January 02, 2018

Horse 2360 - The World's Biggest Cup Of Tea

On December 16th, 1773, 116 American traitors to the Crown decided to dress up as Mohawk Indians and seize the cargo of three ships. This cargo, which included 342 chests of tea, represented the last of the so-called "intolerable" taxes that still stood on the specific importation of goods to the British North American colonies. These traitors to the Crown (or heroes of the revolution depending on your point of view), is generally considered to be the tipping point which saw the North American colonies revolt, engage in full scale war, and fight for their independence. 
Not quite 244 years and one month later, we find ourselves in an equally strange point in history where a man with orange hair is now the President of a nation who surely must be wondering if it was all worth it.


I have read estimates that the weight of tea on board the three ships, the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor, was circa 90,000 pounds. Since the value of the tax was 4 shillings per pound, then the value of the tax which was dodged was:
90,000 x 4/- = £18,000
This is quite strange considering that the value of the damaged and lost cargo reported by the East India Company was only £9,659. The value that they expected to sell that tea at was £108,000; an elevenfold price markup isn't that shabby.

The average amount of tea in an average teabag (my research involved looking in my own pantry), is 2 grams. By my reckoning:

2g = 1 cup of tea, 250mL
8g = 4 cups of tea, 1L
40,823kg = 40,823,000g = 5,102,875L or 1,275,718 cups of tea.

To put this in perspective, there is about 2,500,000L or water in an olympic swimming pool. That means that there was enough tea dumped into Boston Harbour to turn two olympic swimming pools into something drinkable.
I bet that for a very short period of time, before the tea had a chance to disperse, then it's not unreasonable to say that Boston Harbour or at least two olympic swimming pools worth of water in Boston Harbour, was the world's biggest cup of tea; albeit a very very salty one.

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