22 June 2009

The urgent need for EU directives on tea-making and lunch times

The hotel I'm staying at in Mainz has quite an impressive array of tea, including Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey and English Breakfast.

But can you get a decent cup of tea? No you can't, because, as in most of the hotels in Europe, no one outside the UK (and presumably the Indian sub-continent) seems to understand one of the most basic factors in the chemistry of tea-making - which is why I think it's high time that we had an EU directive that would require hotels, cafes and other outlets to boil, yes boil, the water before pouring it on the tea leaves or tea bags.

And, while they were at it, they might as well go the whole hog and add in requirements to warm the tea pot first and then let it brew for a few minutes before pouring into a cup.

Apart from reducing the grumbling dissatisfaction of British tourists and business visitors with what's currently passed off as a cup of tea, a beneficial side effect might be that growers in developing countries would be able to increase their sales to Europe. After all, if only more people here knew what tea can really taste like, they'd surely want to drink a lot more of it.

From the point of view of improving communication between businesses within the EU, there's also a case for another European directive on lunch times. In Holland, it's 12.00 noon, in Germany it's 12.30 p.m. (but moving ever nearer towards 12 noon), in Britain and France it's closer to 1.00 p.m. while, in Spain, you're lucky if you get anything to eat until about 3.00 p.m. in the afternoon.

The net result of all this is that there are 4-5 hours in every working day when there's no point in trying to phone people in various different countries because they'll be out on their lunch break. An EU directive that standaredised lunch time within the EU would be an obvious way to solve the problem and might perhaps even help to oil our faltering economies along their way towards recovery from the recession.

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