Thursday, July 28, 2005

Coffee or Tea?

Sorry I've been lax about posting lately, but we've had a great run of sunny weather lately and have been enjoying it. I promise to post some new photos soon, and Paul has news to post about his first go at playing "netball." Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I wanted to talk about coffee and tea. Sounds simple doesn't it? But it's not that simple here. It's serious stuff. First off all, they don't drink coffee as we think of it. You won't find waitresses walking around with pots of freshly brewed coffee ready to refill your cup. Instead, 99% of the coffee shops here (and there are A LOT of them. Napier and NZ is known for it's cafe culture) serve only expresso-based beverages, like flat whites (espresso and steamed milk without foam), short or tall blacks (shots of espresso), mochas, and the like. After much searching I finally found one cafe in each of the two main towns here that serves "filtered coffee," and one of them is the region's only Starbucks, which I generally try to avoid on principle but sometimes have to give in to the craving for a cup-o-joe. When you order, they ask you if you want it black or white (with milk). At home most people drink instant coffee (yuck) or have a "coffee plunger" aka French coffee press.

As for tea, that is also serious business. Paul gets regular "tea breaks" at work, and breakrooms are called "tea rooms." A "cuppa" is remedy for all, and commercial breaks are made for "putting the pot on for a cuppa."

Once we got all that straightened out, we thought we were good to go, but there's more. "Having tea" is a catch phrase that can have many meanings. For example, the other night our friends went home after work to "have tea" and then met us at the local pub for quiz night. So it can also mean "have dinner." And if someone asks you to "go out for coffee" that can mean coffee (but not regular coffee of course as explained above) or drinks at a bar. Most of the pubs here also double as coffee houses, so you really don't know what to expect until they order.

That's my 2 cents for now, Time to have some coffee. ;-)


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