Catherine Felegi is the founder and author of the blog Tea Love, a blog dedicated to all things tea-related. You can find this post and others on her page, http://cafelegi.wordpress.com/.
Coffee drinkers don't know how fortunate they are. Go into a restaurant and order a cup of joe, you get free refills. Sometimes you also get to have various flavors and new concoctions, complete with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle.
Tea, however, seems to have made some enemies somewhere along the line. A $1.25 cup of tea usually comes with a single Lipton bag and a cup of lukewarm water. When you decide to have more than one cup, start digging through your wallet again. Either you get a cup of water sans new tea bag or you get to buy another cup of $1.25 tea.
Anyone see an issue here?
You can get a box of 100 tea bags for $18. That averages out to 18 cents per bag. Boiling water, I am not going to even try to calculate. Why not have everyone pay $1.75 for a cup of tea and unlimited refills with a new tea bag! Why is this such a revolutionary thought?
This is not a new issue. Traveling around the internet, you can find blogs and even editorials regarding the topic (though I must disagree with "Dear Abby" on this one; restaurants that I've been to typically do not give free refills on hot tea). And yet, it seems like as much as people moan and groan about the topic, nothing has changed.
I can understand if tea were a popular beverage in the States (though I couldn't understand by much). After all, that can cause quite the strain on the pocketbook depending on the size of the restaurant.
However, when I go into Chili's or Applebees and have to pay $3 because I had two cups of tea? And usually small cups, at that! That is frustrating.
When I go into cafes, I tend to gravitate towards the tea because usually, cafes serve higher-end brands like Mighty Leaf. However, going into a restaurant, I tend to get coffee. Free refills instead of paying $3 for two small cups of Lipton's tea.
If you go into a restaurant and have to wrestle a new tea bag out of your server, first, do not take it out on the server. However, don't be afraid to motion the manager over and ask why you have to pay for a new tea bag. Mention the cost of tea and, if you want, even bring a receipt for a box of tea as reference. Ask what would happen if you brought in your own tea bag in. Talk to the manager. Quiz them on their business choice. Be understanding of the chains, though. Sometimes, the manager's hands are tied by corporate. Then, just move your arguments up a notch.
Maybe one day, we'll have the luxury of ordering two cups of tea for $1.25, just like those coffee drinkers.