tea vs coffee

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Sunday 1 February 2009 2.59am
Which do you prefer? I noticed there are a lot more coffee shops than tea shops, and it sparked my interest.

I am not from UK originally, and one of the first things I learned about England was the 5 o'clock tea tradition.

I don't see many people going out for a cup of tea these days though, everyone seems to want to meet up for a coffee instead.

Given the choice between a tea shop and a coffee shop, which would you go to and why?
Sunday 1 February 2009 10.21am
Good question! I've often thought it strange that we are known as a nation that runs on tea yet apart from in the West Country ~(cream teas) and the likes of the Ritz or Fortnums, tea is not really celebrated at all. Coffee, on the other hand...

I only really thought about it last September when I was in Buenos Aires. We found the most amazing tea bar - a paean to all things tea. It was really serious stuff; about fifty different types of tea and all described in loving detail on the menu. They also served breakfasts and light lunches. I remember thinking what a great idea and why is there not something similar in London.

Having said that, if there is, I'm sure one of you will set me right.
Sunday 1 February 2009 11.43am
I love tea at 5pm, and pretty much at any other time. I find it annoying when I go to France and can't go to a cafe and get tea, because it's the wrong time and they are only serving food, I don't want a full blown meal, I want a cup of tea.

I think being able to sit down and drink tea is so good, I love the Middle East and Turkey for the same reason, you can always get tea, where ever you are.

I was once sat in a small office in a large court in Cairo, while it was incredibly hot, trying to explain that I had been a victim of a crime, not that I'd stolen something from a shop, whatever my crime reference number said, while a lawyer who happened to be passing kept telling me that I should just pay the fine, when a young boy came and sold us some tea, which I so appreciated at that point, as I was feeling quite exasperated. I remember the tea more than anything else.

In America I spent a lot of time trying to explain that the water had to be boiling, and lukewarm water just wouldn't do, it was clear people thought I was bonkers, which I probably am, but I'm still right about boiling water for tea.
Sunday 1 February 2009 7.10pm
I heard about Ritz teas, but I haven't been myself. I bought a little tea box from Fortnum they other day - it was 2 scones, a tiny little jam and a little cream. Couldn't resist the temptation to try it once I saw it. Have to say it was delicious, and I only wish Fortnums wasn't so far away.

And Buenos Aires... still on the 'to visit' list. The cafe you describe sounds great!

Zoe, I lived in New York last year, and you're right - they have no idea how to make tea! I was quite surprised at that also, it's hardly a secret family recipe...
Monday 2 February 2009 12.39am
yulia.i wrote:
Which do you prefer?
Given the choice between a tea shop and a coffee shop, which would you go to and why?

It's a no-brainer for me, just the smell of tea makes me slightly nauseous.
I vividly recall an incident years back when, engrossed in a newpaper in a café I reached for my coffee without taking my eyes from the page and inadvertently picked up a friend's tea and took a sip. I immediately spat it back in the cup and had to apologise profusely to my friend and the café proprietor. I shudder when I recall that incident.
I drink filtered Dutch coffee at home or put up a pot of percolated strong French coffee if I want to chill out and take my time.
It's an individual thing I guess, tomatoes look lovely, I wish I liked them, but I dislike their taste so they are a no-no. Conversely I love escargot and octopus, but some people would rather eat their first born than give them a try.
Monday 2 February 2009 12.45am
did you always dislike tea?

I have to say, you are probably the only person I ever heard talk about disliking tea. I know people who don't enjoy hot drinks in general, and therefore dont drink tea OR coffee... but I never heard of disliking teh actual taste and smell of tea. Fascinating!
Monday 2 February 2009 11.48am
perfect day for tea i think :)
Monday 2 February 2009 1.05pm
I like both, no real preference, but it does depend on the time of day, don't generally have coffee after 5 ish, unless it's after a meal.

I remember a coffee shop in Norwich, which did great muffins, and I think it was US or Canadian themed, and I saw one lady complain about her tea, and walk out. It was basically a large bowl of lukewarm water, with a saucer on top, and the tea bag separate. She was really annoyed, she said she'd never seen anything like it in her life, and that she came to a cafe so that she didn't have to make the tea herself.
Monday 2 February 2009 3.29pm
Then it was appropiate that it was US/Canadian themed, if it made tea like that!

I can relate to what Tom Pepper says, I have accidently drunk coffee and wanted to be sick it was that disgusting, they must both be acquired tastes.
Monday 2 February 2009 10.14pm
[quote yulia.i]did you always dislike tea?

I have to say, you are probably the only person I ever heard talk about disliking tea.

I cannot ever remember drinking tea, but in the interest of getting to the facts I asked my mother.

She said, "I used to pour a drop in a saucer when you were little and try to get you to drink it, but you always wrinkled your nose up or made a face."
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