So after 25-years of avoiding the coffee and tea round at work and being the predictable “none for me thanks” every time anyone asked if I wanted a brew or a cuppa in the office I decided it was time I drank my first full cup of tea.
Ok, before you ask, yes I am English, yes I live in England, and yes I was born in Burnley not far from Manchester where famously Coronation Street stylie everyone says “I’ll put the kettle on then” or “how’s about a nice cuppa chuck” every time there is anything from a massacre to a lottery win – but I have never, I SWEAR HAVE NEVER drunk an entire cup of tea.
*when I say tea I mean real tea – builder’s tea, Earl grey that sort of thing not girly flavoured tea …
I actually think the nearest I have got is a thimble full of canteen style tea, which I am sorry fellow journos one of you made for me in our oh so special and sacred newsroom kitchen – I am afraid it tasted to me like a cross between gone off fruit and curdled milk and…well nothing!! I drank a sip and made that face…you know that shudder face that people make when they swallow something that is just well PUKE!!!
I guess I have never really been a hot drink person until the past few years. As a kid I didn’t even like hot chocolate – I know odd kid ( I didn’t even like the Simpsons). I still won’t drink kitchen made coffee, only soya lattes with froth and yummy gingerbread, vanilla or caramel syrups, and hot Vimto 🙂 the drink of the gods :)and I will have hot choc but only in a certain mug with mini marshmallows!!!
I am officially a HOT DRINK SNOB…. I like coffee because you get to make a choice every single day. No matter how shit your day is you can walk into Starbucks (not any more they scam us tax payers – but I can throw out my morals for a good caramel soy frap at half price) and make a massive decision which if you get wrong can seriously change your day into a living nightmare – I mean the wrong coffee, such as straying from your sturdy and reliable latte to say a macchiato can be the final straw that tips you over the edge into THIS IS THE WORSE DAY EVER, I WANT TO QUIT, I HATE MY LIFE!!! But the right can be an AHH moment of pure bliss with the foam and the heat blasting your troubles away.
I get great satisfaction in saying a TALL, SOYA, SUGAR FREE VANILLA, LATTE, EXTRA HOT, WITH ONE SHOT OF COFFEE please, when I order my coffee – it may just be the single most complicated thing I do on an almost daily basis. But it never lets me down!!!
But now because of this challenge and because of Winnie my poo bag I am having to throw my milky, dreamy, hug in a mug aside and dabble in the world of tea – something that most people do on a scarily hourly basis. I knew I was going to hate it – but these challenges are not meant to be easy and I was determined not to stop until I had drunk every last horrific dreg – I guess I hadn’t counted on the fact they would give me a bloody vat of the pale brown liquid!
So my tea loving friend Becca (who really loves tea) vowed to help me conquer this challenge. Let me make one thing clear I am not a tea phobic, I have drunk peppermint tea in hospital to try to stop Winnie from farting and spluttering and me burping like Homer Simpson after 20 doughnuts and a crate of Duff!! And some fruit teas – well kinda!! At home my tea bags linger at the back of the cupboard waiting in anticipation for a builder or electrician to be offered a sacred cup of my flats forbidden drink.
We ended up at the Mad Hatters Tea Room – which if you haven’t been – DO!!! It is Alice in Wonderland in a cafe, so pretty and slightly insane. While waiting for Becca I was literally perspiring (and not from the heat) from the array of different teas on offer at the cafe. I seriously thought there would have just been one type called TEA – but no there was about 10 different ones.
We sat down and Becca and the very nice waiter who was genuinely amused and I think a little concerned when he heard I had NEVER drunk a cup of tea….I think he genuinely thought I was a crazy person!!! He might have been a little freaked out!
I chose the Rose Petal Tea – which is described as “our own blend of black tea infused with the elegant scent and taste of whole dried rose petals” – mmm!!! the anticipation was very literally killing me!!
As we chatted the tea arrived….imagine my horror when it came in a very cute teapot with a strainer (which could have been from Mars by the way I looked at it) and a dainty flowery cup. I had been prepared for a cup of tea not to try to force down a who teapot!
Seriously, my friend had to explain what I had to do. I poured the tea through the strainer and took a sip…and you know what, it wasn’t that bad…I mean I wouldn’t rave about it and I’m not about to start inhaling tea through my sinuses but it was managable…and with us chatting and laughing I managed to rather enjoy the experience.
That was until I absent mindedly decided to pour myself another cup, and, yes you have guessed it, forgot to use the strainer! ROOKY mistake!! Then cause i was laughing so much and was so embarrassed (and this is someone who has told the whole world she has a bag of poo on her stomach) that I couldn’t bear to ask the waiter for a new cup, I precariously tried to pour the leaves back into the teapot…I did quite well but obviously made a mess!
The second cup reminded me why this was a challenge – It was like drinking acidic skunks piss – I struggled and politely smiled over the rim of the cup but I think it was obvious to the whole tea room, not just Becca, that this experience (the tea not the chatter I mean, to make that clear) was actually painful to me – I must have looked like I was constipated!!
I tried to make it nicer by adding a sugar cube – which I also admitted was a first, i don’t recall ever adding a sugar cube to anything (I’m actually starting to realise how sheltered my first 25 years have been!!) in my life. This was a BIG MISTAKE – it was REVOLTING – but in all fairness I managed half of the cup – forcing it down in pained gulps with a grimace which would probably have scared young children half to death.
SO I did it – mostly thanks to Becca. And I exceeded my own expectations by drinking 3/4 of a little teapot, far more than the cup that I had challenged myself to drink for this blog.
Horray one down 100 to go. Except Winnie is not enjoying the tea, it seems my choice gives acid reflex mmm lovely!! And I can feel an overdrive in the bag section stirring, thank god I am sleeping alone tonight 🙂 I know too much info, but being blatantly honest I am a Coffee girl through and through – sorry guys tea just isn’t for me.
I hope the tea bags understand and don’t get upset, but I’m afraid you will be staying tucked away from the light of day along with the Five Spice I bought when I was going to make an exotic dish at uni but couldn’t be arsed and then my illness stopped me ever eating anything hotter than a sprinkle of pepper again, until a builder says yes to the worse cuppa he will ever drink in his life.
ONE DOWN 100 TO GO – WEDNESDAY is LIFE DRAWING – GOD HELP ME AND MY TEMPERAMENTAL OSTOMY BAG!!!