Brian I completely agree with your parallel relating the decline in tea drinking to the demise of manners.
Whenever I am down I perform the afternoon tea ritual even if I am on my own and I am taken back to my grandmother's kitchen and the teapot full of 'Bushells' covered in a hand knitted cosi. If we were lucky there would also be some sponge or tea cake made from first principles, ah those were the days.
Oh and one can always pick a coffee drinker by the way the make tea - strong and dark like dishwater (I'm just bitter as I can't tolerate coffee anymore - gives me migraines.)
In fact recently I was toying with the idea of opening a specialty tea supply store and have multitudes of wholesale tea catalogues lying around my house to prove it.
What a fabulous topic!