There is something we call the ‘British Tea Culture’, and it’s something that everyone knows what it is. But could you describe it?
Tony Gebely, founder of http://www.worldoftea.org interviewed 110 people from the United Kingdom about their tea habits, to see ‘what makes their tea culture unique across all social classes’. Hmm, I’m not sure I like his reasoning behind it, but the survey certainly makes entertaining reading.
He asked the people he interviewed, ‘what does tea mean to you?’ and has put together the following tag cloud of words. (For those who don’t know how these work – the bigger the word, the more times it was used….)
I find this ‘tag cloud’ a little misleading – because it features every word answered, including ‘something’ and ‘always’ but I do love that the word ‘drink’ is so prominent – yes it’s obvious, but in his summary Gebely ums and ahs as to whether he should have told the interviewees to be specific about tea as a drink, or as an occasion or meal. Seems he shouldn’t have fretted so! Second most prominant is the word ‘comfort, with ‘relaxing’, ‘morning’ and ‘break’ not far behind.
Is this how you’d sum up tea? I might do my own little test!
Gebely’s the research was undertaken for a book he is writing – I’m not sure this research can be taken as substantial evidence of the British tea drinking culture, in fact, I actually find it a tiny bit derogatory and patronising. Indeed, one of the comments from a reader suggested that, ‘the popular conception of tea in the UK is so different from enthusiast teas that they may as well be completely different drinks’ – but I won’t delve into that metaphorical kettle of fish right now….!
Having said that, I’m looking forward to sharing a couple more of Gebely’s findings in later blog posts. I did find it an amusing read, but one written with little understanding of British culture, I expect!