Lucky Ten Thousand (TIL)

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emceng
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby emceng » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

It really depends on taste. Some places in the US pride themselves on their sweet tea, while Brits would probably think it's disgusting. Sure we've got crappy teas like Lipton, but there are also lots of good places to get teas. This is similar to the beer arguement - just because foreigners only know about the shit exports like Bud and Coors, doesn't mean the US only produces crappy beer.

As for kettles/whatever - no one I know had a kettle. Most everyone has a coffee maker at home. My mom using to boil water or microwave water to get it hot for tea. Since my dad stopped drinking coffee, they got a kettle(or three) and now use that for tea.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:10 pm UTC

My wife and I have a coffee maker. We make tea in it.

We're probably breaking so many unspoken rules. Don't care, have tea.

As far as getting tea in a restaurant goes - if it's not a tea house, it's going to be whatever iced tea they have. But most restaurants have no problem at all with bringing you as much hot water as you desire and don't care if you break out your own tea at the table.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby The Scyphozoa » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:My wife and I have a coffee maker. We make tea in it.

We're probably breaking so many unspoken rules. Don't care, have tea.

Had to use the coffee maker
(Doesn't matter, had tea)
It smelled weird the whole time
(Doesn't matter, had tea)
I think it might have been expired
(Doesn't matter, had tea)
I found the bag on the floor
(Still counts)
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Wednesday » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:26 pm UTC

My roommate has an electric kettle. So did my last roommate. My current roommate also has a stovetop kettle, which I have become a big fan of. All three of us are American and, as far as I know, have only ever lived in America. I've never thought to use an electric kettle to boil water faster than on a stovetop, but it makes a fantastic amount of sense.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:My wife and I have a coffee maker. We make tea in it.

We're probably breaking so many unspoken rules. Don't care, have tea.

Had to use the coffee maker
(Doesn't matter, had tea)
It smelled weird the whole time
(Doesn't matter, had tea)
I think it might have been expired
(Doesn't matter, had tea)
I found the bag on the floor
(Still counts)


Not like anything else has gone in to this particular coffee maker. And the one before it had several vinegar cycles to clean it out before we tried it.

But yeah, doesn't matter, had tea. In a few hours. After it cooled off.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby oxoiron » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:35 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:
yurell wrote:Wow, Americans generally not having kettles is a TIL for me.
Me, too.
Me three. I'm an American who grew up with a stovetop kettle and now has an electric one. I guess I always assumed that was the norm, but now that everyone is talking about it, I realize I don't recall seeing kettles at my friends' houses.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Роберт » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:59 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:As far as getting tea in a restaurant goes - if it's not a tea house, it's going to be whatever iced tea they have.
Quite a few restaurants offer Twinings or Bigalow tea (not terrible). Some offer Lipton hot tea (pretty much the Bud/Coors of tea). But yeah, odds are fairly high they won't have any tea.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Whelan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:22 pm UTC

Well now I'm tempted to visit the US, and in my Britishest accent, ask for tea, just to see what I get.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:35 pm UTC

Lemme rephrase that

In the South it'll be iced tea. I am not sure how elsewhere handles it.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:50 pm UTC

In the DC area it really depends on the establishment you're at. If you're at, say, a PF Changs you'll probably need to pick from the 10 different asian-themed teas. Though pretty much everywhere that serves soft drinks will probably have an unsweatened iced tea. Sometimes even fruity combinations, such as raspberry or peach.

However, I'm most likely not going to places that have 'proper' tea since I don't frequent cafes or fancy places.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Wednesday » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:16 pm UTC

In many cities, Boston certainly, we have tea specific chains called Tealuxe and Teavana. They are pretty okay.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:26 pm UTC

I'd definitely go if it was called Tearany, and they treat you like an evil dictator.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Lemme rephrase that

In the South it'll be iced tea. I am not sure how elsewhere handles it.

To elucidate: in my experience, there's a good chance that if you just asked for tea, your server would respond by asking if you wanted sweetened or unsweetened. Sweetened is, of course, the traditional response and the default if your server doesn't ask for clarification. If you've never had real Southern sweet tea before, be prepared to be shocked by just how sweet it is.

If iced tea isn't what you want, asking for "hot tea" will get you what you're looking for at a lot of places. Well, sort of. What you'll likely get is a dusty (because hardly anyone ever orders it) Lipton's tea bag with hot water out of the coffee machine.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:15 pm UTC

You can get hot tea at most Indian restaurants. Thanks, Imperialism! :mrgreen:

Also I am American and I have a kettle I use frequently. No teapot, though. Just bags & mugs.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Belial » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:11 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote:In the DC area it really depends on the establishment you're at. If you're at, say, a PF Changs you'll probably need to pick from the 10 different asian-themed teas.


