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Dec 19 2013

I must be a liberal fifth columnist

Because I drink tea.

teaorcoffee

I’m drinking some right now. In the middle of the USA.

82 comments

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  1. 1
    Inaji

    I’m also drinking tea, right now. In North Dakota. It’s a scandal.

  2. 2
    carlie

    Those are some pretty big ranges, there.
    I also drink tea in the US. I do not drink coffee.

  3. 3
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    I’m an American and the only reason I’m not currently drinking a cup of tea is that I’d like to get to sleep before midnight.

  4. 4
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I’m in Australia and I drink both tea and coffee.

  5. 5
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    I just had a nice cup of tea over here in the Pacific Northwest (where my coffee-drinking partner says the local coffee is so over-roasted as to be undrinkable).

  6. 6
    Usernames are smart

    I’m drinking some right now.

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in that poorly-designed map. It wants to show two distinct pieces of data (tea consumption and coffee consumption), but it fails miserably when it comes to depicting that data.

    There are no countries in the world that drink ONLY tea or ONLY coffee, but that is all that poor map can depict.

  7. 7
    cartomancer

    I’ve never left England in my life. I don’t drink coffee, which is perfectly normal in these parts, but I don’t drink tea either.

    That, of course, disqualifies me from voting, holding public office, receiving a knighthood, working with impressionable children and owning a top hat. There is also a special badge I have to wear in public so the normal people can avoid me.

  8. 8
    robro

    And then there’s this on the Guardian today. Not looking so good for tea drinking. Even Britain is falling prey to the power of the bean. I mainly drink tea when my English friend makes it for me. He’s actually a “Dutchy man” from Penzance so we’re using English loosely, you understand. Still he makes a fine brew.

  9. 9
    Rich Woods

    Tea. Tea. TEA.

    Yet today I saw this: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/dec/19/tea-coffee-drinkers-sales. If it carries on, I may have to emigrate.

  10. 10
    Lofty

    Most of what people drink wouldn’t pass as either tea or coffee if subjected to food standards inspections. I think the whole map should be colored grey.

  11. 11
    Dick the Damned

    Meh! Effete tea & coffee drinkers! I’m drinking beer. (Although it is alcohol-free.)

  12. 12
    Al Dente

    I’m drinking beer. (Although it is alcohol-free.)

    No, you’re not drinking beer. You’re drinking ersatz, imitation, pretend beer fit for infants and children. At least Budweiser has alcohol, unlike the slightly bitter soda pop you’re drinking.

  13. 13
    mastmaker

    You wouldn’t recognize the Tea and Coffee of South India if it hit you in the face.

    Tea: They boil the black tea leaves/powder in straight milk for tens of minutes and add sugar to the resulting abomination. The North Indian version is similar, but lot more diluted.

    Coffee: They prepare concentrated coffee so thick, you could cut it with knife. Then they add a few spoons of that into a cup of boiling milk and add sugar to THAT abomination.

  14. 14
    jimbaerg

    FWIW Coffee has never been my cup of tea.
    JB 51° N 114 ° W

  15. 15
    Dick the Damned

    Al, i’ve gotten to an age where i have to have alcohol-free days. In Canada, the alcohol-free beer ain’t that bad.

  16. 16
    MJP

    I’ve always thought coffee tastes terrible. Smells good, but tastes terrible.

  17. 17
    nyarlathotep

    I drink both with equal enthusiasm. From my experience, a large segment of people in Texas share my tastes. I’d be interested in a similar survey of the U.S., broken down state-by-state, with a third option for “no preference.”

  18. 18
    Eamon Knight

    As it happens, there is a kettle in the kitchen right now getting stupid with our evening chai (“stupid” being our in-house term for the process of steeping the bags in the freshly-boiled water). Last time we were in Ol’ Blighty we found that we drink more tea than all my English cousins put together, who seem to have converted to coffee-drinking. Of course, the national dish is now, apparently, chicken masala.

