I am a tea-drinker – and proud of it.
Today I ordered a cup of tea from a café. The man said, “Congratulations – you are the very first customer to use our new order of teapots!”
I said something that indicated that I was impressed, but I must admit that as I eyed this brand-new teapot, I felt disappointed and even a little scornful. I thought to myself, “This teapot was surely designed, manufactured and purchased by coffee drinkers”.
If tea-drinkers had been involved, they would have known the following things about teapots:
- A teapot should be beautiful to look at. It should NOT be an awkward, straight-up-and-down steel contraption, but something with curves. It matters not whether it is plump or elegant – this is a matter of personal choice. But it must be curvaceously lovely to look at.
- A teapot should be a comfort to hold. Stainless steam – which is either clanging cold or scorching hot – is a terrible choice for a teapot. They should rather be made of something that holds heat and permeates warmth, and runs with the contours of one’s hands.
- A good teapot, ultimately, must have character. Tall or stout, smooth or rough – it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the teapot has personality.
- (Teapots should also not drip when poured, and obviously not leak, but those are matters too practical for this blog post.)
The act of drinking tea is altogether different from drinking coffee, and it is the coffee-drinkers lack of insight into this subtlety that, I think, goes to the root of this problem. Drinking tea is a slow pleasure, enjoyed over a long languid stretch of time. Drinking coffee is, at least in Melbourne, pleasurable but ultimately over and done with fairly quickly, with the drinker left not more relaxed, but caffeinated and alert.
There is no such thing, for example, as a ‘shot of tea’.
And so these coffee drinkers design and manufacture and purchase tea-brewing devices that better suit the act of drinking coffee. They are small, efficient and don’t hold heat – all fine if you are rushing through a little puddle of caffeine. But these so-called ‘teapots’ are completely inadequate for endless slow cups of liquid pleasure, consumed with a friend or a good book.
It is a source of sadness that although I am a proud tea-drinker, the world – or at least Melbourne – is dominated by staunch coffee-drinkers. And so while I like nothing better than sitting in a café with a pot of tea, I must contend with coffee-drinker teapots. While cafés proudly cater for a fast, caffeinated coffee-culture, I feel like slow, languid tea drinkers are given but an incidental thought.
I’m not bitter – no bitter, that is, than a badly brewed pot of tea.