Tea in the Sahara

I know I’m from the Maritimes and, as such, I am aware that I’m culturally inferior to the rest of the country. I am well-versed in “Newfie Steak” and, yes, it was a dinner table staple throughout my childhood, as was succulent roast Kam. To us, “all you can eat” means, seriously, “ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT.” We prefer Tim Horton’s to Starbucks. And the phrase “open bar” is just asking for trouble. But I’ve noticed something since moving to Montréal and I feel I need to set a few things straight:

Tea, known throughout the world as the most popular beverage ever, should be brewed and steeped in a tea-pot. Specifically referring to Orange Pekoe and English/Irish Breakfast and various herbal varieties notwithstanding, Bag + Hot Water in Cup does not equal tea. Ever. What it does is a rough approximation of a tea-like liquid that will perhaps fit the bill in a pinch but in a civilized society, there should be a pot present at all times. This is why I’m purchasing a pot for the office coffee club as I feel there should be a tea component (and God knows Folger’s is vile, vile stuff. I’m not a coffee snob – I drink President’s Choice coffee – but man Folger’s tastes awful). Even Tim Horton’s in the Maritimes knows enough to brew its tea.

Tea may also be drunk with milk and/or sugar or nothing at all. However, and this is very important to note: YOU DO NOT PUT CREAM IN TEA. It’s not the same thing at all. And the question, “I’m sorry but may I have some milk with this tea? You gave me cream by mistake” does not mean “Give me more cream.”

To our U.S. friends: “tea” is served hot. If you are visiting Canada and ask for tea, they will not bring you a glass of Brisk. Iced Tea is a variant of tea and therefore is prefaced with “Iced.” The waitress did not get your order “wrong.” (See also: “hockey” not “ice hockey.”)

To Montréal women: Men do so drink tea.

This city has wine down. It has eating down. And, oh, does it ever has cheese down. It has generally enjoying life down to a science. So why is it so developmentally challenged when it comes to tea? Can we all abide by these simple guidelines, and stop drinking tea like a bunch of savages?


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