A while back, I took practical steps to stop a heresy. Someone in America was claiming that coffee was superior to tea. This heresy was just too much to take. So I took it upon myself to send this lost soul some tea.


Original photo: LoboStudioHamburg, in the public domain

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a tea specialist. I’m definitely not the kind of person who refuses tea that was made in a mug – although I do squirm when I see the teabag soaking in cold milk before the hot water is added. So, naturally, I asked for advice from my friends. They had great suggestions – some I knew really well and I had available at home; some other I had to go and buy; a special blend was provided by a friend of mine; and some blends were definitely out of my reach (Irish breakfast is a surprisingly hard blend to find).

All that I was able to do, I did. I even gave detailed instructions about acceptable amounts of milk; ignored the purist in me and mentioned some people actually put sugar in their tea (I know, right?). But in spite of my efforts, I could not ensure that: the tea would get drunk, much less that it would be drunk properly. Sure enough, I received a message from my friend later telling me that he didn’t quite like it as much with cream. Cream. (Dramatic pause). As it turns out, this was a slip of the tongue (or so I’ve been told); and my friend now likes tea while still preferring coffee.

The thing is: I didn’t simply want to grow the ranks of the tea-drinkers in our great war against the heretics. Quite frankly, I don’t care how many people tick the “I prefer tea” box in the next census (that SO should be a question); or how much tea is being consumed in the world (as long as there’s some for me). But when I see people who are missing out on the greatness of tea, I am saddened – especially when those people are my friends.

But here’s where it becomes more interesting: after I had offered to send tea, I was offered some coffee in return. Which I gratefully accepted. After all, it is only (a) fair, and (b) through seeing things from the other side that I can relate with the Lost. From the other side of the caffeinated evangelism, I got to realise a few things:

  • the first time you drink coffee, it is going to be a weird drink.
  • if the person offering you coffee is a specialist, you’re going to expect a perfect cup instantly.
  • it’s not worth wasting your time if you’re not going to do it properly. There’s no point in receiving coffee if you’re not going to try it; or if you’re going to judge it all on the first cup.
  • coffee is definitely not tea. We really, really, really need to save the Lost ;-)

I am far from having finished the coffee I have received; so this view might change. Not very likely, but my love of tea might grow stronger from the whole experience!

To my readers: are you a tea or a coffee person?

Unlike my previous dubious metaphor post, this one is pretty transparent (I think). But there’s  a lot of stuff in here which barely scratches the surface of evangelism. What *one* thing do you take away from it?