    This is not the England my parents grew up in.

  19. 19
    trog69

    Good. More coffee for me.

  20. 20
    anteprepro

    I’ve always thought coffee tastes terrible. Smells good, but tastes terrible.

    Heh. I won’t even concede that the smell is any good. But I don’t much like tea either. I’m a man without a country.

  21. 21
    chigau (違う)

    Budweiser gives me explosive diarrhoea.

  22. 22
    rturpin

    Shit! No one told me it was either-or. Next, you’ll tell me if I drink wine, I can’t drink vodka?

  23. 23
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith

    Good. More coffee for me.

    NO! For me!!!!!
    I can haz ALL yur coffeee!
    All your coffee are belong to us!



    Hmm… Maybe too much coffee for me.

    *although I do like a nice rooibos now and then*

  24. 24
    smike

    I used to drink coffee for many years, then couldn’t stomach it and switched to tea. I stayed on tea for many years and then developed a taste for coffee again. Now I drink either, as the mood dictates. And I live in central Texas, so it’s a long way to any light brown or burnt orange places (of course, central Texas is a long way from anywhere, really). And here I was thinking that I couldn’t find any more ways to not fit in.

  25. 25
    ChasCPeterson

    There are no countries in the world that drink ONLY tea or ONLY coffee, but that is all that poor map can depict.

    wrong.
    See the four colors?
    See the legend?

  26. 26
    Cuttlefish

    Coffee in the morning.

    Rooibos in the afternoon.

  27. 27
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith

    central Texas is a long way from anywhere

    Aint it tha truth!

    although, Caine, Fleur du mal might be able to school us on what that really means. 8-)

    just out of curiosity, without divulging more than your comfortable with, what part of central Texas?
    (I’m from “near” Mexia…. and no, the x is not pronounced x, it is pronounced h and the i is more like a long a. :-)

  28. 28
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Cuttlefish

    Rooibos

    You should also look out for boegoe, another South African tea.

  29. 29
    bittys

    I’m English, and I can’t stand tea. Coffee all the way.

    /sometimes I feel like an imposter

  30. 30
    captainblack

    Cartomancer @7, do what atheists and republicans (those who favour abolition of the monarchy) do in the UK – do/take whatever is on offer, just keep your fingers crossed behind your back. I understand this even works when taking the Privy Councillor’s oath!?

  31. 31
    Azuma Hazuki

    Tea, tea, nothing but tea! Coffee smells nice but tastes horrible and leaves me feeling oddly sick and bloated.

    It’s possible to get surprisingly good teas here in the US if you know where to look. I’ve sent my girlfriend a nice airtight tin full of Yin Zhen white tea pearls, from leaves grown where her ancestors once lived, and am partial to cheap sencha and genmaicha for everyday consumption.

    Really, though, if it’s made from C. sinensis I will most likely drink it happily and gratefully :) So much complicated chemistry and culture from a single leaf…

  32. 32
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    cartomancer @7:
    I’m right there with you. I’ve tried coffee and tea once before and didn’t like either. I know my tastes have changed in the intervening 20(?) years, but I still have no desire. I do likes me the smell of coffee though.
    One thing about Americans in the South–they loooooooooooove Sweet Tea. I’ve watched the servers at my restaurant prepare an urn of tea, and they add 1.5-2 pitchers (20-24 oz pitchers) worth of sugar to the tea. Ick!

  33. 33
    yubal

    On the bright side of the situation, coffee and tea are not mutually exclusive.

    Take a coffee maker, fill in the amount of coffee powder you want and place the amount of tea corresponding to the amount of water in the vessel that captures your coffee. Add a pinch of salt to the coffee powder.

    Let the coffee maker run and remove the tea from the coffee as soon as it is cooked.

    Enjoy without milk and without sugar,

    one batch helped me through every 18 hour study period I had to go through in undergrad.

