Tea a Cross Border Cultural Conundrum

My first experience with the cultural differences between Canada and the US in the language used to describe tea was about 13 years ago when Anthony and I went down to Seattle and stopped for something to eat at Wendy’s. I remember clearly asking for an iced tea and being both surprised and extremely disappointed in what I received. Instead of a sweet cold drink I got cold tea. It was cold and very bitter. I always forget this when I am in the US.

In Canada iced tea is a sweetened cold drink. Tea is a regular steeped orange pekoe unless you ask for a specific tea like Earl Grey or Darjeeling. If you go anywhere in Canada if you asked for a big honking tea at breakfast they would know you wanted a hot beverage that was very large in size and you would be asked if you wanted milk and sugar. That should have been my first clue that something was amiss.

In the US if you ask for a big honking tea at breakfast you will not receive a large hot tea to which you can add milk. Instead you will receive a large cup of cold bitter unhappiness, and when you express that hurricane of sadness you will be asked for more money to get the •hot• tea and even more money to get milk instead of creamers.

My advice to Canadians and Americans alike is to remember to learn the local tea lingo to avoid the hurricane of sadness that is the wrong type of tea, whether it be hot, cold, iced or sweetened. The cultural divide is wide, but with some reminders it can be bridged.

Cross posted at Floyds Go Bad.

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