The other day my colleague Maggie Savarino posted on Twitter to complain about poor tea service:
Tea service in Seattle SUCKS.
So in the spirit of that New York Times blog post about 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do, let’s come up with a tea drinker’s bill of rights. I don’t have all of the amendments, so I need you to come to my constitutional convention and help out.
I also recognize that tea service poses some problems. There are many kinds of tea, each with its own brewing parameters, and tea attracts picky customers. But you could say the same about the standard menu of espresso drinks–compared to regular and decaf drip, it seems impossibly expensive and complicated. Why, you’d have to charge $3 for a cup of coffee!
Exactly. So along with these rights, I’d like to offer a couple of rights to cafes: the right to charge as much for a cup of tea as you charge for a latte; the right to make customers wait until the tea has properly brewed; and the right to serve a streamlined menu of teas. My favorite teahouse, Remedy Teas, serves 150 teas. Your coffee place doesn’t have to. For that matter, there’s no reason a cafe can’t serve good tea and cheap teabags, drinker’s choice.
TEA DRINKER’S BILL OF RIGHTS (Beta)
The right to filtered water at the proper temperature. Especially for green tea, which needs much cooler water than black or oolong tea.
The right to fresh, loose-leaf tea. I carry teabags with me when I travel, and it’s certainly possible to find good tea in bags. (A shout-out to MyGreenTea and Sugimoto USA.) But the best tea doesn’t come in bags, and they’re kind of janky in a way that jars with the cafe experience.
The right to not be responsible for determining how long to brew the tea. If you’re having tea to stay, the cafe can furnish you with a digital timer. If you’re having it to go, they should time it for you, because you have…
The right to take tea to go without a teabag in it. Otherwise you get oversteeped tea, unless you take the lid off and drop the teabag into a trash can on the street and splash hot tea on your wrist and cry in public.
What else? Please weigh in.