As it plays an important part in the way my life rolls from one day to the next, so too shall it play a part in the eventual Wocky. I am determined that there should be more to tea than two questions regarding its race and sweetness. Even the video is about coffee. However the point is the same; coffee, moving beyond the constraints of a two-question paradigm, has embraced all manner of new disciplines, largely including multi-million pound franchises that all spin giddily around the concept of cool.
And that is sadly where tea struggles to compete. Even the nation that invented an entire time of day just to suit their beloved beverage will be the first to admit that tea is as cool as your gran. In fact, in many ways tea is very much the grandparent in the beverage family tree; it’s reliable, great to fall back on in a crisis, embedded in routine and gets cold quickly. Undoubtedly all arguments that speak for tea. When the world is looking bleak and everything has just gone wrong, my mum will make tea. The ancient time honoured tradition of bestowing upon your kettle the burden of despair for as long as it takes to boil, then moving said burden into favourite mug. Stirring then occurs, as was never written but always decreed, in the same pattern as every other time. Perhaps the bag is squeezed into the side of the mug, perhaps a short prayer is uttered during transit from cup to bin. Symbolically the world’s blight is recycled into the composter. The time-honoured Questions follow. After the taking of milk and sugar one can proceed to the next room. Please be seated. Ritual concluded the problems are no less severe, but significantly more malleable.
For here my path seems clear. Tea needs a makeover. I’m not suggesting that we should all start drinking tea-based Starbucks-named pseudo Italian image-enhancing teafroths (I’d call it the Teacolini), but we could accept that we, as a nation, like tea. Not just as a guilty pleasure the moment you get home from work, but right there, in the middle of a cafe with everyone watching.
Then we can start talking about loose-leaf.