Service, Tea and Life, Tea Retail

Eight Minutes To Normalise

Eight Minutes.

I just set the timer beside me for eight minutes.

In eight minutes, the cake I have carefully made to Lady Devotea’s exacting recipe will be ready to come out of the oven. It’s strawberry and white chocolate. There is no flavouring except actual strawberries and actual white chocolate.

But I digress. I have a rant to get to.

I got up today in order to let three people into the building at 5am. I’m usually up by 5, although that’s not the same being showered and in full “pants-on” mode by 5.

Two of the three people did not arrive on time. One has just arrived 90 minutes late.

The five minute warning just went off. Maybe a quick check on the cake.

So, the guy that I let in at 4.50 is an electrician, and before long, I offered him a cuppa. I was delighted to find he was a tea drinker.

I asked him which of the 30 teas I had at my disposal he might like.

“I just like normal tea” he said.

I recoiled a bit. There’s that word again. “Normal”. “Normal tea”.

It’s an expression I hate.

What’s normal? I could be existential about it and ponder the true meaning of normality, or hazard  a guess about the paradigms that exist with his reality… Is that really eight minutes? Best check the cake.

Looking good, but might give it another four.

Back to “normal tea”.

Unfortunately, exploiting underfed, unwell, unhappy African workers, smashing tea up with machines and then shipping to somewhere else with cheap labour – perhaps Poland – to be encased in cheap bags before stocking UK supermarket shelves with them is ‘normal’.

Well excuuuuuuuse me for saying “NO! THAT’S NOT NORMAL”.

It may be usual. It may be common. It may be prevalent. But it is in no way normal.

To call low grade teab*g tea “normal” is to imply that a proper cup is “abnormal”. It’s suggesting that either the method or the leaves themselves are not the real way of having tea.

Well, get a grip, guys.

Everytime you agree to have a cup of teab*g tea, you are going down the “abnormal” route. Don’t try to pin that on us loose leaf lovers.

WILL SOMEONE SHUT THAT TIMER UP, I’M RANTING.

OK, cake out, scones in!

Someone once said “Cafe owners who use teab*gs are thieves, or stupid, or both“*. Someone once said “Nothing says how indifferent I am about you than a cup of teab*g tea”.**

We must fight, people!

Now that our first branded permanent tea shop has been open a week, I can look at the figures.

For starters, the tea to coffee ratio is really pleasing to see. But I digress.

Slightly over 50% of our tea sales so far are Lord Petersham. And people are coming back for more.

So as far as I’m concerned, that’s what’s normal, A blend of hand picked teas named after an obscure Edwardian Lord, crafted for the daytime palate and served with whatever you want on the side.

Normality has been restored. Thank you for your patience.

Scone, anyone?

* I've checked and that was me
** Once again, turns out that was me

 

 

 

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