The Blacklist

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents* — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind* which swept up the streets (for it is in London* that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely* agitating the scanty flame* of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Apart from the bits I’ve marked with asterisks above, the opening paragraph of Edward Bullmer-Lytton’s Paul Clifford perfectly describes the last 12 hours and 3 minutes**.

I got little sleep and was not firing on all cylinders when I made my first tea of the day: a 450ml pot of Finbarr’s Revenge.

For some reason, I left it behind whilst I commuted through the drizzle to my office – it’s a nine metre commute.

I turned to retrace my steps, dear reader, when a violent rainstorm swept in, pressing me back to the meagre sanctuary of my office.

It can cause great hardship and deep suffering when a person is adrift from their first tea of the day. I was now in that state.

Sometimes, this would inspire me to look on the bright side and count my blessings; but on this occasion, I was swept on a wave of first melancholy, then an abiding sense of injustice and then pure rage.

With trembling fingers, I turned to the keyboard to share “The Blacklist”.

You might think “The Blacklist” is a forthcoming TV series starring James Spader as a criminal mastermind, but let me tell you, long before the series was a twinkle in a TV writer’s eye, The Blacklist was etched across my heart.

It contains those to whom I feel a deep and abiding anger, dear reader, because of what they do to tea.

As the tension mounted and my seemingly unobtainable tea cooled and oversteeped, it seemed to me that the time has come to share The Blacklist.

Beware that in reading this, a gentle reader might turn from a lamb to a lion; might be seized with gusts of fury and a determination to right these wrongs; might swear to seek revenge and start designing a superhero costume; I beg of you not to do these things.

It is by abusive rants that we will change the world, so when these things stick in your craw, you know what your duty is. Blog. Blog them to oblivion.

The Blacklist


What are these guys thinking? Their world-famous London address is about the size of a supermodel’s underpants and they sell coffee there. Coffee?? The original Thomas Twining got rid of that more than 250 years ago. AND they are currently running an advert on Australian TV that basically describes their teabags as “the best tea you can get”. No it isn’t. Not even close.

Dr Oz:

This guy just dribbles from one half-arsed “health benefit” to another. ‘Drink Oolong and lose weight’. ‘Drink Coffee and lose weight’. What’s next: “Drink Arsenic and never put on another kilo?”. Actual information on the health benefits if tea can be found here. Any amount of half-truth and outright lies about tea can be found occupying 27.45% of the internet.***


Before I ever went to a Teavana, I defended them, assuming they were somewhat like the Australian T2. But they aren’t. They have all the credibility of the Flat Earth Society. They call it ‘Teavana’ because it’s where tea goes to die.


Commodification of tea? Purveyors of the poorest tea there is? Part of the immense scam that turns the exploitation of Kenyan Tea Workers into tasteless pseudo-tea? Pick your criticism. And on top of that, they just bought the above-mentioned T2, which is unlikely to benefit from the experience.

Fair Trade:

With somewhat good intentions, the Fair Trade programme is discriminatory and does not always produce the right outcome. But yet, they feel OK about charging for it in your cup anyway. And as for “Rainforest Alliance”, well doubly so.

Stupid, Stupid Coffee Shop Owners:

It’s simple: if you do not offer good quality, loose leaf tea, then you are on the list. And I have ranted on this many a time, such as here. And I have plans for you guys. Big plans.

At this moment, the sun came out, and my heart was lightened. The Blacklist was tucked back inside my head, and with a spring in my step, I headed back to my teapot.

Take heed, dear reader. The warm fingers of the dawning sun may have drawn me from The Blacklist, but it’s there, simmering away, ready to resurface at a moment’s notice.

** That’s the difference between sunset and sunrise here last night. From here on, the day will overtake night for the rest of the year.
 *** A made up statistic, used as an ironic metaphor. Explained just in case you’re not all that bright.


12 thoughts on “The Blacklist

  1. Like your style…may you never be short on good quality leaf tea and prose to match… I personally like a sencha green to
    appease the taste buds and the tea spirits…keep the rants coming.

  2. Qualitea says you have wicked sense of humour. I mix mine with a little sage periodically to keep me grounded and in present. Colin

  3. Only a storm could separate you from your morning tea pot. The results of which give us something to ponder.
    Sharing your concerns on this list and holding my coffee shop post at bay.

  4. @xavier that is a brilliant question, no doubt we’ll see a blog post about it at some point. Anyway, always good to start the day with one of Robert’s entertaining new posts.

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