Sunday 16 June 2019

Tea or Coffee?

I was thinking this morning.... about tea and coffee because it rained for the better part of last night. I walked into a restaurant with colleagues for a special breakfast last Thursday looking forward to a simmering pot of tea or coffee. As I scanned the refreshment desk to see the choices available, disappointment immediately replaced my expectation when I discovered there was only Lipton tea and Nescafe coffee. I was transfixed for some seconds as I remembered my experience as a child.

I remembered early in the days in Warri, a good breakfast for me was akamu (pap) and akara (bean ball) while a great breakfast was yam and pepper soup (which in Itsekiri, we call Igbagba or Epuru, when the yam is cooked together with the spicy sauce.) In all my growing up years, one meal I disliked as breakfast was bread and tea/coffee. It was not just because, at best the bread goes with 'Blueband butter,' the tea/coffee was never an inspiration. So whenever we were made to take tea/coffee for breakfast, I would frown and literally curse whoever discovered tea as a part of a meal. I never knew that some day I would understand why and start enjoying tea and coffee. 

Decades had passed and it was deja vu staring at the simmering pot of tea that has become a permanent feature in my diet. From whence cometh this tea? I imagined in Bible language. I found out that tea was discovered and consumed as a beverage around 3rd century AD, while coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around 11th century AD? Interestingly, tea has become the most popular beverage in the world after plain water, with the world’s tea market estimated to be worth $38.8 billion in 2013.

It is interesting to see how tea/coffee preparation and options had developed over the years from one nation to another. In the Himalayas, it’s traditional to add butter to milky black tea. Wahoo!!! Why on earth would anyone add butter to tea? Wonders will never end. In Nigeria today, you still see the tea seller, generally referred to as Mai Shai, brewer of tea in Hausa, creating a waterfall or should I say a 'tea-fall,' as they mix the beverage between cups. Same old Lipton tea, no improvement whatsoever. Though Turkey is the highest consumer of tea in the world, the Americans have by far made the most improvement in the tea/cofee business. Do you know that Starbucks, the American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, can serve a cup of coffee 19,000 different ways? Yes, you read right, 19,000 options. No wonder that between 1971 when Starbucks was founded and 2019, they're operating in 30,000 locations worldwide. Who would have thought that selling tea and coffee could be so lucrative. 

As we get deeper into the rainy season, your preference to keep warm may be plain tea or coffee or one of the 19,000 options on offer at Starbucks. Or it could even be the old fashioned pepper soup. Whatever it is, just don't beat yourself because Colossians 2:16 says 'Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink.' The most important thing is that you stay warm. 

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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