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21 things I've learned as a non-tea drinker in Ireland

Water is fine, honestly.

A Proper Cup of Tea Source: James Shade

1.  People don’t believe me when I say I don’t want a cup of tea. Some are borderline incredulous. Hurt, even.

2. Some think I’m just being polite and so will offer a second and perhaps a third time. Or maybe just choose to ignore me and produce a mug anyway. For my hand, like.

3. If I don’t want tea then surely I must want coffee.

4. The revelation that I don’t really drink coffee either leads to the same series of questions.

5. What do I drink when I’m cold? (I apply a jumper)

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6. What do I drink when I’m thirsty? (Water)

7. What do drink in the morning? (Water)

8. Is it all hot drinks? (No)

9. (It is always at this point that I wonder just how many hot drinks people have in their lives. Hot chocolate?… er, soup? After that I start to draw a blank).

10. I do in fact like the occasional hot chocolate and am a fan of soup, but many many people cannot reconcile this with the fact that I do not like tea. It’s either all hot drinks, or nothing. If I want to take the soup then goddammit I will take the tea.

Cup of Tea Source: grassrootsgroundswell

11. Herbal tea is fine. Not really worth the effort. Often tastes like a disappointingly under-diluted glass of warm Robinsons.

12. I’m often misrepresented with an explanatory “oh no, she doesn’t like hot drinks” when I’m in polite company, before I have a chance to speak. As if I am a troublesome toddler who cannot verbalise my preferences or perhaps a awkward contrarian bent on causing trouble. The distrust runs deep.

13. Water is fine. Honestly. I like water. I seek it out. People can also be distrustful of this.

14. I’m happy enough not dipping my biscuits in anything.

Hand's Of My Tea Wallace! Source: Christopher Read Photography

15. I will never understand the agony of not having any milk for The Tea. Can you not *whispers* just drink something else? 

16. I have literally no opinion on the Barrys v Lyons debate. I do understand and respect that people have deep loyalty to one or the other.

17. Being asked to make someone a cup of tea fills me with horror. What colour is it supposed to be? Do I leave the bag in? Have I used the wrong mug?

18. People love giving mugs as presents. I find them useful for holding pens, an alarming number of one and two cents pieces, and £2.17 in Sterling coppers. Sure I might use it next time I’m in London.

19. I have learned to keep my opinion of tea as ‘being like dirty dish water or maybe water from that sink in Planes Trains and Automobiles that John Candy washes his socks and underpants in’ to myself. It only riles people.

Mommy and Me Tea - U.S Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea - 15 August 2015 Source: USAG-Humphreys

20. I have had to perfect my tea backstory. Yes, my parents drank tea when I was growing up. No, I was never that into it. No, they didn’t mind.

21. Things always come with ‘free tea or coffee’. I have learned to accept this. Pack of shites.

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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