  34. 34
    captainblack

    captainblack @30, Should have added those being ordained in the Church of England, may cross their fingers behind their back when assenting to the 39 articles. (As far as I recall this is in fact compulsory ;)

  35. 35
    mdunlap

    Haha, glad to see I am in good company. Never drink coffee, personally. I can not get past the bitter taste. I go through 6-8 cups of tea a day, though. All types. It is my main drink.

  36. 36
    davidgibson

    coffee AM,tea PM beer in between.

  37. 37
    rq

    They’ve marked Latvia wrong, it’s definitely a coffee nation.
    Unless you count herbal teas. Then we win.

  38. 38
    unclefrogy

    I like black coffee and I drink it every day
    I drink mint tea a night and black tea at tea time
    I like green tea and Darjeeling, nothing is as good as a fragrant Oolong freshly made, the third cup is perfection.
    well maybe some good strong Cuban coffee
    or turkish mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    I.’m tempted to grow the plants here just for fun, no frost here so they would survive
    uncle frogy

  39. 39
    Olav

    Black coffee during the day, black tea in the evening.

    No, I don’t sleep much, why do you ask?

  40. 40
    Cryptomaniac

    Earl Grey. Loose leaf of course. Make it so: Warmed silver teapot – very warmed. Roiling, boiling water. Bone china tea cup with saucer, silver spoon. Milk. Sugar. Pour through strainer. Stir. Pinky out; imbibe. Repeat.

    Topical, tropical video by Elemental.

    Herbal? No thanks. In order to be tea, then of necessity it has to come from the “Tea” plant. You’d think it was obvious enough. But no. People mash up weeds and hot water and then come over all euphemistic and say “Would you like some Tea?” The only acceptable answer is no.

  41. 41
    Nick Gotts

    Budweiser gives me explosive diarrhoea. – chigau

    So, it goes right through you without being changed in any way?

  42. 42
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    I drink both tea and coffee, and over the years I have made an (I think) interesting observation.

    Quality tea, properly prepared as it should be with the correct water temperature etc., while notably nicer than teabags, isn’t actually that much nicer. It’s notable, but the margin is not that great. Proper coffee, on the other hand, made from quality, freshly ground beans with water at the right temperature, is so vastly superior to instant coffee that it’s hard to put into words.

    Anyone else agree, or is this just a personal thing?

    @Dick the Damned #11

    Meh! Effete tea & coffee drinkers! I’m drinking beer. (Although it is alcohol-free.)

    The Traditional Scale of Manliness™ (UK rules) would put those who drink alcohol free beer as far more effete and effeminate than those who drink tea. A good cup of builder’s will put hair on your chest, presumably in compensation for removing the skin from the inside of your mouth.

  43. 43
    Kevin Anthoney

    Careful, you’ll be watching cricket next.

  44. 44
    carlie

    Quality tea, properly prepared as it should be with the correct water temperature etc., while notably nicer than teabags, isn’t actually that much nicer. It’s notable, but the margin is not that great.

    Yes, true. It’s more the flavor of tea than the quality that contributes to the goodness of the cup, in my opinion. I’m a minor tea snob, but I hold no truck with people who like to complain if the water isn’t within a half a degree of the right boiling temperature for steeping and the tea isn’t their exact favorite brand and whether it’s loose or pre-bagged. Although, I will say one of the nice things about tea is that I can take my own bags to meetings and conferences and be happy enough with the hot water they provide, but coffee drinkers don’t get to eschew the meeting coffee to make their own unless they bring along their own entire portable brewing system.

  45. 45
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @carlie

    I agree that teabags are far more convenient than coffee.

    I suppose that the taste difference is because the tea in teabags is just… tea. It’s real tea. Whereas instant coffee is coffee that’s been freeze dried and had all sorts of stuff done to it to make it soluble.

