It’s an incredible feeling, isn’t it? That moment when your colleague gets up off their chair and says: “Tea or coffee, anyone?”
Sometimes – and only sometimes – you say yes. But often, for a millisecond, you contemplate accepting the offer, before your inner Awkward Polite British Person says: “No thanks!”
Your colleague tries to disguise the relief on their face, because they really didn’t want to make you the tea in the first place. It’s just that their inner Awkward Polite British Person forced them to ask you.
One person who apparently knows all about this excruciating British ritual is the newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
He went on Twitter last week to proudly post a photograph of him making tea for his team as the first budget of his tenior approaches.
Everyone pretty much instantly realised that there were a few things… not quite right about the photo.
1. Why would the chancellor – essentially the second most powerful politician in the land – be making his team tea, when there’s probably about 100 interns and aides around who’d leap at the chance?
2. Why was the massive bag of Yorkshire Tea teabags on the unit top, instead of in a tin?
3. Why does the photo give the distinct feeling that not only does Sunak not make tea for his team, but that he’s never made a brew in his life, for anyone, including himself?
The photo caused so much commotion that Yorkshire Tea posted a Twitter thread denying the Very Serious Allegations that the company was actually sponsoring the Tories (who are basically influencers now).
The tea brand then defended itself against a woman named “Sue” with the now-iconic comeback “Sue you’re shouting at tea”.
And so a hashtag was born…
Seeing as we’ve got our finger on the pulse of political and popular culture, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about – particularly seeing as no one can agree whether they feel bad for the brand or the politician.
So we decided to force our boss – The Independent’s associate editor, columnist, Binface correspondent and former economics editor Sean O’Grady – to make us a cup of Yorkshire Tea.
We even did our best to recreate the iconic photograph that got everyone talking…
So how was the tea, you ask?
The tea in itself wasn’t too different from a cup we’d make ourselves. Though what tasted even more perfect was the feeling of knowing that Sean had taken whole minutes out of his day to help us waste company time to make this content you’re reading right now. And all it took was this official work task to make it happen. We’d give the whole experience a 6/10.
Was it life changing?
Would we do this again?
Probably – but only if Yorkshire Tea send us some free stuff for this sponsored content*.
Exclusive: Sean O'Grady speaks out...
Who do you think makes better tea: you or the chancellor?
That’s a good question. The answer is me because I make it with more milk than most people usually do. That makes it better because it’s more authentic working class.
Would you recommend this “method journalism” to colleagues?
Absolutely. There is no better way to keep in touch with the media zeitgeist than to indulge in timewasting stunts like this one.