Green Tea with Milk and Sugar: When Japan Filled America’s Tea Cups, with Robert Hellyer

Program Description

It’s a little known and largely forgotten fact that in the nineteenth century, Americans consumed a lot of green tea. Served hot with milk and sugar, the teas were imported from China until Japan developed an export industry centered on the United States.

In his book Green with Milk and Sugar: When Japan Filled America’s Tea Cups (Columbia University Press, 2021), the historian and author Robert Hellyer explores the forgotten American preference for Japanese green tea and traces the trans-Pacific tea trade from its colonial origins to today. He will share his insights on the intertwined domestic and international story of how Japanese green tea became so prevalent in American cups and how the interconnections between Japan and the United States have influenced the daily habits of people in both countries.

An associate professor of history at Wake Forest University, Robert Hellyer is the author of Defining Engagement: Japan and Global Contexts, 1640–1868 (2009) and coeditor of The Meiji Restoration: Japan as a Global Nation (2020).