back to article Hooray! It's IT Day! Let's hear it for the lukewarm mugs of dirty water that everyone seems to like so much

"It's International Tea Day!" I joyously proclaimed as I bounded into the kitchen, trying my best to sound like I had been counting the days rather than learning of it a couple of hours ago. "Is it?" My better half raised her eyebrows while hunched over the kettle. "It's International Tea Day every day. There's a coffee for …

  1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

    Three cups an hour?

    A little atypical for me, I reckon about one an hour, maybe rising to 1 every 30 minutes, but 3 an hour? Entirely within sensible consumption limits.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Tell that to yer kidney stones.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Isn't the link between kidney stones and drinking infusions of tea rather tenuous, at best? Seems to me I read some research somewhere that said the teabags themselves were more of a hazard than the tea inside them ...

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Caffeine is a diuretic, and so (mildly) are some other compounds in tea. The link itself is postulated and assumes poor hydration alongside copious tea consumption, but tea is hydrating on average, so tenuous would certainly cover it.

    2. Cynical Pie

      Try working in the Fire Service.

      In a previous life I worked for a Fire Service in the NW of England and as a civilian employee shared an office with uniformed staff.

      The average brew count was 4 per hour including several occasions of one being made and not even started before another brew was offered.

      In essence I had fresh tea on tap and its a legacy of the uniformed staff being on station so always grabbing a brew as they never knew if theyd get to finish one by being called out.

      Its a legacy that persists after they leave too. A good friend is a retired London Fireman and even now after being retired for 15 years he still manage 3 brews an hour and gets the DTs if he doesn't have his mid morning toast between 10-10.30am and a brew and some cake between 3 and 3.30om :)

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Pint

        "between 3 and 3.30om"

        Clearly the jitters have set in, you might want to knock it on the head for the rest of the day!

        Here, have one of these instead! >>>

    3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Surely it depends on the size of cup/mug? Daft little teacups, beloved of educational and NHS catering, need *at least* three an hour. The average mug (about 250ml) needs one or two an hour. My perfectly-sized 800ml mug (made specially for me by a Czech potter) - one every two or three hours.

      1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

        Perfectly true.

        Though your perfectly sized mug wouldn't be my perfectly sized mug - I suspect the temperature variation over the life of the cuppa would be too much for my liking (but it's your mug, so who am I to complain?)

        I prefer 'many-and-often': it's also a good excuse to take regular breaks from sitting in front of a computer screen.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        800ml? Lightweight! A friend of mine has 1litre mugs. It always catches me out when I put my normal amount of sugar in, and have to go reaching for another spoon.

  2. Giles C Bronze badge

    Tea addicts

    Now I don’t drink tea or coffee personally.

    But a good few years ago I went on a trip to Le Mans with some friends, there were 3 of them who drank tea, we were there for 4 days, they took a brand new bag of 1000 tea bags and brought back maybe 100 , so basically 300 tea bags each over 4 days or 75 a day, they were brewing up at least 3 or 4 times an hour all day.

    How?

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Tea addicts

      Chronic caffeine addiction?

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Tea addicts

      Must have been double bagging the cups. Typhoo I assume?

      It most certainly can't have been Yorkshire tea. That stuffs far too good for such brazen measures.

      Mines the one with the Malaysian BOH gold blend in the pockets...

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tea addicts, but I've seen fiends go through three cups an hour

      Hi my name is Bob, I've been drinking tea since 1970. Just keep that fufu fruity tea away. I like my tea like coffee drinkers like their espresso...

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Tea addicts, but I've seen fiends go through three cups an hour

        Yes I started out working at a university maintenance department. the cafeteria tea was never any good until it had at least two teaspoons dissolved in it. Not teaspoons of sugar you understand but the actual spoon

  3. Peter2 Silver badge

    Tea is nicer than coffee, but that's not really saying much to be fair.

    Properly speaking the love affair with tea has a lot to do with the Victorians temperance movement. Back in the "good old days" there was no water filtering, so if you didn't boil it then you'd get lots of nasties from drinking it. Boiling the water dealt with this problem, and the standard beverage of choice was in Georgian times "small beer" which had something like a 0.5% alcohol content, much like most modern canned beers.

