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BYO tea


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22 replies to this topic

#1 Kent Wang

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 12:12 PM

Most Chinese restaurants serve cheap tea. Would it be rude of me to bring in my own tea and ask for boiling water? Has anyone else done this?

How do you transport your tea? Do you buy the packets (loose-leaf, not bags of dust) or bring a small sealed container?

#2 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 01:44 PM

Interesting question, and one that I have wondered about the past couple of weeks since being poorly served poor tea in a Vietnamese restaurant. Not sure it is worse, however, than most non-Asian restaurants serve tea.

#3 Live It Up

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:00 AM

I would say yes, it's extremely rude. I worked in a cafe for years, and people bringing their own tea was a huge pet peeve. Usually people did it because they were cheap and they thought they could get away with giving us like 50 cents for a cup of hot water and then use our honey and milk and sit for hours--not cool and not the same situation you are asking about. However, some people brought tea because we didn't serve the type they wanted--it still annoyed me. I know that what you're paying for in a chinese restaurant is the food, and the tea is free, but if the proprietors of these restaurants have any pride at all, they will probably be insulted by your implication that their tea sucks. If it's a place you go often, perhaps you could talk to the manager and request that they get a specific kind of tea. Who knows, maybe I'm completely off base--I may have a shorter fuse than a lot of people--but I wouldn't want to risk becoming one of "those customers".

#4 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:19 AM

yup rude ..sorry

I know folks on diets who bring thier own half of a meal to a restaurant in a purse or briefcase ..I know you are just talking tea here but still ..I say (and do if they are with me) ..STOP THAT!!!! POOR MANNERS!!!
stay home..order what you want to eat/drink and just eat/drink it and enjoy what you do like about the meal ..... or go some place else!!!

It is embarassing to me when companions do that ...and I would be just so insulted as a restaurant owner over stuff like this

but that is just me and my humble opinion

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 10 January 2008 - 11:27 AM.


#5 Katie Meadow

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:36 AM

Rude, I agree. Let this one go! Life is too short. Free dishwater tea is a given; if you are served something better it's a nice surprise. If you are charged for the bad tea, that's annoying, but so it goes. Order a beer, drink the water. Often the tea isn't just bad it's lukewarm, but you can ask for a hot pot without being insulting--and give a nice tip to show you appreciated the reheat. Maybe the next folks through the door will benefit. Drink whatever it is and enjoy the food!

#6 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:32 PM

Hmm. I am not sure this might not be similar to BYOB wine, if you make the arrangement in advance and offer to pay for the hot water service, like a corkage fee. I'll ask the owners at a Thai restuarant I frequent what they would think of this.

#7 Kent Wang

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:38 PM

I agree with your assessment Richard. And why not share a bit of the tea with the restaurant while you're at it?

#8 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:39 PM

Hmm. I am not sure this might not be similar to BYOB wine, if you make the arrangement in advance and offer to pay for the hot water service, like a corkage fee. I'll ask the owners at a Thai restuarant I frequent what they would think of this.

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NO it is not the same BYOB places can not serve so they offer to do the corkage thing ..that is entirely different than taking tea into an Asian restaurant!!! They have tea and serve it watery or not it is what they have ..part of the deal when you put yourself in someone elses hands for dinner!

#9 jpr54_

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:10 AM

I don't think it is rude at all-
I have brought my own tea to several restaurants and there have been no complaints-just surprise that I bring excellent quality teas-Two restaurants managers and staff have tasted the teas as well-

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#10 markk

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:33 AM

I don't think it's rude at all either. I've brought herbal teas to restaurants that don't have them. I always just order tea, and ask them not to put the teabag in, and then I use my own. That way I'm sure to get charged for the full tea-charge/tea-service, and I don't have to go asking for hot water.

