My kingdom for a cup of tea

I’m starting to feel like Arthur Dent on his voyage across the galaxy. All I want is a damned cup of tea. I’d even take a regular cup of tea. Is this possible? Am I asking too much?

Now, I’ve worked in offices with poorly-equipped kitchens before. I’m used to bringing my own cutlery, stocking the kitchen with sponges, sneaking off to find a toaster somewhere.

But do you think I could find a kettle anywhere in this building?

I’ve even worked in offices without kettles - but at least they had coffee makers which dispense boiling water.

I’ve asked everyone else I know in the building (all four of them) if they have kettles in their kitchens. No dice. One reports three coffee makers in his kitchen, but no kettle.

To add insult to injury, there’s a sign on our kitchen wall that says:

“The microwave, toaster, toaster oven, coffee maker and kettle in this kitchen have been purchased by [my unit]. Please treat them with respect and clean up after yourself.” (emphasis mine)

It is even listed in one of our business regulations that there must be a kettle on the premises. (Don’t ask. I work for the government.)

I have asked. I have pointed out the sign on the wall, and the regulation, and pleaded with other tea drinkers. The available options offered would make any true tea drinker recoil in horror, quit the job and never look back. If I want tea, I can use either the hot water tap on the water cooler (?!?!?) or the MICROWAVE.

Now, I’m not even a tea connisseur. I’m not fussy. I don’t care about the sequencing of teabag/water/milk/sugar, for instance, and my brain usually works perfectly well without any tea in it at all. I’ve worked in offices in England, and I probably used the kettles there less frequently than any other person in the whole of the British Isles. (Try to imagine an office building in England without a kettle. See? You can’t do it.) I just appreciate a good cup of tea now and then, and I like it made with boiling water. (Boiling. Not “hot.” Not “superheated.” Boiling. With bubbles, and steam.)

And, as I’m discovering, if I can’t get it, I get angry. I’m a coffee lover, and usually that’s sufficient, but sometimes I like a nice cup of green tea in the afternoon. The more I am denied it, the more I want it. I even went out and (in a forgetful moment) bought myself a box, especially for work, which now sits tauntingly at the corner of my desk, unopened, unboiled.

I am going to buy myself a kettle, and I am going to keep it at my desk, my precious. It seems that kitchens here are unwelcoming to kettles. Oh, I will have tea. Oh yes. It will be mine.

I’m sympathetic to your rant, Golum … oops, I mean cowgirl. My personal annoyance is cutlery that’s MIA in perpetuity in this place.

On the rare day when I actually get to sit in my office and drink a hot cup of tea, it makes my hour. Not to mention that the powers that be keep the offices too cold, so it actually helps make me more productive (as opposed to sitting in my office shivering).

Back to your kettle - I suggest you keep it stashed in a hidden location in your office when not in use, lest it develop legs like the (apparently) previous office kettle did.

In the US, having a kettle around is unusual, which is why I carry my own where ever I go. (Okay, not really, but I have bought three, one for home, and one for each office where I work.)

As a stopgap measure, could you boil water in a measuring cup in the microwave, then pour it into your cup? You can avoid superheating by placing just about anything in the measuring cup: toothpick, coffee stirrer, scrap of paper, plastic spoon—even a metal spoon; just be sure that it doesn’t touch the wall of the microwave.

Really? That’s remarkable. I have never spent time in a place without a source of hot water and I’ve worked in literally dozens of offices. And that’s not even counting the four years I spent working in coffee shops.