Rosie Lee, a brew, a cuppa or a cup of char – however you say it, us Brits love a cup of tea. But, today, I heard that this very foundation of British life is under threat from climate change.
I’m serious people, just imagine a life without a morning cuppa? No, don’t, life has been hard enough this past year without terrorising yourself with such an image – delete that mental picture, think buttercups and daisies, lambs and fluffy clouds – there that’s better.
I have so many memories associated with tea. Don’t get me wrong, tea has not been the hero of the occasion, but it’s the perfect accompaniment when chatting with friends, or coming home in the rain, or getting indoors after a foreign holiday and getting the kettle straight on, all of those favourite simplistic moments feature me holding a brew.
I went to Vienna a few years ago with my friend and our daughters. We walked and walked exploring the gorgeous city, enjoying the atmosphere and the sites. What I knew, because I had read the guide book and scoured Tripadvisor, was that the Viennese shop keepers, restaurant staff, well basically anyone in the service industry are notorious for their rudeness, so rude you can’t believe it’s possible. I was prepared, my friend was not, she was rendered speechless with shock the first time we ‘got told off’. I thought it was hilarious.
On our first morning we walked miles to a restaurant for breakfast, you know when you are busting for a tea or coffee and before you can even think about food you say, while holding the yet to be perused menu,
Can we order two tea’s please.”
“Just tea please.”
“We have lots of tea.”
“English Breakfast then please.”
And off she stalked only to return to throw two hot beverage menus at us with a tut. We glanced.
“Yes, two English breakfast tea’s please.”
“Fine,” she snapped before snatching the hot beverage menu out of our hands so quickly we had to check for paper cuts.
We have laughed about this ever since. I even smirk in the tea aisle at Tesco when I see a box of English Breakfast, I shall forever associate it with my lovely friend Elena.
My friend Caroline loves tea and hates milk. It is a near on an impossible quest to make her a cuppa, she wants milk but in such a minimal quantity that its safer to administer it with a syringe. I can still recall the triumph I felt the first time I made her a tea that she didn’t reject or return the tea bag to.
My friend Alsa loves green tea and carries a pouch of green tea bags in her handbag for emergencies. Not plasters or paracetamol, no, tea bags but no kettle or mug. It’s her security blanket and it warms my heart every time I think of her.
So what is the correct way to make the perfect cup of tea?
My husband puts the milk in the cup first, I kid you not, I’ve seen it with my very eyes. Talk about make an easy job hard, the watery milk isn’t hot enough to let the tea leaves do their thing. He’s clearly a savage!
It has to be tea bag first, water, sugar if necessary, milk. This is the correct method, fact, of that I would hang my hat on.
We’ve had enough to deal with these last few years, Brexit, Covid and now Tea-Gate. I mean I’ve quite enjoyed the hot summers (I’m being flippant of course) but tea, that’s too far. So what to do?
Did you know most tea bags contain plastic? I didn’t until I saw old Greg Wallace mooching about in a factory, and the rolls and rolls of plastic being fed into the tea bag machine – truly horrifying.
My favourite tea is Yorkshire Tea and for a while we had to try to get on with loose leaf tea, but I couldn’t. I feared for my drains, even with the most vigilant tea leaf from tea pot into green caddy extraction, a fair amount ended up going down the sink. I have seen footage of fat balls in the sewer system, I hardy think that’s going to improve the situation with me chucking handfuls of tea mush down there too.
Yorkshire Tea (link to their plastic free promise) must have watched the TV too and decided that they have to do their bit, so they have removed plastics from their tea bags. And let me tell you how relieved I am, because me and my brew need to stay together because our love is stronger than Kylie and Jason’s (haha I’m still chuckling about last weeks Jase post)
On a serious note:
Kenya are the largest supplier of tea to the UK. Today on the news the Kenyan interviewee said that the country is reliant on tea exports to survive, they said,
The people that work in the tea industry have the lowest carbon footprint but they are paying the biggest price.
It’s time, it’s actually well past time, we all need to make some changes and now.