But I can't see how they'd mind if you said that you'd like to drink one of your own teas. What level of restaurant are we talking about here, anyway?
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#11 KarenDW

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 02:00 PM

I know that what you're paying for in a chinese restaurant is the food, and the tea is free

One of my new favorite Chinese resto charges $1 for tea. But their tea is pretty good. Bad tea can influence the dining experience, so even if the food is good, if the tea is really bad... the dining companion is under a lot of pressure to be stellar. LOL.

I like the "order tea w/o a teabag" idea. But if you choose to bring your own tea, at least put it into a compact, DISCREET container, like one of those "fill your own" gauze teabags. And have the leaves pre-dosed before you arrive.
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#12 Naftal

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 09:47 AM

Hello- The restaurant I go to regularly (atleast once a week) lets me bring my own tea (I did ask them first and this may be the key). I bring loose tea :wub: that I have previously packed in the empty tea bags I buy at a local market. :wacko:

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#13 Eden

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 11:58 AM

I've been thinking about doing this lately myself - not for asian restaurants, but in general. With winter upon us I frequently really want a cup of tea to defrost me a bit when I first walk into a restauraunt, but so many places here are serving Tazo teas now, which I can't stand*. I'm happy to pay full price, I just don't want to drink that stuff, and I don't drink coffee so that's not an alternative.
Do y'all really think it's disrespectful/rude when what you're rejecting is not something special they've selected, but just the cheap mass marketed stuff?


*When I want black tea I want actual tea, and when I want an herbal tea I want something simple like camomile or mint without a bunch of ginseng & lemon grass & licorice root messing it up!
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#14 markk

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 12:01 PM

If you're paying what they normally charge to serve you tea, I can't imagine how they can care that you're substituting your own tea in their hot water, honestly.
Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”
Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”
Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”
Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

#15 baroness

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 02:28 PM

I've been thinking about doing this lately myself - not for asian restaurants, but in general.  With winter upon us I frequently really want a cup of tea to defrost me a bit when I first walk into a restauraunt, but so many places here are serving Tazo teas now, which I can't stand*.  I'm happy to pay full price, I just don't want to drink that stuff, and I don't drink coffee so that's not an alternative. 
Do y'all really think it's disrespectful/rude when what you're rejecting is not something special they've selected, but just the cheap mass marketed stuff?


*When I want black tea I want actual tea, and when I want an herbal tea I want something simple like camomile or mint without a bunch of ginseng & lemon grass & licorice root messing it up!

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Amen!
I really hesitate to go out for breakfast/brunch in particular, as the 'tea' offered is: 1) of poor quality, 2) accompanied by lukewarm brewing water, and 3) charged for by the cup, whereas coffee -- which I do not drink -- is refilled for free. :angry:

#16 ghostrider

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 02:36 PM

... so many places here are serving Tazo teas now, which I can't stand*.

*When I want black tea I want actual tea...

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Care to elaborate? The Tazo "Awake" tea is pure black tea as far as I iknow. It's one of the few restaurant/cafe teas that I can stand.

I have no expectations of good tea when I'm dining out. Even when you find it, 90% of the restaurant world doesn't know how to brew it properly. (If they're bringing you a pot of hot water, the battle is already over & you've lost.) I just go with the flow, drink whatever I'm drinking with the meal, order a shot of espresso if I need the caffeine & have my tea when I get back home.

Edited by ghostrider, 13 January 2008 - 12:03 PM.

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#17 Pittinnh

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 06:53 AM

I can see this BYO Tea Bag thing becoming more and more of an issue as the interest in tea grows and grows, and many more people consider themselves to be tea connoisseurs.
A number of companies are producing 'fill your own teabags' ( T-Sac, Easy-Pocket are two, but there were others at the last World Tea Expo). My company, Thistledown Cozies, as well as others, makes a 'Tea Wallet' expressly for carrying those teabags with you.
We in the tea world do pride ourselves on our good manners; perhaps some self policing is in order. We need to establish some proper etiquette for this act. In the meantime we should be as discreet as possible.
Personally, I have no problems with ordering a cup of hot water in an airplane; and ordering a pot of tea with the bag on the side in a restaurant - as long as I'm not insulting the host.
The temperature the water arrives at determines which tea I use. If I'm lucky it's the one I was craving.