    The Termperance movement then made it socially unacceptable to drink small beer by screeching about the evils of the devil water loudly, and to appease the screechers small beer was largely replaced with a mania for drinking tea. These days things have progressed and the descendants of the same people are screaming about putting a lump of sugar in the tea. Thanks to effective filtered water on tap we can all drink squashes and cordials instead without worrying about dying from horrible diseases.

    Right, i've insulted tea drinkers, coffee drinkers, anybody who's drinks modern canned piss and the politically correct brigade. Who have I missed?

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Boiling the water dealt with this problem,

      Upvoted. I came here to say that.

      Tea probably was a health drink in 1690, simply because it was the only common drink to be boiled immediately before consumption, and hence largely microbe-free.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        It would certainly have been a healthier drink than drinking unboiled water pumped from the pump next to your outside toilet and getting Cholera from the process! I'm pretty sure that small beer was boiled, bottled and consumed quickly enough to be relatively healthy though.

      2. Phil S

        I remember reading something a few (15+) years ago about tea being a driver for the expansion of cities, but they cited the tea, rather than just the boiling, as the factor.

        Wish I could find the thing I read, but from memory it talked about towns/cities couldn't grow beyond a certain size because of disease, with the exception of Britain and Japan (logically, it might have said China too, but I don't remember that).

        Other places also boiled water for drinks but didn't grow so much, so the article was linking it to the properties of tea.

        They then linked that to the rise of industrialisation (larger workforces in smaller spaces) in Britain first as opposed to Japan because we liked using iron, whereas they'd settled on using other raw materials.

        Vague recollections aside, I still like to think the tea was the initial lubricant of the industrial revolution.

      3. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

        In Wine, Wisdom;

        In Beer, Strength;

        In Water, Bacteria.

        And

        In Tea...Milk, 1 sugar, please.

    2. juice Silver badge

      > Properly speaking the love affair with tea has a lot to do with the Victorians temperance movement

      There's also the British Army's love of tea, which dates back a few centuries - Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe was set during the Napoleonic wars, and the soldiers in that are constantly brewing up.

      It'd be interesting to find out the history behind this. After all, it makes sense for the army to push tea as a drink; you have to boil water to make it (sterilising the water and the utensils used to make the brew), and it's a mild stimulant. It's also light and compact, doesn't require any special equipment or tools (unlike coffee) and isn't alcoholic, so something of a win all round if you're trying to keep a large group of men in fighting shape.

      Not that it always worked, as happened in Gallipoli during WW1.

      Either way, I guess this would have helped to spread it across the country, as the men would come home from t'war with their new habit/addition, and introduce it to their families.

      And it's a bit odd that other countries didn't pick up on it to the same degree, though I guess this might have been at least partly due to the fact that the British Empire was consuming as much as could be produced. After all, we literally bought all the tea in the world during WW2...

      https://blog.teabox.com/year-britain-bought-tea-world

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        There's also the British Army's love of tea, which dates back a few centuries - Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe was set during the Napoleonic wars, and the soldiers in that are constantly brewing up.

        That's one of the things he got wrong. The officers liked their tea, but it was too expensive for the common men to afford at the time. A common thing was servants selling the used tea leaves which could be dried and dyed and then resold to people who couldn't afford the expense of full on tea.

        1. juice Silver badge

          > That's one of the things he got wrong. The officers liked their tea, but it was too expensive for the common men to afford at the time. A common thing was servants selling the used tea leaves which could be dried and dyed and then resold to people who couldn't afford the expense of full on tea.

          Fair point - I assumed he'd researched that!

          At a glance, looks like tea usage really started to grow in the mid-18th century, thanks in part to the British empire taking bushes from China and developing tea plantations in India.

          I might do some more digging into all this later... once I've brewed another cuppa ;)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            To be honest, it's impossible to research the minutia of everything. Historical authors diligently do their research, and have people proof read but can't actually cover everything in an era and do make assumptions which are occasionally wrong.

