High street coffee shop chain Costabuck has defended itself against criticism of the tea it sells. While just one unfrothy cappuccino could trigger catastrophic loss of market share, Costabuck officially sanctions the sale of substandard tea because British tea drinkers never complain.
CEO Dean Hedges said today: ‘All our employees spend as many weeks training to make tea as they do learning to create the perfect cup of coffee,’ said. ‘They know how to select the most fragrant leaves harvested in the world’s finest tea-growing regions and rolled and dried by master blenders. They learn the formula of ‘one each and one for the pot’ on day one and move on to pot-warming and steeping the brew for a full five minutes while arranging china cups and saucers on a tray, and so on and so forth. But why bother?’
The extra profits from tea can double employees’ take home pay, but Hedges said the biggest benefit is to staff morale. ‘They get such pleasure from dumping a tiny bag of tea sweepings into a cup of superheated water, pointing to the fiddly plastic cartons of UHT milk and plastic stirrers at the back of the shop and taking the punter’s money. It has all the fun of taking candy from a baby without the risk of prosecution.’
But things are changing. The Campaign for Real Tea says its members have begun demanding the real thing and have even developed their own slang. Baristas have been baffled by requests for ‘a short fat cuppa’ or ‘a stewed builder’s char three sugars love’, and have been hastily consulting their manuals.
The manager of Costabuck’s Haymarket branch said that they were doing all they could to respond to requests from CART members, including serving tea in chipped green cups and saucers, but have so far been unable to create a brew you could stand your teaspoon up in.