(Note: check out the comments for more ideas on tea preparation)
Back in my flight attendant days, we used to fly to the UK every summer.
On these trips, we were told to serve tea first and coffee second (whereas on most other flights, coffee was the predominant choice and served first).
The way we served the tea was with a stainless steel teapot in one hand, and a tray in the other. The tray contained a small container with milk, a little bowl of sugar packs, and another bowl of sliced up lemon.
The non-tea drinking passengers would puzzle over this choice when presented with the tray.
Since tea was being served however, they would help themselves to everything on the tray. First they would hold out their cup for us to pour the tea, then they would pour their own milk, take a packet of sugar, and finally, choose a slice of lemon. The lemon would then get dropped into the tea which already contained milk at this time. Next, the passenger would make a bit of a face, look up to us with a baffling look as if to say ‘why are you serving lemon with milk’ and then raise their cup and take a sip.
WHY would they do that, add lemon to their tea which contained milk?
We never found out.
This little memory popped into my head when I read Jonathan’s post the other day where he went on to describe how to make the perfect cup of tea. Jonathan is English and as we all know, the English are tea drinkers.
Along with describing the method of how to make a 🇬🇧 cup of tea, he also educates us on a few other tea-related tidbits and dispels a few myths along the way. For instance, there’s a historical explanation as to why some people pour milk into their cup first, before pouring tea. I didn’t know about that. (Who does that? Not me…)
I did know that tea originated in China… 🙃
Anyway, in his post he describes several ways of making tea. The most straight forward goes something like this:
You put a number of teabags in a teapot, and pour boiling water onto them.
The only time I make a pot of tea however is if there’s more than one person drinking it, say if we have guests. If it’s just us family, we often just make individual cups.
Jonathan’s method to make a single serving cup of tea goes like this:
You put a teabag in your cup, pour boiling water into the cup, give it a stir for a few seconds, then add milk to make it the right sort of colour, then fish the teabag out with the same spoon you stirred it with.
I make tea the exact same way he does and this is before I read his post. 🙂
But then you hear all kinds of commentary from various international tea drinkers. Like the sort who will go through the ritual of pre-warming the teapot, or use a special tea-egg or strainer for loose leaf tea, for example.
I wondered about the pre-warming thing. Nowhere in Jonathan’s post does it say anything about per-warming the teapot or the cup.
Maybe he does this automatically and just neglected to mention it? If he doesn’t, then that’s another similarity we share. I also do not typically pre-warm the pot.
My line of thinking is this: since you’re pouring boiling water into the pot or cup, why is it necessary to pre-warm? I don’t get it.
Which brings me to the next thing: people will tell me all sorts of things about the water one uses to make tea.
They say things like this:
You must turn off the kettle just prior to boil.
Once the water boils, wait one minute (or 78 seconds or sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star twice) and then pour the water over the tea bags.
I’m too impatient to bother with this. Once the kettle boils I pour the water over the teabag, let it steep while I wander over to the fridge to get the milk, pour the milk, put the milk back in the fridge, fish out the bag and off I go to drink my tea (or spill it over my keyboard which happened once and I have since learned my lesson to not do that again). 🙄
When I was a child, we did not grow up drinking tea. The only time anyone made tea was if someone was sick, and I did not like that association so I never drank any tea.
Today I ❤💛💚💙💜 tea!
At our house, Tetley Bold is a favorite with its deep, complex flavour and dark colour; English Breakfast is a close second. We also have decaf, rooibos and a large variety of herbal and fruit teas (which my kids like, I’m not a fan). My partner and I drink tea in the afternoon mostly and stick to coffee in the mornings, but the kids have tea for breakfast and again after school.
Tell me, do you like tea? Do you have a ritual when it comes to preparing your tea?