            For instance, if you know then if you read through the Sharpe books and keep your eyes out then you'll discover things being mentioned for the first time after quite a few books, such as the frequency of muskets misfiring and needing new flints etc. This is as a result of Bernard getting to go and play with some reenactors and then as a result of being hands on with original equipment learning things that might sort of be written in history books.

            The funny thing is that the British Empire in the mid 18th century wasn't in India to any great extent. If you read into any accurate history books, you'll discover very great exertions being made to avoid any involvement with India on the part of the British Government. The first involvement was really when Charles the 2nd accidentally acquired Bombay (He was married off to a foreign princess, and their family didn't want the unaffordable nightmare so they gave it to him; he promptly gave it to the Honourable East India Company)

            The Honourable East India company was not controlled by the British government and is an early example of the problems caused by powerful multinational companies.

            Succinctly, the HEIC messed up the governance of the place and just used it as a port. It was a well run port, so was used by one set of princes to repair their ships to commerce raid another. This upset the other set of princes, who started getting ready to invade to remove the commerce raiding problem. The managers appointed by the HEIC responded by abandoning their post and sailing off with all of the valuables and the contents of the treasury. The remaining workers then were in a bit of a pickle, but demonstrating the truism that people are often better off without their betters they then appointed somebody competent to the job who finished refurbishing the fortresses that'd the HEIC had neglected and then banned the ships from the first set of princes from entering the port under the threat of being shot at from the fortresses. The absence of the commerce raiders from the first set of princes the solved the problem of the other princes wanting to invade, and they all lived happily ever after.

            Or, perhaps not. They people who'd solved the problem told the HEIC management where they could go when they came back, and that they were loyal subjects of the Crown and would only answer to the Crown. The King was of course delighted and handed out honours and rewards and then handed the ticking time bomb of a present back to the HEIC with indecent haste. If you look into it you'll discover that the HEIC didn't even start getting involved in mainland India (outside of warehouses) until 1775.

            Coming back to the tea thing, all the tea came from China, not India. The social progressives of the day screamed about the dangers of the devil drink and managed to get small beer basically abolished and pushed everybody into drinking tea instead. Great victory, right? This resulted in a huge outflow of currency to China. China refused to buy anything whatsoever from anybody. Well, except Opium. Drug runners would buy that, even at quite steep prices.

            Left with a choice of bankruptcy or selling Opium the HEIC promptly started growing Opium in India to send to China in exchange for Tea; the historically unavoidable fact is that the great progressive tea project relied on a drug pushing operation of similar size in China to the tea trade in the UK to provide the money to provide the tea. This truth is basically verboten; anybody writing in in a history book would immediately be excluded from any form of social existence with anybody in todays polite/progressive society because it can lead to questions like "but how didn't they know that". Those questions are lethally dangerous to people, projects and reputations past and present and future because asking those questions about past projects leads inevitably to answers, and worse they tend to lead to questions about the consequences of current and future projects, and the moral responsibility for their consequences.

            Anyway, the tea thing kept expanding, and the serious drug issues in China led to the Chinese declaring a "war on drugs" and ended up quite reasonably burning EIC ships carrying Opium. At this point the "Honourable" part of the HEIC title is omitted for obvious reasons!

            This led to the East India Company screaming that the Chinese were pirates burning unarmed British merchant ships, which brought Britain into severe conflict with China. China's emperor gave the EIC a letter to the Queen explaining Opium was addictive and dangerous (not understood in England even afterwards; children were given Opium lollies...) and if you could kindly stop the EIC smuggling it in then we'll get along just fine thanks. This important diplomatic letter was "lost" by the EIC and the great Tea/Opium wars commenced. It was only in the aftermath that the EIC started growing tea in any meaningful amounts in India.

            India didn't come under British control pe se until 1860.

    3. jake Silver badge

      ""small beer" which had something like a 0.5% alcohol content, much like most modern canned beers."

      Not going to bite on the obvious drivel .., but I'll take the opportunity to point out that "small beer" can mean a couple of things in the brewer's canon. All are worth perusing/persuing at home, some for historical knowledge (how far we've come), and some because they are a really valuable addition to your beer fridge and brewing budget ... particularly the second runnings version.

