Today we will talk about two of the
world’s most popular drinks -- coffee and tea. Now, many people are
drinkers. They cannot imagine starting their morning without -- what some call
-- a hot “Cup of Joe”. Some people hate coffee and prefer to
drink tea. Others enjoy drinking both! Whichever you prefer, know that English
has some useful expressions using tea and coffee. Let’s start with things around the home.
drinkers: devotos cafeteros o fieles bebedores de café; cup of Joe:
taza de café (expresión que puede derivar de la prohibición de alcohol de 1914
en los buques de la Armada Norteamericana impuesta por Joe Daniels, Secretario
The table sitting in the middle of the
living room (and usually in front of a sofa) is called a
We never call it a “tea table”. There is no such
a thing. Even if you hate the
taste of coffee and never set a coffee cup on that table, you would still call
it a "coffee table."
coffee table: mesa
baja, auxiliar o mesa ratona; there is no such a thing: no existe tal
Naturally, a coffee table is the perfect
place for a few
coffee-table books. These large books usually
have beautiful pictures and are meant to entertain people or
impression on them. They are among the first things visitors see when
sitting down in the living room. Many people use them
pieces -- you know, items that start people talking about something.
libros de mesa auxiliar (libros decorativos de gran formato en los que las
ilustraciones tienen más importancia que los textos); are meant to entertain:
están destinados a entretener; make an impression on: impresionar a (la
gente); as conversation pieces: como temas de charla o conversación;
Coffee, as you know, can help you feel more energized.
In fact, many people use coffee
to wake up in the morning.
más dispuesto/a, más energizado/a; in fact: en realidad; to wake up:
Pace the floor, stop and stare
I drink a cup of coffee and start to pulling out my hair
I'm drinking forty cups of coffee
Forty cups of coffee
Forty cups of coffee, waiting for you...
[Ella Mae Morse singing “40 Cups of
Coffee” from 1953]
pace the floor,
stop and stare: recorre el piso, detente y observa;
And that is where we get the idiom
“Wake up and smell the coffee!”
We say this to people who are not
accepting a situation as it really is. They are not being realistic. They need
to face facts. You can say it to someone or about
someone. If you tea drinkers out there want to stay
away from coffee expressions, you can also tell someone to simply “get real” or
as we said earlier,
“face facts”. These two are more direct. And while "wake
up and smell the coffee" can be used in a
lighthearted, funny way, "get real"
and "face facts" both sound more serious. Let's hear how these expressions can be
wake up and smell the
coffee: acepta la situación (literal = despabílate, abre los ojos); get
real = face facts: sé realista, bájate de las nubes, desengáñate;
lighthearted, funny way: de un modo desenfadado, jovial;
A: Um, who was at the door?
B: It was Helen.
A: Ugh. Did she ask to move back in
with us ... again?!
B: Yes. She did.
A: That’s the third time this week!
B: She apologized again for destroying
some of the furniture during
that party she threw. And she made us something to
eat -- this cake. She really wants to move back in with us.
A: That woman is unbelievable! Does
she have any idea how much damage she did? Our neighbors
are still unhappy about
that party. Next time she asks to move back in,
let me deal with it.
B: What are you going to say to her?
A: I'm going to tell her
to wake up
and smell the coffee!
B: Uh, I don't think she drinks
A: You know what I mean. She needs
face facts. She is never, ever, EVER moving back in with us!
B: But she makes really good cake.
A: Ugh. Get real, Meredith. If you
think for one minute that I would live with her just because she makes good
cake, then you need to wake up and smell the coffee, too!
B: Mm. Coffee and cake are great
together. I'll start making a pot of coffee now.
