Posted in British gifts, gifts

Storm in a tea cup

We are all familiar with that phrase ” a storm in a tea cup ” But where did it come from and what does it mean?

Fox teacup from House of Disaster

A storm in a teacup. If you say that a situation is a storm in a teacup, you mean people are very upset or annoyed about something that is not at all important and will soon be forgotten. Parnell said that he thought the whole matter a storm in a teacup, and that it would pass quickly. Note: The usual American expression is a tempest in a teapot.

Decorative Teddy tea cup

tempest in a teapot is a small problem or event that has been blown out of proportion. A tempest in a teapot is an American idiom, the British equivalent is a storm in a teacup. Other languages have similar idioms, including the French une tempete dans un verre d’eau, or a storm in a glass of water. The basic sentiment of a tempest in a teapotand a storm in a teacup seems to have originated in 52 B.C.E. in the writings of Cicero, in a phrase that translates as stirring up billows in a ladle. The Duke of Ormand, in a letter written in 1678, refers to something that is but a storm in a cream bowl. Both of the idioms a tempest in a teapot and a storm in a teacup seem to have originated in Scotland in the early half of the 1800s.

Gorgeous toadstool spoons

Tea, that most quintessential of English drinks, is a relative latecomer to British shores. Although the custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China, it was not until the mid 17th century that the beverage first appeared in England.

The use of tea spread slowly from its Asian homeland, reaching Europe by way of Venice around 1560, although Portuguese trading ships may have made contact with the Chinese as early as 1515.

It was the Portuguese and Dutch traders who first imported tea to Europe, with regular shipments by 1610. England was a latecomer to the tea trade, as the East India Company did not capitalise on tea’s popularity until the mid-18th century.

Reading tea leaves.

At one time it was common practice to profess to read the future through tea leaves. I had a great grandmother who claimed to do so. She would swoosh the leaves around and look at them intently. As a child I was beguiled by this magical art but obviously now I know it to be untrue.

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The unusual and quirky designs of House of Disaster

Traditionally, the tea leaves are read starting at the handle and moving clockwise around the cup. Any tea leaf shapes or groups that are close to the handle describe things presently effecting the person having thereading. It might indicate something on the person’s mind or events they are experiencing.

Tasseography is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments. The terms derive from the French word tasse, which in turn derives from the Arabic loan-word into French tassa, and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy. Wikipedia

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Tea is the reach to drink at times of crisis and stress for most English people.

From my own personal experience tea can have a therapeutic effect and I wondered if there was any evidence behind this. There is no doubt that tea is a British constitution but I believe there are reasons why.

Painted mason chair British crafts

Tea has long been a natural remedy to reduce stress and unwind after a long day. The act of pouring a hot steamy cup of tea and sipping while enjoying your favorite novel or lounging in a comfy chair helps to boost mood and decrease stress. Scientific research also shows that tea contains powerful ingredients that can target stress and depression on a chemical level.

Play tea set, tin, British design

When you’re feeling frazzled, a cup of tea can soothe those ragged nerves – and with good reason. Research on the many health-boosting powers of tea shows that not only does a daily cuppa (or more) boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and even keep your memory sharp, many kinds of tea – and even the comforting rituals of preparing it – can reduce stress, calm anxiety and improve mood. The best teas for stress are herbal teas made from plants from around the world.

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The overall health benefits of “standard” tea, especially the less processed green and white varieties – have been well documented. The catechins in tea leaves help to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and support the immune system, which indirectly supports the body in times of stress.

British tea. British designed gifts

So when we say ” storm in a teacup ” offer a cup of tea to help alleviate the cause of that storm. It may sound cliche but I think it actually does work.


Hi, I am an owner of a ecommerce business which sells British designed gifts. My passion is offering high quality goods at an affordable price and to provide the consumer with a unique shopping experience.

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