      Don't worry ... few variations on the theme are as low as 0.5%.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Not going to bite on the obvious drivel ..

        I think most people glug it from the can. I'd agree that nice bite size chunks of the can would probably be an improvement of most of the contents though. ;)

    4. Chris G Silver badge

      Who have you missed?

      I would say those of the younger (than me, which almost everyone) generation who seem to drink Redbull/energy drinks faster than any coffee or tea drinker. The plastic cherry flavour of those drinks is disgusting, they are more expensive and worse still, these people adulterate decent alcohol with them.

      I had a nice glass of local wine with my dinner, now I am enjoying a good cup of tea.

      If you include any infusions, I would imagine that ever since man has been able to heat water in a container, teas and infusions have been a part of his/her diet.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "I had a nice glass of local wine with my dinner, now I am enjoying a good cup of tea."

        Whilst I don't disagree with the disgusting taste of many of the energy drinks, it's just taking some ingredients, processing them, then producing some form of drink that some people like. In many ways, it's not so dissimilar to the processes done to those pristine grapes to produce a wine, or those lovely green, succulent leaves plucked from bushes to make tea.

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        I suppose they do have caffeine and sugar in them, so I could possibly have gotten away with a tenuous link to energy drinks replacing tea and coffee for unfortunate and uneducated heathens who need to be civilised and converted to the cup of tea.

  4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Trollface

    I'm with you

    Tea is for people who can't handle the intensity of coffee and/or who have a moral objection to things which are enjoyable. You know, the English.

    1. juice Silver badge

      Re: I'm with you

      > Tea is for people who can't handle the intensity of coffee and/or who have a moral objection to things which are enjoyable.

      Ooo. Someone needs to settle down with a nice cuppa!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm with you

        Tea;s out of fashion - people who "can't handle the intensity of coffee" nowadays seem to drink lattes and flat whites or "salt caramel frappaccinos" etc nowadays

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: I'm with you

      the intensity of coffee

      So we're not talking American coffee here, which has all the intensity of dishwater.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: I'm with you

        Primarily, I am referring to the coffee I make at home, which takes three Englishmen and a strong bulldog just to look at.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: I'm with you

          If I doesn't leave the cup the same colour as bitumen then it's not trying hard enough.

          I recommend Kopi-O from the Far East for this trick. The stuff you can brew is strong enough that the bag can be reused for lesser mortals pallettes. As for me, I take the stuff strong enough to stain the cup, the stainless sink and anything porous within a yard of the cup.

          And then when you've drunk it you can hear smells, code in 7 dimensions and achieve harmonic resonance with nearby glassware...

          It's great. Though I do wonder if it should be a controlled substance by this point.

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: I'm with you

            "If I doesn't leave the cup the same colour as bitumen then it's not trying hard enough."

            If I can't use it to re-mortar the paving slabs on my patio, then it's no good to me.

          2. renke

            Re: I'm with you

            > If I doesn't leave the cup the same colour as bitumen then it's not trying hard enough.

            In one of the Lucky Luke volumes (Barbed Wire?) the coffee recipe is something like

            "

            Put a pound of moistened coffee in a pot and boil for an hour. Throw in a horse shoe. If it doesn't float add more coffee.

            "

            Many years ago a fellow student asked me to make a 'strong coffee'. His one and only topic thereafter was "did not sleep for weeks", "my heart felt ready to burst" and similar exaggerations. Good riddance. We WERE in a CS degree programme...

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: I'm with you

        "American coffee here, which has all the intensity of dishwater."

        That stuff isn't coffee any more than Lipton makes tea ...

        Trust me, many Yanks know what real coffee is (this does not include Starbucks/Peet's aficionados, BTW). Some of us even roast our own. When was the last time your neighbor in Blighty offered you a cup of home-fermented tea?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I'm with you

          "When was the last time your neighbor in Blighty offered you a cup of home-fermented tea?"

