Since the first London coffeehouse was open in 1652, hot drinks have been fuel for the working world. Coffeehouses became centres for the passing of news and the doing of deals. The original Lloyd’s building was the coffeehouse of Edward Lloyd, established in 1688, where sailors and merchants would swap news to establish insurance contracts. One need only look at the majesty of the Cutty Sark to understand the importance of tea to the Victorians, the last intact tea clipper, built to race across the oceans to supply the addiction of the British.
There are only two types of people who refuse to make a round of hot drinks, those who are selfish, and those who don’t trust themselves to make a decent cup of tea. Both flaws make poor colleagues, but the latter is more egregious!
The modern world in which we live has seen a resurgence in a new breed of corporate coffeehouses such as the ubiquitous Starbucks or Costa. Interestingly, Starbucks was to be named after the whaling ship Pequod, the setting of much of Moby Dick. A branding expert suggested the St- prefix as being suggestive of a strong company, so the name of the Pequod’s 1st mate, a burly New England Quaker, was chosen.
Drinking Starbucks reveals a certain lack of imagination and taste coupled with a lack of social conscience regarding taxation and workers rights. The American desire to make everything bigger has led to a blurring of the line between the cappuccino and the latte, even the medium sizes are too large, with the steamed milk layer is unable to support the weight of the foamed milk which sits atop it. This leads to a mixing of the layers, making the two drinks indistinguishable.
In the office:
Coffee without milk is for the cynic, someone who sees coffee merely as a source of caffeine, consumed to get one through the day, not a drink to be enjoyed. The diametrically opposed choice of a weak coffee, with milk and sugar, is for those who want to fit in, but would rather drink anything else.
People who use coffee presses at work enjoy the journey and artistry of the coffee, as much as the flavour.
Drinking Yorkshire tea is a coded method the revealing of one’s affiliation to a higher power. Instead of the handshakes of t’Illuminati and t’Stonemasons, this tea marks one out as a proud son or daughter of England’s largest county.
Earl Grey is the drink of choice for those who enjoy radio four, and complaining about substitutions in the formula of their tea blend.
Green Tea is drunk by people who are on the latest health fad.
DeCaf is drunk by people who have gone too far down the caffeine rabbit hole, and are only just climbing their way out.
This person wants a hug.
Flavoured Hot Chocolate
This person needs a hug.