US cup of tea vs UK cup of tea
I met a British woman today, out of the blue, and we chatted for a while whilst she was working at her desk.
I didn’t realise she was British at first and the conversation started like this:
Her: ‘Where are you from?’
Me: ‘The UK.’ (I always say this a) because I am, and b) because if I say ‘The Cotswolds’ generally Americans don’t know where this is 🙂 )
‘Me too. Where abouts?!’
‘Oh, the Cotswolds.’
‘I’m from Northampton.’
She proceeded to tell me that she’d been here for nearly 20 years, and she still did have her accent, all said and done.
We mulled over the vast cultural differences between Britain and America, and discussed, as I often do with Brits out here, the very important thing that is the Cup of Tea.
It is hard to get a good cup of tea here. I haven’t found one yet, though I feel it must exist somewhere!
I have spied some Americans making their cup of tea by putting a tea bag in cold water and, heaven forbid, microwaving it! Lord above, I am shuddering as I type!
A document has been drafted by the British Standards Online which shows how you really should make a cup of tea, though I know it even differs between Brits – milk first or hot water (from a kettle) first…..? Oh, the choices and preferences!
My favourite quote from his article about asking for tea, or getting a cup of tea out here in the USA, is this:
“Next time you are in a Starbucks or its equivalent and want some tea,” he writes, “don’t be afraid to decline that hasty cup of hot water with added bag. It’s NOT what you asked for.”
He adds that it is “virtually impossible in the United States” – his home for the last 30 years – “to get a cup or pot of tea that tastes remotely as it ought to”. His main gripe is that Americans seem to offer only cups of tepid water, with teabags served separately. Tea drunk like this, he says, is not worthy of the name – and is “best thrown away”.
It’s true – water is never hot! How can my tea bag infuse properly? I wonder if there is concern about being sued in case the hot water scalds…..it’s entirely possible that this is the case, since you can sue for just about everything else out here! And I’ve yet to find a teapot being used anywhere…..
In all this important tea discussion we realised that we were referring to our American cousins as ‘them’. How rude of us! Her boss must have also noticed and called out from the back office ‘I can hear you talking about us!’ How we grimaced!
I’m off to put the kettle on 🙂