BRI­TISH AC­TOR IS A BIT OF A FUSSPOT ABOUT CHAMOMILE TEA

National Post (Latest Edition) - - THE FEAST -

Amer­i­can phrase­ol­ogy has struck at the heart of one of the most quintessen­tially Bri­tish pas­times: tea-drink­ing. At least as far as Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch is con­cerned, The Guardian re­ports. The ac­tor re­cently took to the ra­dio waves to air his chamomil­ere­lated griev­ances. “Shall I re­ally vent now? I’m sick of chamomile tea be­ing called tea. It’s not tea,” the ac­tor said on Ab­so­lute Ra­dio’s Dave Berry Break­fast Show. “Tea is a green leaf that comes mainly from the foothills of In­dia and South Amer­ica – places that have beau­ti­ful moun­tains. It needs to be a sub­trop­i­cal, alpine cli­mate. It’s a very spe­cific process. Chamomile is not grown in th­ese en­vi­ron­ments. So, that’s not a tea.” Cum­ber­batch is cor­rect. Chamomile and other “herbal teas” aren’t ac­tu­ally teas, but ti­sanes: typ­i­cally caf­feine-free bev­er­ages made by in­fus­ing barks, herbs, spices and other plant mat­ter in hot wa­ter. The real deal is made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camel­lia sinen­sis. In rel­a­tive terms, it would be like brew­ing chicory root and call­ing it cof­fee, which Amer­i­cans are also prone to do (“Chicory cof­fee, any­one?”).

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