In London, there are now more coffee shops than people. The rise of the coffee shop has been very good for coffee drinkers of course, and every effort is made to cater to their whims and desires. There are now 237 different ways of introducing beans to hot (not boiling) water, all of them requiring different equipment and all of them tasting exactly the same. It’s now trendy to complain about the coffee in well-known chains; the same coffee that a couple of years ago was being hailed as a vast improvement on the instant coffee and vending machine coffee that most people were used to. Now, apparently, good coffee can only be found in independent coffee shops, not in chains. It’s as though the coffee in one place instantly goes bad as soon as another shop with the same name opens somewhere else.
For the tea drinker though, the rise of the coffee shop has been a bit of a mixed bag. We tea drinkers still get to sneak out of the office, returning triumphantly, clutching our branded paper cup (if you keep the lid on, no-one will know what’s in there). And we still get to ostentatiously use our MacBooks in public. But it can feel like you’re a second class citizen when you order tea in a specialist coffee shop. And the same fetishization has not happened for tea as it has for coffee. Continue reading