8 Million Stories: The Java Jihad

Written by William Mullin on . Posted in 8 Million Stories, Posts.

THERE ARE TWO kinds of people in New York City: Coffee people and tea people. In a town that moves this quickly, we don’t have time for tea.Tea is for the queen.Tea is for the privileged class. If you own a pair of King Charles Spaniels, then you probably have all the time in the world to choose, brew, pour, steep, wait, blow and sip your delicate little beverage. If not, you stick to joe.

See, the light is always green in New York.There is no stopping to smell the roses or that Darjeeling scent wafting from your cup.This is a coffee town—it could be the reason the city never sleeps.

I was running late to work the other day and quickly ducked into a café to order a simple cup of coffee.There was a woman ahead of me just placing her order. She wanted a tea. But wait—not just any tea. A tea with a capital T. She asked what kinds were available, and being a fancy East Village bohemian café, the barista made it a point to let her know they have dozens of brands from across the globe. Fantastic! I’m running late and the broad ahead of me is about to start taste-testing teas from Thailand. I just needed my caffeine in a simple Greco-themed cup. Instead I was facing major lateness because the woman ahead of me just asked from what region the tiny leaves were plucked.

Tea, besides being ridiculously cumbersome and inefficient, is scary.Yes.Tea scares the hell out of me. First off, tea is like 1,000 degrees warmer than any coffee beverage I have drank.Why? I don’t know. Maybe tea wants to kill you. And contrary to what many people think, tea is stress inducing.Yes, it can cause complete anxiety.

Why would anyone try to calm down by filling a pot with water only to be completely startled by a horrible whistling sound about 10 minutes later? The kettle whistle is only second to nails on the chalkboard, and the tightrope walk doesn’t end there.When you go to pour the tea out of the kettle, the scalding water hisses out of the spout like a cobra ready to strike.

And don’t get me started on the tea bag. Leave it in, take it out. I don’t need this decision-making so early in the morning.The worst is when the tea bag’s paper tag sinks into the cup instead of dangling over the edge. It’s like losing a kite, instead now you are fishing it out of molten lava with your fingers.

And if tea bags weren’t bad enough, some of these people, these tea people, don’t even use bags.The have special instruments that allow them to deal with loose tea leaves like it’s a chemistry lab. And then they dispense of this stuff with another tea accessory.

The worst is the amount of tea that tea drinkers collect. I can’t imagine what the coffee shop woman’s galley kitchen looks like. If she sent all her tea to Manhattan Storage, I am sure she’d find another room in there for another cat.

Yes, I assumed she already had a cat because it’s really the same thing. Cat people are tea people and dog people are coffee people. Unless your dog is less than 20 pounds, then you are a tea person. Because quite frankly, dogs that weigh less than 20-pounds are cats.

Dogs work. Cats don’t. Dogs, like coffee people, are no nonsense.They want their cup and go. Cats lounge, like their owners.They don’t care.They admire the work that dogs do, like sitting and fetching while waiting for their tea to steep.

Finally it’s time to order my coffee. I’m told they’re out of regular and only have Swiss Hazelnut Vanilla Crme. In the amount of time it took for the clerk to name that flavor I could have been at work. I glance over to the windowsill of the café. A large fluffy Persian is seated there staring at me, waiting for my decision. I decline the beverage and begin to leave when I notice both the tea woman and cat yawn simultaneously.