          I'm not a tea drinker, but I do know people who grow their own tea bushes. The UK climate is temperate enough but from what I've been told, you need the right type of soil or know how to make you soil into the right type. (Needs to be acidic I think, I'm sure any decent gardener could manage it.)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm with you

        "So we're not talking American coffee here, which has all the intensity of dishwater."

        ... to bring it back to IT - about 20 years ago some of us from the UK worked for ~6 months at HP Palo Alto on a joint project. They had big coffee filter machines which people had to refill when the previous batch ran out and we discovred that by combinations of multiple packets of coffees and double or triple filters you could get almost drinkable coffee - well at least we thought so - the US engineers would go around muttering about "those Europeans making the coffee again"!

    3. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: I'm with you

      Nonsense. I have to insist that tea gives you more energy; coffee is in the ground state.

  5. Martin an gof Silver badge

    The East India Company?

    No, everyone knows that tea was introduced to Britain in Roman times by Asterix.

    M.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: The East India Company?

      Only the Brits wouldn't know what it was called yet, as that was revealed to Asterix by Getafix after their return to the Village.

    3. Scott 26

      Re: The East India Company?

      >No, everyone knows that tea was introduced to Britain in Roman times by Asterix.

      I was getting worried no-one had made that comment yet.....

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The East India Company?

        It's the only reason I entered the thread :-)

  6. Chris Gray 1
    Happy

    It's cheap and easy!

    I was fed tea (mostly milk of course) as a young 'un, and have stuck with it. I find coffee too bitter, though I imagine I could get used to it. Tea gives me the caffeine boost that I'm now used to. All you need is a kettle (which will last for years) and a teapot (which will last for decades). Far simpler than some coffee rigs. And, I believe it is a lot cheaper than coffee.

    The one downside for me is stained teeth (not nearly as bad as smokers, and I imagine coffee does it too). And perhaps a few more bathroom breaks...

  7. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Coffee is too bitter, and cannot be consumed in the quantities required for refreshment. I like a coffee occasionally, a shot of espresso or even a lungo in the morning. But to sip that swill that is filter coffee all day long like the Americans? No thanks. Similarly, I'm fat enough without adding the filth that is a Starbucks venti latte. I've always found it strange that Starbucks, a coffee company, have so many drinks that are designed to hide the flavour of the coffee.

    For me, tea is a total cure-all. Hangover, queasy stomach? Nice cup of tea will make you feel better. Dehydrated? Nice big cup of tea. Cold? Big cup of tea. If you have too many coffees, you can get the jitters and not sleep all night. Too many teas, you're just flushing the loo slightly more frequently. I start each day with 3 or 4 20oz cups of tea (SportsDirect mug size, although mine is a Chewbacca mug).

    1. Negative Charlie

      > Coffee ... cannot be consumed in the quantities required for refreshment.

      It certainly can, but you might need to alternate coffee with water to prevent the "drink a pint and pee a quart" phenomenon from leaving your body entirely without moisture. (A pint is, of course, a perfectly reasonable size for a coffee mug.)

      And there are things you can do with coffee to make it more palatable - Irish coffee is a lot nicer than Irish tea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "A pint is, of course, a perfectly reasonable size for a coffee mug"

        A pint dimple mug is a perfect vessel for a pint of coffee of a morning. Classier than a Sports Direct mug too.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "Classier than a Sports Direct mug too."

          So is an old, battered, now label-less plastic water bottle that you've been refilling from the tap every morning for 12 or 18 months.

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            I have two of the classless things. one supplier I used to buy electronic components from apparently had a massive surplus of the things and seeing as they were prepackaged and surrounded with bubble wrap he simply dumped the components in them and posted the cup in its box.

            I don't feel guilty using them because obviously the presents of the mugs as a surplus represented a loss for the evil company

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      I've always found it strange that Starbucks, a coffee company,

      As you've noticed, they're not despite them saying they are.

      They extract money from customers under the guise of extracting aromatic hydrocarbons from coffee beans resulting in a dilute suspension, liberally adulterated with various inexplicable additions, resulting in something that's almost entirely but not quite unlike coffee.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        I suspect their "recipes" are why people where queuing up at their drive-throughs when they re-opened. No one making their own coffee at home would ever consider putting quite that much sugar in a mug of coffee so they can never duplicate the Starbucks taste, even if they manage to find all the other ingredients.

