Should a coffee and a tea cost the same amount?

Are tea drinkers disadvantaged in our coffee-driven society?  Are we being overcharged and under-serviced? 

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Bernard Salt, one of Australia’s pre-eminent columnists asks a terrific question in The Weekend Australian Magazine today in a haze of anger.  Should barista-served coffee drinkers really be paying the same amount for their beverage as the humble tea drinker who really just enjoys a bag dunked in a cup or pot of boiling water?   Should coffee drinkers, who get the full attention of a barista for a few minutes to make their tasty, whipped beverage complete with decoration, really be charged the same as a tea drinker who enjoys a bag in boiling water? 

It’s a mighty entertaining question and one we’re sure everyone here will have an opinion on.  So we’re opening it up for a big discussion.  Salt goes back in history to point out that a beverage hierarchy has developed in our nation and others that places coffee drinkers higher up the level of society it seems and he challenges the fact that tea-drinkers have been placed in a disadvantaged and unfair position.  

“…whereas coffee drinkers get a two-minute handcrafted coffee creation for $3.50, we get a 30-second cup of hot water with a teabag for the same price. We tea drinkers are like Western Australia in the GST carve-up: our contributions are being used to support the exotic behaviour of others. Charge complicated coffee drinkers $5 and simple tea drinkers $2, I say.”

This week, the Starts at 60 team enjoyed a demonstration with Dilmah tea owner, Dilhan, who demonstrated the best way to make a cup of tea using a teabag.  We were as astounded as you were to see one of the world’s finest tea-makers admonishing the humble teabag as an acceptable tea-making tool.  


What do you think of Bernard Salt’s view from the perspective of the tea drinker?