Okay. But why on earth are you in a PF Chang's when you're in DC? Y'all have an actual china town. And other such places that contain real restaurants.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:33 pm UTC

Here in southern California, whenever anyone I know wants tea, they go to a "coffee shop" (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Peet's Coffee & Tea, even Starbucks, or else some local variety of the same concept) and pick from whatever huge variety of teas they might possibly want.

I'm pretty sure most diner-type restaurants (Denny's, Carrows, IHOP, Chili's, Friday's, Applebees, etc) will serve you hot black tea all you want too. Some even offer green.

And yeah, pretty much any variety of Asian restaurant from Indian to Thai to Chinese will have hot tea on hand, often in several interesting varieties.

I'm pretty sure most of the restaurants will assume you mean hot tea unless you specify "iced", too.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:51 pm UTC

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you.”

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Kithplana » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:06 am UTC

If I'm going to a Coffee Bean I'm going to get coffee. Tea is far easier and cheaper to make at home, but a Coffee Bean latte is goooood.

I've almost given up on drinking tea outside home, both hot and iced. I know hot is only going to get me a random bag of dust (unless they bought a Bigelow box or something, in which case it'll be choose your own flavor random bag of dust), and most iced is still pretty nasty. The exception is the iced tea you get at Panda Express or Pick Up Stix, which is some tasty passion fruit tropical blend type thing.

I might be a bit of a tea snob. Oh, and I microwave my water. I don't see the sense in using an entirely separate appliance to do that.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Magnanimous » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:15 am UTC

Kettles are a bit more efficient than microwaves, if you're into saving energy. Although it takes a lot of energy to manufacture a kettle, so...

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby bluebambue » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:28 am UTC

In Seattle most places that serve espresso (unless they're the coffee snob places, which do exist) will also serve tea. There are lot of these coffee places double as restaurants of the sandwhich and some other easy-ish food, so I would count them as restaurants.

Most restaurants that target the fairly large vegan/vegetarian/alternative eating styles will also have a selection of tea.

The selection of tea at these places is either Tazo, Stash, or some fancy stuff that I've never heard of (that I assume to be organic or locally grown or something).

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Promac » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:28 am UTC

Microwaved water is horrible. Makes the tea go slightly frothy.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby UniqueScreenname » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:38 am UTC

...I didn't know restaurants don't have tea. My mom always is cold, so she'll get hot tea when we go out to eat pretty much everywhere. I mean, it's like Jude said, with a Lipton's bag and some hot water, but I don't think she's ever asked for it and been told they don't have it. But those are chain restaurants. Maybe the non-chains don't? I don't know.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby bluebambue » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:42 am UTC

I think only once have I been able to not even get Liptons somewhere. I don't like Liptons, though, so I don't really think about it when I think about where I can get tea.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Fire Brns » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:43 am UTC

Restaurants generally have at least the two stainless steel brewers with (insert tea company logo) on the front.

And then there's the powdered mix which to my knowledge no one has mentioned. It's like extra sugary tea flavored kool-aid.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:39 am UTC

Whelan wrote:Well now I'm tempted to visit the US, and in my Britishest accent, ask for tea, just to see what I get.


Many chain restaurants in the U.S. will offer mainly iced tea. Depending on the region, it may come as only unsweetened, or else both sweetened or unsweetened. The local restaurants might be a bit more difficult when it comes to tea. Again, it depends on the region.

Although, even in the South, which is well-known for loving sweetened iced tea, some restaurants, mainly local, only serve unsweetened tea. When I found that out, regardless of the food or service, I don't go there anymore.

The most common flavoring for tea is lemon. I personally think any kind of flavoring is gross, but the major consensus is lemon. Most restaurants, especially the sit-down/casual dining kinds (Denny's, Waffle House, Applebee's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden et al.), will serve a lemon slice with the tea, usually perched on the rim of the glass. If you don't like lemon, you can request "no lemon", but in my experience, some servers at some restaurants don't listen. Other popular flavors are peach and raspberry, but those usually come as a preflavored mix. Nestea makes a lemon-flavored iced tea that comes canned, bottled, and sold in dispensers in many fast-food chains.

