Thursday, 20 September 2012

Down With Coffee! Long Live Tea!

Adam writes…

Insurrection! Revolution! A palace coup!

Trouble at t’mill, if you will.

Yesterday on The Daily Constitutional I wrote that we are canvassing opinion on the best cup of coffee in London, taking recommendations from London Walks guides.

Well, Kim had a thing or two to say about that.

Kim has a thing or two to say on a wide range of topics – which is why you should join her on one of her walks. But I seem to have touched a nerve on the topic of hot beverages…

Kim begins: “Oh Adam.  Now you've really got me going.

“Forget the coffee.  This is England and our national drink is TEA.”

Have you got that at the back? Tea. IN CAPITALS. She continues…

“I can confirm, having done serious market research in search of a decent cupper that ALL of the coffee shop chains do truly AWFUL, abysmal tea.”

She goes on to give pointers on the perfect cup of tea… which we’ll share with you tomorrow afternoon (in time for tea, natch). They are not as exacting as George Orwell and his 17 Golden Rules (again, more of that another day) but it’s insightful stuff nonetheless. Our thanks go to Kim.

So now we’re taking tips (no pun intended) on great cups of tea in London (as well as coffee). If you’d like to join in, just drop us a line at the usual address  or leave a comment below.

In the meantime, I have a confession of my own to make. Please don’t judge me too harshly. I have been known, gentle reader, from time-to-time, to stop into a branch of a major international coffee chain whose name we shall disguise to protect both their reputation and mine… let’s call them CelebrityDollars. I have a terrible weakness for their milky coffee with peppermint syrup.

O! The shame!

(If this were a TV documentary, I’d be filmed in silhouette to protect my identity.)

Said chain has, in the past year-or-so, brought in the practice of getting the staff to ask customers their names to go with their drinks. I, for one, in my reserved British way, find this a bit weird.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the staff’s fault – in fact I’d go so far as to say that the very best thing about CelebrityDollars Coffee Emporium is that the kids who work there are invariably cheery and friendly and hardworking.

But the “what’s your name?” business… well… it’s weird. Creepy. Annoying.

It’s just NOT British.

Which is why last week I gave my name as Costa…

… a rival coffee chain. I thought it would be amusing to hear the name of a rival coffee chain called out in CelebrityDollars.

(Turned out it wasn't as funny in practise as in theory, but you already knew that.)

I’m not proud of it – but then I’d already hit rock bottom by drinking coffee with peppermint syrup. I'm plainly a degenerate desperado with no more dignity to lose.

Where’s all this leading? Well, we’re looking for the best cup of coffee (or TEA, thanks Kim) here in London and we’d like to point London Walkers in the direction of small, unique coffee (and TEA) shops off the beaten track. So my thought is that maybe you can help us:

Next time your CelebrityDollars barista asks you for your name, tell him/her that it is “Save Gaby’s Deli On The Charing Cross Road!” – and when they call it out, pretend you haven't heard so they'll have to call it again. This way you can use the big guy to help promote the little guy. Simple.

Kim leads the Tea & Coffee Walk – the next one is due to go on 5th January. Find out more HERE.


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