    3. jake Silver badge

      I think I see your problem ...

      "I've always found it strange that Starbucks, a coffee company"

      Contrary to popular belief, Starbucks is not a coffee company. They are a confectioner.

    4. Sherrie Ludwig

      Coffee is too bitter, and cannot be consumed in the quantities required for refreshment. I like a coffee occasionally, a shot of espresso or even a lungo in the morning. But to sip that swill that is filter coffee all day long like the Americans? No thanks. Similarly, I'm fat enough without adding the filth that is a Starbucks venti latte. I've always found it strange that Starbucks, a coffee company, have so many drinks that are designed to hide the flavour of the coffee.

      That is why Starbucks so-called coffee is so burnt, so it can be tasted at all through all the crud they put in it. Proper coffee from a medium roast doesn't need any of that, although I like mine with half-and-half no sugar. My better half amazed the Italians he worked with in Rome by taking his espresso black, while they dumped everything but the kitchen sink into theirs.

      I don't understand putting anything into tea, though. My Scottish friend puts milk and sugar in hers, while she knows that when we have tea at her place, she pours for everyone, leaves the last of it steeping for quite a while, then pours for me, which I take plain, to her great amusement, but it's the only way tea tastes of anything.

  8. cornetman Silver badge
    WTF?

    > ....putting milk in the teapot "to save time"

    WTF?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Playing club rugby in the sixties, in the mud, wind and freezing weather, afterwards we used to be served tea from a giant communal pot, ready-milked, sugared sweet. It was a real life-saver before the hot bath leading to a proper thirst and full recovery in the bar.

      1. A K Stiles Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Experienced that with club rugby in the nineties, played a cold and wet away game and we got back in to the changing room at the end of the match where we were presented with a giant metal tea pot.

        It was poured out into polystyrene cups and a few folks commented that it was odd to have the milk already in it in the teapot, but we could see it was easier than trying to provide separate milk.

        Then we took a sip and practically spat it across the (thankfully wash clean with a plumbed drain) changing room as it was also sugared at what seemed like 3 spoons per cup level.

        From memory there was only one person on the entire team who enjoyed that foul brew.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          At our rugby club there were giant tea urns after the game, but they didn't have tea in them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The only time I've ever had that was away at Burnley RUFC about a decade ago. Sadly I haven't seen it since, including in return visits to Burnley.

        I'm told that club baths aren't allowed anymore for health reasons or something - some clubs still have them but they're never filled.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "for health reasons or something"

          Or perhaps it's simply because most blokes these days don't want to get into a large bath full of sweaty, muddy rugby players?

          It's a sign of the times. Bathing has become a personal activity. The Romans would be appalled, and the Japanese think we're weird.

          Pardon me while I fire up the sauna ...

  9. Graham Lockley

    To all those who laud tea I have but one word...

    Gin (its not just for breakfast)

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Wot, instead of adding milk? Sounds good...

    2. jake Silver badge

      A better word ...

      Grappa ... because it is built especially for breakfast (who needs/wants excuses to start the day?).

  10. User McUser

    No opinion...

    I just drink whatever comes out of the Nutri-Matic machine...

  11. Gringo99

    I drink both and I speak for me

    So, I am Italian, which of course means I can have the final word on coffee (</sarcasm>).

    I started drinking tea in my mid-20 as I found that it settled my stomach better after a heavy night out. Coffee was just giving me heartburn.

    Since I was young and foolish, this meant tea every w-end for breakfast, and sometimes also during the week (I regret nothing, up until the second ulcer).

    The habit stuck, and tea is still my favourite drink for breakfast IF I can't get hold of proper cappuccino. I leave in UK now, so to be honest chances are slim.

    I avoid Starbucks like the plague. I had coffee there 3 times (3 different branches in different years), and were all awful. They burn the shit out of it. Or maybe it's just their particular type of roast. Anyway, that explains why they "have so many drinks that are designed to hide the flavour of the coffee".

