Munshower Sommer & Pearl Dexter. In it she learned that Mrs. Madison had a tea room adjacent to her bedchamber! That’s my kind of house! The book has photos of teaware throughout our presidential history. It’s a hard book to find so if you ever see it in a shop, be sure to pick it up.
Did you know that President Theodore Roosevelt liked to add mint and lemon to his sweet black tea? Mrs. Roosevelt also frequently entertained with weekly social tea functions that were a coveted invitation.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt were also frequent tea drinkers. They were both raised taking afternoon tea, and Eleanor had so many tea events that she often had more than one in a day! Oh to be a teacup on that tea table!
President Lyndon B. Johnson loved his beverages so much he had four buttons installed in the oval office so he could order them when the mood struck. One of those buttons was of course for tea! He drank tea so frequently that the First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson once wrote ‘How many things are launched under the name of a tea!’.
Our current Commander In Chief is also a known tea drinker! If you look at photos from interviews, he’ll often have a cup of tea in hand, or close by. President Obama is a huge fan of two bottled teas- a green tea and flavored black tea. There has been mention of his bottled tea habit in a few different newspaper articles. I often read the newspaper when Kat leaves us together on the kitchen table.
As a teacup, I feel so important knowing that tea and teaware are a significant part of our nation’s Presidential history! All you history buffs out there, do you know of any other interesting Presidential tea tidbits? Have you ever had tea with a President? I’d love to hear your stories!