Wake Up and Smell the . . . Tea

Take this fun tea and coffee movie quiz

Joseph Yossarian

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A traditional china teapot with the word tea repeated around the lower part.
The good old teapot (My own image)

In the opening scene of the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly sips coffee from a styrofoam cup in the deserted dawn streets of New York, while Moon River plays. In a later movie, Jules, Vincent and Winston all compliment Jimmy on the quality of his Joe, and let’s not forget the Garcon means boy scene from that same film.

On TV, coffee outlets, like Cafe Nervosa and Central Perk, were vibrant hubs in great shows of the day, and we saw the other side of the coin in The Sopranos, when Richie Aprile wasted a pot of perfectly good coffee , when he smashed it over Beansie’s head.

We love our coffee here in Merrie England too, and all of the major coffee chains are present on our high streets, but the stereotype image is that the English drink tea. Lots of it.

And there’s good reason for this conception, if we are to believe what we see in old British movies, where the reliable old tea urn is an often-seen extra, which would have a lengthy list of credits to its name if there were an IMDb for beverage dispensers.

A Cup of Rosie Lee

In older British films, whenever there was a crisis or a disaster, The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) would turn up in vans to dish out cups of piping hot Rosie Lee, while, on discovering a murder victim, and following the obligatory scream and swoon, a poor girl could be revived and have her anxieties assuaged via the healing properties of a cup of hot, sweet tea.

So, even just going off the snapshots above, it is clear that image-wise, coffee is king of the cups, marchioness of mugs; baron of the beverage.

But I think that tea gets a lot of bad press, and I drink lots of the stuff, starting every morning with a cup of earl grey at my desk. I like regular tea too, of course, but I usually have a decent stock of redbush and assam on standby for those occasions when I fancy a change. I have all of the aforementioned with a splash of non-dairy milk-like liquid.

Jasmine tea in a transparent glass cup in front of a bowl of fruit, including a pineapple and a mango.
Jasmine tea for me (My own photo)

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Joseph Yossarian

Freelance writer and blogger from the north-east coast of England, specialising in true crime, childhood memories and whatever takes my fancy.