I had never understood West’s fascination with coffee. I was always more of a tea-person myself. Tea is anyway India’s national beverage. There are no coffee stalls at roadside even though it is far easier to prepare coffee (I did not say good coffee) instantly. The coffee culture, as they call it, is more widespread in USA. The image of a working class American, walking the street, newspaper in hand and coffee in another is the stereotype we have all come to recognize.
The average Indian cannot do that. We cannot walk with our tea. We will obviously spill it. Tea, unlike coffee, doesn’t have a ‘workoholic’ tag around it. It is quite the opposite. Tea time is the time to stop walking around and sit down. Tea means conversation with acquaintances, intense political debates and some such. If an Indian working class individual walked with his tea, he would probably keep walking without taking a sip because it would be rude to have tea when others are tea-less.
The tastes of coffee and tea speak for the opposing ideologies they stand for. Both of them wake you up but in very distinct ways. Your morning headache is cured with coffee. It helps you fight the pounding that the world gives you on a regular basis. Your morning slumber is cured with tea. It is a familiar taste that just makes you pause and reflect.
When someone is drinking coffee, their faces are usually busy. Coffee goes best with a laptop while tea goes best with some biscuits. Coffee’s takeaway version has a lid on it so you can’t look at it while appreciating how delicious it is. Coffee doesn’t want you to fall in love with it. Tea is usually more flamboyant. Fancy cups, multiple ingredients and everything. It tries to seduce you much, it sometimes just comes on too strong. Coffee? It just tastes better when strong.