5 Things You Notice as a Tea Drinker in a Coffee Country

IMG_3360Tea is the world’s most popular beverage, second only to water. But you wouldn’t know that living in the U.S. It’s easy enough to drink all the tea you want at home, but order tea any place else and you can end up feeling outnumbered and misunderstood. Every day, over half of Americans drink tea, but most of it is iced tea. If you drink hot tea (like everyone else on the planet), you’re in the minority.

Here are just some of the things that only tea drinkers notice.

1. Non-Tea Drinkers Think All Tea is the Same

We tea drinkers understand that different teas offer different flavors and varying amounts of caffeine. We also understand that there are different types of coffee, wine and scotch even if we don’t drink them. But non-tea drinkers think that tea is tea. This doesn’t really matter until you need to order a cup a tea from a server who doesn’t know a thing about the tea they serve.

I once ordered a pot of black tea after lunch so I could get my afternoon mini-jolt of caffeine. The waiter brought me a pot of herbal tea. I sent it back, and he brought me a pot of decaf black tea. He finally explained that they’d run out of black tea. Clearly, he didn’t know or care about the difference.

2. Restaurants Don’t See Running Out of Tea as the Crisis It Is

Have you ever heard a waiter say, “I’m sorry, we’re out of coffee”? Of course not. They’d just as soon run out of food. But they run out of tea and just shrug it off. The restaurant in my story was down the block from a supermarket. But they didn’t bother sending a bus boy to buy some tea because they didn’t see any need for urgency.

Tea is soothing, but lack of tea is very upsetting.

3. You’d Better Bring Your Own

Carrying a plastic baggie of teabags with me feels mildly insane. Until I get to a restaurant or cafe that doesn’t have tea, or the type of tea I want. Then I feel like a genius. Or maybe it’s that I’m so relieved that I don’t mind if I look like a weirdo.

There are far too many places in the U.S. that sell all sorts of beverages except for tea. It’s not right, but it’s better to be prepared.

4. Tea to Go is Too Hot

You can always cool off your tea with milk. But if you don’t take milk in your tea, or you’re drinking green tea, white tea or an herbal tea that doesn’t go well with milk, then you have to wait 20 minutes before you can safely take a sip. And you’ll probably get scalded while you’re waiting.

Carry a to go cup of tea down the street, and super hot tea will drip down the string of the tea bag right onto your hand. Tea on the go is always so much hotter than the tea I make at home. I’m starting to wonder if non-tea drinkers hate us and are serving us too-hot-to-drink tea on purpose.

5. Tea is the Answer

Too cold from the office air conditioning? Sip herbal tea all day. Sore throat? Tea. Worried about your health? Tea offers countless health benefits. Need to cut back on your caffeine intake? Switch to tea. You could even use different types of tea to gradually decrease your caffeine intake down to nothing.

But do non-tea drinkers take our advice when we suggest they have some tea? Nope. Their loss.

What have you noticed as a tea drinker? Tell us in the comments.