In amongst this plethora of posts about expat life in Chile, I thought it would make a change to inject a touch of the familiar back into the blog. What better way to do this than talk about tea. I must put a disclaimer in at this point, and say that it probably won’t make you a perfect cup of tea, not least because the term is a subjective one anyway. So really, this post is about how I make tea (assuming that I have the time, energy, and inclination to do it properly, which I’m afraid is usually not the case – I know, I’m the worst Englishman ever, don’t judge me). With that in mind, the most accurate title for this entry would be “How I Should Make A Cup Of Tea If I Want To Do It Properly”, but I’m sure you’ll all agree, that it’s not quite as catchy as the title I opted for (not that it is that catchy anyway).
Anyway, pointless and irrelevant preamble aside, let’s get on with it. In true Blue Peter style, I am of course drinking “one I made earlier” as I write this.
For this exercise, you will need the following items:
1. Tea leaves (not bags, and it has to come from Camellia sinensis). Herbal “tea” isn’t tea (an analogy would be saying your glass of wine was a type of beer). “Ooo, I love this delicious wine beer” sounds rather silly doesn’t it? Anyway, all flippancy aside, you get my point.
2. A kettle. Electric is easiest, but if you have a metal one, and want to boil it over a wooden fire, then that’s equally fine.
You at the back! Yes, you! Don’t you dare even think about using a microwave!
3. A teapot
4. A mug (or a cup and saucer, I don’t really care, but it depends on number 8 – see below)
5. A tea cosy (optional)
6. A jug of cold milk/bowl of white sugar (granulated or lumps) – brown sugar is for coffee (also optional)
7. A supply of water (not optional, but it being free of contaminants is highly recommended)
8. Biscuits (optional, but your best bet would be rich teas, digestives, hob nobs, or ginger nuts). If you go for biscuits, the cup and saucer arrangement is better, as the saucer can hold your biscuit as well as the cup of tea.
9. A tea strainer (to catch all the leaves, unless you like eating them/plan to “tell someone’s fortune” – although we know that’s a load of old cobbler’s – and yes, that apostrophe is deliberate, I checked)
Right, shopping list out of the way, what do you do with all this stuff?
1. Empty the kettle, and add new water. Then boil the water.
2. Put boiling water into the teapot. The teapot has to have no tea in it at this stage.
3. Boil kettle for a second time.
4. Empty hot water from the teapot, and add tea leaves to it. The number of teaspoons of tea leaves you need to add is one per person, and one “for the pot”. (i.e. n+1 spoons where n = number of people for you Mathmos out there).
5. Add boiling water to pot, and leave to brew (length of time varies according to how strong you want your tea, but don’t leave it too long, as you don’t want it to stew).
6. Putting the strainer over your cup, pour the tea in.
7. Add milk/sugar to taste. I know I’m provoking a huge row of monumental proportions here, but it’s definitely better to add milk afterwards (as then you can control how milky your tea is. If you add it before, and you put too much in, then you’re stuck).
8. Put tea cosy over pot (if applicable).
9. Enjoy your nice cup of tea.
I can’t advise on biscuit dunking techniques I’m afraid, as I’m rather lacking in those skills.
Anyway, that’s my guide on how to make nice tea :).