In late breaking news it is still possible in Melbourne to be served a lousy cup of tea in an establishment that prides itself on the purveyance of fine caffeinated beverages.
On Friday I was in North Melbourne at Coffee Roasting Warehouse (yes I should have been warned) and was given a pot of warm water and a coffee cup with a tea bag in it. That it was raining, the place was full of children, noise and the sort of people who can afford to buy a house in inner Melbourne only added to my black mood.
A thousand years ago I lived on Victoria Street North Melbourne, just where the trams turn the corner into Errol St. The huge crack in the front window has been spakfilled and the back alley seems far too clean, but the trams are the same.
Also I am saddened to report the falling standards of Degraves Espresso Bar. When I first drank tea in the window and drew in the year 2000 the range of teas was staggering and all kept in stacks of recycled plastic containers. Now they are like every other temple to the roasted Bean and carry Earl Grey and English Breakfast. One still is served with extra hot water in a battered tin pot, but the English Breakfast is not a patch on the Irish, or a nice Darjeeling of a rainy Melbourne afternoon among the junkies and the rotting garbage.