I’ve been a busy little bee the past few days, hence the lack of blogging. I wish I could report on some exciting adventure or what not but unfortunately it’s just been your average monotony sucking up my time. I like being busy though, no matter what it is I’m occupied with. It makes that cup of tea (or ten) at the end of the day all the more heavenly.
I don’t drink tea when I’m out usually, I stick to the coffee. It continually baffles me the way cafes and restaurants always invest so much in their coffee making facilities yet totally neglect the needs of us poor tea lovers. They seem to think we’ll be grand with a cheap cash and carry teabag in a creeky old pot. I’m telling you now, I’d rather drink dishwater. At least in this part of the world it comes in a pot, I suppose. I remember being in the States some years back and in a fit of desperation I chanced ordering what was billed as ‘hot tea’. What I got was a mug of lukewarm water with a teabag at the side. Sacrilege. I’m sorry to all my American blog buddies- it’s a fine nation you’ve got over there but the art of tea is certainly not one of your strong points!
So why is it so hard to get a good cup of tea? And what can be done about it? Well, I propose the following article be written into law or at least set as essential reading for caterers of the world: ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ George Orwell, The Evening Standard, January 12 1946. Only ever so slightly outdated, it is a manifesto for the brew loving masses. A guide to the perfect cuppa, if you will. Ah Orwell, I have a new respect for him. He sure knew how to make tea! Here’s just a few of his oh so pertinent points:
"The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact... Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference."Hear hear Mr Orwell!
"One should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all… but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round."
"[Tea] should be drunk without sugar... how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water."