Pishkur spills the tea

I drink tea but don’t qualify as a tea-snob. Simple, inexpensive black tea is fine by me.

I drink it straight up, no sugar, no milk, often leaving the bag in the cup, string dangling over the rim for the next pour of hot water.

Maybe four pours of hot water, each diluting the teabag to the point that the water is just barely tinted like a faded old stain that ruins a nice shirt for Dress for Success but not so bad you want to donate it elsewhere.

Sometimes I have multiple cups of tea going, due to putting a cup down and losing track of where it is. Yes, I possibly am someone that folks whisper conspiratorially about or would try to avoid getting too close too.

As a maker of drinking vessels, I pay attention to beverages and their usage.

Tea, which originated in China about 5,000 years ago, after water, is the most consumed beverage in the world.

Coffee is just hundreds of years old, originated in Ethiopia but was popularized in the Arabian Peninsula.

Despite sharing similar drinking vessels, both have specific utensils (teapot, pour over) and established rituals built around their usage and consumption.

They are stimulants, promoted as having health benefits, non-alcoholic, and have historical traditions based around gathering places for their drinking.

Examples include the ritualistic Japanese zen based, meditative “tea ceremony” or the “schools of the wise” (penny universities) for coffee.

Today, the United States consumes the most coffee in the world but as colonies, preferred tea.

The Boston Tea Party revolt in 1772 against heavy British taxes (taxation without representation) led to drinking coffee as being a patriotic duty.

Coffee also was much easier and cheaper to import from the Caribbean through the triangle trade system than shipping tea in from South East Asia.

During World War II, Maxwell House instant coffee was part of our soldiers’ ration kits. These and other factors led to coffee’s popularity in the USA long before Starbucks arrived. 

 Still, for coffee intake per person, the USA doesn’t even rank in the global top 20. The top five countries are all Nordic, with Finland and Sweden averaging more than 22 lbs. of coffee per person each year (USA, about nine pounds).

Ultimately, you should drink what you want. Regardless of your choice, I’m sure I, or one of my students, make vessels you can purchase to make your ritual more memorable and enjoyable…