In this brief article, we will answer the question of how much was the tea worth at the Boston tea party, what actually happened with the tea, and how wasted tea can be used profitably.
How Much Was The Tea Worth At The Boston Tea Party?
Experts estimate that rebels at the Boston tea party tossed over 92,000 pounds (approx. 46 tons) of tea into the Boston Harbor. This amount of tea could fill 18.5 million teabags.
Today, the value of this destroyed tea is estimated to be over a million dollars, making this event a huge financial loss as well.
What Happened with Tea at the Boston Tea Party?
On the night of 16th December, 1773, three hundred and forty chests owned by the British East India Company tea onboard the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor were smashed with axes by the Sons of Liberty and dumped into the Boston Harbor.
The damage reported by the British East India Company was £9,659, which amounts to almost 18,523,000 cups of tea.
What Type of Tea Was Dumped?
Another lesser known fact is that 22 percent of the tea chucked into the Boston Harbor was green tea.
In the 18th century, the East India Company exported various goods from India such as cotton and spices, but they mostly obtained all of their tea from China. Trading ships traveling from Canton to London were stacked with Chinese tea known as ‘hyson’, which was then exported to British colonies around the world.
The East India Company installed its first tea plantation in India in the 1830s.
Were There Other “Tea Parties”?
Yes, there have been similar incidents such as the Boston Tea Party.
Nine days after the Boston Tea Party, the Philadelphia Tea Party took place. Fortunately, no tea was wasted; however the largest delivery of East India Company tea was aboard the ship and the captain was threatened with tarring and feathering if he did not take the ‘wretched weed’ back to England.
Three months after the Boston Tea Party in March 1774, 60 disguised Bostonians boarded the Fortune and again dumped tea chests into the harbor. However, this display was nowhere near as impressive or critical as the original, since only 30 tea chests were thrown overboard.
In November 1774 in Charleston, South Carolina, a ship carrying tea arrived. However, the captain of the ship swore that he did not know about the notorious cargo. Upset citizens blamed local merchants to have ordered the tea and obliged them into dumping the cargo into the Boston Harbor themselves.
What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?
Among the health benefits of green tea are: anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, and benefits in cardiovascular disease and oral health (1). Green tea is regarded to be among the healthiest beverages around the world. Being rich in antioxidants, research has shown that the main antioxidant components of green tea that are associated with health benefits are the catechins. Catechins are flavonoids which make approximately 40% of the water-soluble solids in green tea (1). Besides being benefic by arthritis and caries, green tea has shown promise in:
- improving brain and overall cognitive functioning
- promoting fat loss
- protecting against cancer
- reducing the risk of heart disease
How Much Green Tea Can You Drink Daily?
Three to five cups of green tea daily is considered as optimal to gain most of its health benefits. Some experts even recommend that drinking more green tea can significantly improve health. Even moderate amounts of consumption (drinking 1–2 cups of tea per day) may have benefits (1).
Consuming larger doses might be problematic for certain people; however green tea’s benefits largely outweigh its risks. The consumption of large amounts can lead to liver intoxication (hepatotoxic reactions), especially in children (2).
What Can Be Done with Tea Waste?
Unfortunately, the tea that was dumped in the Boston Harbor couldn’t be recovered, but there can be various profitable uses of wasted tea. According to the report from the International Tea Committee, the total consumption of tea in the world has reached above 5.8 million tons in 2019. Along with the consumption, wastes also increase. Tea wastes are rich in lignin and holocellulose, which are abundant in carboxyl, hydroxyl, phenolic hydroxyl, and oxyl groups, as well as oxygen-/ heteroatoms-containing groups. These can be useful for many applications (3).
- Tea waste can be made into high-protein cattle feed after extracting tannic acid from it which inhibits protein metabolization. Also, its high-fiber content makes it quite suitable for ruminants.
- Caffeine present in tea waste is also used as pig and poultry feed.
- Tea waste also serves as a raw product for manufacturing various supplements, such as fertilizers, since it is packed with potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
- Combined with clay, tea waste develops adsorptive membranes which facilitate the removal of factory effluents from water bodies.
- Tea waste powder also serves as an efficient dye adsorbent, which are main ingredients in printing, textiles, cosmetics, and paper manufacturing.
- Via pyrolysis (thermal decomposition in the absence of oxygen), the tea waste is decomposed at 500 to 700 ℃ through gasification to produce biomass fuel, bio-oil, and bio-char. Mixed with biomass, the biochar can also be converted into briquettes.
- High levels of cellulose, starch, sugar, and pectin in tea waste makes it a possible replacement for timber for firewood and fuel for ovens. Moreover, the waste can also produce battery-power electric charges through vermicomposting.
In this brief article, we answered the question of how much the tea was worth at the Boston tea party, what actually happened with the tea, and how wasted tea can be used profitably.
If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.
- Reygaert, Wanda C. An update on the health benefits of green tea. Beverages, 2017, 3, 6.
- D’Agostino, Daniel, María L. Cavalieri, and María S. Arcucci. Severe hepatitis caused by green tea intoxication in a child. Case report. Arch Arg Pediat, 2019, 117, e655-e658.
- Guo, Shasha, et al. Current understanding in conversion and application of tea waste biomass: A review. Biores Technol, 2021, 338, 125530