Moral Matters


June 6, 2018

Had your coffee fix? Well, there is always tea and sympathy

Isn’t it wonderful what many of you are doing right now? No, not reading me – although that has, I hope, some small merit. I am referring to the ritual of sipping something hot and soothing as you read. It is almost something instinctive that we do: we make or purchase a fresh brew, settle down and begin to read or ponder. And the staple delight is usually tea or coffee. Whether it is herbal or traditional, cappuccino or Americano, its purpose is to revive, refresh and relax. Now you might say that the contents of your cup have no further significance. You are sipping and reading to take time out from an otherwise hectic schedule. Alternatively, your daily routine is punctuated with little moments of calm aided by your tea or coffee. When I was growing up, we all knew the meaning of tea. Coffee was primarily of the instant variety, and certainly did not have the cosmopolitan complexion it has today. But tea was not only an aid to relaxation, but a drink that symbolised home, family and friendship. Almost everything we did revolved around tea. No matter what the occasion, putting on the kettle was the first thing people did. Somehow, that little cup of tea made everything seem all right. But that was then, and this is now. We still reach for the kettle in times of joy or crisis, but the manner of our caffeine consumption has radically evolved. Now we must say: ‘tea or coffee?’…Read more

  • Moral Matters has been running each week in the Irish Daily Mail since 2009.   Columns from 2013 to the present are available simply by hitting the ‘Columns’ tab above.