On a flight recently I was asked 'Would you like tea or coffee?' The modern world is divided into those who prefer tea and those who prefer coffee. Tea also has political importance in the modern world.
For example, I think you know about the Boston Tea Party of 1773. When the ships of the British East India Company docked at Boston Harbour, the crates of tea that it was carrying were thrown into the sea. This was a protest against the taxation of tea imported into America which was then a colony of Britain. This eventually led to the American War of Independence (1775-83). There were also the Opium War of 1840 which took place during China's Manchu Dynasty, a remote cause of which was the tea trade. Britain supplemented the compensation for the tea which it imported from China with silver received for the smuggling of opium, which resulted in large quantities of opium flowing into China. The resulting antagonism between China and Britain led to Opium War. The great importance attached to it in the modern world is a characteristic that tea shares with coffee, and their great attraction for modern people is the special effect produced by the caffeine that they contain. Tea is still widely popular as a soothing beverage and a unique way of drinking it that suits the local culture has developed in each area.

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