Tea was first brought to Britain by the East India Company in the early 17th century. It is a valuable product, used only by the rich, and is often locked with a key.
Since the 18th century, the Britain has been one of the world's largest consumers of tea, with an annual per capita supply of 1.9 kg. The British Empire played an important role in spreading tea from China to India. British interests controlled the production of tea on the subcontinent. Tea, a drink of the upper echelons of the European continent, has been an infusion of every social class in Britain throughout the 18th century. Tea is a prominent feature of British culture and society.