Tea was consumed in North America long before the formation of the United States. In 1670, British colonists started to drink imported tea, but it would take more than 20 years before this rare commodity was made available to the public. The inhabitants of New York City were already familiar with tea, since New York used to belong to the tea loving Dutch. Eventually, tea gardens were created in New York City where the people could enjoy a nice cup of tea made from spring water.
Around 1720, tea had become an important part of the trade between the North American colony and Great Britain.
Boston, New York and Philadelphia formed three centers for tea trade. The British had enforced a heavy tax on tea trade, and smuggling tea into America was therefore a lucrative business. The colonists also learned how to make traditional herbal teas from the Native Americans.
Tea was not the only thing heavily taxed by the British – newspapers and many legal documents, including marriage licenses and docking papers, were also subjected to significant tolls.
In June 1767, a raised tea tax turned into a marking point in history since the colonists rebelled against it by openly purchasing tea from the Dutch.
In December 1773, the tense situation between the colonists and the British lead to the famous Boston Tea Party where colonists threw hundreds of pounds of tea into the water. The British answered by closing the port of Boston and make royal troops occupy the city; a decision which led to the beginning of the American Revolution.
When the American Revolution was over in 1789, the Americans started their own trade route to China. America had rapid clipper ships that could outsail the British, and the American tradesmen were willing to pay the Chinese gold instead of opium. Famous American millionaires Stephen Girard of Philadelphia, John Jacob Astor of New York, and T. H. Perkins of Boston all made their fortunes during this period