Right, pay attention, I’ve just coined a new word for a certain condition. I haven’t gone for the time honoured naming-it-after-oneself method (as did Hans Asperger) or after the victim (e.g. Lou Gehrig), because often it’s not appropriate. This is not unprecedented: Lyme disease is named after the town where it was first found, and not after the guy who found the bacterium, because his name was Willy Burgdorfer. I mean, imagine how much worse hearing you have “Willy Burgdorfer’s Bugs” would be, if you were unfortunate enough to contract it.

Instead, I’ve co-opted one of my favourite words from my other career.

I get to write a lot of reports about how good people are at their jobs, and bluntly, often the reason I’m writing is that there is some dissatisfaction in the first place. And so, I often have cause to use the word “abulia”.


“Abulia” is a neurological condition, and it means an inability or lack or will to make decisions. While normally used in cases such as chronic schizophrenics, I feel it often can be used with justification to describe some General Managers.

And so, I have drafted that word in, added a useful tea-prefix of “thé” and coined:

Théabulia : The inability to make a decision regarding tea.

I have further divided it into three sub-conditions:

  • Lesser théabulia:- characterised by difficulty answering the question: “Shall I have a cup of tea?”
  • Post-consumption secondary théabulia:- characterised by difficulty answering the question: “Shall I have a second cup of tea?”
  • Greater théabulia:- characterised by difficulty answering the question: “Of the teas I have available, which should I have?”

Treatment of Théabulia:

As a rule of thumb, you can overcome the first two by the simple expedient of having a small card in your pocket with YES written in large letters. Simply consult the card, and if necessary, read the contents out loud.

Greater Théabulia, however, can occur under two distinct sets of conditions:

Restrictive Greater Théabulia: Where the range of options is limited. For example, eating out. Even though the establishment has stocked fine loose leaf tea, they’ve got English Breakfast, some unnamed Sencha, Earl Grey and a couple of herbals. You might feel like a Second Flush Kanchan View, a nice Bi Luo Chun or a cup of Queen Adelaide, but no, you have to pick one of those five. And that’s hard.

Expansive Greater Théabulia: Where the range of options is huge. You might be at home where you have 40 options (I know, most of you will have many, many more. I’ve just counted 106 in my own home, not including several bags I can’t identify) , or you might be in a tea shop that stocks 150. What to do? Go for something safe? Be bold? Give something a second try when you disliked the first one?

At this point, there is no treatment for the twin strains of Greater Théabulia. I am confident, however, that  my readers will suggest some options.

Over to you.

Robert Godden

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

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3 thoughts on “Théabulia

  1. Definitely a sufferer of Expansive Greater Théabulia. No known treatment. I’ll sometimes take ten or so minutes selecting my morning cuppa. But I’ve come up with a method.

    I have a small table littered with bags of “daily drinkers”. I just pick up one of those at random. Usually does the trick.

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