Guerrilla Tea Making!
Ok, we’ve all been there. We’ve taken a trip to visit someone who, shall we say, is less enthusiastic about our favorite beverage. They don’t even have (gasp!) a tea kettle! Or perhaps they try to be good hosts and provide you with a box of the one brand of tea in the grocery you wouldn’t buy to give to your worst enemy. Maybe you, heaven help us, FORGOT the tea you meant to bring with you. How in the name of Shen Nung did you survive????
I… would probably drink water on such an occasion. Perhaps I am a tea snob (my husband says I am), but, there are some teas that just aren’t worth drinking. I do not think that a bad tea is better than no tea.
I smile, say thank you and drink it because it’s the polite thing to do. And then I make me a cup of a favourite when I come home.
I don’t require everybody to have the same standards as me. Some people just simply don’t care about this sort of thing and that’s okay. Most of my family is coffee drinkers and the only other person who doesn’t like coffee doesn’t care. I don’t drink tea at someone else’s house to have a culinary experience. Under such circumstances I simply ignore whichever problems I may have had with the offering other wise and make the best of it. I do not pay any attention to flavour or aroma or how it puts a layer of asphalt-like substances on the inside of the cup. I just drink it.
It’s great to have an interest and standards and stuff when it comes to what I have in my own home, but I don’t presume to have any say in what other people have in theirs, so I take what they give me. Only if it contained some sort of ingredient that I absolutely don’t like and can’t taste without making a face, like for example hibiscus, would I say no and then I would say it was because of that particular ingredient.
The only place I would go and take tea with me to have while I’m there is my parents’ house and that’s only because my father told me to do so. He knows my interest and has deducted on his own that the stuff my mother keeps and that they would otherwise give me is far from the same sort as I’m used to. Unless I’m told specifically to bring something for myself, I don’t. Just the same way that I wouldn’t pack and bring food from home just in case they didn’t cook potatoes for dinner the same way that I would cook them.
Basically, to make a long story short, I kind of fail to see the problem unless it’s a spoiled persons problem. It’s not from a ‘better than no tea at all’ standpoint, this. I think it’s simply the most polite thing to do.
(In case I sound very preachy with this, bear in mind that this comes from a person for whom it also took close to two years to drum up the courage to tell the boyfriend that I didn’t actually like celery, which has been a stable ingredient in his diet all his life. That should add a little perspective.)
Oh don’t get me wrong, I would politely drink a tea if it was offered to me that way. But, I’m not exactly a social butterfly (I’m agoraphobic, so I don’t generally go out and visit people), so there is very rarely such an instance that I need to do so. However, if I am in such a situation, and I’m asked what I would like to drink, I would most likely request water. If they insist on sharing their tea with me, I would politely accept a cup … but, I would also probably want to leave soon (politely, of course) because I wouldn’t wish to seem rude by not finishing the cup.
I hope you didn’t think my post was a direct reaction to yours, because it wasn’t. Just a different opinion.
In reply to your reply, though, if I’m just asked if I want anything and not offered anything specific, I would probably just ask for water or a soda or whatever the rest of the company was having (providing I like it). I wouldn’t be likely to ask for tea or coffee for that matter, as I have a tendency to not want to make people go out of the way just for me alone.
The above answer was more in reply to if I was offered a cup of tea specifically.
It depends how they got the grocery tea. If I know they always have it around anyway, I’d say “no thanks” and just have water. If they made a special effort to procure tea for me, I’d drink it no matter what. It seems like the polite thing to do.
Depends on how desperate for tea I am. I have drank lipton and other bagged teas when I was desperate. If I’m visiting friends or family for an extended time I usually bring my travel tea tumbler with me and an ounce of tea and tea filters. I also bring some bags of tea with me to share with my host and usually leave an ounce of tea with them. When I’m on vacation I always bring a few ounces of tea with me. This summer I went to Puerto Rico and stayed in a cabin in the rain forest with no electricity (though I could access electricity with a brief walk) but I still brought 3 ounces of tea with me.
Luckily, my friends are into tea so that’s always a safe bet. When I visit family for a few days, I usually bring a few kinds of tea and something to steep it in, as I love to have tea every day and i don’t see the need to go without when I could easily bring supplies. If I am offered tea, I will usually accept (unless it is coconut or chamomile) but usually just go for water if it is a general inquiry. The only think I am guaranteed to turn down is coffee – I loathe the stuff. I really enjoy water and would almost always make that my first choice, honestly.