#18 Dianabanana

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 10:45 AM

Heck, never mind the tea, I want to bring my own boiling water. I have never once in my life--never ONCE!--had a decent cup of black tea made with actual boiling water in a restaurant in this country. Never! I can reconcile myself to the Tazo black tea or whatever is on offer, but when I'm presented with a tea bag and a freezing cold porcelain cup and a little metal pitcher of piss-warm water, well, I just want to cry.


ETA: Okay, I exaggerated. There actually are a lot of restaurants serving decent tea in plunger pots and those heavy Japanese iron pots (I forget what they're called). But what I want is just a regular cup of black tea, made with fresh boiling water, like I make in my own kitchen.

Edited by Dianabanana, 20 January 2008 - 10:53 AM.


#19 Yajna Patni

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 05:27 PM

I am with Dianabanana. I dont think bringing your own tea will make any difference. The issue is water that is not boiling.

#20 teagal

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 08:53 PM

Where I live I would jump for joy at getting Tazo teas offered--we always go out for breakfast on weekends and one restaurant chain offers only decaf tea--hello, its breakfast, a caffeine fix please! I've talked to the manager and he said that's the way they do it.

Other places offer to heat up iced tea for me, I've also been given a family size tea bag for a cup of tea-uh size does matter, could hardly fit it in the cup! Another pet peeve is when the teabag is already in the cup of hot water, I have no idea of how long its been steeping.

To me, IMHO if I'm paying for a couple meals a cup of hot water shouldn't be an issue, naturally done discreetly.
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#21 Rebecca263

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 11:39 PM

I feel so lucky now. The local delivery Amer/Asian place serves a decent inexpensive Oolong- even with their Japanese style food- you get Ooolong, not Green tea.
They have a sushi kitchen, they even do teriyaki and tempura (I've never eaten either there, so don't know if it's American/Asian style, but I assume it is so).
I've been a customer of theirs for almost 4 years now, so we've worked out a little system- they always make whatever vegetable dishes that they feel like for my order, and I always eat what they send. They even know our sashimi preferences, and they accommodate me with genuine cheer, they're wonderful people.
These nice folks send me bags of their Formosa Oolong with our sashimi or Chinese style food orders.
For going out though, I keep a few bags of different teas in my purse. I'm willing to pay for tea service in order to get some hot water, but don't expect me to use the Red Rose or whatever other 'cheapo black pekoe' you have on offer. And I include the hideous stuff in the red paper packets!
I always ask if the tea is Oolong when I'm ordering in a new place. Sometimes this nicely asked question perks up the server and they bring us really good tea! Maybe you could try that tactic too.
What I've surmised is that in many Asian restaurants there may be some good tea in the kitchen, but since the clientele probably doesn't care- and to save costs- the "JUN-KY" tea is served at table.
I don't find fault with restaurants for serving low quality tea at table, here in the US. Americans tend to sugar EVERY single kind of tea they get. They're just looking for a hot cup of flavored sugar water- not a complex flavor profile in a pot.

Edited by Rebecca263, 16 February 2008 - 11:59 PM.

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#22 Naftal

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:54 AM

Most Chinese restaurants serve cheap tea. Would it be rude of me to bring in my own tea and ask for boiling water? Has anyone else done this?

How do you transport your tea? Do you buy the packets (loose-leaf, not bags of dust) or bring a small sealed container?

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Hello- I really enjoy this :cool: thread. I have been wondering: Have you brought any tea to a restaurant? How were you received?

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#23 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 12:45 PM

There is a nearby very good bakery-cafe that I sometimes go for a change of scenery to work on my laptop (or sometimes even on paper...you remember paper?) and have a cup of coffee. The other day I looked through their tea bag selection and asked if I could bring my own, but pay the tea charge. The woman at the register said, "Sure. And it's only hot water, so it'll probably be free if you buy anything else."

Now, that's tea service!