Monday, 8 April 2013

Tea or Coffee?

A brew. A cuppa. Builders, jasmine, green or chai. Milk and two sugars or black and bitter. However you take your coffee and whatever you call your tea, there is something incredibly, uniquely I think, British about our national fascination with putting the kettle on. Personally I love many different kinds of tea, from Tea Pigs Crème Rooibos to PG Tips. At the moment, I'm drinking Clippers decaffeinated in my Kit Kat mug in my pyjamas and could not be any happier that school holidays exist. A hot drink forms a part of everyone's relaxing rituals, from curling up on the sofa to catch up on TV to catching up with friends over an overpriced high street coffee. Whether you drink it from Starbucks, Costa, Nero or shun chain-coffee shops altogether for something homemade, coffee has never been more popular with the British public. You can probably look to America for the source of our obsession (although I blame the Nespresso adverts starring George Clooney... just me?)

Many people and I probably would consider myself one of them, see developing a taste for these hot, caffeinated drinks one of the signs of becoming "a grown-up" - whatever that means to you. However much you can dispute this - after all, some people will always prefer a hot chocolate and some (albeit rare) children drink milky tea or coffee at a young age - it is without doubt a fact that taste buds change and mature as you age. One of the things I've noticed about myself recently is how no day is complete, or even begun, without a big mug of tea. Black, two sugars. Or, if I happen to be up and about early, catching a train or anywhere in the radius of a coffee machine, a latte. Vanilla or caramel, please, and skimmed milk if you have it. I do order something else occasionally but these two, these warming, comforting, consoling two are what keep me going after a long day or prop my heavy eyelids open on an early morning.

How you take your drinks says something about you. This may be true in pubs and clubs and working behind a bar would give you an insight into a humanity as well, but I've never learnt more about people than by boiling them a kettle. One sugar or two? If this prompts some kind of comment along the lines of: "No thanks love, sweet enough," I already know I want to avoid eye contact. Do they stir or slurp straightaway? Milky or black? And the key question always, surely, tea or coffee? You discover so much just from watching them. Do they stand over you as make it or leave you to get on with foaming the milk? Initiate conversation or stand and check their email or start texting to avoid having to chat? Maybe most importantly, for underpaid coffee shop staff, do they tip or wait impatiently for that oh, so important five pence worth of change?

How do you take your drinks? Is anyone else as obsessed with Tea Pigs as I am (on my wishlist is their chocolate flake tea...YUM) And do you agree with me that developing a love for tea and coffee is a sign of growing out of childhood into, well, not-quite-grown-up-ness??


(These images are not mine.)


  1. We sell (or used to sell, I haven't seen them for a while :S) Tea Pigs at work. There certainly are a few peculiar flavours. I must admit I am not really out their with my tea drinking but I am currently enjoying Lady Grey :).

    Question: Do you have milk with your Earl Grey? I do, is that wrong? :P

    Lovely blog, please follow me back.

  2. Thank you for your reply.

    I just could not have tea without milk, unless it was a fruit tea. But I will have to try it soon and let you know :)


Thank you for your comments - they make me smile and I promise to try and answer them all :)