If I’m visiting for less than a day, I drink nothing but water or a bottle or Arizona Green Tea. If I’m staying longer, I tend to bring my own stash but always accept a cuppa when a special effort has been made to keep me “in tea.” As agreed above, it’s the polite gesture.
I like a lot of these responses!
LiberTEAS, if you are a tea snob, then go with God and live a long and tea filled life. There have been times in my life when I HAD to have a cuppa. If it meant drinking Lipton’s with soy milk and brown sugar first thing in the morning that’s what I did. I’m not proud, but I might be an addict. In the past at any rate, I haven’t always been able to wait for the good stuff.
Angrboda – I fully concede the point on politeness. If a host offers you a tea you wouldn’t normally drink but has gone to the trouble to provide, on your account or otherwise, you should drink it. However, it could be an opportunity to educate someone. For instance you could recommend a couple of teas for your host to try.I respect your effort to be polite by choosing not to bring tea to other people’s homes, but it seems there are ways you could do so and not seem impolite. You could offer to make everyone some of the tea you brought with you, for example. I’ve done that sometimes and I don’t think my host or hostess took any offense; partly because they know I like tea, but also because I tried to be inclusive rather than exclusive about my preference and I don’t take offense if someone declines.
By the way, I’m not trying to start an argument with anybody. I just enjoy learning other peoples’ point of view. Quite often it makes me think and rethink. I need all the practice I can get when comes to thinking. :-)
Mercuryhime – I agree 100%.
Butiki Teas – Your approach is what I call “The Boy Scout Approach”, i.e. “be prepared”. I try to follow that approach when it comes to tea whenever possible.
Uniquity – SO, SO, SO agree about coffee. Loathe is too weak a word. I get nauseated just smelling the stuff. Some people are born in the wrong time, I was surely born on the wrong continent.
bryghtbeverages – Very much agree with the polite gesture.
It’s probably a difference in culture and upbringing. In Denmark if you were being the host to a tea drinker among coffee drinkers, as is the case in my family, you would be expected to make sure that the tea drinker could have tea instead of coffee. This involves buying tea bags for them if there weren’t already some in the house. This is why I would consider it rude of me to push aside their offering and bring some of my own, just as it would be rude of them to tell me I could only have coffee because they didn’t bother buying any tea for me if they knew I preferred tea. (I can drink coffee. I just don’t like it much as ordinary filter coffee) Obviously if there was something or other that prevented them from getting me some, like the shop was sold out or whatever, it would be a different matter, but in general it’s the host’s responsibility that there is something available that ALL the guests can eat/drink. Just like my cousin, who’s very allergic to eggs, can visit someone and expect them to make sure there’s something egg-less for her to eat without having to bring some of her own.
Secondarily, even if the above wasn’t the case, I honestly couldn’t be bothered. I still find being unable to drink something a bit below the usual average for a few days a bit of a luxury problem to be honest.
Offering to make everybody tea in someone else’s home also wouldn’t really work here unless the host had asked you to or you had cleared it with them first. Like the first point it would get whole host/guest role mixed up if one were to just do it randomly. It wouldn’t really work in my family anyway as there are some who simply just don’t like tea at all.
But I wouldn’t do that anyway. I don’t like it when people think me snobby about it or worry about whether I want to drink something or not. The first time I met my boyfriend’s parents, they had been told I was interested in this, and his Mum was spending an awful lot of energy fretting about whether or not what they had would be ‘good enough’. I don’t like it when people worry about that sort of thing on my behalf because it makes me feel like I’m making a nuisance of myself about it, and I always try to make sure to remind people, when they start doing that, that I drink what I’m offered and don’t complain. (Not where they can hear it anyway) I don’t want people to think that I’m some sort of delicate princess who can only drink tea made from shards of diamonds and shavings of gold.
This all makes it sound like the Danish people are all hung up on etiquette and stuff, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds.
I know, Slurp, that it wasn’t an invitation to an argument. Don’t worry. :) I think you just managed to spot one of those small differences that make even very similar cultures different.
I have issues. I bring my own Tea Traveling Kit, full of my favorite kinds of teas, several of my own blends, and all the necessary equipment, except a kettle. I’m stealth about it, I’ll just bring out the bag and if they ask about it, I’ll launch into a well-rehearsed precis about tea and its benefits. At least four times out of five people have asked me to make them kits.
Luckily most of my friends and family are either tea-drinkers or aware of my…psychosis. It’s nothing new. ;)
KeenTeaThyme, it’s only a psychosis if you’ve been diagnosed. Until then you’re “unique”.
I look forward to seeing your kit. Usually, I just bring tea, but this sounds more fun.