Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Cuppas. Hot caffeinated beverages are my pleasure and my crutch, tools of relaxation, enthusiasm and procrastination. It's a policy of mine never to refuse an offer of a cup of tea; I told this to one prospective housemate during the interview, and he told me I sounded like Oscar Wilde. I also love having coffee with friends. I can map my life by the cafés I've hung out in.

And there's something delightful and luxurious about having a cup of tea made for you, especially in bed, or a coffee fetched from over the road and brought back on a cardboard tray. When I visit my parents, they don't even ask anymore - they just hand me a hot steaming mug. And whenever I make myself a cuppa I always offer to make one for anyone else who's in the room at the time.

It really punctuates my day. Coffee is for waking up, kicking on and drinking when you're out. Tea is for cosy chats at home, reading books and newspapers, and staring into space holding a warm container. It's also for procrastination. When I worked at Field Works I found the job so intolerable I used to take many unofficial breaks to get new cups of tea. I would go through up to ten in a four-hour shift. Same at uni - whenever I would get stuck I'd get up and make a cup of tea. But I would have to stop when my tongue started feeling furry from all the tannin in the tea.

Even though I've never worked in the Hospitality Mafia, I try to remember how people take their tea and coffee. For example, Rian has a long black before meals and a flat white after meals. Hugh does not like the teabag left in; Sophie V does. My mother's has less milk than my father's, and he also has one sugar. Renée and Ethan do not drink hot beverages, which makes me very suspicious.

There was a mildly funny moment at work last week: Sophie B said she took her tea black, "like me." It took me a second to work out that she meant her surname is Black. I replied "My tea is like me, too - white with none."

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