Tea - Lifeblood of Britain

Everyone has their own rituals and one of mine involves making "proper" tea. I thought I'd try to make the web a better place by recounting how.

I've had this page up for a while now. Someone even found it and talked about it at one of my job interviews, years ago. It hasn't changed a lot in that time though I recently removed some references to things that were going on at the time it was written. If you're local and fancy a cuppa by the way, do drop by.

How to make "proper" tea

First you need a good teapot. It should be reasonably large. Better tea is made in a teapot that has got that stained brown interior look from lots of use. Honest.

Then you want some tea. It should be loose leaf tea. I used to use PG Tips but only really cos that's what I was brought up on. I have Yorkshire Tea now. I prefer mixes of leaves than just one type I've found but this is down to personal preference.

You also want some milk. Doesn't really matter what but I have been brought up on semi-skimmed.

Next you want hot water. Well no, that's a lie. You want boiling water. But not yet. You need to put the almost boiling water into the empty pot and swirl it around in just the time it takes for the rest of the water to truely boil. And you want to hold the tea pot with the palms of your hands around it and gently swill the water around to warm the pot. I have no idea if there is any scientific basis for this making better tea but this is a ritual remember? You just also happen to come out with a caffeinated drink at the end of it.

Pour the few left over leaves from last time and the hot water away.
Add the loose tea. Generally I put about 4 heaped teaspoons in per pot regardless of how many cups I'm making. This makes strong tea which is good too. Of course, here your mileage will vary - different pots hold different amounts of water and you will fill yours to a different level than I fill mine.

Next immediately as the kettle boils, pour in boiling water. You could stir it if you like but if you pour it fast enough it'll all mix up together anyway. I leave it to brew for a few minutes. In this time pour a small amount of milk into the mug you have standing by. MIF! Yes, I'm a milk-in-first person. There is a difference in taste between MIF tea and MIL tea (make one of each if you don't believe me). MIF is of course better and more right :-)
Also tea out of mugs tastes better than the exact same tea out of a fine china cup and saucer. This is because when you can't fit even your little finger through the handle and end up spilling it all over yourself it just doesn't taste the same.

Wait a bit if you've not left it very long. I'm trying to work out how long I leave the tea to brew. It's about 3 minutes perhaps? I'm not sure. It should be a sort of orangey/amber when you pour it.

Strain the tea through a strainer into the mug with milk in. If you're used to teabag tea and you don't have a strainer then you'll end up with leaves in your tea. This isn't the end of the world but you might want to skip drinking the bottom of the mug.


See that was easy wasn't it?


MythReality (well mine)
Tea is a mixture of water and dried leaves. Of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame, this myth is actually entirely true. There is no rational reason to drink tea apart from the fact that it tastes good.
Tea bags are easier than making pots of tea This myth is also true but what it doesn't tell you is that tea made with teabags tastes icky and often has scum on the top since the water goes straight from your evil kettle into the cup.
Tea made in teapots varies This is true but this is also part of the fun of it. Tea making is an acquired skill and one which takes years before you can declare yourself a true master. It is of course worth it
Tea is bad for you Yeah, but so is everything else. If you listen to the people that tell you tea is bad for you then you won't ever eat anything pleasant.
This seems like a lot of work just for a cuppa... Hmm, not really. Besides which you get really good tea at the end. The sort of tea that puts a smile on your face.
So you do this all the time do you? Well no. Like anyone sane I use a teabag first thing in the mornings because at 6:30 I don't quite have time. But I feel guilty about it all day honest ;)

Links to other perfect cuppas

The BBC ran an article on how to make the perfect cuppa.