Oh Yes I’d Like A Cuppa!

by Emily on October 11, 2011

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

I have mentioned before that I had the great pleasure of living in London for a couple of years and found myself being very fond of my cup of tea.  Now, I wasn’t the only one (duh) because I have learned since that tea is the most popular drink consumed in Britain despite the fact that the good old pub is a staple in the British diet.  Brits don’t just sip their tea, apparently they guzzle a whopping 165 millions cups daily! Wow-ee!

Lately I find myself desperate for a cup shortly after lunch and most definitely to get myself moving once Pip has settled down for her nap.  I enjoy my morning coffee to jump-start my day, and sadly tea doesn’t have the same morning effect on me as coffee, but by mid-morning I could most certainly drink tea the rest of the day.

I love that tea solves everything in the UK.  You have a row with someone, drink a cup of tea and it will be better.  Have exciting news to share, throw the kettle on and drink tea to celebrate.  Want to relax in your home with a book and tea, you’ll dive deep into the solitude that you dreamed of.  Get off the phone with an angry client, well just fix a cup and everything will settle down.  Good or bad, tea solves all problems.

It didn’t take me long to catch on to the idea that everyone takes turns fixing the tea in a workplace.  Although our office had some that were quick to fill the kettle, I most certainly did my part at fixing the tray of tea carefully to each particular taste, then skillfully balanced up a very narrow stairway to the upper floor of our office.

To fix a cup of tea just takes a bit of practice and a careful eye on the particular color that your audience prefers.  For regular British blends, they recommend between 2-4 minutes of brew time.  Some like milk-skim or 2%, some like sugar and some just like it black.  I fell into the teeny tiny spot of sugar and top it off with milk.  Here are a few tips from the great UK Tea Council who have a wonderful counter running at the top of their website showing how much tea is consumed in real time!  I love it!

  • Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea
  • This must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature
  • Always use freshly drawn boiling water
  • In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once.
  • Measure the tea carefully
  • Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served
  • Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring
  • Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best

So, I urge you to solve all problems or just celebrate with a cup of tea!  Here in the US, I’ve found my two favorites UK brands PG Tips and Tetley’s at most local grocery stores.

I couldn’t resist another Mr. T reference!  I’m sure ALL would turn out good drinking your cuppa from this cup!

images via Etsy

Happy Birthday to Andrea!  Hope you have a lovely day!


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