BRITISH ACTOR IS A BIT OF A FUSSPOT ABOUT CHAMOMILE TEA
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?”).