A Travesty Of Tea

Pack more summer clothes. 

Heeding this note-to-self in my files from last summer’s Ireland journey I packed fewer long sleeved shirts. And ended up wearing few of those. During the first week of July farmers were watching the skies and listening closely to the weather reports hoping for a dry day to harvest the last of their silage. However the last three weeks were drier, warmer, and very muggy. The perfect weather for iced tea. The only problem is the Irish don’t have a concept of iced tea.

When I would order a pot of tea and a tall glass of ice the waiters were momentarily bewildered. Only a few quickly caught on. “Oh then, is it the iced tea ye are wanting to teapotmake?” They would often add a gentle admonishment that they don’t make or drink iced tea in Ireland. Yes. I would acknowledge that fact as I gratefully accepted their delivery of pot, glass, and cup – in case I changed my mind.

Talking with a friend about this, ironically over a cup of tea, I launched into the subject of sun tea. A large jar of cold water with tea bags placed in the sun for a few hours. Stupefied my friend said, “What ye are saying is that you don’t even fookin’ boil the water?!?” Nope. The ultimate insult. A total travesty of tea.

With the singular exception of iced tea I generally try not to impose American customs on the Irish, choosing rather to honor their hospitality by being a gracious guest. I’ve had many occasions to witness the ugly American and it’s…well, ugly. My most recent encounter with this was on my last day in Ireland. And it took the concept of travesty to a whole new level…