So, it turns out I’m getting two Christmases this year: the usual one with the stockings and the presents and the mince pies on the 25th December, and an extra week of one, starting on the 14th August. Why? Because this week is Afternoon Tea Week and I am obsessed with tea!
Tea – green tea in particular – is an external life force that I reach to given literally any opportunity. Cold? Better make a cup of tea. Sad? Pop the kettle on. Happy? Ooh, go on then. Tired? No sugar for me, thanks.
I’m actually a little bit concerned that the next time I need a blood test, the blood doctor (official term) will just turn to me with a confused expression on her face and say, “I’m not quite sure how to tell you this but…well…it seems as if you actually have…tea?…in your veins. I mean, there’s literally no blood. I’m not entirely sure how you’re actually still alive.” But while I am moderately worried for my actual wellbeing, at the same time I feel OK about the whole thing because I know I’m not alone.
Brits collectively drink 165 million cups of tea a day, which adds up to 60 BILLION each year. We just can’t get enough of the stuff. So, let’s revel in our beverage-based infatuation together. Here are the things you only know if you’re obsessed with tea:
You literally can’t say no to a cuppa
It’s approximately 129 seconds since you gulped down the dregs of your last cup but when someone pops their head round your door and asks, ‘tea?’ you physically can’t say no.
You truly believe that tea tastes better from your fave mug
I’m going to put myself out there and just say it: this is scientifically true. Alright, I can’t provide any facts right this second but we can let the scientists sort all of that out in the lab when they get a spare sec. It won’t take long to prove because, like I said, it’s 100% true. Sure, sipping tea from your friend’s mum’s mug is fine, I guess, but drinking that sweet, caffeinated nectar from your own tried and tested mug? There’s no contest. SCIENCE.
You have a very specific preference about how you like your tea made
Before I got into green tea like a walking, talking millennial cliché, I liked Yorkshire tea; no sugar with a tiny, tiny splash of milk. Some people called it builder’s tea. Some called it too strong. I called it perfect. Any differentiation from this formula was basically a waste of water and a tea bag in my eyes.
On the flip side, some people like their tea weaker than a newborn deer’s legs and loaded up with sugar. I call those people wrong. But, like me, they are convinced beyond any doubt that the way they take their tea is the only and the best way. There’s no compromise when it comes to tea.
You have a tea-based horror story
For some people, it’s taking a big gulp of tea only to realise the milk has turned sour. For others it’s turning the kettle on to make the most needed cup of tea of your entire life only to open the cupboard and find someone has put an empty tea bag box back in the cupboard.
And mine? Well, as I said, I had (and still have) a very specific vision of what constitutes an acceptable cup of tea. Imagine my distress, then, when I popped round to a friend’s and they just made me a cup of tea without even asking how I liked it. I watched in horror as they poured an excessively continuous stream of milk into my cup before adding two – TWO! – spoons of entirely unapproved sugar. I hadn’t known them long enough to turn my nose up at it, so I had to sit and drink it with the most forced smile the world has ever seen. Now, let’s never speak of it again.
You know exactly who you can trust to make a great cup of tea
…and it’s definitely not the friend I mentioned above. But there are more bad tea making culprits out there and you have a mental list of exactly who can and who cannot be trusted with such a sacred task.
You love tea but you kiiiind of wish you liked coffee
You just can’t deny that saying ‘do you want to grab a coffee?’ is way cooler than asking someone if they’d like to go for a cup of tea. Grandmas drink tea. The Queen drinks tea. Meanwhile, every single cool sitcom character ever drinks coffee on the reg. Obviously your love for tea will never die but you just wish it was a little bit cooler…
You take tea bags on holiday
What if the hotel doesn’t have any or the local cafes have never even heard of tea?! You know, deep down, that pretty much everywhere has tea but you pack 10 or 40 or or 60 so just to be sure. It’s not like you can go two weeks without a cup of tea, is it? It would probably be a health risk.
You still mourn that cup of tea you forgot about that time
You put the kettle on, pour yourself a perfectly brewed cup of tea and to decide watch a quick thing on YouTube while it gets to the perfect temperature. Next thing you know, it’s an hour later and your tea is stone cold. I think we can all agree there’s no pain quite like it.
You have a selection of teas to offer guests
Some people have a cellar full of expensive wine. That’s fine, I suppose, but you have something better: an entire cupboard full of an array of tea bags. You have Yorkshire, green, peppermint, lemon, Earl Grey and Darjeeling. And they’re just the basics. You’ve also got cherry bakewell, blackcurrant, gingerbread and salted caramel. You’re a tea connoisseur and you don’t care who knows it.
People think there’s something wrong on the rare occasion you say no
If you turn down a cup of tea, it will immediately be assumed that something is terribly, terribly wrong with you. In reality, it’s probably because the person offering makes the worst tea ever and you’re planning to sneak off and make your own as soon as the coast is clear.
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Image: Katie Edmunds