Sunday, April 07, 2013
When I started on SparkPeople, one of the things that surprised me was how much talk there was of tea. I was surprised because this is an American site, and in my yoof, Americans were well known - and pitied, in the UK at least - for not drinking much tea. This was when compared with the Brits, who drank very large quantities, up to a gallon a day.
Times have clearly changed. Brits now drink about equal quantities of tea and coffee, I think, perhaps largely due to the rediscovery of coffee that doesn't come in our of a jar in instant granules, tasting of fish. I get the impression American tea-drinking is more varied than British tea-drinking, on average. For example, someone had to explain to me exactly what 'chai' is. I'll pass, thanks, and I'm glad I found out about it without tasting it.
I personally didn't drink tea for many years: not until I discovered that I like the actual tea, it's milk and sugar in it that I can't stand. This is the only known instance of my voluntarily choosing the healthy option over the one with more calories. The same goes for coffee, which I didn't drink between the ages of six and 30. If obliged to, I can drink coffee with milk in it but just you keep the cow-juice away from my tea, or else. Interestingly, if I'm feeling ill, low, tired, grumpy or in fact entirely my usual self, it's tea I go for, not coffee.
So on Friday, I was in the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street pretending to be posher than I am (necessary if I'm shopping in John Lewis') and it was that time in the afternoon and I needed to rest my sore foot, so I headed for the (self-service) cafe and asked for Earl Grey tea, which tends to be my tea of choice. I'll be honest, I'll drink builders' brew if necessary, but if there's Earl G available, usually it's that.
I couldn't find a tray but I was concentrating on the main attraction, that of getting myself outside a cup of hot tea, and decided to wing it. Anyway, when I got to the counter to order the lady behind the counter called a colleague to bring me a tray.
Leaning over the counter, she said to me, confidentially: 'You'll need a tray because WE serve our tea in POTS.'
Yep. So do I.
Ah, bless. Clearly the fact that John Lewis' caff serves its tea in pots is important to at least one of its staff. Rather touching, I thought.
Of course I obviously look like the sort of person who only has teabags at home which is a bit disappointing because I have two teapots and one of them still has a lid as well.
And I've got loads of teabags for when I can't be bothered which is usually, so the lady was mostly right.