Coffee or tea?

“Coffee or tea?” she asks and then laughs as she interprets my pause.  Accurately. “It’s okay — we have an espresso machine, I’m not offering you instant.”

coffee or tea

And with that, I accept the coffee. My caffeine-addled brain anticipating the jolt.  Addicted to all the fast, fast, fast — the more, more, more.  Coffee suits my lifestyle. Cramming just a little bit more into each moment than is altogether healthy. Using that shot of espresso to push myself just that tiny bit further.

Tea isn’t like that. Tea is cosy and slow. Tea takes its time. It steeps and deepens and takes its sweet while to achieve full flavour.  You don’t rush tea. It’s not the kind of drink you slam down so that you can get to the next thing.  It’s the kind of drink that you take your time with. It goes well with books, chats, craft and late night television. 

I seldom pay for tea. Too many cafes offer hot water and a tea bag and charge $4.50 for the pleasure. I’ll hand over my life savings for the elixir of caffeine, but when tea is involved I am miser. Tea is a drink I make myself or someone else makes for me. An act of generosity. Cheap and priceless.

Tea solves problems. I don’t know why or how that strange alchemy works, but it does. Hot, sweet tea calms frayed nerves in a way coffee never could. It is balm to wounded hearts. Particularly when its made with love by someone who cares.  Something passes through tea from the person who makes it. A certain kind of kindness. You talk over tea. About important things as you pour another cup. Tea soothes sickness and souls in equal measure.

Over the past few months I have given myself far too much to do. I always do around the middle of the year.  And instinctive reflex, a sub-conscious way of coping with difficult dates. It’s been all rush, rush, rush. All coffee, coffee, coffee. I haven’t given myself time for cups of tea and cosiness. For settling and reflection.  And in all that busy-ness, I have had friends who needed me. Friends who really just needed me to stop and make them a cup of tea. It’s a sobering moment when you realise your coffee culture has edged out all of the tea and then someone needs you. When you rearrange your life in a slight panic and wonder at your priorities.

Tea is caring. Coffee is motivating. Tea is slow. Coffee is fast. Tea is happiest in a beautiful cup on a gorgeous saucer,  fine china coated in flowers. Designed for sipping. Coffee is happy in a take-away cup. Designed for chugging. Tea allows rest. Coffee gets you through. Tea is pause. Coffee is push.

My life is full of coffee moments.  And sorely lacking in tea moments.

I need more relaxed chats with friends. More time doing nothing. More pauses. Less pressure to get to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. I need to find some rest in the moments themselves. Savouring things rather than rushing them. And allowing the spaces for nothing to widen so that when something new comes up, I don’t have to panic and grab a coffee to get me through. I could just make myself a cup of tea and carefully figure out where it all fits.

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Are you a tea person or a coffee person or a little bit of both?


Linking up with Essentially Jess and IBOT

54 thoughts on “Coffee or tea?

  1. Amy @ HandbagMafia says:

    Yes! Coffee is medicinal, or like a vitamin supplement. Tea is for feeling sad or feeling cold or wanting to be cosy and I rarely buy it out for the same reason as you!

  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says:

    I like to swing both ways when it comes to hot drinks! Like you, I never buy tea out but it’s definitely my hot drink of choice at home. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent almost all of my life in England, but experience has shown that a cup of tea makes everything better. That said, coffee is my favourite way to kick start my day. I once had some dental work done and couldn’t drink either for two weeks and it was the longest two weeks of my life!
    Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid recently posted…Taking Stock JulyMy Profile

  3. JF Gibson says:

    I love the aroma of coffee, but I’m not a coffee drinker at all. I don’t mind a tea after the kids go to bed at night and love your description of tea. It’s spot on. Slow, warming, comforting, relaxing. Yes. And perfect with a good book. 🙂

  4. Vanessa says:

    I don’t like the smell or taste of coffee. I do drink tea – but only very occasionally – and only green tea with honey, made by me. I can also only drink hot drinks in winter – so there’s a small window each year for me! I do think insulated mugs are cute though 🙂
    Vanessa recently posted…My Life Is Not Your LifeMy Profile

  5. Melinda says:

    Absolutely true! I murder with my eyes until I get coffee in the morning. On a perfect day I’ll sit in the afternoon with an Earl Grey. At the moment though it’s coffee until 3pm :/

  6. Clare says:

    So true! I always have a cup of tea first thing in the morning, but always a coffee with frothy milk mid morning.
    I agree on the buying tea in a cafe, it is always horrid (especially here in the USA!) and heck I can make it myself for free.