    I drink tea without milk, as it's not the norm in Italy (and AFAIK outside UK). Tried a couple of times, it's ok but literally not my cup of tea.

    But even green tea doesn't have the kick of coffee. Now that I stuck at home I do my after lunch one with this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_pot

    To me it's the only way to make it, outside of a bar where they have a proper espresso machine. I am considering one.

    So for anybody that made it that far in my rambling:

    Tea is because it's easier on my stomach, I can dip biscuits in it (McVites rich tea or scottish shortbread) and I have to do something while I read The Reg in the morning and afternoon (I am 2 cups a day, a lightweight, I know).

    Coffee is because I need to stay awake, and part of the italian "after lunch" tradition. Back in Italy I was easy on 5 espresso a day, and I wasn't the heaviest drinker between my friends.

    1. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      Re: I drink both and I speak for me

      Green tea definitely won't have anywhere near the kick of coffee because it has the least amount of caffinee. You want black tea for that.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: I drink both and I speak for me

      "Coffee was just giving me heartburn."

      You're not roasting it right.

    3. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: I drink both and I speak for me

      I'm not Italian, but my experience is that Italy is one of the few places in the world where you can be sure that wherever you go, whether it be the street vendor at the 6 am fish market, or the Palazzo turned hotel at 3 pm, the coffee will be pleasantly drinkable and often divine. All you have to do is ask for "un caffè" and a perfect espresso will be delivered, I have no idea what you get if you ask for a Machiatto or an Americano, nor do I care. I just want the unsullied flavour of pure, fresh coffee.

      Although I've got a fancy Pavoni machine somewhere, I find it best just to use a 1 cup "Moka" pot at home. Incidentally, you can make good coffee with nothing more than a small pan - surely less equipment than tea.

      <rant>As for putting milk anywhere near coffee or tea, I don't understand why some adults are so keen on this calf food! The dairy industry is already dumping a lot of its waste into other food products, how long before it starts encouraging us to put whey into tea as well (anything that saves them the cost of tippng it down disused mines:) I am aware that with time, effort and experience milk can be converted into exquisite cheeses, but it seems that the dairy industry prefers a minute profit following a huge advertising budget </rant> Don't get me started on butter!

      1. Toni the terrible

        Re: I drink both and I speak for me

        Add milk to overbrewed tea to make it less rough?

    4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: I drink both and I speak for me

      Of the stove tops I've got 3 (a one espresso, a 6 espresso and a 9 espresso sized).

      Sadly the 9 has developed a hole in it, the 6 is some IKEA version that never quite got the pressure high enough without burning the coffee first but the one shot works perfectly and has seen more use in the last 2 months than the previous 20 years my wife owned it.

      Local roasters along with supplies of Kopi-O are keeping me caffinated and sane through all this current madness.

      Tea before bed though. I'll give them all that much.

    5. Aleph0

      Re: I drink both and I speak for me

      Italian too here, apropos off Starbucks I've found that the smallest size of a Caramel Macchiato is a passable substitute for a cappuccino while traveling abroad (remember traveling?).

  12. Andrew Yeomans

    ISO 3103

    But do you prefer ISO 3103:1980 or ISO 3103:2019 ?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: ISO 3103

      I'm not paying to find out ... But I've found these instructions make a perfectly adequate cuppa.

      (What kind of standards organization forces people to pay to know what the standard is? That's truly fucked up, that is.)

      1. Tim99 Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: ISO 3103

        Yep, one of the most useful things (to show to the uninitiated) I got out of the RSC in 40+ years of membership.

    2. A K Stiles Silver badge

      Re: ISO 3103

      Neither - that's not a guide to a good cup of tea but a procedure to enable consistent brewing for blending and comparison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAsrsMPftOI

      I'm much more to the RSC version Jake linked to above, brewing time to vary depending on blend and taste.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. C. P. Cosgrove

    Tea and the British Army ?

    Juice, above, seemed a little surpised by the British Army's relationship with tea. Never mind quibbles about who drank tea in the Napoleonic era, when I had the honour of serving as a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces during a fair chunk of the Cold War tea was the motive force especially on exercise when it was first boiled hard and then left to stew in a hay box for hours. But there was a very good reason for its popularity.

