Tea was introduced to England from China sometime in the middle of the 17th century. Together with the fragrant leaf came the respect for this drink and the ceremonial way in which it was to be prepared and drunk. At the time of its introduction, tea was believed to be therapeutic as well as delicious. The health benefits of tea were known in the East for thousands of years. In England people accorded it time and space and this alone must have had the effect of producing a sense of wellbeing. Tea was and remained extremely expensive for over a hundred years and therefore sparingly used.
The 17th century tea containers were bottle shaped tea jars in china, glass, silver, enamel and straw-work covered metal and later tea caddies were mainly wooden boxes often veneered in tortoiseshell or ivory. It is not until the second half of the 18 century that they were introduced in any numbers as a home-style accessory
( From Here).
In some houses children were allowed to reuse spent tea leaves and sell them as a muslin bags to poorer village people to earn some pocket money. Apparently it was a beginning of teabag industry.
Now tea caddies are mostly antique pieces, but a decorative tea box could be used to store the variety of tea bags. Nice addition to your kitchen, too!