  46. 46
    sonofrojblake

    T..t..t..t..t..t..t..t..t..tea. Tea. Mmm. Tea.

  47. 47
    richardelguru

    I mainly drink tea, but then I’m originally British.
    I have to make my own, and can’t drink tea when ‘out’ because almost all tea made by Americans is horrible and tastes as though it came out of Boston Harbo[u]r!
    The secret is BOIL the water chaps! (And keep banging the rocks together!!)

  48. 48
    carlie

    What I have found is that the problem with tea in many American restaurants is that they only have one box of tea, it’s the most cut-rate off brand possible to save on the cost, and it’s the same box they’ve had for the last 10 years because so few people ask for tea. It’s nothing to do with Americans not knowing how to drink tea, it’s that there’s not enough demand in most chain type restaurants to bother with. So if you’re complaining about “Americans can’t make tea”, it’s because you’re not looking in the right places.

  49. 49
    U Frood

    Does Iced Tea count?
    Though I guess the morning cups of coffee still overwhelms the tea…

  50. 50
    marcus

    Coffee is life.

  51. 51
    Dick the Damned

    Kevin @ 43, not while there’s paint to dry.

  52. 52
    richardelguru

    But Carlie, apart from the fact that I was making (sort of) a joke about the Boston Tea Party, this happens even at the dwellings of acquaintances.

    After 30 odd years over here (well IIRR 17 odd and 15 even) I can’t ever remember getting a decent cup. The standard model of American tea provision being a cup of warm water brought with a cheap teabag to which it has not yet been introduced, let alone been intimate with.

    This may have changed of late, as I am quick to learn ans after a couple of decades gave up asking (apart from a few involuntary lapses).

  53. 53
    Moggie

    Cryptomaniac:

    Herbal? No thanks. In order to be tea, then of necessity it has to come from the “Tea” plant. You’d think it was obvious enough. But no. People mash up weeds and hot water and then come over all euphemistic and say “Would you like some Tea?” The only acceptable answer is no.

    I agree that the “herbal” in “herbal tea” means “not”, but I find two not-teas acceptable: rooibos and yerba mate. I find the latter more stimulating than black tea, though I think the caffeine content is lower.

  54. 54
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I quit drinking coffee this year, and have been able to quit taking omeprazole daily. Which is nice. I like all kinds of tea so long as it’s loaded with caffeine and/or booze.

  55. 55
    Nick Gotts

    Herbal? No thanks. In order to be tea, then of necessity it has to come from the “Tea” plant. – Cryptomaniac@40

    But as Proudhon reminded us, proper tea is theft!

  56. 56
    frugaltoque

    But in Puerto Rico, the coffee will get you four doubloons (five in a small market) whereas they don’t even take tea.

    Duh.

  57. 57
    otranreg

    @5 robro

    And then there’s this on the Guardian today. Not looking so good for tea drinking. Even Britain is falling prey to the power of the bean.

    I’m kind of not surprised by this. During my last stay in England (Essex, mostly), I was appalled at the measly variety offered in most supermarkets, with 90% of tea being in tea bags, [facepalm] (I actually didn’t manage to find loose green tea in supermarkets at all).

    Sure, I found specialised shops that made me very happy indeed, but they’re rare apparently, so you can’t just buy groceries and decent tea at the same place — something that I’m used to where I live.

  58. 58
    brianwestley

    Trivia: Paul Revere coffeepots are worth more than his teapots, because coffee drinking was still ramping up in his time so coffeepots are rarer.

  59. 59
    otrame

    I am neither a coffee nor a tea snob, but to equate that brown powder stuff that you mix with water with actual coffee will get you sneered at big time in this house.

    Which is in South Texas, where the state wine is iced tea. At least down here you are unlikely to be presented with tea from a powdered mix when you ask for iced tea (shudder)–even MacDonald’s knows better than that– and you can get your iced tea unsweetened. The sweet tea makes my teeth hurt.

