.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Brewing the Perfect Cuppa

This is actually a painless post for me, since it's a reprint from one of many years ago, in response to a Canadian who made a similar request, that Ruth Anne Adams recently made of me.

Here's hoping that our always optimistic mom's husband may soon be fully enjoying the "drink that cheers but not inebriates", just like the rest of us civilised folk.

Ready? Here goes.

Although I'm sure you've drunk tea the whole of your life, to blunt the worries and the cold of the frozen tundra people mistakenly refer to as Canada, I'm sure it'll come as a huge surprise to you that you've been drinking tea all wrong these many years.

Yes, it's true -- for there is a proper way to make tea, and I'm not talking of all that Japanese palavah, oh no.

No sake comes near our John Bullian palates, or whatever that rice mush they imbibe is called.

Yes, there is only one drink in the British Isles (well apart from cider, lager, ale, mead, scrumpy, Britvic Orange, and whiskey...and shandy, and there's also Malvern water, and that stuff which is like alcopop only sweeter) and that drink is tea!

HOW TO PREPARE A PROPER CUPPA

1) Please remember our dual dicta, "Soap is civilisation" and "Never mind the bollocks". That's right. Please be scrupously clean inside and out when preparing a pot of tea. The state of the utensils on the other hand can be quite dirty, see if we care.

2) Next, have the required implements to hand. You will need:

a- 1 Teapot, preferrably a Brown Betty type (see Google and Marks & Spencers for more information)

b- 1 strainer if you go looseleaf (my favourites are from Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, and Whittards, and yes, they pay me very little to say that)

c- Your blend of choice, like Darjeeling or Lapsang Souchong, although everyone knows the best tea in China is Indian

d- Your PG pyramid teabags if not. Note you can use any brand you like, as long as they are PG Tips*

e- 3 or 4 lumps of sugar; the sweeter the tea, the more virile the man, since macho men have less teeth anyway

f- 1 milk carton, runaway teens optional

g- Tea cozy, preferrably shaped like a rude organ, extra brownie points if the Royal Family are in any way caricatured

h- 1 cracked beaker from the time you threw it at your sister's head

i- 1 spoon, slightly bent from your Uri Geller exercises

j- 1 tea towel (rag, for you North Americans) for mop ups

z- And finally, your kettle, electric or otherwise

3) Next pour crystal clear water, with no hints of rodent hairs this time, inside your superior slimline white kettle with no connexion to foreign trade whatsoever

4) Turn on your gas to the highest setting, snubbing your nose at your old man's electric bill

5) Make sure the water comes to a rolling boil, that is, when you see it start to boil, count to 5 Mississippi (okay, Saskatchewan) and then take it off the cooker immediately, hurry hurry, there's a good lass!

6) Pour a small bit of boiling water inside your Brown Betty, and swirl it around, coating the inside with its warmth and loving arms

7) And then pour the rest in, adding your tea immediately afterwards

8) Let it stand, depending on your taste of strong or weak tea (I prefer strong, but that's because I'm butch)

9) Pour into beaker, covering the pot with the tea cozy, rude organ UP

10) Add sugar and milk to taste, and don't give me any lip about lemon, it's milk or slow torturous death for the likes of you *

11) Savour slowly, letting it drip sensuously over your tongue, that most curious of organs, as my ex-boyfriend used to say

*Note: if you are using Earl Grey (which is the Queen's favourite tea blend, ugh) it's obviously lemon, not milk which goes inside. This was almost a fetishly brought out point in Dan Brown's anti-Christian novella, The Da Vinci Code. One could almost see him patting himself on his back that he knew something the rest of us didn't know...or so he thought. What a boob.

*2nd Note: PG Tips are my favourite, but I admit, Tetley adverts were much more fun when I still lived in England. Why, even Kim Cattrall is doing them now.



Personally, I swear by Darjeeling, and I don't care who knows it.

Finally, everyone asks, what is the proper sequence, milk first, then tea, or tea first, then milk.

The answer, as with everything British, is tied to class, or perceptions of class.

If you want to appear to the manor born, it's tea first, then milk. If you don't care about advertising your origins, it's milk first, then tea.

There are, of course, no hard and fast rules about this, though.

There are few bloggers as well-heeled as wha' I am, I can say almost without a trace of modesty, and yet, I always put the milk in first. It just tastes better.

