Thursday, September 18, 2014

Americans and tea

I don't know if you noticed on a previous post, but eight of my ten favourite books were written by Americans. There are hundreds of things to like about America and Americans, and here are a few: the stunning physical geography; the friendliness; the way waitresses say "You're welcome" and not the dreadful "No problem" adopted by their British counterparts (why would serving a customer be a problem?); the way when you walk in a cafe for breakfast they give you a coffee immediately and then come back for your order for food; the way they keep topping up your coffee without being asked; the fact that they will give you anything you want at any time if it's on the menu. (There's none of this "we don't serve sandwiches in the evening" and no raised eyebrows if you order a coffee and a vodka gimlet while you're deciding what to have on the fancy lunch menu.) 

And I love the fact that Americans understand what constitutes good bacon. I just wish someone would explain to them about tea. The default offering in public places, cafes, hotels, even Amtrak, is Lipton's. OMG. It is a right strawy tea - weak and tasteless.

In most American supermarkets there may be a whole shelving unit with packets and packets of so called tea - herbal, fruit, chai, spice, green, ad nauseum - but you're a lucky woman if you can find a decent breakfast tea, such as Twinings (let alone the gold standard  - Yorkshire tea.) For example...

Wholefoods sell them both, but you may have to take out a second mortgage.

A lack of appreciation of decent tea is evident even in the UK, in the most surprising places.  One evening on my screenwriting course, a fellow student of the same age said despairingly on looking in the kitchen cupboard and scanning the multitude of coloured boxes containing tea, "I just want a decent cup of ordinary tea. I wish I'd brought some Yorkshire Gold with me, but I didn't want to seem like a sad old woman." To which I piped up: "I brought some Yorkshire tea. I'll fetch it from my room."

I've stopped caring if people label me as an old English woman who must have her tea. Some things are more important than image, and tea is one of them. 


Anonymous said...

I'm an old (Yorkshire) woman who'd never realised the joys of Yorkshire Tea until your many enthusiastic references finally prompted me to give it a go.

That was about a year ago.

Enough said - I'm addicted. And now in turn, enthusiastically promote.

No other tea will do: the occasional morning without feels like a deprivation.

Thank you!

Sue Hepworth said...

You're very welcome! I never dreamed anyone would take any notice. I thought most readers would just think "Oh, there she goes again, ranting about Yorkshire tea."