    I also agree with the partner of Vicki @5: I hate coffee made with burnt beans. Not just the French version of burnt beans, but the northwest coast version, too. So Starbucks is were I get chai latte.

    I have tried a number of the South African teas and really like some of them. I am also fond of mint.

  60. 60
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    My wife and I are both coffee freaks. We only have 2-3 cups each per day, but those are espresso, and not small cups. We are also coffee snobs–to the point that we will bring our own coffee with us when we stay with friends. We’ve converted more than a few of our friends to our own favorite blend in so doing.

    Until 1995, I wasn’t much of a tea drinker. Then I visited Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). The tea was so much better than any tea I had had before that we brought a whole bunch home with us–both that time and on our subsequent 2 visits. On our last trip in 2009, we also visited a tea factory and saw the processing of the tea from green leaves into black tea (involving fermentation). Good tea is a completely different beverage from the crap you normally swill here in the US.

  61. 61
    magistramarla

    The hubby makes a nice big pot of delicious coffee before I get up in the morning and then leaves for work. I drink a cup of hot coffee (with a flavored cream – yeah I know!) with my breakfast.
    I slowly drink the rest of the pot as iced coffee throughout the day.
    The last glass of the day can be made special with a shot of Kahlua, Amaretto or Bailey’s.

    I usually only drink tea if I’m ill and it tends to be soothing then. However, a cup of Constant Comment with a big shot of Amaretto is good on a cold night.
    I also live in south Texas, and I absolutely can’t stand the sweet tea.

  62. 62
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    An accomodationist would stir some tea and coffee into a cup and insist it’s the greatest drink evar.

  63. 63
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Nick Gotts, 55

    I see what you did there.

    And may I just say, “Ouch”.

    …fuck it, I may not just say that. I will be compelled to add, “Ugh.”

  64. 64
    ChasCPeterson

    You USAn tea-drinkers ain’t that special. Two clicks can take you to the source of the map (The Economist), where there is some explanation. Sez in the USA coffee consumption is 3x tea, which would put it right at the 75% coffee mark that is the lower boundary for the dark-brown shade. (Not like Guatemala, which is purported to be 99+% coffee!)

  65. 65
    ebotebo

    Seattle’s Finest #4

  66. 66
    DaveH

    Interesting, but kinda misses the point. This indicates percentage consumed. But if you look up coffee and tea consumption (wiki has good lists), you see interesting stuff. Like the fact that Canada, which would seem to be much less coffee than the States, actually drinks significantly more than our neighbours (6.5 vs. 4.2 kg/person/year IIRC), but also drinks more tea as well (can’t remember the numbers, but similar ratio).

  67. 67
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    @18,

    Of course, the national dish is now, apparently, chicken masala.

    This is not the England my parents grew up in.

    Sounds like it’s a much nicer place.

    I can’t drink tea on an empty stomach. And since my stomach is empty about 90% of the day, I stick to coffee.

  68. 68
    Eamon Knight

    @67: Given that Mom and Dad were meat, potato and (over-cooked) veg people, I have to agree with that part. My food horizons expanded dramatically when I started hanging out with this one girl from school…..

  69. 69
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @DaveH:

    And drinks a lot, but still much less than the US, of soda pop. I think the reduction in soda consumption has a lot to do with the increase in both tea consumption and coffee consumption.

    Of course, the tea numbers are artificially inflated in Canada and deflated in the US because I moved across the border.

  70. 70
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    @68,

    My parents’ cooking got a lot more interesting after the kids left the house. Oddly enough, my own food horizons expanded about the same time.

    What’s up with S. Korea? An island of coffee drinkers in a sea of tea?

  71. 71
    mikeym

    The map proves O’l Blue Eyes was right: they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.

