Careers in Tea

Mad Hatter Tea Party

Mad Hatter Tea Party

You’ll undoubtedly remember the Mad Hatter’s tea party?

“There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter and the Doormouse were having tea at it: The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it.

`No room! No room!’ they cried out when they saw Alice coming.

`There’s plenty of room!’ said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.”

(Having seats, gaining and losing seats is another matter of considerable importance, even today in these high stress political times.)

And by the way, I recently learned that hatters became quite mad after inhaling fumes from chemicals that were used in the hat-making process.

Thus, another element of controversy is introduced into the tea party equation.

“Teas, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual.” said Thomas De Quincy in his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, an autobiographical account written in 1821 about his opium and alcohol addiction.

Now we are becoming addicted to tea.

Tea cafes are opening everywhere.

Tea parties are booming.

Sell a customer a glass of iced tea for $1.50. Then offer a “free” refill. The guest will be delighted! Wow!! Free tea!!!

No wonder: both hot and iced tea are experiencing a renaissance in North America. Even Starbucks, the quintessentially coffee purveyor, offers a wide range of Tazo® Teas including tea lattes.

Iced tea accounts for a dramatic increase in the total tea drinking partly because it has developed a profile as a healthy, inexpensive, low calorie drink that  can challenge  the popularity of carbonated sodas.

And look at the profit to be made!

What is the average cost of preparing a glass of iced tea? 3 cents? You do the math.

(The slice of lemon must be calculated separately as it will probably cost more than the tea.)

Sell a few hundred glasses of iced tea in a year, and you’ll rake in enough to pay for many bottles of gin.

Hot tea service in a restaurant is even more astonishingly profitable than iced tea, particularly when there is s modicum of ceremony involved. This involves an investment in charming tea pots, and delicate porcelain cups and saucers, maybe milk jugs; certainly sugar bowls that contain tiny sugar cubes and silver tongs to transport the sugar into the cup of tea.

Here are some sample words to seduce the senses that I’ve stolen from an actual tea menu whose provenance I regret to have forgotten:

  • “African Nectar” African Rooibos Leaves Teeming With Tropical Fruit and Blossoms, Antioxidant Rich.
  • “Orange Jasmine,” A Rich Dark Brew of Black Tea Teeming with Notes of Orange, Vanilla, Bergamot and Jasmine.

Among the many tea-related jobs to be found are: tea importer, tea broker, tea auctioneer and tea taster.

A table-top consultant is a specialist who scours showrooms for six or more tea service samples to present to the chef or restaurant owner who selects and places the order for the preferred style. The consultant schlepper then returns the samples.

Clearly fortunes are to be made by reading the tea leaves correctly.