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Coffee Hooker v Tea Jenny


Chelsey Hill AKA Coffee Hooker

We’re just hanging out, Chelsey Hill and me. She’s got her coffee, I’ve got my tea. The one thing we have in common (apart from a signature red lip) is that we’re both 100 per cent committed to our beverage of choice. A leaf-based drink never passes her lips. And coffee? Ugh! Too bitter for me.


“I like that part,” says Chelsey, eyes lighting up. “My body’s in shock a little bit when I first drink it, I squint, then I’m fine. It wakes me up.”


A self-confessed Coffee Hooker – “it’s my version of a shoe whore, plus it’s my initials” – has been drinking Joe since the tender age of eight, when most of her peers had barely graduated from Capri Sun, and came up with the moniker when she was just 12.


"My teeth have been affected, because I’ve been sipping it pretty much constantly since I was eight years old.”

“My first ever coffee wasn’t exactly a cup,” she says, “it was a coffee milkshake, and it was at Borders bookstore. I loved it. And the buzz! Oh my gosh!


“I now have quite a tolerance. I can drink a triple shot and go to bed and not feel it. My teeth, however, have been affected, because I’ve been sipping it pretty much constantly since I was eight years old.”


When I drink my tea, it’s a PG Tips with cold, skim milk. No sugar. When I have time (which is not very often), it’s from a pot, and sipped from delicate, vintage china. I have my first cup in bed, reading emails. A second cup after I’ve showered. A third when I get to work. It’s what makes me feel human. But it’s undoubtedly a leisurely affair.


In Scotland, I’d be called a tea jenny (noun; a person who drinks a lot of tea; a tea addict; someone fussy about tea). Which sounds so lame compared with a coffee hooker. I’m despondent.

“I’ll have a vente quad shot latte,” says Chelsey, “and sip it for three hours. It’s always ice, even if it’s negative 20 outside.” It’s like a trademark, she explains. An essential accessory. A professional illustrator, she draws herself a lot, and her self-portraits are never without a pair of sunglasses and coffee.


“I feel like it’s glamorous. I’m not sophisticated. I’m not a elegant lady. I’m a coffee hooker. It’s kind of like a bitch slap drink. It hits you in the face and you’re ready to go.”


CUP FOR CUP COMPARISON

TEA

Origin - 2737 BC

Caffeine - 70mg per cup

Health benefits - protecting against cancers, heart disease, and diabetes; encouraging weight loss; lowering cholesterol; and encouraging mental alertness. 

Risks - clinicians warn against some diet teas, and advise drinking brewed teas as opposed to bottled, to avoid the extra sweeteners and additives.


COFFEE

Origin - 9th century AD

Caffeine - 185mg per cup

Health benefits - antioxidants help reduce inflammation and protect against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke.

Risks - too much caffeine can lead to high blood pressure and other heart problems; high cholesterol; bad teeth; and the shakes.


A version of this story originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of W42ST magazine. Stay in touch – and be the first to read more stories like this – when you join our daily newsletter at w42st.com



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