Everything you might ever want to know about English tea drinking. This lengthy article is not only informative but delightful and contains several quotable lines that I considered for my weekly quotes post but I couldn’t decide which one so here we are.
I am delighted to learn that most of the British drink tea from mugs, not those lovely, delicate little bone china cups. I always drink tea from a mug. I occasionally feel just a teensy bit bad that I’m “not doing it right” but the tea cools off so fast in those tiny, shallow cups that it’s practically down to room temperature before one can get the cup to one’s lips for the first sip.
I am slightly disappointed to learn that most Brits use tea bags. I’m a bit of a loose tea snob myself. I do use tea bags sometimes but only the better brands like Twinnings. Lipton is not allowed in my house, which greatly surprises people who think it has to be absolutely the best tea on the planet because it’s the most advertised and everyone has heard of it. When I use tea bags I do something like the teabag mashing method described in the article though I do more stirring and swirling than mashing. I always felt a bit guilty about this because I thought it was another way that I was doing it wrong but letting the tea bag just sit in the cup for the recommended three minutes gives it too much time to cool off. This is another delightful discovery – that I’ve independently and unknowingly “invented” a tea brewing method that is used by the people famous for tea drinking.
When I use loose tea I brew it in a French press, which I decided to try after having three tea balls break in less than two years. I let it brew for a minute to a minute and a half with a kitchen towel wrapped around the press to help keep it hot. That works fairly well for keeping the tea hot enough though it doesn’t yield as hot a cup as the tea bag mashing/swirling method.
Finally, there’s the matter of milk in tea. Now that’s weird. I’ve only personally known one person who took milk in her tea. I did try it myself with a vanilla “chai” tea and it was okay. To put milk in plain black tea though… I just can’t. I can’t do that to a perfectly good cup of tea.
My favorite line from this wonderful article though, is “Of course, as every right-thinking British person knows: the only really correct way to drink tea is the way you take it yourself. Everyone else is just Doing It Wrong,” to which I can only say, “Indeed!”