  7. Deborah says:

    Ha! Do you believe it, but I don’t drink either. I’ve been a diet coke drinker since the late 1980s and at many times over those years consumed WAY TOO MUCH – like 2 litres of diet coke a day.

    I quit every so often but find my way back. I’ve favoured vanilla diet coke over the past decade or so and now it’s almost impossible to buy so I’ve weaned myself off it, but I do miss the caffeine-y goodness from time to time!
    Deborah recently posted…All or nothing. Always good or bad?My Profile

  8. Denise says:

    It’s funny because I’ve always been a coffee person but the older I get the more tea I find myself drinking. Maybe I’m subconsciously trying to slow myself down! I only drink one coffee a day now. More than that doesn’t agree with me. It’s so true what you say. I was raised on tea (I’m Irish) and it’s always been a comforting drink 🙂
    Denise recently posted…What makes you forget the time? – Day 9My Profile

  9. Kylie Purtell says:

    Oh my gosh, I love this post so much! I feel like you’ve just described my life, and the metaphor with coffee and tea is perfect! I have definitely been way too much of a coffee drink lately, both literally and metaphorically! It’s time to slow down and make myself some tea!

    • Robyna says:

      Oh thanks lovely – I really hope you do take a moment to have that tea. I’ve been so ridiculously busy that this is the first time in a while that I’m sitting down with one and catching up on blogs.

  10. Bron from Flat Bum Mum says:

    Tea all day long! only started drinking it in my 30s and I love it now. I would never buy a tea at a cafe though.malways terrible. I go a hot chocolate instead. Great post lovley. Slow down, feet up and grab a cuppa for you and your friend. Rest is important. Xoxo
    Bron from Flat Bum Mum recently posted…#Mum Talk – ComplainingMy Profile

  11. Kit says:

    I rarely if ever drink coffee. In fact I don’t think I had had a coffee in 4 or 5 years until just recently. I am fussy with my coffee, I don’t like it too strong so instead of sounding like one of those wankers that gives 15 instructions with their coffee order I will either have a hot chocolate or if they serve pot tea with leaves I will have a pot.

    I think that you need to take a moment and give yourself the time to enjoy a cup of tea and rest.

  12. Renee Wilson says:

    I’m definitely a tea person. The smell of coffee makes me feel sick, which is particularly annoying when I’m in meetings full of coffee drinkers. I’ve never actually drank a full cup. I like to have a cup of tea by my side when I work. I sip it slowly and even drink it when it’s gone cold. I don’t drink it after five though otherwise I’ll be up to the toilet all night 😉
    Renee Wilson recently posted…8 photos in 8 years of marriageMy Profile

  13. Janet aka Middle Aged Mama says:

    Nescafe to kick start me in the morning, then tea for the rest of the day. Except when I’m out – then I’ll have a cappuccino or latte because like you, I refuse to pay $4.50 for hot water and a teabag …

  14. Jo @ You had us at hello says:

    I love this! And I couldn’t agree more – why the hell would you pay for a cup of tea?! What a rip off! Having said that, in my waitressing days you’d get some people ordering a cup of hot water and slip out their own tea bags – bit cheeky! I love how you’ve summed up tea and coffee perfectly. I love both. You can always tell when I’ve been hanging with my Mum, I’m full from all the tea 🙂 #teamIBOT
    Jo @ You had us at hello recently posted…July WinnersMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      I’m not surprised people would do that with the hot water thing, I never could though. My parents are Dutch so it’s coffee all the way (with many biscuits)

  15. Shari from GoodFoodWeek says:

    I loved this post. I love tea – I have draws and draws of it. It’s for sharing with friends and family and it’s brings a type of joy – it’s community. I will only drink coffee at a cafe – a proper coffee. It also brings me a kind of happiness – but it wakes me up and gets me going and I’m happy to sip on it whilst I watch my children at the park – solo.
    Shari from GoodFoodWeek recently posted…Motherhood: pregnancy updateMy Profile

  16. Herry Hermawan says:

    I usually drink coffee while working in front of a laptop, but when it is being relaxed, I drink tea especially green tea because it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have a strong effect on the body.

  17. Claire says:

    I love the line, “Tea is caring. Coffee is motivating. Tea is slow. Coffee is fast.” For me I love both, I drink coffee to start my day and drink tea later in the afternoon. Coffee and tea are perfect with good book.

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