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History of the Tea Cozy

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Union Jack Tea Cozy made by Tea Cozy Shop / Tea Cozy Canada

In the mid-1800s, England’s Duchess of Bedford introduced a social activity to her peers that became a daily custom — the practice of serving afternoon tea. While elite members of society chatted about current affairs, a hand-knitted teapot cover known as a tea cozy, or tea cosy, kept the British from having to imbibe chilled tea.

Popular Tea Cozy
During the late 19th-century Victorian era, tea cozy popularity soared in Britain and spread overseas to North America, according to the Learn About Tea website. Newspapers offered tea enthusiasts instructions on how to create the much sought-after teapot accessory that originally resembled a knitted hat.

Tea Cozy Variations
Whether manufactured from wool, cloth or lace, and crocheted or knitted, a tea cozy insulates the heated teapot. Padded cloth varieties may be embroidered with decorative designs and are easy to launder once the padding is removed. Tablecloths, aprons, oven mitts and other kitchen accessories often match the pattern on a tea cozy.

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Red Tartan “Over the Top” Tea Cozy

Function
When covered with a tea cozy, a pot of tea can remain hot for up to three hours, according to the Learn About Tea website. A ring attached to the top of a cozy provides a means for easy removal, but some styles include openings for the lid and spout allowing the cozy to stay on the pot while the tea is poured.Sometimes small pockets hidden inside a cozy hold dried herbs and flowers that exude enticing aromas when placed over a warm pot of tea.