The Rules of Choice

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In vino Veritas. In Aqua satietas. In… What is the Latin for tea? What! Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone.”

Hilaire Belloc, the writer. On Tea, 1908

Choice is indeed a painful thing for many of us, regardless education, social class or religion. The more alternatives there are the more difficult the choice is, isn’t it? But there are rules governing our decision making, which are subject to the norms and constraints of the community you belong to. Ease your life and discover the hidden rules of choice by reflecting on the way the English challenge the great number of alternatives concerning tea consumption.

The journey within this episode will take us a couple of thousand years back to the Shen Nung’s Empire of China, and the back to the period of Cromwell’s Protectorate; to the fields and harbours of China, India and Sri Lanka; to the doors of Lipton and Tetley factories; to contemporary cafes and tea-rooms; and finally, to the shelves of our ordinary supermarkets.

We will look closely at the following questions:

  • What is behind the name of “tea”?
  • What are the types and destinations of tea?
  • What makes a better taste and flavour?
  • What are the pros and cons of tea drinking (and eating)?
  • Why has the tea-room become more popular than the cafe?
  • What makes best tea campaigns?