How to nail your next office tea round in five minutes

Hannah Sims · 25 Mar

The office tea round- an easy way to be in the cool gang, or the thankless task of interns and people-pleasers?

We live in a nation where dunking the wrong kind of biscuit, or even dunking the right kind of biscuit but for too long, or at the wrong angle can ruin your day. In said nation, the office drinks round is an act that must be handled with utter precision, enacted with all the proper respect and grace of an ancient tea ceremony.

Making tea for everyone is a little thing that makes a big difference. After all, you can’t spell ‘team’ without ‘tea’. (Sorry).

So here’s a play-by-play of how to nail that tea round in five minutes: for minimum faff, maximum pleasure.

Start your stopwatch at 5:00:00
 

4:59:00

Stand up and announce to the room at large:

Right, would anyone like a cup of tea?

Naturally, everyone will remain deep at work out of politeness. Thus, you must ask each colleague individually:

Cup of tea, Sandra you fancy a cup of tea?

Tea, Julie would you like a tea yes?

Who’s over there?* Dave? Tea?

Tea here? Ray? Yes? Yes.

Sarah, tea? Right.

Right!

*(you know exactly who’s over there, it’s always Dave.)

4:48:00

Pick up the tea tray and sweep the mugs. Do not comment on what appears to be dried porridge at the bottom of Dave’s mug.

Classic cup configuration for a five-minute brew

4:31:00

Kitchen catwalk. If anyone passes, smile roguishly like you’re up to something a little suspicious.

4:18:00

You forgot your own mug. Don’t go back.

4:03:00

You go back. You’re obliged to say something funny when you pick it up:

Forgot my own mug! What next? The finances!?

3:46:00

Kitchen catwalk round 2. Realise that you have indeed forgotten to do the finances.

3:34:00

Someone you don’t know has just finished making one measly lukewarm mug of mint tea. Say nothing.

3:30:00

Bring up your office’s custom tea spreadsheet on your Smartphone and lay it on the unit.

3:07:00

Looks like Sandra updated it this morning; she's cutting her sugar intake.

2:58:00

Oh, look, Julie’s on the agave syrup and gunpowder again and Dave’s upped his steeping time by 15%. That’s going to skew the brews to no end. Spend precious moments shaking your head.

2:49:00

Divide the tea bags. Prepare Sarah’s single-origin loose leaf.

2:22:00

Pour too much water in Ray’s, too little in Sarah’s, and splash some burning hot water on your phone. It's an ancient test to see if the water is the right temperature for white tea.

2:15:00

Head to the rec. room during steeping and breathe. Don’t relax, though.

1:15:00

Steeping over. Give one last pat to the office dog and prepare the bin for your patent-pending teabag flip. Miss.

0:50:00

Milk. You pour a perfect round and then realise Julie has soya.

0:35:00

With 35 seconds left you make the executive decision: Julie can forgo her recreational soya use. You saw her eat a cream puff yesterday.

Busted, Julie.

0:20:00

Kitchen catwalk number three. Eyes ahead, soldier.

0:05:54

Tea spilt on hand.

0:04:32

Tea burning hand. Act cool.

0:03:33

Gasp. You forgot to make Dave’s.

0:02:15

Desks in sight.

0:01:01

Where is everyone?

-0:10:00

Everyone’s gone to that finance meeting.

-0:12:00

Oh, wait. Dave is here.

 

Afterthought

We have a nagging suspicion, based on the botched attempts above by a brave volunteer, that there really isn’t any such thing as a perfect five-minute round. You can give it your best shot, just know that trouble is brewing if you do. The perfect storm in a teacup!