Dispatch #2 – Tea

A bit of a dandy, a bit of a cavalier and a lot of a charmer, rogue British official The Dippylomat. Esq. investigates…

On Saturday eve I met with a former university chum who has recently travelled through The Netherlands. As we supped our cocktails in the Malmö Hilton International – a ghastly looking building, but towering enough to keep one just out of reach from the natives – our musings meandered onto the topic of tea, always the next port of call after commenting upon the weather (cold, incidentally, always cold).

During our jovial banter he proposed a most quirksome fact. “Were you aware that one of the first words that The Average Brit learns in Dutch is the word for ‘whipped cream’?”, he asked.

The mind does boggles upon hearing this notion, why would a dairy product, used in both the kitchen and the boudoir, be the first addition to the Brit’s Dutch parlance? Is it because they are considering the somewhat liberal nature of the Dutch. How could this possibly be?

He explained: “The first thing The Average Brit does when he arrives at any destination, be it Birmingham or Bangkok, is to source a cup of tea. He/she will always head to the nearest cafe in a desperate bid to find something warm and wet.

“Sit down at any cafe in The Netherlands and one word will jump off the menu screaming..”


What is one seriously expected to think when confronted with such a word in a country which has morals so lapse you can rent a girl from a shop window? It quickly gets the better of anyone’s curiosity and before you know it you are diving into your Berlitz Phrase Book. You may at first head for the ‘nightlife’ section of your guide, but no matter how often you thumb through that chapter, you will find the true definition in the ‘eating and drinking out’ pages.

And here you have it: Click Me.

This is all somewhat of a convoluted way of saying, the Brits need their tea. And this fact, combined with our collective grubby sense of humour, leads us to the true definition of ‘slagroom’. Unfortunately, both The Netherlands and Sweden share a similar trait – they cannot make a pot of tea; as Empire Building goes, Sweden ain’t no India.

The Swedes (and the Dutch) you see, are nations of coffee drinkers:

Rank                         Country                                                                 Coffee Consumption

1  Finland 12.0 kg
2  Norway 9.9 kg
3  Iceland 9.0 kg
4  Denmark 8.7 kg
5  Netherlands 8.4 kg
6  Sweden 8.2 kg
7  Switzerland 7.9 kg
8  Belgium 6.8 kg
9  Luxembourg 6.8 kg
10  Aruba 6.8 kg

Top 10 Coffee Consumers by Nation.

So, it is not as if they do not know HOW to make a cup of tea, but rather they do not CARE about how to make a cup of tea. Come the potential invasion, this of course will all be ironed out, but meanwhile, here is the list of a few gripes I’d like to be dealt with as a matter of urgency:

  1. If the name of your only ‘teas’ contain a fruit, then it is not tea, it is cordial (saft). It is a children’s drink served hot to make you feel like an adult.
  2. Tea is served in a tea cup, or, if you are of a lower class, a ‘mug’; it is by NO means ever to be served in a glass with no handle – it may look elegant, but it makes my hands hurty.
  3. If I request milk with my tea, please do not look at me like I have murdered one of the ABBA women, it is common practice to add lactose to many hot beverages in the Civilised World.

And when I request tea, do this:

And not this:

I apologise if this dispatch has been in the slightest bit informative, that was certainly not my intention.

Toodle pip

ATTENTION BOTH FELLOW COUNTRYMEN & NATIVES: If you would like to receive my dispatches at precisely the same moment as the Foreign Office don’t, then tick the box requesting email notification on the right of this VERY page – please don’t forget to confirm the electronic mail you will be sent. It’ll be like Wikileaks, but not quite as savage….’Weakileaks’©

About The Dippylomat, Esq.

A connoisseur, a charmer and a bit of a cad.
This entry was posted in Food, Sweden, Tea and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Dispatch #2 – Tea

  1. Dear Toodle Pip (it is your name, is it not?),
    I have to admit I was *almost* informed. Tread carefully next time.

    Yours sincerely,

    Napoleon Burst-Balloon (Like Napoleon Dynamite, but not as savage)

  2. neil evans says:

    Beware of any hidden toeslags!

  3. Helen M says:

    I entirely concur with the distressingly awful manner of making tea in Scandinavia. During my time living in Denmark, the tea was absolutely disgusting (and I am almost convinced it was one of those hideous fruit based concoctions). I had to resort to smuggling the good stuff in from Blighty and making my own contraband cuppa. This had to be done secretively so as not to alert the hoards of Britons suffering throughout Copenhagen otherwise I should have been required to satisfy them all – and, having already settled for bags instead of loose, I am not convinced 1 bag would’ve been enough for 37 cups! There is nothing worse than a cuppa which has not been brewed sufficiently (although brewed does most definitely not mean stewed.) Good luck to you sir, in your quest for a decent, elegantly cupped, proper cup of tea. (just a note of interest, if you are in S America and ask for tea with milk, they will actually make the tea with milk instead of water…. *shudders*…. this results in an undrinkable crime against tea). TTFN x

    • My grandmother would on occasion make coffee using ONLY milk and instant granules, I still boke at the very thought of ‘milky coffee skin’.

