Happy 100th Birthday, Tea Bag

Photograph from bugsandfishes by lupin on Flickr

That's if you believe Giles Hilton, the "nose" of fine tea company Whittard of Chelsea, who believes the tea bag's birth was in 1908. Though, the Guardian points out that it could be the 104th birthday, or somewhere in the 50s, depending on how you look at it. (Mass production of the paper tea bag didn't accelerate until the 1950s.) Either way, what's the harm in celebrating the porous pocket of leaves?

To honor the birthday, Hilton tried to figure out what kind of tea is best for a "fry-up," or traditional British breakfast spread of fried eggs, black pudding, baked beans, fried bread, bacon, and other heart attack foods. Hilton recommends Sri Lankan Orange Pekoe since the fry-up needs a "punchy tea." The "orange" here doesn't actually refer to an orange, but the Royal House of Orange (a moniker assigned by Dutch traders). Earl Grey, he warns, is the worst pairing.