Suck It Up

Every so often, I find in response to a picture that I or someone else posts there is criticism of the drinker or the server in relation to the drinking vessel.

Opinions as to what type of cups one should, or more likely should not, sup from are a mainstay on Facebook.

Well, I have to tell you, it’s not always appropriate.

I recall back when we ran our first tea shop, the fact that the cups we served tea in were handle-free Chinese cups caused some consternation. But usually, people managed to cope. A few didn’t, and we had an emergency supply of other options.

There are certainly circumstances where the wrong vessel robs a little enjoyment from the drinker.

Or sends a message. If you are somewhere where they use cups with a coffee company logo on them, and you have just received a teab*g and hot, unfiltered water slopped into said cup, then clearly

  1. you are about to complain and/or have an ‘accident’ that will result in the fire brigade being summoned or;
  2. you have been taken to an unsuitable venue by friends, who are clearly also unsuitable and should be culled from your inner circle at once or;
  3. it is the only place open and you are cursing yourself for not carrying a vacuum flask and a china cup or;
  4. you are in that strange anomaly,: a$50 million dollar,  5- star international hotel that will charge you $5 for a 50c cup of tea, in which case refer to point (1).

Often, though, it’s the personal choice of vessel that is criticised.

And why? I don’t get it.  If someone posts a photo online of a cup of tea they are enjoying, where’s the payoff for someone to respond with “Oh that cup is totally unsuitable”?

This is totally different to someone posting a picture with a telltale tag hanging over the lip of the cup. As I have previously said, it is quite OK to give that person a quick lecture and ONE chance to eschew teab*gs, before you change your will / have them meet with an accident / unfriend them on Facebook, If you see it for second time, then go ahead. Sort them out.

But what if you don’t know the backstory? What if, after years of suffering bagged tea at home, this is the first cup of proper loose leaf tea a newly-fledged teenage breakaway has prepared in their share house, using an old french press and a styrofoam cup?  Are you going to stomp on that pride? Crush that spark? Harsh that mellow?

No, just like anyone confronted with a delicious watermelon iced bubble tea in the middle of a tropical day, you have to suck it up.

And different people have different needs.two cups

Here’s the drinking vessels Lady Devotea and I normally start our day with. One is 200ml. One is 700ml. That is a substantial difference, to put it mildly.

I love a nice china tea cup, but first thing, I need a huge fix of tea. After all, scientists tell us that the average male is composed of 60% tea*, so I need to keep it up.

Of course, one thing that it is quite proper to criticise is stupid slogans on mugs and cup. Generally, these slogans fall into these categories:

  • Suggesting that a mug contains strong coffee and further, that some sort of benefit is obtained thereby
  • Suggesting that a mug could be swapped for alcohol and further, that some sort of benefit is obtained thereby
  • Suggesting that one gender is inferior to the other
  • A tea-related slogan that suggests a teab*g is acceptable
  • Something that relates to bodily functions is a crass way

For all of the above, go your hardest. Tear them down.

new wn boxDon’t get me wrong, the right vessel can enhance your tea experience. Here’s a photo Lady Devotea took for the front of our new packaging.

Since you ask, it’s White Nights Fine White Tea Blend. As it has it’s origins in Moroccan-style tea drinking, a tea glass is the perfect vessel.

But let’s not rush to judge. If someone posts a cuppa in a somewhat awkward vessel, then just let it go.


*Remember, water is just tea that has failed to reach its potential

 

Robert Godden

Certified Tea Nutter. Blender. Author of "The Infusiast" and Tea "Stories"

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