Monday, April 27, 2015
#MicroblogMondays: Good to the last drop :)
I can remember going out for "coffee" with some of my friends in high school, but it wasn't like it is today, with a Starbucks or Tim Horton's on every street corner. We'd drive to the restaurant adjoining the local Co-op store or the gas station out on the highway, but we'd be just as likely to order a Coke as a cup of joe.
Perhaps it was the influence of my first year university roommate. who would brew different flavours of loose-leaf tea for us in a teapot. For years and years, we gave each other tea-related gifts for birthdays and Christmas -- teapots, teacups, trivets, Christmas tree ornaments, books, boxes of tea...
When I first met dh's Italian family and had dinner with them, I was offered a tiny cup of espresso coffee along with my dessert -- something totally foreign to this Irish-Swedish-American/Ukrainian-Canadian girl from the Prairies. I accepted to be polite, took a sip -- and then almost choked -- it was so strong. Most of his relatives didn't even have tea in the house; if they did, it was often chamomile, used only in the event of a stomach ache. Some of them started buying a small box of teabags, specifically for when I visited. :)
Eventually, a few cousins on his dad's side married "English" (i.e., non-Italian) girls who also preferred tea. We'd sit together at wedding & baby showers and have fun watching the waiters' reactions when we asked for tea instead of coffee, then took bets on how it would be served and whether the water would be hot. (I give points to any restaurant that serves tea in china pots versus those awful metal things that inevitably leak all over the place as you're trying to pour.)
(I finally tried a latte at a coffee house in Seattle that my cousin took us to when we visited there in 1993 -- appropriately -- when in Rome, etc. etc. -- and that was more to my taste. I will have one of those now & then at Starbucks.)
(I find that I have to remember to specify "hot tea" when I'm in the States; otherwise, I'm liable to be handed a glass of iced tea, and it will be anyone's guess as to whether it will be sweetened...)
When I started working as a small-town newspaper reporter, I found a kindred spirit in a fellow reporter at the local radio station who also preferred tea. Invariably, most of the town council and school board meetings and other events we covered only offered coffee as refreshment -- with Coffeemate instead of milk or cream on the side. Yuck. I'd sometimes drink it if I was desperate (or trying to stay awake, lol), but I disliked the lingering taste. We joked about starting a "Tea drinkers have rights too" movement.
When I started working in downtown Toronto, I got into the habit of stopping to buy a tea as I headed into the office (usually at the Second Cup) -- and then heading down to the food court in the concourse on my breaks to refuel. Some days I felt like I was living from one coffee break to the next (I had two 15-minute breaks per day, morning and afternoon, as well as a lunch hour). Yes, I could have made my own tea in the office kitchenette for much less money, but getting away from the office, if only briefly, was probably as important as the tea itself, if not more so.
My coworker/office best friend & I would usually take our breaks together, especially in the morning. It got so that I would turn up at her cubicle, wallet in hand, just as she was reaching into her drawer for hers (or vice-versa). "Cuppa?" I remember asking her once. "Yuppa!" she responded, and both had a good laugh. We always talked about skipping out of work early someday and going to the nearby King Edward or Royal York hotels for their formal afternoon tea (with scones, little sandwiches and other goodies), but of course, time flew by and we never did... until the week before she retired. As my retirement present to her, I got permission from our boss for both of us to leave work early, and we headed over to the Royal York for the royal treatment, which we both enjoyed thoroughly. :) (I've also enjoyed afternoon tea in some other lovely settings -- including the Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta with dh on our honeymoon, the Empress in Victoria, B.C., with a high school girlfriend, and the King Edward in Toronto with my mother. Pricey, but a wonderful occasional treat.)
Now that I'm retired/unemployed, I enjoy starting my day with a leisurely cuppa after breakfast, as I peruse the morning paper and e-mails. I'll usually have another cup mid-afternoon. Sometimes dh & I will head to the local Tim Hortons just to get out of the house, and no visit to our local mega-bookstore would be complete with a stop at the adjacent Starbucks first (where my standard order is a tall non-fat English breakfast tea latte). When I was younger, I enjoyed trying different flavours of tea; these days, I prefer to stick to plain old black tea -- orange pekoe, English breakfast or perhaps Darjeeling. Served with sugar and lots of milk, please and thank you.
Are you a tea or coffee person? What's your usual order?
(I guess this wasn't quite a "micro" post -- but at least it's a post...!)
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.