PS: These posts portray the opinions of the author. Strong they may be, always be aware “to each their own.” If you want to do things ‘wrong,’ do it wrong. Happy steeping!
Tea with Coffee? Coffee with Tea?
Imagine for a moment or two, maybe three, that you walk into a rather large tea festival. The aether of tea particulates travel briskly from the spouts of pots promptly into your nostrils. Along with the pleasant olfaction, your head tingles with high notes of a light Taiwanese Wulong (use pinyin damnit). But hark! The horde of tedious tea twits hush their ways and scowl in your immediate direction… for with you, held in you hand like a proud man, and I hesitate to say “man”, is a landfilling cup reeking of coffee. You’ve entered… The Crepuscular Realm!
No need to dial: 0118-999-881-999-119-725…3. The Tea Sleuth has already been paged: 1182!
Let us Assess
So, what I’m getting at, if I was too cryptic, it’s the ‘uge question of why coffee and tea are often served at the same place when they obviously don’t go together. When a coffee café serves tea, the tea either tastes like coffee due to the water, or the coffee in the room overpowers the tea. When there’s a Tea Room that serves coffee, well yeah… a single tall, short, vente, wide, Americana, Canadiana and any other sizes of coffee there are, ends up letting out it’s fragrance far and wide covering the scent of all the tea in the room.
I can certainly comprehend that not all people like coffee and not all people like tea. I myself have never had coffee simply because the fragrance, or rather stench, of it makes me cough and gag. Odd though, as many people prefer the smell to the taste. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, in that case anyway. Yet, I digress. Serving tea and coffee at the same place allows for the acceptance of a wider crowd.
Tea in a Coffee Café
It doesn’t work, but let’s try to make grasp this conundrum. Note that tea in coffee cafés are never made well, almost never. Sometimes I have seen amazingly hand-crafted beans from single estates that honey badgers, or some other bizarre animal pooped out. Then there’s a pile of musty tea bags from… THAT or THIS tea company, you know the ones. Of course, this makes a bit of sense! Why serve good quality tea when the water they use will probably taste like coffee. The coffee baristas won’t know how to prepare loose leaf tea sufficiently. Even if they do… the coffee pollution will drown out the tea, both smell AND taste. So, I say, let them use bags! Those cafés that are trying and using quality tea leaves might as well give up, in my most humble opinion. OK, not too humble. I’ve been to several cafés that carry a brand of tea who’s quality is higher than many tea shops in the area. But I was heartbroken as they butchered them by miss-steeping them. ☹
Coffee in a Tea Room
OK, this just doesn’t make sense. Just ponder it for the nonce. Done thinking? Good. Tea baristas could most likely figure out how to brew a cup of coffee well but again, the smog would pollute the room.
The Messiah Complex!
Yeah, that headline was just to catch your eye. But now that I said it, I can see how Brian Cohen1 fits into this. Well maybe not him, per se. I do believe that people who are trying to merge the two, coffee and tea, into one… yes this might include coffee and tea festivals, have a delusion that they can make it work. Although maybe they ARE the one! The one to make them fit together. I, however am a skeptic that Tea Rooms and Coffee Cafés will never come to a safe and harmonious truce and brotherhood.
1: Monty Python’s Life of Brian directed by Terry Jones (1979; UK: Cinema International Corporation)