I love tea. I do not like coffee (although I do love its’ aroma). So the phenomenal rise of the corporate, faceless coffee house (I’m looking at you Starbucks and Costa!) has kind of passed me by. I mean, I am aware of how they have run small, independent coffee shops out of business, but I have not been a frequenter of said establishments. I completely missed out on the fashion of having a landfill-clogging over-sized paper cup glued to my hand at all hours of the day. And I fail to understand the excitement of ‘Cinnamon Latte Season’.
Tea is Good
I like tea. Good tea. Proper tea. Tea that tastes of tea. Tea served in a washable container. Tea that breathes life into you. Relaxes you. Soothes all ills. Makes the world a better place.
OK, you get the picture. I like tea, I don’t like coffee.
The Problem with Coffee Shops
What I do not understand is why, in a country of tea-lovers, do these enormous corporate chains of coffee houses serve such abysmal tea? I know that their USP is ‘coffee’ but surely they are missing a trick here. We tea-drinkers would like the water for our tea to be freshly boiled, not that stinky old steamed nonsense. And maybe a wider range of tea? I mean, it is not hard to find excellent quality tea suppliers in this country.
“Why don’t you go to a tea shop instead?” you might ask. Well, I would if there was a one in my town. But no, tea shops have sadly dwindled in numbers and even independents cafes are on the out. The thing is, these huge corporate coffee chains are getting a bit of a monopoly on British town centres, they have the economy of scale to make running costs lower as well as strong brand recognition. It is just much harder for independents to survive – I have seen so many close in all the local areas I have lived in (of which there are many).
Is it a case of can’t beat ’em so join ’em?
Well, not entirely. Whilst I would prefer to frequent an independently-run tea rooms or cafe I am aware that the coffee chains are continuing their take-over at a monumental rate. So I propose a more constructive engagement with said chains, particularly Costa which is the largest in the UK – I would like to see better tea provisions in their shops.
Either that or someone needs to start up a hugely successful chain of tea shops… *lightbulb pings*
What are your thoughts?
Would you like to join the campaign for better tea in coffee shops?