“Picture you upon my knee, just tea for two and two for tea, just me for you and you for me alone.” –“Tea for Two” by Irving Caesar and Vincent Youmans
There are two types of people: coffee lovers and tea lovers. Sure, many probably like both but usually prefer just one. What’s your favorite? Teatime is a huge deal in the United Kingdom; what is known as High Tea is an elegant habit that many make time for every single day. The meal consists of tea, of course, and a light snack around three or four o’clock in the afternoon, to tide one over before dinner in the evening. This tradition originated in the mid 1700s and had proper rules set in place.
Etiquette at High Tea
“Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors”
– Alice Walker
- The proper way to stir: the spoon should be held at the six o’clock position and turned towards twelve o’clock, clockwise.
- The teaspoon should not touch the teacup while stirring.
- Do not fold or smash the tea bag with your spoon! This is gauche, indeed!
- Small bites are served, such as finger sandwiches (with cucumber and watercress, sans crusts), little cakes and biscuits, petit fours, macaroons, and scones (with butter and jam).
- The English usually serve their tea with milk and sugar unless it’s something like Earl Grey, and then it’s perfectly acceptable to drink it straight!
More Tea Tidbits
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis
- And then, of course, there’s iced tea, which is a favorite of the American South and, well, most Americans (flavored with lemon and sugar, of course).
- Of course, tea has been a staple in Asian communities, most specifically China, for thousands of years.
- And then there are the Hipsters with their Matcha tea!
Let’s Have a Tea Party!
When we think of tea parties, we inevitably think of a beloved children’s pastime. Tea sets with mismatched saucers and cups, a table surrounded by stuffed animals all drinking “tea” (there’s usually just water in the cups and pot or nothing at all), and images conjured from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” There’s nothing more playful or fun than imagining tea with the Mad Hatter. Of course, as adults, tea parties should still be had! This time, you can have the real stuff and an elegant, matching tea set.
Coffee: Lifestyle Musings
“I have measured my life in coffee spoons.” – T.S. Eliot
Coffee is so much more than a drink; it’s almost like a hobby. It’s been enjoyed since 800 A.D.! Of course, most all of us need caffeine to run our busy lives and to spring out of bed in the morning. Did you know that coffee was once banned and was actually punishable by death if one was caught drinking it! In the 17th Century in the Ottoman Empire, it was believed that coffee had mind-altering effects! How do you prefer your coffee is probably the most probing question today. Cream is actually supposed to keep coffee warmer for slightly longer (as opposed to black coffee). What sort of pot/espresso maker do you use? A drip pot like Mr. Coffee, an old-fashioned percolator, a French press, or—God forbid—Instant coffee?! Do you go out for your daily cup at Dunkin’ or into a fancy café with designs in the foam? If you’re lucky, you probably own a highly coveted space age object from Williams Sonoma!
“There are three intolerable things in life – cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women…”
― Orson Welles
In recent years, there’s been the rise of iced coffee, cold-brewed, the Frappuccino, and, of course, Starbucks. Suddenly, a cup of coffee became a sort of statement in a to-go cup with a mermaid logo. Fun coffee facts are always trending, however. Beethoven apparently loved coffee, while Mecca banned it during the 16th century because it was believed to encourage “radical thinking.”
The Coffee House Motif
“Three hundred years ago, during the Age of Enlightenment, the coffee house became the center of innovation.” ― Peter Diamonde
- Did you know that coffee houses practically saved England from ruination and Gin-drunks during the 18th century? Pubs have always been open all day but, because alcoholism was running amok, coffee houses were especially sought after as gathering spots to sober people up!
- Coffee houses have always been thought of as a place to meet with friends and discuss ideas, politics, books, films, etc. Since coffee is a stimulant, it’s great for conversation!
For more fun information on coffee, visit the link below: