Over the last several years I’ve run across a number of articles that have suggested that tea might be the new coffee. I’m sure I’ll see many more as they seem to crop up rather frequently. Here’s one of the latest examples, a blog post from none other than the Wall Street Journal, titled Where Tea is the New Coffee.
If you don’t feel like clicking that, there is in Singapore, where “residents have long flocked to Singapore’s traditional coffee shops.” Of course, change is in the wings, according to the article, which chronicles the growth of tea there and provides a short list of some places to stop for tea the next time you’re in that part of the world.
Which is all well and good. I’m as happy as the next guy to hear that tea is doing well, be it in my own backyard or halfway around the world. What bothers me some is the notion that tea is the new anything, be it coffee or whatever (and it’s almost always coffee). I think it would be a job for someone with better historical research skills than mine to determine which drink was consumed first by humans and what would be the point, even if you could? But the fact remains that tea has been around long enough that “new” is hardly a suitable term for it.
On the other hand and in the interests of tolerance, fair play, world peace, and that sort of thing, I guess I can sort of understand the mentality behind all of this. Once upon a time coffee was just coffee and it came in a cup (one size and no goofy Italian terms, thank you) and it was probably awful but it might not be so bad sometimes. But you certainly didn’t have to pay a premium price for it.
I don’t need to review how that’s all changed thanks to a certain ubiquitous retailer, but suffice it to say that with the coffee boom came the realization that there was such a thing as really good coffee to be had (I guess – I’m not really the one to ask).
By the same token, now that coffee has had its boom, it’s probably not unreasonable for certain commentators to look at the rapid growth of interest in “good” tea and let loose with a variety of grandiose proclamations on the topic, such as – tea is the new coffee. No, its not unreasonable at all.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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