March 2, 2012 by bethanjthomas
I found this wonderfully produced video about the importance of tea to Britons via http://www.tea.co.uk today.
It certainly sums up how proud British people are to be thought of as a tea drinking nation, but it made me ponder my experiences over the last week. I have been working to promote speciality tea to hoteliers at Hotelympia, Britain’s largest hotel supply exhibition. It’s been a bit of a struggle at times…
‘I’ve heard that black tea is good for my health but I can’t find it anywhere. I drink tea a couple of times a day and I want to change to black tea’. It took me a good 10 minutes to get this gentleman to understand that his normal cuppa was indeed black tea and that he would indeed get some health benefits from it.
‘I hate tea, it all tastes the same.’ Even when faced with a tasting cup of earl grey, jasmine blossom and peppermint tea, this visitor refused to accept that tea offered a variance of flavours.
‘Oh no, I don’t want to try tea without milk, I know what I like and its a bog standard bag with milk and sugar’. Even my tiny 5mm cups couldn’t convince this food and beverage manager to experiment and try black assam tea.
A quarter of the people that I met had never even heard of jasmine tea.
Whilst we drink gallons of tea as a nation, it seems to me that Britons have a defensive and often closed minded attitude towards tea. PG Tips and Tetley are loved by the nation for their generic flavour and low price point, and a Twinings fruit blend is considered the height of sophistication amongst many. White tea, oolong tea, puerh tea and iced teas are unfortunately still unknown quantities in the market, and are treated with suspicion and derision by most British ‘tea lovers’.
There’s a longway to go before tea will be treated in the same way as coffee and wine by hoteliers and the public in general. I am going to make it my personal mission to convert cynical Brits one cup at a time…