Monday, 14 December 2015

The worst cup of tea . . . ever


I love tea. Love it! But unfortunately, due to a boring neuralgic pain-in-face thing, I can't drink too much of it due to the teoline or whatever is the caffeine equivalent (can't do coffee either).
It's become a treat, quite a highlight of the day (sad): the choosing of which time to take the glittering beverage, what to serve it with - obsessional even . . .
So, when, a day or two back, we were travelling to the coast, a salon du thé presented itself along the route, we decided to stop. Tea! and cake! so many to choose from, oh!
I opted for a cherry and peach fougasse slipper-like something, and Mark, a tarte au citron. We asked what teas they had. Actually, I only wanted builder's creosote, but felt I should honour the fact that they were a proper tea house.
She looked blank for a moment, stumped by the question, so we proceeded, "Deux thés au lait, s'il vous plaît."
We sat and nibbled cake and she placed two wrapped green tea bags on the table.
"Excusez-moi, madame, est-ce que vous avez du thé noir?"
"Du Lipton's yellow label, peut-être?"
"Non, que du thé vert."
We nodded English-ley: "Lovely. Two teas with milk, alors, merci."
A teapot was placed in the microwave.
We nibbled more and looked around at the functional space: not the remotest nod to cosiness: no flowery china, flowers, table clothes, etc - strip lights, 80s formica, and a mean looking santa in the window.
The teapot having been hand-tested for luke-warmness, was placed placed on the table.
Ah, warm milk, authentically Indian... but no water.
Being British (and pathetic) we dunked the bags a bit. No tea colour came out, just a hint of piss- colour. Mark braved a question.
"Do you think we could have some hot water?"
She stared at us as if we were insane. "Mais, - you said thé au lait, n'est-ce pas?"
"Yes, but you have to make it with hot water and then -"
"Ah, oui, vous avez raison - I forgot, my nephew usually makes it. He knows the method." She added as if tea with milk is a crucial part of a closely guarded chemical warfare secret .
She humphed and returned five minutes later to present us with a second teapot, half full of tepid water.
We made the best of it: pale jade-coloured liquid with slightly off, milk clumps. Actually we failed to make the best of it; ate the cakes and stood up to pay at the counter.
I was dreading the 'was everything all right' thing, but as we were not in the USA, this didn't occur.
I thought perhaps she might have, being slightly overwhelmed by our complex demands, and thus making a cochon's ear out of what should have been my highlight of the day, say, she wouldn't charge for the drinks, but she didn't, and she did - charge.
We left and stood for a moment, watching through the window as she cleared our table, slightly slopping the still-full cups of chilled green tea, and mentioned again the idea of doing our own tea salon/books/weird stuff, shop. Watch this space . . .

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