Most fast food chains make their own tea, and depending on where you go, it'll be either some of the best commercially-sold iced tea you've ever had, or the worst. The most popular is Chick-Fil-A's iced tea, either sweetened or unsweetened. They also sell it by the gallon, should you desire to keep some in your home or work. I buy a gallon of sweetened on occasion.

Hot tea is available, but you have to request it. In most places it'll be an "off-menu" item, but they do have it. Like someone else said, it'd be a cup of hot water, and a teabag. You steep it yourself. They may also bring out a few packets of sugar or artificial sweetener. Some restaurants may keep a small container with a few packets of sugar, Equal, Sweet-N-Low, and/or Splenda on every table. Asian cuisine restaurants, mainly the locally-owned ones, will offer brewed hot tea, with a complete tea set (kettle and cups). I remember going to one restaurant where they brought out the tea set automatically to every table. You had to remember to say you don't want hot tea, that you'd rather have iced tea.

In the South, most restaurants know what you mean when you say "sweet tea" or "unsweet tea". If someone says, "I'll have a sweet tea" or simply "sweet tea" when the server asks for drink orders, if someone else pipes in with "unsweet" and someone else just says "sweet", the server, if well-versed enough, knows everyone wants tea, and that was two sweetened teas and one unsweetened tea. Some restaurants may provide a spoon with the unsweetened tea, where the customer may add artificial sweetener, if they wish. Sweetened tea is sweetened with regular sugar.

Not sure how it is in the UK, but from what I understand, you have to ask for your drink along with your meal. Here in the U.S., most sit-down restaurants will ask for drink orders before taking food orders. The ideaology behind that is that 99% of all restaurant goers already know what they want to drink before they even get in their car and drive to the restaurant. Most will always get the same thing with every meal. The server will get the drinks, leaving you time to peruse the menu. When they return with the drinks, they will inquire if you've decided. If not, they'll run off, leaving you to peruse further, all the while sipping your drink. Menu perusin's thirsty work!

One major thing you'll find in restaurants in the U.S. that serve iced tea is this: There's no consistency. Some restaurants will over-sweeten their tea; others will under-sweeten. If it tastes more like sugar syrup than tea, then they've over-sweetened. Many people will ask for half-and-half, as in half-sweetened and half-unsweetened. This helps to cut the sweetness (as my mom likes to put it, "teeth-curlin' sweet") on their sweet tea, and helps make it seem stronger, since the unsweetened tea seems to be stronger in flavor.

Same goes with steeping. There are some places I've eaten at where the tea seemed a bit weak, sometimes more like tea-flavored water; others where the tea was almost as strong as coffee, if not stronger.

For both, it really depends on the restaurant and whoever was in charge of making the tea that day.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby yurell » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:55 am UTC

What's the difference between 'sweetened' and 'unsweetened'? Do they just chuck a tonne of sugar in it if you want it sweetened (if so, it seems an odd thing to specify rather than just adding it yourself)? And do we mean the same thing when we say 'iced tea' (that is brewed tea with ice, or occasionally turned into a dairy version)?
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby TimelordSimone » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:56 am UTC

I've probably mentioned this before, but whatever.
My friend had neither a kettle nor a microwave in his flat when I visited him. I had to boil water in a saucepan to make tea, like some kind of chump.
Why I had to make the tea while he lounged around in bed even though I was the guest is a whole other issue.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Carlington » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:40 pm UTC

I would consider myself a terrible host. My flat is seldom tidy, and I am absolutely terrible at entertaining guests.

But if you think for a second I would let somebody make their own tea under this roof...
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby JBJ » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:46 pm UTC

yurell wrote:What's the difference between 'sweetened' and 'unsweetened'? Do they just chuck a tonne of sugar in it if you want it sweetened (if so, it seems an odd thing to specify rather than just adding it yourself)? And do we mean the same thing when we say 'iced tea' (that is brewed tea with ice, or occasionally turned into a dairy version)?

When we (US) say iced tea, that's tea that is brewed hot, then ice is added or the container is refrigerated. Dairy is rarely added to hot tea in the US. It's practically unheard of for iced teas.

As for the difference between sweetened and unsweetened, that can also depend on where you are.
In the Southern US, sweet tea is pre-sweetened during the steeping process. 1-Boil water, 2-steep tea, 3-add sugar, 4-stir hot tea/sugar solution until dissolved, 5-add ice to cool (or refrigerate container)
In the Northern US (at least east coast, don't know much about west coast traditions), if you ask for sweet tea, you're given unsweetened tea (same process as above, minus the sugar) and a spoon. You then add sugar yourself to taste.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

Honestly, north of the Mason-Dixon line, all but the best restaurants will serve you a horrible mixture of water and corn syrup out of the soda fountain, likely with a raspberry flavor. For many Americans, that is "tea."

