No. No I do not like this tea.  It is here only to be made an example of.

Notice right away I have broken the commandment: Thou shalt not complain about your tea.

I am sorry to say it is a national pastime in New Zealand to drain an awful cup of tepid bilge water and then thank one’s host profusely for his or her efforts.  To the question, ‘How do you like it [tea]’, we must reply: ‘Just as it comes – thanks’.  Even though the reply allows our host to test our stoicism as he/she then proceeds to wave a teabag over our mug of water. If we cannot flatter our tea then we are obliged to show our gratitude in other ways.  “At least it’s wet” is a popular retort.

Following are edited comments I have gathered from anonymous tea-drinkers around New Zealand.

Ms X: “I tell you, it was like dishwater, cold dishwater.”

Mr S: “Hints of wilted cabbage and slugs.”

Ms Y: “It smelt like sump oil.”

Here also is a comment from a couple brave enough to use their own names:

“People, including themselves, were just putting up with bad tea.” – John and Amanda Van Gorp (of tleaft).

And here is where the decline really began: Way back in a post-war New Zealand Railway’s cafeteria.

“One visitor described the tea as ‘a mixture between bad disinfectant or mouth wash that had deteriorated.”  (From ‘Tea.  A Potted History of Tea in New Zealand’ by Susette Goldsmith.)


No.  That tea is rude.

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