Monday, November 11, 2013

Tea or Coffee?

I am, as usual totally over-thinking things...but I would like to invite you to my mind cascade...the accuracy is tenuous and I may be extrapolating, but bear with me....

I like coffee okay.  It had to grow on me.

I adore tea.  I loved it the first time I tasted it.

I drink both to stay awake and to calm down.  I drink both in excess depending, often, on my state of mind.

My cousin linked me up to this lovely history lesson on why Americans drink coffee instead of tea. (HERE)  The short version was the American decision to extricate itself from the British culture. 

But here's the funny part.  How the creation/use/delivery tends to also reflect our culture...

Tea.  It was originally medicinal.  It's picked and dried and mixed with herbs, fruit, and spices.  The maturation of the plants range between 4-12 years.  The delivery requires steeping.  There are whole ceremonies surrounding the service.  There is often food involved in it's drinking.  Historically it was also kept in locked boxes.  And don't even get me started on each culture's particular customs, tea cups, tea services, and Samovars.

Coffee.  It has always been used for it's energizing properties.  After the plant is brought to maturity, usually a few years, the berries (seeds specifically) are harvested between 6-11 months.  They are slightly dried for shipping.  Then they are roasted, some roasts are even double roasted.  I've heard rumors that some are even slightly burned for taste.  Delivery requires processing with water, but this can happen very quickly, even without it being instant.  It can be flavoured, (it appears to be usually artificial).  There is no real ceremony involved, but the amount of caffeine and taste appears to be the sliding scale.  It can be social, but it is primarily used to increase personal productivity.  Even the service, mugs, and shops tend to the utilitarian.

Can you see where I am going?
US= speedy and useful
Other countries = history, time, socially driven, intricacies, patience, ceremony

No real judgement, as the South brought back much of the social ceremony in the culture of Sweet Tea.  And, of course, hot tea is drunk and deeply enjoyed by many Americans...

I'm just saying there is something to be said for the time and tradition of tea. 

Little girls play tea party because there is magic in it.  They don't play coffee shop...because they aren't rushing through life yet.

Slow down, have some tea every now and again.....enjoy the ceremony.



  1. I agree. But I just have to point out that in our home, more often than not, Keziah uses her tea set to play "coffee shop" . She loves her toy coffee maker and loves to make coffee for her daddy and me. But I guess that is just because we are coffee drinkers for the most part. :)

  2. Nice article, Tiffany. I like both tea and coffee and I prefer drinking coffee in the morning and tea in the evening with snacks.

    Finn Felton
    Kopi Luwak