  72. 72
    HappyNat

    Tony! The Queer Shooop! @32

    The abomination of sweet tea has been invading the “North” the last few years. 5 years ago in Ohio it was hard to find and now somehow it’s become the default at many restaurants. It’s so bad I have to emphasize I want UNsweet tea. Even then half the time the say so ya want sweet tea. No if I wanted sugar water I’d drink a juice box.

  73. 73
    carlie

    richardelguru – come to my house, I’ll give you a decent cup of tea. :)

    I’m lucky that we have a tea shop in town, so I can get my hands on most any kind of loose black tea I want, and there is a Chinese market where I can get good green teas, and one grocery store sells Stash so I can even get decent bagged tea. It’s hard to remember that not all of the country is so well-stocked.

    I still don’t like the graph, though – it doesn’t give any indication what the other percentage drinks. 75% coffee drinkers doesn’t mean 25% tea; some drink both, some drink soda or other beverages.

  74. 74
    Rey Fox

    GIVE ME SUGAR…IN WATER

  75. 75
    John Horstman

    Huh, I drink both, a lot (I’m just finishing the pot of green tea I had with dinner). And beer. And wine. I’m a true drink-liberal. :-P

  76. 76
    ChasCPeterson

    I still don’t like the graph, though – it doesn’t give any indication what the other percentage drinks. 75% coffee drinkers doesn’t mean 25% tea; some drink both, some drink soda or other beverages.

    gah. It’s not about drinkers, it’s about consumption. It’s not about people, it’s about drinks. What percent of total tea+coffee consumed is tea vs. coffee. I admit the units aren’t entirely clear, but to me the concept is clear enough.

  77. 77
    carlie

    What percent of total tea+coffee consumed is tea vs. coffee.

    If that’s the case, then the legend is written terribly. I read “tea and coffee consumption % of total” to be that it is measuring tea and coffee as percentages of total beverages consumed.

  78. 78
    Acolyte of Sagan

    I can tell there are no serious tea drinkers here because nobody has mentioned the golden rule: never give your teapot (or your tea-cup if you’re a bag-in-cup brewer) any more than a cursory rinse under the hot tap (or ‘faucet’) after use, and never be tempted to wash any tannin staining away. Do so and all you’ll get is ‘flat’ tea, whereas a pot with a good ‘patina’ makes a full-flavoured brew.
    Only a philistine would strip the natural patina of age and use from an antique oak table – or from the inside of a teapot.
    Bloody amateurs y’are :-)

  79. 79
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    @rturpin #22

    Shit! No one told me it was either-or. Next, you’ll tell me if I drink wine, I can’t drink vodka?

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! It’s the end of the world!

  80. 80
    Nakkustoppeli

    You’ve made me reread George Orwell’s “A Nice Cup of Tea”. While I disagree at some points with him on the details of making tea, the essay always brings a smile to my face.

    I always drink tea (no milk, no sugar, strong and black) or sometimes coffee substitute (in the evening) at home and coffee at work or when I’m visiting a coffee drinker (especially old folks, who consider coffee to be almost absolutely necessary).

    Finland is definitely a coffee-drinking nation, consuming huge amounts of light roasted coffee, with breakfast, during the two legally/by collective bargaining mandated (usually at 9 am and 3 pm) 12-minute breaks and as a dessert.

  81. 81
    Eamon Knight

    @78: I thought that went without saying, doesn’t it? Our glass kettle (in which we boil the water and then brew the tea) proudly displays its tannic history for all to see.

    Well, until the buildup starts flaking off and floating around in the tea, at which point we clean it and start over. There are limits.

  82. 82
    conway

    I have hated coffee all of my life, because the smell of coffee is the smell of me being warm and snug in bed, smelling coffee, and knowing that a few minutes later my Mom would yell, “Get up! It’s time to go to school!” I have drank exactly one cup of coffee in my life. It was vile. And I had to pee every twenty minutes for the next four hours.

    I live in the swampy south, where life itself would not be possible without iced tea. I drink about a gallon a day. Not kidding.

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