ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO DRINK
Issue 119 June 20, 2022
The Tea Report
Oatly’s 2022 Edition
A journey into British tea culture and the quest to answer one simple question: Is Oatly sh*t in tea?
Recently we came across an article from the UK claiming that oat drink in tea resembles “Satan's diarrhea”. We felt this was a very extreme (and rare) perspective from one highly opinionated writer with a personal vendetta against anything plant-based. But after someone on the team said, “No, I think this might be, like, a thing,” we felt a responsibility to dig deeper. So, armed with a thirst for knowledge and some nifty recording equipment, we took to the streets of Great Britain to determine the British public’s true feelings toward a dash of Oatly in their cuppa.
“I don’t know what it is or what I’d do without it, but it’s an essential part of my life.”
- Gina, NHS worker
WHY THIS INVESTIGATION MATTERS:
For the record, it doesn’t matter all that much. There are a lot more important things in life than determining whether a dash of oat drink in your tea is a suitable combination. But since we work in oats-- and tea is essentially a sacred religion in the UK-- it was the most relevant thing we could investigate at the time. Whether you have it strong, sugary,
milky, or black, to Brits, tea is much more than just a drink, it’s a pillar of British culture. The moment anyone enters your home --be it the plumber, a friend or serial killer-- you’re obliged to shout, ‘WOULD YOU LIKE A CUP OF TEA?’ in their face… closely followed by providing your Wi-Fi password. This is the backdrop by which we took to the streets looking for answers.
“I started drinking tea without my consent, actually, because it was put in my baby's bottle.”
- Eliza, Barista
The Big Pour
All told, we spoke to roughly a dozen tea-loving Brits. For a country of over 65 million people, this number does not represent a statistically significant sampling. “Statistically significant samplings”, as explained to us by a colleague who briefly majored in statistics, are really expensive. We all agreed that a dozen felt “significant enough”.
The first thing we noticed was the careful attention they paid to both color and smell. After briefly trying to influence participants’ opinions with a bit of small talk, we fixed each one a proper cup of tea (in actuality, they fixed it themselves, as you don’t f*ck with a Brits’ personal tea method).
Beige, brown and grey are perhaps the most underwhelming colors on the spectrum, but these particular Brits were captivated by each varying shade. As for smell, one woman described it as having “a very non-smell, smell to it”, which was a helpful descriptor for anyone who hasn’t smelled before.
After the initial inspection came taste. Many participants gave a dramatic pause as they lifted the mug to their mouths, and then made some quip at Oatly’s expense before sipping.
Others gave a slight pause, but presumably kept the quips to themselves (which was evident from their weird smirks and silent chuckles). All, however, eventually tried tea with Oatly, and carefully considered the taste.
One of our colleagues--the one who kept trying to treat this project as an official research study--called the findings “inconclusive”. In reality, we’d call the findings “expected”. The drinkers who showed the most disdain for Oatly prior to tasting it, or exhibited “pre-exposure bias” as our colleague kept describing it, seemed unimpressed by our product. One quickly threw it off to the side and went on a profanity laced rant.
However, the participants who went into the experiment with a more measured attitude predominantly enjoyed their Oatly + Tea experience. “I don’t even know if I can taste the difference.” was one woman’s response (which felt like something we had paid her to say, or something she thought we would pay her for saying).
“Let's not lose sight of who we are amongst these differences”
- Rebecca, British Tea Museum
All this might feel anticlimactic, and far less exciting than uncovering a country in unanimous agreement that Oatly in tea tastes like the devil’s dung, but it feels like a suitable end to this story. Some like Oatly in their tea. Some find it repulsive and offensive to all that is holy in British culture.
Whatever the case, we’d like to leave you with these profound words of wisdom from the woman we interviewed at the British Tea Museum: “Let's not lose sight of who we are amongst these differences. Let's really try and be in a space of togetherness and similarity, regardless of what the heck you do with the milk, the spoon, the oat drink or your pinky”
Amen, British Tea Museum woman. Amen.