Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tea vendors

Tea merchant
coloured pencil & pen
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Have you noticed how everyone these days has to have a cup of coffee in their hand in the morning in public? Where did this come from? Don't we have the equipment at home to make coffee and don't we have coffee makers at work? Why do people have to stop between home and work and buy coffee?

The coffee then is too hot to drink in the car so you need to wait 20 minutes to even take a sip without losing the lining of your mouth. By which time you're at work or wherever you're going and then you have to balance the hot coffee cup, your purse, laptop, mail and whatever else you're carrying and open the door without dropping anything or spilling coffee all over yourself. And people do this why???

It seems there are coffee vendors all over the world and this image of a tea merchant in New Delhi is no different than the Starbucks or Tim Hortons of the western world. Except that there isn't a drive through, which is a good thing!
In May 2007 India's Supreme Court banned street sellers from cooking food on the pavements of New Delhi to clean up India's chaotic capital.

The ban will hit at the heart of daily customs of thousands of eaters in the capital, where breakfasts and lunches like pan-fried parathas and samosas cooked in vats of hot oil are served on the streets to hungry customers.

One exception will be made for the quintessential Indian tea vendors, although the court says they must now serve their drinks in disposable glasses and cups.
Here, there are similar problems with Tim Hortons franchises which are so busy in the morning that they cause traffic congestion from backed up queues at the drive throughs. Most places sell more things than just coffee. You can eat three meals a day there as well as the usual snacks so even drive throughs aren't speedy.

I have a problem with drive throughs. They're not 'green'. Its another waste of resources as you sit and let your car idle as you wait in line. And the physical act of parking and walking to the shop is hardly a hardship as its no more than 5o feet at most in many car parks - and quicker than the drive through.

I adore coffee and make it at home and at work, but I rarely stop along the way or turn up at meetings and work, cup in hand. I just don't understand the rationale for being unable to wait til you get to your destination to get coffee or tea. Or is it simply another trend?


Rose Welty said...


First, love the new banner, very creative. I must admit that I am one of those people who drink coffee on my morning school run, and carry it in the school (with children hanging off all appendages and grasping the fingers that aren't on the mug). I even had a grandfather come up to me the other day and say, "do you really carry that thing everywhere with you all day?" I was embarrassed.

I don't carry it with me all day. I guess my reasoning is this, I don't have time to drink a cup before driving the boys to drop off the eldest, so I've got to drink it in the car. However, I like my coffee hot, so if I left it in the car while I got him situated for the day, it would be too cold to finish by the time I got back. And, less than a full cup would be a sad way to start the day! ;-)

So, I guess my addiction forces me to carry around a cumbersome travel mug on school mornings. Sad but true. Hmm, I shall have to think about it - over my equally addictive afternoon cup of tea.

Jeanette said...

Thanks for the insight Rose. I'm glad you like the new banner too.

It takes me 20 - 30 minutes to drive to work and another 20 or 30 minutes to set myself up for the day before I get coffee, but I rarely stop and get one along the way.

Yes I do have time to get coffee in the morning at home. I know the challenges of doing anything for yourself with young kids around!

I wonder though how 5 years ago even, the world didn't carry mugs around with them everywhere and if its a trend now. It seems every second person is advertising a coffee shop in their hand each morning.

As for that afternoon cup of tea, its good for you! I just stick with coffee all day. :)

Billie Crain said...

Theory: I think when coffee shops started popping up on almost every corner it started a huge trend. 'Have Coffee Will Travel'! pair that with a busy life style, little sleep and there ya go.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Jeanette,

I have often wondered this same thing myself...why don't people grab a cup at home? Why people would want to add time to the commute to sit in a lineup of cars is beyond me. Perhaps they are buying something to eat and I guess not finding the time to make coffee isn't the same as someone arguing that they don't have time to cook breakfast.

Another aspect to our coffee crazy culture is how we have supersized our cups. Now first off let me say that I too love coffee, but has anyone else noticed that the cups that exit in the hands of the average Starbucks patron hold as many ounces as a soup thermos? When someone says "Oh I only drink three cups of coffee a day, I wonder do they mean three of these 16 to 20 oz monster cups? I also love tea and yikes look at the size of china tea cups. I am definitely drinking more volume than my granny would have! Thank goodness tea is practically a health food these days.

I guess this brings me to the issue of excess in our culture. We seem to have gone off the charts as to what is a regular serving of coffee and I think we have done the same with food. I once read a woman's quote that went something like: "The present volume of food that can be eaten in polite company would have been completely embarrassing at one point in our history." Ouch. Maybe not the thing to mention as we enter another major holiday weekend, with its emphasis on Easter candy and ham dinners... :-)