Tea and coffee

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Tea and coffee

Postby Macunaima nli » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:57 pm

Enjoying a nice pot of oolong here and watching the leaves unfurl in the glass pot — something the Chinese call the “agony” of the tea leaves, but which I am willing to bet is a word that originally meant any extreme physical sensation (any Mandarin speakers here to tell me if my supposition has legs?)

Anyhoo, it just struck me: tea is kind of an undead drink, isn’t it? I mean, like wine and unlike beer: carefully preserved, living yet not living. Tea: the preferred drink of nine out of ten liche lords. Now I want a liche with a tea cup in its hand.

Anyone know how or why the Americans traded coffee for tea as their hot beverage of choice, or why the English became fixated on tea, having once been great coffee drinkers?

Any good histories of tea anyone can recommend?
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby rebelyell2006 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:13 pm

Well, the stereotype is that Americans prefer coffee to tea.
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby Bronshtein » Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:45 am

This was read on BBC Radio 4 in an abridged version a while ago - it is on my list of things to read when I have finished everything else!

'For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink' Sarah Rose.

The last fling of the (Honourable :lol: ) East India Company and the stealing of tea plants from China by Robert Fortune, plant hunter, botanist, spy and thief (all in a good cause of course).

It's only the west's view of the history of tea of course but it's a start.

As for coffee - regarded as addictive, mood altering and associated with wild excesses(like the enlightenment and being intellectual - the horror!) in the late 17th/early 18th century (and starting the City of London as an Exchange) - it crashed in England through tax, disease in the Empire (of coffee plants not people) and of course the HEIC pushing tea as a genteel alternative (having nicked the teas from China)

No idea why Americans took to coffee vice tea- except maybe to piss off the HEIC and Brits in general. Possibly scarcity?
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby Maxwell House » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:01 am

Combination of a number of things I imagine.

Not so much to piss off the Brits as it was taxation (first) scarcity (second) and the introduction to coffee from their French allies(third) far less finicky to make (fourth) as the leading reasons, though the list has more that could be added.
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby JJCH nli » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:45 am

I suspect Oolong was actually coined by someone at Lipton. ‘Ooh, long bloody time for this tea to steep!’

Wiki suggests Oolong is an English corruption of a Chinese term for ‘black dragon tea’. Russian Caravan/Earl Grey fan myself, bergamot goes well with nicotine. Gunpowder green for an occasional change.

I’m glad potable tea is now available in Brazil. Not long ago it was a choice of the occasional Twinings bag or the truly execrable Dr Oetker, a company whose various works in the culinary sphere can best be described as diabolical. Sadly the niche market of decent beverages in Brazil also extends to coffee, which I drink with far greater regularity. It used to both amuse and somewhat irritate me that I would need to take my own tea and coffee when visiting. After a fortnight or so it was goodbye coffee, hello Pilão!
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby JJCH nli » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:47 am

rebelyell2006 wrote:Well, the stereotype is that Americans prefer coffee to tea.


Which is odd when you consider that the average septic has no fucking clue as to how to prepare it.
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby rebelyell2006 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:03 pm

JJCH nli wrote:
rebelyell2006 wrote:Well, the stereotype is that Americans prefer coffee to tea.


Which is odd when you consider that the average septic has no fucking clue as to how to prepare it.


Hooray, more stereotypes!
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby gustav » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:12 pm

sorry reb - but true - very rare to get what I would call a decent coffee in US on my trips. drip percolated stuff which is usually the norm is shit. Any Starbucks is shit.
just so you know. :mrgreen:
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby rebelyell2006 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:34 pm

I'm fine with a cup of instant or anything from a truck stop, but I know more tea drinkers than coffee drinkers. And the bulk of the coffee drinkers I know are retired navy, who will drink any dark sludge as long as it has caffeine. Do people in Europe treat coffee as something beyond a simple vehicle for necessary caffeine intake?
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Re: Tea and coffee

Postby Guest » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:43 pm

JJCH nli wrote:
rebelyell2006 wrote:Well, the stereotype is that Americans prefer coffee to tea.


Which is odd when you consider that the average septic has no fucking clue as to how to prepare it.

Stick a fucking teabag in a cup and pour boiling water over it. What’s so hard about that?
I like the fag teas from Celestial Seasonings.
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