In the sixties it was hard to find a good cup of coffee anywhere in Britain. Tea was offered everywhere from upscale restaurants to railway stations. The traditional strong “cuppa” was brewed with loose tea and tea-bags were a rarity. There was a correct way to make tea and most Brits frowned upon straying from the true and tested method:
1. Warm the earthenware teapot (often called Brown Betty) with hot water
2. Scoop generous spoonfuls of loose tea into the warmed pot
3. Fill the pot with boiling hot water
4. Cover the pot with a tea cozy and let steep 3 to 5 minutes
To serve: Milk must be poured in to the cup first. Then, tea poured in through a strainer.
Ah-h-h ... now that’s a great cup of tea!
Today, even the tea drinking rituals have gone by the wayside in modern UK. Most busy households throw a tea-bag into a cup, add hot water and milk, stir and remove the bag. Even stranger, many are opting for a cup of coffee.
Try ordering a cup of tea in a restaurant in the US. First, you must clarify that it is indeed “hot” tea that you want. Most often you will get a cup of lukewarm water with a tea-bag on the saucer. If you’re extremely lucky, you might get hot water in a small metal pot with the tea-bag on the side.
Now, what’s wrong with that, you might ask. “The tea tastes awful!”
Is it any wonder that most Americans turn to coffee when it comes to a hot beverage. The selection of coffees offered at Starbucks, Second Cup, and Seattle’s Best is endless. Oh yes, some teas are beginning to creep on the menus of specialty coffee houses. However, neither the coffee nor the tea bears any resemblance to the original form. They are laced with spices, sweeteners, and cream as well as carrying a hefty price tag.
The popularity of these drinks has grown to embrace most large cities throughout the world. As a traveler you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite coffee when visiting Sydney, Dubai or Germany.
What about the stalwart tea drinker? You might still find a good cuppa in rural England, India, or even New Zealand. But, to be on the safe side, you might start developing a taste for a “latte” or a “cafe mocha.”
By Natasha Morgan of Notjustthekitchen