    Have you ever tried The British Army's coffee ? Or at least the stuff that appears in ration packs labelled 'Coffee' ! It would turn anybody to tea !

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Tea and the British Army ?

      "Have you ever tried The British Army's coffee ? Or at least the stuff that appears in ration packs labelled 'Coffee' ! It would turn anybody to tea !"

      I heard the only different between British Army tea and coffee in ration packs was the lettering on the label.

  15. Citizen99

    According to Goscinny and Uderzo, it goes back to Roman times...

    We just drank warm water ( and BTW warm beer), until introduced, by Asterix and Obelix, to herbs from the Druid Getafix's stock. (I'm using the Anglicised name, it was Panoramix in the original).

    1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

      >We just drank warm water

      Sometimes with a spot of milk.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        My mother still does! She seems to have an endless supply of teabags without perforations - there is no way to make good tea in her house without bringing our own supplies (and that can lead to awkward situations!)

        However, that isn't the worst. At my friend's mum's funeral recently, he recounted her recipe for tea - put cold water in a mug to half-full, add a teabag from the side of the sink where it had dried out from previous use, put mug with water and teabag into microwave for two minutes, add milk to fill mug, and serve. I assumed it was a joke, but the number of knowing nods around the room suggested otherwise. Fact-checking afterwards seems to verify that this was indeed true, which just goes to show that there is always something worse than you have imagined!

  16. Toni the terrible
    Happy

    Tea in Industry

    Decades ago I used to work in the lab in a car factory in Coventry. Tea was always available there, it was brewed in a reflux vessel as large as I was - continuously through out the shift flinging bags in from time to time and tapping off the tea as required. That tea, it was rumoured, was used to etch metal samples in microscopy and clean light grease off other samples. I don't recall ever seeing the container emptied for cleaning etc.

    it was an aquired taste...

  17. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Tea, the beverage or tea, the tradition?

    From reading all the comments above I'm wondering if the British Need For Tea isn't simply cultural, and has nothing to do with the actual beverage.

    How so? Lots of people here insisted heavily on the horrors they were served as "tea", which clearly shows many British don't drink "tea" for enjoyment, but only because it's the proper thing to do. As a British person you apparently have to drink something which at some point earned the label of "tea", and make clear to any bystander that doing this is the highlight of your day... Some kind of national identity exercise maybe?

    I myself need a big mug of coffee in the morning lest I resemble something out of Night of The Living Dead, but I don't give it any thought at all, nor am I partial to coffee. It can be good strong breakfast tea too (no milk, no butter, no sugar, no salt, no tsampa, need I go on?). It definitively doesn't define who I am, and if during the day I drink a second cup beyond my morning caffeine intake, it will be for the pleasure of it, meaning carefully brewed quality products only.

  18. Number6

    I manage with a cup every couple of hours, but then my tea mug holds a pint. I drink it black, and relatively weak, the trick being to get the good flavour before the bitter tannins make an appearance. When it's hot I usually drink water, so my options are cold water or hot, slightly-flavoured water.

    I have been known to drink coffee but I save that for emergencies and I think it smells way better than it tastes.

  19. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Pint

    Tastes change

    I was brought up drinking tea; milk and 2 sugars (sometimes 3) and didn't like the home made instant coffee.

    Having to give up sugar tapered off the tea drinking and I now find myself drinking beer as a thirst quencher. Tough old life.

    For the coffee addicts, nobody so far has mentioned the Aeropress which IMHO produces an outstanding cup of coffee. However I can't usually drink coffee past noon and still sleep at night.

    My coffee consumption is normally one mug in the morning with 3 heaped spoons of instant, a big lump of butter topped up with double cream. Rocket fuel for those trying to keep to a keto diet.

    I agree with all the comments about USA office coffee. The first time I saw the glass pot in the filter machine and realised that I could easily see through the liquid and thought "I usually piss darker than that" I knew that something was seriously amiss.

  20. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Upvote to the author for the Star Trek reference.

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