Please note, though, that I have no idea whatsoEVER what is meant by Teabagging.

You're on you're on there.

SUGGESTED FOLLOWUP READING

The UK Tea Council

Wikipedia entry on Tea

But whatever you do, don't drink this

7 Comments:

  • Umm, I always thought that "milk first" was because of certain alleged physico-chemical properties. That is, if the milk is not fresh, and you pour it into the hot tea, it will curdle. OTOH, if you pour hot tea into the milk, milk heats up more slowly and doesn't curdle. That's why I always do "milk first", if at all. (Milk in the tea is a typically Brit thing; you have to be raised on it to really like it). Much like the Mongolian tradition of salt and sheep lard in the tea.

    By Anonymous Elko, at Sat Dec 02, 04:35:00 am GMT-5  

  • I have some tea from Tour D'argent that I've been nursing judiciously for years... my Fortnum and Mason supply is also dwindling... Would drink any teas passed along to me by Sundries, quite happily, I might add. ;-)

    Perhaps that Victoria is now of Clan YouTube, perhaps you could make us a demostration video, and put it up ON Sundries for us addle pated yanks. No actual facial images of Victoria herself are required, but plenty of hand demostrations with your dulcet tones providing background commentary, would simply be as loverly as Kew in the spring...

    Rest assured that my idleness does not limit itself to mere flattery...

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Dec 02, 12:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Umm, I always thought that "milk first" was because of certain alleged physico-chemical properties. That is, if the milk is not fresh, and you pour it into the hot tea, it will curdle.

    Right. Poorer people could ill afford to waste precious tea or indeed, milk, so the milk went first.

    OTOH, if you pour hot tea into the milk, milk heats up more slowly and doesn't curdle. That's why I always do "milk first", if at all. (Milk in the tea is a typically Brit thing; you have to be raised on it to really like it).

    This is true. But for me, a cup of tea is incomplete without the milk, and tea like Tetleys or PG Tips is made to taste precisely with the milk in mind.

    I once tried it without milk, and allmost gagged it was so bitter.

    Much like the Mongolian tradition of salt and sheep lard in the tea.

    Squeeze me??

    Cheers,
    V.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Dec 03, 02:18:00 am GMT-5  

  • I have some tea from Tour D'argent that I've been nursing judiciously for years...

    I'm super impressed! I had no idea they even had some for sale.

    my Fortnum and Mason supply is also dwindling... Would drink any teas passed along to me by Sundries, quite happily, I might add. ;-)

    I'm considering posting on some of my favourite coffee beans soon, so maybe I could add a little sidebar blog for the teas. Keep you posted.

    Perhaps that Victoria is now of Clan YouTube, perhaps you could make us a demostration video, and put it up ON Sundries for us addle pated yanks. No actual facial images of Victoria herself are required, but plenty of hand demostrations with your dulcet tones providing background commentary, would simply be as loverly as Kew in the spring...

    Erm...first, thank you for the wonderful compliments.

    But I have to say that the one time that I saw Althouse doing her schtick on Youtube, has stayed with me to this day.

    She was commenting on some old LPs she had (the Monkees was it??), and she opened her Youtube with "Hello, hello", in a kind of Jefferson Airplane far-away-comes-closer voice.

    Yikes. Cringe-worthy.

    No thanks. I'll stick to my BlogAudio sallies.

    Rest assured that my idleness does not limit itself to mere flattery...

    How so, bubbele? ;)

    Cheers,
    V.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Dec 03, 02:22:00 am GMT-5  

  • This is my preferred tea.

    Straight, no milk, no sugar, and brewed strong.

    An acquired taste, probably.

    By Blogger XWL, at Sun Dec 03, 10:23:00 pm GMT-5  

  • That's a very traditional blend, XWL.

    One day, maybe, we will sip some together, in front of a moonlit restaurant in LA.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Dec 06, 04:26:00 am GMT-5  

  • One day, maybe, we will sip some together, in front of a moonlit restaurant in LA.

    An excellent suggestion, hope it happens.

    But, if you were to visit, I think a fine product of California, like this one would be in order (especially under the moonlight).

    By Blogger XWL, at Wed Dec 06, 06:20:00 pm GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Who linked Here:

Create a Link

<< Home


 




Advertise on blogs
British Expat Blog Directory.