Her Majesty’s tea chart sits proudly on the bright yellow kitchen unit; each one of the twelve shades of brown looking as though they have been plucked from a Dulux colour chart, each rectangle titled with a subtly witty and amusing name. ‘Teo de Janeiro’, ‘strip teas’ and ‘Mr tea’ being my particular favourites. The office favourite is ‘brew haha’ a golden tea, very British – not to strong, not too weak, nothing outrageous – simply perfect.
However, contrarily to what appears to be the rest of the UK’s population, I don’t like tea. I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the taste – no thank you, I do not want to drink your leaf flavoured water.
Despite my cynicism there is something marvellous about tea and how it unites everyone. Everyone (except me of course- I shall continue to be the black sheep with my trusty bottle of spring water) here drinks tea. It’s neutral ground, a peacemaker, a comforter, a consoler and a friend. It’s a virtuous option and something that brings people together – and in my family it usually comes with a slice of cake.
In this office, it’s not just your standard Tetley or Yorkshire Tea. Oh no, there’s berry tea and green tea and lemon tea. I’m sure there’s more hiding away – probably a cheeky chai somewhere and maybe neglected at the back of the cupboard is an oolong tea.
You must pity me slightly; tea is everywhere, no longer confined to our drinks but somehow the leafy menace has managed to weedle its way into other things. It’s in our make-up, in our puddings and in our cakes – Earl Grey flavoured tea loaf from a so called artisan café – no thank you! Maybe just maybe tea is one of those things that you learn to love as you get older, like talking about the weather and reading the Financial Times – I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see.