Tuesday, May 22

Proper Tea

When we first moved to the States almost three years ago, I realised that 'tea' translated from English to American becomes a very different drink. 

According to Wikipedia, tea is perceived as one of Britain's cultural beverages. Typically Brits drink several cups of tea a day, give or take ... and by tea I mean, black tea with milk (with or without sugar!). There are then the other 'airy fairy' alternatives ... flowery, herby stuff. In America, when you're offered tea, it really could be one of a myriad of flavours and not necessarily having black tea as an option at all.

As a Brit, classing all the other flavours as 'tea', still seems like a joke to me but over the last few years I've got used to it. Some of my American friends ask me how to make 'real tea' because stereotypically the English are known for afternoon tea and tea party's. I joke with some of them that I drink 'proper tea' and the rest of them just don't know what they're talking about! Another Brit friend of mine travels with her own tea bags in her handbag and often a small bottle of milk too, as coffee drinking American's often only have creamer available.

One item we were missing in our kitchen until last year was a teapot. Even though we don't really use one (it's only me who drinks tea in the house and it seems silly to brew a whole pot just for me), I had been thinking for a while that we should have one to use and also as a visual aid when sharing about British things! I found this beautiful one at the Polish Pottery shop in Amish country near where we live and my mum bought it for me for my birthday.

Some of my American friends have gorgeous teapots and I find it really amusing when they are placed on a table with either just water (so you can use a tea bag of your choice!) which seems to defeat the object of the teapot at all, some kind of fruit tea concoction inside or even more sacrilegious to the definitive British tea drinker, I have been offered a teapot full of coffee more than once before!!!!

Tea can be a really culturally specific thing as I've found since living here ... from the famous Japanese tea parties to Indian Masala Chai and all the variations in between. As with everything I'm open to all new tastes and experiences and have even found a few favourite herbal tea flavours, although I'm reluctant to actually class them as 'tea'! 

I think you can take the girl out of Britain but you can't take Britain out of the girl. Proper tea for me will always be what I expect to get back in the UK. As we're not going to live there anytime in the foreseeable future, I will continue to bring the 'real' stuff with me or get visitors to stock me up instead!

1 comment:

  1. I drink tea every single day. My pot broke right before we moved last year, so I rely on individual bags or loose tea brewed with an infuser. I prefer black tea, but I keep a couple fruit teas on hand that Ava enjoys because I don't want her to have much caffeine. They make good iced tea in the summer. I have always wanted to experience a proper English tea. You'll have to give me some pointers!