I am currently in London. As I have mentioned in previous posts, living in one place for an extended period of time requires the performance of mundane tasks, such as buying groceries. The other day I was in a Sainsbury’s, and I bought green tea. I found this sentence when I got home:
I stopped dead in my tracks. All my life, I have been enjoying green tea with milk. And now, here is an authoritative, English tone, telling me I’ve had it all wrong. I’m not too proud to admit it; the Sainsbury’s instructions worked. Since reading this terse, firm directive, I have been reluctant to add milk to my green tea. I can’t tell if green tea tastes better sans milk, but I somehow feel I am more proper by drinking green tea in the best way possible. Best enjoyed without milk. Man, if I lived here, I’d feel like I didn’t know how to best enjoy things, what with all of these insidious, eye-over-your-shoulder instructions.
Look at this other tea box from Marks & Spencer:
They really don’t pull any punches here. City Hard Water Tea Bags. Hey, you live in London and are probably grossed out by all of the minerals in your water, as well the limescale residue ensconcing your taps, so let’s make a tea to accommodate this problem! If you don’t know what hard water is, here are some quotes from the Evening Standard:
According to Thames Water, over 60% of people in the UK live in hard water areas which can, quite literally, leave a bitter taste in our mouth whenever we drink from the tap.
As well as not tasting all that great, hard water can spell trouble for just about everything from cleaning to personal hygiene.
…the oestrogen hormone is found in the contraceptive pill and when excreted makes its way into our sewage. Whilst the treatment process of raw water is effective in filtering out most harsh chemicals and other harmful substances, it’s significantly more difficult for oestrogen to be broken down, meaning traces of it end up in our drinking water.
So, London’s tap water contains calcium, magnesium, and estrogen. What better way to cover this creepy reality than with some tea. But wait, what if I prepare the City Hard Water Tea Bags in filtered, softer water? If the water quality improves, does the taste of the tea decline? Or, are the City Hard Water Tea Bags merely the most effective blend in disguising the hard reality of London water?
Dear Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s has set a precedent for hand-holding and I fear I don’t understand how best to enjoy your tea.