Subculture Clash: Coffee vs. Tea

The teahouse revival in town has made the simple question of what hot drink to order – a cup of joe or Earl – more interesting.

The teahouse revival in town has made the simple question of what hot drink to order – a cup of joe or Earl – more interesting. To aid your decision, and to advocate for your wallet, here are two local experts: Geoff Linden, owner of 104th Street’s Credo Coffee, and Cally Slater-Dowson of popular boutique Cally’s Teas, which is currently seeking a new location.

Coffee/Geoff Linden

Attitude: “Sophisticated people are drinking coffee. They’re stimulated, engaged with each other. They’re people with ideas, people who start revolutions.”

Effects: “Coffee activates the mind and body, it engages people in conversation, motivates them. Tea is more about winding down.”

Nuances: “Your average cup can be elevated into a cuisine, evaluated on many levels with many tastes, and then you add the art to it and it becomes very special.”

Sophistication: “It’s art and science. The science is working with water temperatures, volumes, grind-particle size, grind consistency, speed – minutia will change the flavour of the coffee. The art side of it is the beautiful crema.”

Swag: “The equipment lets you go absolutely wild. It can grow outside the normal confines of a house.”

Tea/Cally Slater-Dowson

Attitude: “You don’t associate tea with the corporate culture. It’s seen as a drink to sit and relax, for the person who wants to be alerted, but not with a bang. Tea drinkers are more community-oriented and looking for harmony.”

Effects: “Tea has L-theanine in it, a calming component, but it also alerts the mind. I think it’s healthier because you can drink more of it, and it’s very high in antioxidants. And it’s good at getting rid of bad breath.”

Nuances: “There are more subtle nuances reflecting more cultural traditions. Coffee has nuances, but it’s more blatant, more in your face. Tea lends itself better to flavours because it’s milder.”

Sophistication: “There are various rituals, like the Chinese Gong Fu tea ceremony, that filters into the perception of tea as something that is community-based. All these rituals, including the English high tea, give it more of a ceremonial attitude.”

Swag: “Tea drinkers prefer something beautiful, but functional. They appreciate good design. There is an art to what teapot you use, and what tea you use it with.”

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