I'm told this is an "oft-quoted" passage, but it's new to me and I love it. From Agnes Repplier's 1933 book To Think of Tea! (now that's a great exclamation point), discussing the appeal of tea as it becoming an institution in the British empire around the time Queen Anne switched from her morning ale to a cuppa:
Tea had come as a deliverer to a land that called for deliverance; a land of beef and ale, of heavy eating and abundant drunkenness; of gray skies and harsh winds; of strong-nerved, stout-purposed, slow-thinking men and women. Above all, a land of sheltered homes and warm firesides — firesides that were waiting, waiting for the bubbling kettle and the fragrant breath of tea.
I'm continually fascinated by the tale of tea. In every chapter, in everyone's books, the spread of tea always seems so ... inevitable.