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What is this fascination with tea that Brits have?

By TomSal ·
Ok, time to put on the "ignorant self-absorbed American" hat here....Someone please explain to me this seemingly insane addiction Brits have with tea.

In movies, in books, in over hearing conversations in "real life" and even the mention of it here in some threads of TR...what is so god awful important about tea that make it so "huge" to a Brit's life?

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A centuries-old addiction

by gene.fellner In reply to What is this fascination ...

Tea was the first source of caffeine that was ever available in Europe. Think of life without caffeine and then imagine the profound change that the introduction of this highly psychoactive, mood-altering, energy-boosting drug would have on a civilization.

The East India Company, the Boston Tea Party... entire pages of history are written around the first "upper" offered to Europeans. It is a milestone in European culture.

Yes, the rest of Euro-American-Mesopotamian civilization eventually switched to coffee and chocolate--stronger or more tasty sources of caffeine--a couple of centuries later when they were brought over from the New World. But the Brits are a people who revere tradition. Tea is part of their history and they honor it, to a large extent unconsciously.

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by gadgetgirl In reply to A centuries-old addiction

I think you just called us all a nation of caffeine addicts!

Hang on - you included me! You think I'm an addict?!

Hmmph. *British stiff upper lip trembling*

I'm so upset I'm going to go and get a cuppa.....

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pot calling kettle

by gadgetgirl In reply to What is this fascination ...

what about you Americans and your coffee/java/whatever-the-latest-trendy-word-is!

You call us for drinking tea? Tea is something we were all brought up on - it's an excuse to stop (and have a cuppa), has long been promoted to ward off shock after an accident (put 2 sugars in that dear, she's had a fright) is something to have a good chat over (when the pubs aren't open!), cures all ills and heals all wounds. And their are limited ways of taking it - black with, black without, white with, and white without.

Now your coffee, for example, comes in a multitude of versions - latte, skinny latte, black, espresso, cappucino and a lot more I know I can't remember!

The only things both tea and coffee have in common - they both provide an excuse to stop and chat, and they both come in strengths from weak to strong. The old adage here is that tea isn't strong enough unless you can stand a spoon up in the cup.

Yes, it's huge in a Brit's life. But not as huge as your coffee is in yours.

All this is totally tongue in cheek, I was brought up on strong tea made with Puro (sterilised)milk which left a coating on your teeth that lasted for hours....I hate the stuff, I admit I only drink coffee!!!

(oh, and Newcastle Brown, of course, but I think I just cross threaded my post....!)

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Here's the shocker...i HATE coffee! :) lol

by TomSal In reply to pot calling kettle

Don't care if its latte, mocha whatever, espresso, cappucino, blah blah blah....keep it. I hate it. All though I will admit one of those iced-cappucino desserts is quite tasty.

I drink tea myself! I know its not "real tea" according to what you Brits would call tea is just lipton tea bags, hot water and OMG some milk! eeeegats! But that's how I like it, and that's all that matters.

I really could give a rats back end to what is in it that causes that extra kick to keep me going...I just know its relaxing to me and tastes good.

And that's enough.

Thanks for history lessons though, very interesting (seriously).

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You've passed the test!

by gadgetgirl In reply to Here's the shocker...i HA ...

you drink tea!

you're half a Brit already!

you can go on the list of acceptable people that Neil and I seem to be manufacturing....

(I think it's some sort of death wish he has...he's going through TR peeps at the moment....)

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Pretty damn simple

by neilb@uk In reply to What is this fascination ...

The reason that both our nations drink tea or coffee is the caffeine hit! ( It's thetinine in tea, but who cares and I suspect that I'm the only one in TR who knows this).

The original tea trade was with the Chinese and, initially, tea was blindingly expensive because the Chines would only take silver for tea. It all really took off when we (the Brits) finally found that we had something that the Chinese required. That something was opium - which we had in plenty because we "owned" India and most of South East Asia and could grow it by the boat-load. We didn't own much in the way of coffee-producing areas until we got it growing in Jamaica so we devoloped a national palate for tea as tea got cheaper. Then we stole some tea seedlings and started up the tea-growing areas in India and Sri Lanka and the whole thing really got big. Tea was, then, a lot cheaper than coffee for a caffeine fix and Historical Inertia did the rest. I believe that we drink as much - if not more - coffee than tea, now, as the inertia finally dampens down.

Also, tea is a lot more subtle than coffee and, as a more refined race, we obviously favour the more refined drink.

We take tea with (cold) milk and sugar/no sugar because milk, being fat globules in water, absorbs the bitter elements from tea.

Now, it's in our national psyche in the same way that coffee is in yours and for the same reasons.


History for Foreigners 101

p.s. I'm a tea-drinker and my refinement shows through every post...

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Neil! Neil!

by gadgetgirl In reply to Pretty damn simple

quick,pal, amend your post before one of those Yanks corrects you!

It's not tenines, it's tannins you meant - but its actually polyphenols....

change it - kkkkwwwwiiicccckkkkk!!!

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by neilb@uk In reply to Neil! Neil!

let 'em try! The version of caffeine in tea is slightly different to the version in coffee. They need to know that we drink a superior version of the drug...

As for the polyphenols, good call!

Listen up, you coffee-drinking sorts! Tea contains polyphenols which - as natural anti-oxidants - have a marked anti-free radical effect and protect against all sorts of diseases.

Give up the coffee and become British! All (well, most) welcome!

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by gadgetgirl In reply to Nah

so, do you want to start listing the exceptions to the last line of that post, or shall I ???!!!

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Go on then

by neilb@uk In reply to oooof!

It's nice to get someone else's perspective...

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