Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Mon Mar 26 10:46:02 EST 2001

This wonderfully entertaining thread got me thinking about the 
prevalence of tea drinking in the UK & Ireland.  I was thinking 
especially about Granny in F&H, and how utterly right it seemed that 
she would make tea for talks in the kitchen.  I simply find it 
impossible to imagine her sitting around over cups of coffee, but 
have no idea whether that's because tea _is_ what someone of her 
generation, background etc, would have had, or if it's merely my own 
personal beverage  preference being imposed here!

<Long and skippable aside next>

I will admit that it's quite probable that I became a tea drinker not 
because of some in-built taste thing, but because of something that 
happened when I was very young.  My mother and I visited Cork, where 
my father was born, and went to visit a cousin of his mother's.  I 
was allowed to have tea (probably very weak and with sugar), and 
asked for a second cup.  Cousin May said with delight, "She have her 
grandmother's lip for the tea!".  That grandmother had died long 
before I was born, and I'm pretty sure that my father was dead also 
by this time, and I was charmed to be linked to them in this way.


But back to the point, do other people agree that a few generations 
ago tea drinking would have been much more common than coffee (in the 
UK and Ireland, this is)?  And when would that have changed?  If 
indeed it has, which I would think.  (Just from the size of 
supermarket stock, I'd lean towards roughly fifty-fifty.  As a wild 
guess.)  Or does anyone feel that they'd have no problem with a 
re-write of F&H to have Gran downing quantities of instant coffee? 
And Polly not encountering coffee for the first time at Mary Fields?

Is anyone else even remotely interested? :)


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