Tea is the new coffee

Tea at the Apothecary

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Have you ever sat in Costas or one of the new coffee chains and decided that actually the coffee you are drinking is ..well…awful. I certainly have although I like coffee when I make it and in spite of all their publicity it really is not very good. OK, try the tea. This is just as bad because they just don’t know how to make tea.
This is where my big idea kicks in! I see a whole new genre of excellent tea shops. Not the ones we find left over from Victorian Britain with lace table clothes and frilly cushions everywhere. Although they are good in their own way and certainly, if you want somewhere to take your granny they are perfect. I am thinking of something different. A sleek new modern metro-sexual tea bar but serving tea in china pots with lashings of hot water to top up with. Plenty of tea choice and served with love and affection in warmed pots and boiling water – French people take note! Coffee would be a second option – the poor relation maybe.
There is the question of food. We have to offer something and maybe quiches with small salads for the lunch people. Toast with marmalade or honey for breakfast and elevenses. In the afternoon – more toast and jam with maybe some cakes. I think the Ramblers Tea bar should be open into the early evening for the office workers who don’t want to drink alcohol. Maybe toast and hummus. (You see – I like toast!)
What sort of tea would be on offer? Maybe a pot of Earl Grey or Black China and like Mma Ramotswe of the No1 Ladies Detective Agency, red bush tea is a must. We will be able to sit in quiet contemplation, thinking about life and drinking a nice cup of red-bush. Bliss. I can see business people having meetings around the pot savouring the Orange Pekoe. If there is music (and I can’t quite make my mind up about this one) it would be classical.
Countries of the world might follow our lead. The Americans have never understood our love of tea since they threw it all overboard in 1773 at the Boston Tea Party! What a way to spark a revolution. The British would much rather sit down and put on another brew and talk about it.
The Chinese invented the drink of tea and it has been found in tombs dating back to the Han Dynasty around 206 -220 BC but, according to the Tea Council, it really took off in the Tang Dynasty 618 – 908 AD). It was adopted by the Japanese soon after and they developed the wonderful tea ceremony. It was Dutch traders that brought the idea of tea to Europe and then it spread to England. It was a popular drink in the coffee houses of the big cities where perhaps much business was carried out as is the case today. I bet they were a little more stylish with making and presenting their brews though.
My favourite place for tea at the moment is Egypt. They have adopted the idea of tea from the British and do it rather well. The Winter Palace hotel on the front at Luxor has a shady balcony where you sit in peace watching the throngs below, drinking tea from a china pot and eating rather nice cakes. You can imagine being Inspector Poirot on a new case getting the old grey cells fired up on a brew of First Flush Assam.
Tea is also better for you. Victoria Lambert was writing in today’s Telegraph about the health benefits of the cuppa and quotes the American Health Foundation. They say that regular tea-drinkers show less risk of developing heart disease. Apparently the flavonoids have an anti-oxidant effect like fruit and vegetables. Watch out for drinking tea with milk though as there is evidence to suggest that the milks stops the flavonoids working. There still seems to be a lot of research to do before the jury comes out – better put the kettle on whilst we are waiting!


2 Responses

  1. Your post is very true. Tea is one of the things that england is famous for, yet we dont take pride in it. Every time we go shopping we visit Starbucks, personally i dont like coffee so im stuck with a hot chocolate. We need to bring the Tea bar to britan and if you ever open one i will drag all my girlfriends with me to drink out the first pot!

  2. Thank you for your support- and the chains mean that the small individual tea/ coffee bars are being forced out by the big boys. Its time we took them on.
    I am looking forward to welcoming you (and all your girlfriends) to my new enterprise if I ever get round to setting it up….

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