The English Tea Store Assam TGFOP Tea – looks almost like coffee but much better (ok, so I’m biased!). (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The English Tea Store Assam TGFOP Tea – looks almost like coffee but much better (ok, so I’m biased!). (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Just like that Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you need a guide to dealing with the coffee drinker in the house. But unlike that other guide, this one will not whisk you across the universe.

You drink tea. Not coffee. Tea. But your hubby, wife, or other domicile companion drinks coffee. He/she might occasionally dip a figurative toe into tea (at least we hope it’s figurative) but mainly sticks to that java. You, meanwhile, cannot abide coffee. Well, maybe just the smell of those wonderfully roasted beans…but not the liquid. There are many reasons for such a distaste. You might have a very sensitive tummy. You might just find the flavor repellent. You might associate coffee with something bad from your childhood (mom had to have a second cup, so you were late and missed the school bus and had to walk all the way to school during the worst blizzard of the century, for example). There are ways of dealing with this coffee drinker in the house that will result in a more peaceful co-habitation for you both.

What Not to Do

Okay, first of all, no violence. You can solve this peacefully. After all, tea is the beverage that calms and invigorates. (It’s that lovely theanine that, unlike the caffeine in coffee, can accomplish both the uplift and the calm down.) So, you are starting from a position of superiority. But don’t be too uppity about it. A more noblesse oblige attitude is needed here, as in “you poor coffee drinker, so deprived, let me lift you up out of your wretched condition.” Hm… sounds a bit uppity. How about “sure you like coffee more, but what would you know about good taste?” … uh, well, let’s just say that being deprecating in your tone and choice of words could prove counter productive here.

Sneaky tactics are also out. Hiding the coffee (beans or pre-ground) and putting a package of fine loose leaf tea in their place could result in the tea being scattered across the entire kitchen. A mess of tea leaf pieces sprayed across countertops, floors, tables, and chairs. You could have even worse results by trying to hide the coffeemaker, be it a Keurig machine, a Mr. Coffee-style maker, or even one of those old-style percolators like my mom used to make dad’s morning coffee. Imagine if that coffee drinker decided to do tit for tat. Who knows where your teapot or other steeping vessel would end up!

What to Do

With those cautions out of the way, time for some useful advice, starting with maintaining a cheerful, positive attitude. The other day someone commented on one of my posts that she hated tea, so I responded in a way that was meant to be helpful to this afflicted woman (hating tea is certainly an indication to me that someone is deprived). I suggested that she try better teas and should order some samplers. The response: “Gee, sounds like a good idea.” Turning the negative into the positive! So it can go with that coffee drinker. Stay positive. “Yum, that ground coffee has a wonderful aroma. Gee, how would you like to try this tea? It’s very similar.” Start them with something strong such as a nice CTC Assam. If they like milk in their coffee, have them try it in their tea. Ditto for sweetener. The idea is to make the tea experience close to the coffee experience. People tend to balk at sudden changes but can be eased into change a little at a time. But unlike that frog in the pot of water where the heat is being turned up slowly, the end result will be beneficial.

If they use a Keurig for their coffee, buy some K-cups filled with tea (yeah, I know they’re not ideal and rather wasteful) like English Breakfast and Earl Grey. Again, you want to keep the flavor similar. If they use a percolator, show them how to steep in a teapot using loose leaf tea (or teabags, if you must) to get the best tea flavor. And use a tea that’s one of the better ones. You can get them to use my 2-teapot method to assure that the tea doesn’t oversteep. If they just won’t take the first step to prepare tea, back up a bit and steep up enough tea for you both, inviting them to have a cuppa, even a small one.

The intransigent coffee drinker will be a true challenge, but you can take another approach – one I euphemistically call “live and let live.” A little tolerance of their rather incomprehensible choice of wake-up beverage will keep things from escalating to such foolish behaviors as scone throwing at the coffee drinker or chasing him/her from the kitchen to avoid that overpowering fragrance from blocking your enjoyment of your tea’s aroma, which is such an important part of any tea lovers complete experience.

Here’s hoping for a peaceful experience for all involved.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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