110 - My Cup of Tea - Slow

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My name’sCatharine and I have a confession to make. I’m a cliché. A walking cliché infact. I’m British and I only drink tea. 

When youlive in Reunion what do you have to do to get a decent cuppa? Well, it turns out quite a lot actually. Something that you takefor grantedwhen you grow up in Britain can become quite difficult once youlive abroad. 

Now Idon't want to make a storm in a teacup,but having spent twenty of the past twenty-five years living in Reunion thereare many things that I love about my adopted home, including some great foodand drink, but making tea is not a strong point on the island. 

There’sthe time I ordered tea with milk ina Saint-Denis café and was served a frothyconcoction in a teapot, with moremilk than tea. In a fancy west coast hotel I once ordered plain tea and wasbrought lemon tea. I was given the explanation that plain tea wasn’t served otherthan at breakfast time because it wasn’t, and I quote, classy enough. 

Anothertime in the south of the island after a Scottish-themed evening I requested myfavourite drink at the end of the meal, only to be told “do you think this isbreakfast here or what?”. And I’ve given up ordering thé gourmand in restaurants as I’m invariably served half a thimbleful of black,lukewarm flavoured tea. 

Newfriends who invite me to their house must find me rather rude as when they offer me a cuppa they’re often subjected to questioning aboutwhether they have a kettle, fresh milk, and mostimportantly, proper tea. 

Recentlywhen my elderly mother came to visitwe got into the habit of going on our outingswith a thermos and some teabags toensure that she got a decent cup whenever and wherever. I’m pretty sure we gotsome funny looks as we sipped ourrefreshment by the side of the road in Plaine des Gregues or Salazie. 

When Itravel I take the opportunity to visit tea plantations in various far-flungcorners of the globe, and enjoy bringing some tea back to savour on my return.However there can be problems elsewhere too, like the hot drink vendingmachines that use the same equipment to make tea and coffee, thus leaving youwith a revolting beverage that doesn’t know which drink it is! 

But forall the tea in China I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else than Reunion, and inrecent years I’ve seen some improvement.We do say in Britain that “where there’s tea there’s hope” – so here’s to a brilliant future for tea-making in Reunion!


cuppa – ‘cup of’ tasse de
actually – en réalité
to take for granted – prendre pour acquis
abroad – à l’étranger
a storm in a teacup – tempête dans un verre d’eau 

to order - commander
frothy - mousseux
teapot - théière
thimble – dé à coudre
lukewarm - tiède 

rude - impoli
subjected to – assujetti
whether – si (oui ou non)
kettle - bouilloire
elderly - agé 

outings - sorties
teabags – sachets de thé
to sip - siroter
improvement - amélioration
hope - espoir