Our guest blogger is A Modern Mother, an American who was whisked away many moons ago to make a new life in the UK.
Tea in the USA
A warning to Brits in the States - if you're offered a cup of tea be afraid. Be very afraid. Better yet, make it yourself. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself, you should first establish that it's "tea" tea and not the hot juice that's popular over here. (In many tea and coffee places there's a huge variety of fancy berry chai, lotus blossom green tea etc. but not a lot of regular, brown tea.)
Not many Americans use kettles and even fewer have electric kettles, so micro-waved tea is another hazard. Should anyone dispute this, there's a brand currently out there bragging that they've "removed the staple" from the tea bag. It took me a while to realize they weren't worried about rust!
My darkest tea moment in the USA came some years ago when I ordered two cups of tea in a hotel. Hours later up came two tall glasses of lukewarm, milky tea - each glass containing two tea-bags! I ask you! At the other extreme, your teabag may barely make aquaintance with the boiled water. You'll get a sickly looking cup of watery milk at best. Some Americans do eventually get the knack of making a decent cuppa, but it's taken me twenty years to train my other half.
A Modern Mother:
Coffee in the UK
As an American, drinking coffee is a statement that has its roots in the Revolution -- when we rebelled against England and dumped a load of their tea in Boston Harbour. We must have psychologically severed all ties with tea then, as I agree Expatmum, you will have a hard time finding a good cup of English tea in modern day America.
But who would want it? My coffee addiction started when I was in University. I’d go to a coffee shop to “study”, order a Columbian and they’d grind it right there in front of me -- the nutty smell permeating my hair and clothes. I’d pick up my copy of The Village Voice, nurse my cup of java and then eaves drop on all the conversations around me. It was a wonderful education.
Imagine my surprise when on a semester abroad in the UK, I ordered coffee and was handed a hot light brown drink. I nearly spat it out. What was this? Hot milk, and, umm, not sure. It turned out it was instant, which WAS coffee in the UK in the early 90s.
This nationwide lack of coffee knowledge was validated while I was dating future Scottish husband. He once tried to impress me and said he would make the coffee. Great I thought, a man after my own heart. But ten minutes later, and still no coffee. Turns out he hadn’t put the water through the machine, and had left it in the pot. I quickly surmised that coffee making was not a skill taught to young British men.
I offered coffee to the builders once when I first moved here. I was a bit miffed by the reply -- “no thanks luv” -- and future hubby explained later that coffee was for “sissies”.
Thank God for Starbucks and the coffee revolution. I was so excited when they opened a shop in a neighboring town that it was my daughter’s first outing when she was five days.
Even the builders drink coffee here now, though I have moved on. I have my sights on a La Marzocco machine -- they cost a small fortune but you can buy and get one serviced locally. Wooo-hooo!
I’ve heard from my blogging buddy Lainie that tea is the new coffee in the US? Can this be true? Not if I have anything to do with it.
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