      I was in a jazz cafe only yesterday where a young waitress commented upon my Marmite t-shirt (I was in my civvies, what with it being a national holiday). We bonded over the yeast extract and she served me possibly the best cuppa I have thus far come across – a little charm goes a long way in these ‘ere parts.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

      • Helen M says:

        how wonderful – to bond over Marmite. And you are so right, a little charm goes a long way in the war against undrinkable tea. I do have to say though, I am mightily relieved not to have sampled your grandmother’s coffee, it does sound rather (….umm….. how to phrase this tactfully?…..) disgusting.

  4. A Dutch Savage says:

    Here here Helen M! While I must agree that Northern Europeans are generally peasants when it comes to brewing a fine cup of tea, I would like it noted that your second dispatch is rather more about coffee and a cheap shot and language, than it is about tea. I hope that your next dispatch will remain truer to its title. I am, and will remain, and avid reader of your dispatches, however, and look forward to dispatch 3.

    • Dispatch 4 is on the subject of architecture, and it is absolutely spiffing..even if I do say so myself!

      It will be available at the same time at the same place.

      Chin chin

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

  5. Gristybeasty says:

    Talking about tea, Ump, do you youngsters/kittens know the slightest thing about tea? Tea the excelsior of life Oh yes and let us get one thing quite clear, F’ing T bags are not tea, they are the sweepings from the floor after packaging tea leaves. Amazes me how little the Brits know about their own favorite beverage. Kindly explain to me why supermarket shelves are stacked with a hundred varieties of tea bags flavored anything from what to might find down the bog in your house to a synthetic strawberry flavors. To locate TEA you have to get down on your knobbly knees and scratch around to find TEA. Oh glory be, i have some real genuine TEA. Cherish it!
    “The people Hitler never understood, and whose actions continued to exasperate him to the end of his life, were the British……and their bloody afternoon tea and cucumber sandwiches”

  6. A Dutch Savage says:

    Dispatch 4? Did I miss Dispatch 3? Say it isn’t true!!
    Have you seen what they do to tea in India?? My goodness; one of the world’s greatest tea growers and they mix it with all sorts or spices to make a strange concoction commonly known as Chai. The mind boggles (although, as a colonial myself, I must admit it is kind of tasty).

    • A thousand apologies for my ineptitide; Dispatch 4 is ‘Wildlife’. Next week’s Dispatch is on the topic of architecture.

      I trust all is well out there in the desert – ‘Rome was not built in a day, and an Empire CAN be built on sand.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

  7. A Dutch Savage says:

    My desert empire is growing nicely thank you… although my attempts to teach the natives about roundabouts have thus far failed miserably.

  8. James says:

    Dear chap, well said. I’m sorry to hear you still have to live amongst foreigners and buggers, but come the civilising of Sweden (obv using the lower classes, Irish and scots to do actual invading) your name will be recognised as a leading light in the fight against the foreign.

    • Greetings there, My Compadre..

      I trust all is well there at the Epicentre of The Empire, keep the home fire burning and the kettle on standby, I should have a temporary relieve of duty later this year.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

  9. Carrie says:

    What a delightful read, my good fellow! I was reading it whilst having my afternoon tea of cucumber sandwiches and a nice cup of PG tips in my bone china tea set. I once stayed with a Dutch friend in The Netherlands, and he made a cup of tea with no milk. I did thought this was most peculiar! I totally agree with you about herbal teas, tea is not tea if it tastes of strawberries or of cat’s urine!

    Now, I must go and put my posh flock on for the evening dinner.

    Ta ta forn now, good Sir!

    • Good grief, no milk you say, what a heathen!

      I can’t remember how many what-the-hell-do-you-expect-me-to-do-with-that looks I have given when presented with a cup of tea with no milk but a slice of lemon, ‘it is TEA time not, Pimms o’clock..’

  10. tanya mcpositron burd says:

    Slag? Slaaaaaag. slag– Okay, well. At least the *a* is pronounced all Englishy and not Americany.

  11. Michelle says:

    Most amusing Mr Plights.

  12. Tess says:

    That photo you have posted of the look of people’s faces when you order tea is very accurate. However, the reason for the confused face is NOT that we are asking ourselves “How do you make a cup of tea?”. What we are wondering is “Why would anyone want to drink tea?”

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