It’s hard to think of England without tea drinking coming to mind. Not all English people love tea but I don’t know any who don’t!
Our consumption of it could be described as excessive. If you’ve watched British television, been to England or know an English person, you’re aware. It fixes everything for us. It is our comfort and our joy. If we’re worried or stressed, the answer is always a cup of tea. If we’re happy, putting the kettle on adds more happiness. We’ve been drinking it since we were children and like many addicts, the caffeine has little to no effect. My sister takes a cup of caffeinated tea to bed every night.
England’s love affair with tea took hold during the 18th century. Ideally, it’s accompanied by biscuits (cookies) or even better, a slice of cake. An afternoon tea takes it to a whole new level. As in a three-tiered server boasting sandwiches, scones and miniature cakes.
This is how the English make a good pot of tea …
Bring the kettle to a rolling boil
Swirl some boiling water around the tea pot to warm it – discard this water
Place tea leaves or tea bags in pot
Pour boiling water over tea
Cover tea pot with a cosy to keep it warm
Brew for 2 – 5 minutes
Now here’s the ongoing debate … Do you pour the milk in the cup before or after pouring the tea? I pour the milk in first because it saves me using a spoon to stir. I know that sounds lazy but trust me, if you knew how much tea I drink, you’d understand me eliminating that step.
Now here’s something I do feel strongly about. The cup! Coffee and hot chocolate are great out of a ceramic like stoneware or earthenware, but I think tea is best served in fine bone china. My husband and I cherish our Dunoon china mugs.
Tea etiquette, very useful if you treat yourselves to a fancy afternoon tea out, or just want to have fun with friends, will be in a future blog. Plus, I’ll be sharing my favorite items to put on that three-tiered server.
Until then, let’s carry on and drink tea.