So many choices…so many tastes.  But really, life divides us into so many camps.  Are you NASCAR or F1? Rugby Union or Rugby League? NFL or CFL? Paper or Plastic? Coke or Pepsi? Country or Western? Boxers or Briefs? Thong or Bikini? Superman or Batman? Cat or dog? And I eventually have to ask..

Darjeeling or Arabica?

Recently I viewed the photo-blog on tea at HappyCanadianHome.com and got to thinking about what a person’s caffeinated beverage says about them.

I must admit that I am predominantly a tea-man myself. I suppose my taste is a bit of a conditioning thing – as a kid I grew up on steaming mugs of Indian Chai, heavily flavoured by tea masala – a heady mix of cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and other spices only known to Mom. (Youtube hosts vids of a thousand different ways to make chai…) Life was simple back then; a day without tea was like a day without sunshine…

But then, as I moved away from home, I weaned myself off slow-boiled “sweet taste of heaven in a cup” and I developed the coffee-bug.  Why? Because Tim Horton’s, or fru-fru Starbucks, were much easier options and “The Man” looked dimly upon boiling chai on a hot plate in The Rez. So I became a Juan Valdez Junkie.

But eventually I grew up and bought a stove and tea was back.  And now, I am bi….yes, I am at one with my bi-caffeinality. But for those of you who are not bi-caffeinal, I would guess you probably fall into one of the four basic camps – yes, four:

  • The Coffee Drinkers
  • The Tea Drinkers
  • The Deluded Drinkers, those who think they “don’t do caffeine” because there is “none” in their Mountain Dew or Cream Soda or Diet Doctor Pepper. (For this group, I have nothing to offer – but to tell you to read the labels…they might offer an explanation for your shakes…), and finally
  • The Cold-Caffeine Drinkers, those who don’t give a caffeine-induced “constitutional” about coffee or tea – preferring to get their buzz through Diet Coke, Red Bull or Monster. I suppose they would respond by saying there is nothing  like the carbonated “pop-ssssshhh” of a pull-tab at six-thirty in the morning! (To this last group, you can stop reading too, as this blog has nothing for you – save what I think are some personal witticisms that pertain to the remaining 99.7% of the Earth’s population)

Tea/Coffee – coffee/tea? Interesting dichotomy. Both warm, both tasty, both invigorating – but yet so different.  The choice of poison says a lot about styles and tastes.

“How?” you ask. Well… let me share my detailed research and insight gained through years of observation and offer my take on joe versus brew…

  Coffee   Tea
Grooming and Apparel Gordon Gekko greased comb-back with power suit and wing tips – or a Hillary Clinton pant-suit (unless in Canada, where it is a plaid shirt covered in powdered sugar) Krameresque-afro, yoga pants, Nehru Collar and leather sandals (unless in the UK, where it is a neon Premier League soccer jersey covered in fish and chip grease and brown sauce)
Probable Pre-Beverage Frame of Mind Lethargic and cranky…like a teenager on a winter school morning…or pockets laden with so much cash that you can   afford to invest in a grandé skinny soy latte with a hazelnut syrup shot and   chocolate sprinkles… Frazzled and frantic…like a techno-geek at Best Buy on Boxing Day…or a person in desperate need of a few tracks of Norah Jones or Enya coupled with a thyme-scented Yankee Candle…
Post-Beverage Frame of Mind Buzzed, wired, frenzied, frenetic, hectic…kind of like Iggy Pop on speed. Check him out… Composed, unruffled, unfazed, calm, serene, mellow…like Dos Equis`s Most Interesting Man in the World
Preferred Accompanying Snack The two ends of the spectrum …anything with the word cake or cinnamon in its name…or anything covered in a sugar-glaze Cookies…period. (But nothing made with cinnamon or heaven forbid – raisins…yuck!)
Optimum Drinking Vessel A bio-degradable paper cup with a pretentious latin name like grandé or grandissimo…or perhaps a supersized cup in the 24 oz/710ml range…with a name like “Barrel’o’Coffee” or “Big Jitters”… A dainty little china cup, containing a maximum of three sips of tea, adorned with a picture of butterflies or beagles or antique cars or teddy bears –or emblazoned with the portraits of any Royal Couple…Charles and Diana circa 1981, anyone?
Mandated Preparation Methods or Equipment “Military Long-Boil in a Cheese Cloth”,   French Press, Turkish, Vacuum, Cold Filter, Drip, Percolator, Espresso Machine, Instant, Neapolitan Flip…and a personal favourite…chewing on Nescafe   crystals. A Teapot or a simply a cup…maybe a strainer if   you do not like to pick loose tea leaves from your teeth. It’s simplicity can only be described as Steeped – right Mom?!
Options Excluding flavoured coffees and those specialty coffee beans harvested from piles of cat-monkey shit… it is binary. Just two species – arabica   or robusta Only one species…camellia sinensis…but with three varietals (Chinese, Indian and Hybrid) and five types (green,   yellow, white, black and oolong)…and some wickedly cool names like Lapsong Souchong or Gunpowder Tea. Excluding herbals, tisanes and favoured teas, you still have a whole hockey-sock of options…(okay, maybe a bit of my tea bias is showing through)
Nicknames Cup of Joe, Mud, Mojo, Tar, Black Lightning, Java, Wakey Juice…and my favorite – a nice steaming cup of “shut the f— up”. Oh wait, that is not coffee… Cuppa or Rosy Lee (if you are a Cockney)…and…hmmmm…aahhhh…Okay. I give up. I could only think of “Tea”.
Aficionados Bach (apparently, he wrote the Coffee Cantatas   because he was an addict), SNL’s Linda Richman (Mike Myers’s Coffee Clutch… “talk amongst yourselves”) All of Led Zeppelin, and all five Beatles… I guess they needed something to wash down all the “creative” goodies…
Famous Quotes “I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.” – Flash Rosenberg “There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.” – Bernard-Paul Heroux

When it comes down to it, just like everything else, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  So whether you are a Twinings fan or prefer your kick from Folgers, enjoy your hot beverage.  There really is nothing like a great Double-Double coffee…unless it is a nice cup of Darjeeling….

So have your say, “What’s your preference?”

Later,

ASF

PS…There’s a fun graphic of complete UFI of the benefits of tea versus coffee …it looks authoritative, but who knows.  There’s all sorts of crap on the internet….  🙂  And here’s the link if your eyes are as old as mine –  http://submitinfographics.com/all-infographics/the-health-benefits-of-coffee-vs-tea-infographic.html

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