What has happened to tea?

A while ago fellow blogger, Leigh, sent me a link to feed over on the dibb.co.uk, which questions what has happened to tea… it’s a very good question.

On average, Britons consume only 1.7 kg of coffee per year, which is (and you might be surprised by this) one of the lowest amounts in Europe. And therefore people in the UK are still drinking more cups of tea than coffee – but why does it feel like coffee is more dominant in our everyday culture? Well it’s the rise in the cafe culture. Either popping in on your way to work or to hang out with friends, or sitting to write a blog post or read a book just to escape your everyday life for at least a few minutes. We now adapt our lives around finding our favourite cafe places (chain or independent). It’s a staggering 847% increase inthe number of UK coffee outlets between 1993 and 1997 which puts the coffee habit into the limelight. But whilst this shows the rise of coffee what about tea?

The truth is, it’s becoming harder to get a decent cup of tea out and about. Whether it’s down to the quality of the teabags or it’s the water from the coffee machine – it’s just not the same as a home brew. I’ve found Starbucks to be the best chain brand for their tea, and not just for quality but variety too – I know I’m partial to a Green Tea Matcha Latte with Soy milk. But the reality is the water is not likely to come from the kettle and that makes a massive difference. The cafe chains are targeting the coffee drinker but just supplying the means to what can only be described as a mediocre cup of tea.

Office tea making. You’d be surprised how few offices have a kettle now-a-days and instead a hot water machine. Great invention for saving time and making our working day more efficient but I have to say there is something special about having tea (at three perhaps, nice ring to it) for a quick break and maybe a chat around the kettle. In fact, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 requires VDU users to have breaks or changes of activity to reduce eye strain so why not make a cuppa?

The reality is, the art of making a cup of tea is dying. From coffee drinkers to no-hot-drinks people, it’s becoming a higher risk that you are better off waiting until you get home and put your feet up with your favourite brew. Or on the hand, go to the tea shops – you’d be surprised how many there are! The likes of the specialists are keeping tea ‘mixology’ (as Bluebird Co. would say) alive.

So let’s share our tea passion, whether it be for loose leaf or teabag – where is your favourite place to have a cup of tea. Or where is the best place you ever had a cup of tea?