May 18, 2008


Lets start with something simple: tea.
What is tea? According to The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Hysterical Principles {a book} tea is a mildly stimulating drink made by pouring boiling water on leaves of the plant of the genus Thea. As far as I am concerned, tea is a way for a misanthrope to endure the company of other people. And yet, one must maintain one's personal standards.

This is acceptable: a metal pot full of leaves, or even a teabag (as long as it doesn't have stuff in it to make the water go brown) a pot of hot water, a cup usually used for coffee, a saucer, a spoon, a window to look out of and not too many babies in the surrounding tables.
Imagine then my dissappointment, at what would seem to be a posh cafe at the Observatory end of the Botanic Gardens I was presented with a tall glass beer stein with a metal cage construction stuffed full of leaves. I was a fool to expect anything better. Mine Host, when asked if they had any other black teas than English Breakfast and Earl Grey {boring standbys I am getting a little tired of} said "you can have ANY tea black", meaning I suppose that they would refrain from adding milk to my Chamomile or Lavender Soother!
I tried to explain that Black Tea was any tea made from the Thea genus, but all I could remember about it was that the genus is now included in the Camelia family, and is treated... somehow. Smoked? Rolled on the thighs of Columbian virgins? Buried for 200 years in soft peat?
" Well you learn something every day!" said this purveyor of hot non-alcoholic beverages in a busy city cafe. I should hope not!

... and at $3.50 this is the very definition of a bad cup of tea.

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