Do you have any black teas?

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First post in a Thursday series that details the tiffin experience starting with  a focus on Tea.

Thursday Tiffin #1: do you have any  black teas?    

A week after arriving in Seattle I was still tired from the shere physical and emotional practicalities of emigration.   Tired from my first day in a job with too many names,   places and projects to remember.   The  offer of ‘hanging out’ with someone in their home after work seem like a really good relaxing end to the day.   I gladly accepted  the invite to a real American person’s home after work.   The American asked me if I’d like something to drink.   Without a second thought,   flying on Englishness auto-pilot:

Wendy:   I’d love a cup of tea please

American: what type of tea?

Wendy: Just ordinary tea,   any regular type  

Here I’m trying not to cite any common UK  brand names, Tetley, PG tips, etc incase my host doesn’t have any.   I’m trying to be vague enough that they will likely have something that fits the bill.   Though obviously I do have a more specific opinion….

American: I’ve got…  

American produces a long list of what sound like herbal and plant infusions rather than teas,  strawberry,  peppermint,   apple etc.   Given the specificity and long list  of tea infusions mentioned I suspect my host really likes tea infusions and may have some decent stuff in the house.  I decide to risk citing a few regular tea types, but not brands incase brands are UK specific.

Wendy: Ceylon,   Assam  or Darjeeling would be great…   …or anything of that ilk really,   don’t put yourself out

American: do you mean black tea?

Wendy: I think so

at this stage I was unaware that tea came in a range of colours and that I was refering to what American’s generally explicitly classify as Black teas and don’t necessarily recognise the regions of the ex-colonies as tea providers.   Seems obvious now,   with hind sight…

American: How about Early Grey?

Wendy:   Oh yes,   that would be a luxury,   thankyou  

Great.  Earl Grey is normally made from a blend of Assam, Darjeeling and Celon tea so my American host actually offered me all the  types I’d asked for in one cup!  I watch the American dig deep into the back of his pantry,   boxes are taken out to make space for him as he climbs in,  hunting for the Earl Grey.   Wow even the pantries are BIG out here.   I feel bad for making something as simple as sharing a drink together into a major pantry deep-dive  excavation  exercise

Tea found.   The next, not insubstantial,  obstacle is making the cup of tea.   We’ll cover making the tea in a later post.    Let’s say,   from this experience I learned that when offered a drink in America  I should remember to  say

do you have any  black tea’s?”    

Do you have any black teas?
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3 bits of lovely banter on “Do you have any black teas?”

  1. Mark writes:

    Count yourself lucky you weren’t offered Rooibos! 😉

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  2. Raymond writes:

    It bugs me as well that people in the States use the word “tea” to refer to things that don’t actually contain tea…

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  3. Andy writes:

    I have been offered tea at friends houses here in the states many times and it turns out to be some kind of warm berry infusion and not tea. I always ask now what kind of tea they have before I say I would like some, because there is nothing worse than expecting a nice hot cup of tea only to be told your choices are “blackberry, apple, cinnamon, sunflower” or “raspberry, orange goodnight” or some other such nonsense. Just because it comes in a bag and you stick it in hot water does not make it tea.

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