A: (sighs) Well …
she does make good
to move back in with us:
mudarse a casa para vivir con nosotros/as; apologized: se disculpó;
that party she threw: aquella fiesta que organizó (to thow a party =
armar una fiesta); unbelievable: increíble, insólita; how much damage:
(acerca de) cuánto daño causó; are still unhappy about that party:
todavía están disgustados por esa fiesta; let me deal with it: deja que
me ocupe yo de eso; makes really good cake = she does make good cake: en
verdad tiene buena mano para la repostería (uso enfático de DO/DOES >>
Even if you love tea, we just don't say,
"Wake up and smell the tea." But don't worry. For all of you
tea drinkers, we
have a great expression for you!
wake up and smell the
tea: expresión no correcta (se usa siempre con "coffee"); tea
drinkers: consumidores o grandes bebedores de té;
I like a nice cup of tea in the
For to start the day you see
And at half past eleven
Well my idea of heaven
Is a nice cup of tea...
[Binnie Hale singing “I Like a Nice Cup of
Tea” from 1937]
my idea of
heaven: mi idea del paraíso (me siento en el paraíso cuando bebo té);
If you really like something or are really
good at something,
it is your
cup of tea.
so fast. That’s not really the way
we use today. Yes, many years ago when the expression came into the language it
was used in a positive way. But these days we almost always
use this expression in a negative way. So, you don’t say that something is
your cup of tea -- even if you are talking about your
beloved cup of tea.
it is your cup of tea:
es lo que realmente te agrada; so fast: tan rápido (tomado a la ligera,
sin analizar); beloved: adorada, amada;
If something is not your cup of tea, you
simply don’t like it or are not good at it.
The cup of tea in the expression can
mean anything. If you don’t like to go camping, you could say camping is not
your cup of tea. If you’re not good at dancing, it is not your cup of tea. In fact, if you don’t like coffee, you
could say it's not your cup of tea. And actually, that would be a funny way to
use this expression.
is not your cup of tea:
no es lo que realmente te agrada; not good at it: no eres bueno/a en eso;
in fact: en realidad;
Now, some places are known for their
coffee and others for their tea. For example, Japan and China are famous for
their tea. Their tea culture has a long history and tradition. And that is where
we get our final expression for today. Some famous Chinese teas are
very pricey. If you
gathered all the tea in China, it would be
worth a lot of money. So, if you want to say that
unwilling to do something ... at any cost, you could say, "I wouldn't do
it for all the tea in China." For example,
if you are
deathly afraid of heights, you could say "I would not
skydive for all the tea in
muy caro, muy costoso; gathered: recogieras; worth a lot of money:
valdría mucho dinero; you are unwilling to do: no tienes ganas de hacer;
I wouldn't do it for all tea in China: no lo haría por nada del mundo
(literal = no lo haría por todo el té de China); if you are deathly afraid of
heights: si le tienes terror a las alturas; skydive: lanzarse en
This expression is simply an
larger than life way of saying, "No way! I won't do it!
I don't care what you offer me!" Okay, we don't want anyone
to accuse us of
playing favorites. We already heard a conversation using a
popular coffee expression. So, here is a short conversation with the tea
expressions we just heard.
exagerada; larger than life way of saying: sobredimensionada forma de
decir; to accuse us of playing favorites: acusarnos de hacer favoritismos;
A: Tomorrow night I'm going out to a
spoken word event.
Want to join me?
B: Spoken word? You mean like a poetry
A: Yeah! It’s really awesome.
B: Um … no thanks. Spoken word really
isn't my cup of tea.
A: Oh. So, you probably won't be
interested in going to a three-day Spoken Word Festival next month.
Not for all the tea in China.
A: So … that's a no?
B: Yes. That’s a big NO.
spoken word event:
ciclo de recitales de poesía; awesome: extraordinario; isn't my cup of
tea: no es de mi agrado; not for all the tea in China: por nada el
mundo; that's a big NO: es un rotundo NO;
And that brings us to the end of this
Words and Their Stories. I'm Anna Matteo ...
Have a cup of tea... Have a cup of tea... Have a cup of tea...
that brings us to
the end: y eso nos conduce al final.