In defence of tea drinkers

This has happened to me more than once. And it shits me.

I'm a dedicated tea drinker. Black tea with a dash of skim milk. I like strong tea, builders tea if you will - Yorkshire Gold, Barry's Irish Tea, PG Tips, and Twinings Assam Bold.

And there's a process. Fresh water in the kettle to boil. Warm the cup or pot, especially in colder months. Steep the tea for 3-4 minutes minimum. Dash of milk at the end for a cup and dash of milk at the start for a pot.

As long as it's strong.

So now you've got that, I'll tell you what shits me.

I was in Paris one time, at a quaint cafe where all the seats face the footpath so leery men can check out the fashionistas. My tea arrived, with one lonely bag in an enormous pot of hot water. Cost for this privilege -  six euro.

I politely asked the waiter to bring me another tea bag in an attempt to make the aforementioned pot stronger. After watching him sniff his nose in disgust, and flounce off to the kitchen, he returned five minutes later with a solitary tea bag on a saucer. The cost for this privilege - six euro.

So 12 euro for tea. I could buy a box of 200 for that price, and still have money left over for milk and the power bill to heat the kettle.

I'm not a huge fan of the French, I find them somewhat rude and disdainful, but this took the cake. Or I suppose the baguette.

I'm typing this in Singapore's Changi Airport, waiting for my flight to Vietnam. And the same bloody thing happened. I asked for two tea bags and was told I'd have to pay twice. I patiently explained I was using no extra water or milk, and only one cup ... but deaf ears were all that heard my moans.

The other insult I cop as a tea drinker is the cafe worker who has absolutely no idea how to make a cup of tea. Sure, she's a trained barista, and can whip up lattes with love heart designs in her sleep. But ask for a cup of tea, I invariably get hot water poured into a single take-out cup, a bag chucked in, milk poured over it immediately and a price tag of $4.50.

This is why I travel with my own tea bags. And where I can, my own milk and kettle. Life's little pleasures are too precious to be offended.


  1. Many things at Changi are waaaymore expensive than they should be


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