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby emceng » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:28 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Honestly, north of the Mason-Dixon line, all but the best restaurants will serve you a horrible mixture of water and corn syrup out of the soda fountain, likely with a raspberry flavor. For many Americans, that is "tea."


Umm, no? Yes, there are things like 'Nestea', but no one I know considers that 'tea'.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby cplns » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:44 pm UTC

I'm a northerner, but I won't order unsweetened tea in a restaurant, even if I can add sugar to it myself. Sugar doesn't dissolve right in cold tea, so you end up with unsweetened tea with sugar gel at the bottom of the glass.

There's also a difference between "sweet tea" and "sweetened tea". I find that sweet tea is more of a southern thing, iced tea made with more sugar than tea; sweetened tea, I've found everywhere, and is nowhere near as diabetes-inducing. Since a lot of my family is from the (deep, deep) south, I've grown up with the first one.

I know it's a cardinal sin to put sugar in tea, but most tea tastes bitter and dry to me without it, even if it's made properly and not steeped too long. I'll only leave it out of the most expensive loose leaf teas that taste good without (usually when I sell a limb or my as-of-yet-unborn first-born child to afford tea from Teavana).

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby yurell » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:55 pm UTC

I usually have honey in my tea, just to take the edge off. Plus the flavour of red gum honey goes nice with red teas IMO.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby JudeMorrigan » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:04 pm UTC

cplns wrote:I know it's a cardinal sin to put sugar in tea.

Eh, it is? I was under the impression that milk and sugar were reasonably traditional additions to black teas.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:48 pm UTC

emceng wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:Honestly, north of the Mason-Dixon line, all but the best restaurants will serve you a horrible mixture of water and corn syrup out of the soda fountain, likely with a raspberry flavor. For many Americans, that is "tea."


Umm, no? Yes, there are things like 'Nestea', but no one I know considers that 'tea'.

Nestea and Lipton Brisk are what fast food and chain restaurants will serve customers who ask for tea. I guess that's better known as "iced tea" but it's still more common than a cup of hot water and a tea bag.

McDonald's has also undermined the term "Sweet Tea" by serving a beverage of the same name that is... a lightly flavored mixture of corn syrup and water across the country.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby Wednesday » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:12 pm UTC

Many fast food places are serving gold peak brand tea, which is actually quite decent. Five Guys burgers and I think Popeye's chicken both have the four-way machines.
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Re: Today I Learned

Postby broken_escalator » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:24 pm UTC

I forgot five guys has that little tea machine. I'll need to remember that next time instead of just getting water.

Belial wrote:Okay. But why on earth are you in a PF Chang's when you're in DC? Y'all have an actual china town. And other such places that contain real restaurants.

I've only gone to PF Chang's during work outings, usually when someone leaves. At home we're weekly customers of the local chinese buffet, sushi, and greek place! Other than that we usually just cook.

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Re: Today I Learned

Postby soratidus999 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:05 pm UTC

I drink tea on occasion, but its usually fairly rough stuff that's been sitting in the back of the car for 3 years and personally i need 2 sugars...

But Lipton make a Peach Ice Tea, its absolutely nothing like ice tea, nice, but i cant understand being served it if i asked for tea and would never have expected it - sure enough i was at a breakfast buffet, had this massive craving for some reason and was pointed towards the fridge when i asked for the tea (there was none around the coffee machine)

*sigh* blonde waitresses.... luckily some sweet old lady had a box in her handbag

JudeMorrigan
Posts: 1242
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

Re: Today I Learned

Postby JudeMorrigan » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:30 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:McDonald's has also undermined the term "Sweet Tea" by serving a beverage of the same name that is... a lightly flavored mixture of corn syrup and water across the country.

I don't think this is actually true. Admittedly, it's been a few decades since I worked there, but a quick google search suggests that they still make it the same way we made it back in the day. We brewed it in the store and sweetened it with sugar. Note that if you go to their website, the listed ingredients for their sweet tea are "Water, sugar, orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea." Compare with the ingredients for coca-cola: "Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors (vegetable source), caffeine."

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/pro ... small.html

Heisenberg
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Location: Uncertain

Re: Today I Learned

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:12 pm UTC

TIL: That^


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