The Tea Process

The barely-anticipated sequel to “The Coffee Lifestyle”.

Being Irish, I was reared on tea. It’s so much more than a beverage. It brings people together, it’s a source of comfort, a sign of hospitality, a gesture of friendship.

I would argue, however, that there is one true purpose of tea, the secret function of our all-purpose, problem-solving elixir. It’s something to do, isn’t it?

There’s a magic in the process, this ultimate procrastination. Boil the kettle while trying to think of condolences for your recently-dumped friend. Pour the water while musing on your serious life decisions. Ask the guest you barely know if they take sugar, to have something to say. Run down to the shops for milk to put off that all-important assignment.

It’s not delicious, tea. It’s brewed leaves. Yet it has persisted, as a drink, as a social activity, as a part of British and Irish culture, really, and I suspect it’s because it has risen above the position of a mere beverage and become an activity.

Nobody wants “a quick cup of tea”, not really. They need a coffee hit, a coke rush, tequila shots (different issue?). The joy of tea is not in the drinking, but in the surrounding exercise. And that’s why we love it.

C.C.

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