Tea’s a hard thing to get right. But it’s worth getting right, because we’re all very opinionated about how we like our tea. I’ve some pointers I’ve learnt over the years below:

Impatience kills a good cup of tea.
Let the teabag actually get into the water, and leave it there a while before removing it. I’ve known people who’ve made half a dozen cups of so called tea with a single teabag. That would fill me with disdain, except that it usually fills me with sorrow as I’m going to have to drink one of those cups. The correct response for “what do you want with your tea?” in this instance, is “a teabag” please. And you better hope you can get one in before milk is added, because,

Adding milk stops the infusing process.
If you like pouring milk in the cup first, then make the tea in a teapot. Don’t get impatient and add milk while the water & teabag are doing their thing making that wonderful elixir. Whoever put a chicken in the preheated oven, and then instantly removed it? It needs time to become a wonderful succulent roast chicken. So too does a cup of tea need time to develop strength. Time can be reduced by the skillful use of a spoon – don’t chase the teabag round the cup, swirl water through it.

Bend the spoon.
Not always literally, but it has to happen sometimes. The teabag needs every last drop of strength squeezed out of it. My friend Rob supplied me with the “bend the spoon” test to tell whether you’re squeezing the teabag hard enough.

Normal tea is not broken. It doesn’t need fixed. Stop with the alternatives, alright!
I think what we enjoy is known as “breakfast tea” in other parts of the world. At a stretch, maybe some Earl/Lady Grey is about as adventurous as we’d like to go. Green tea is not tea, or it would just be called tea. Chai tea is not tea, or it would just be called tea. Peppermint tea is not tea, or it would just be called tea. If you offer me a cup of tea I should be sorely disappointed to get one of these alternatives. I’m saddened by the watering down [BOOM BOOM] of our tea legacy by the recent popularity of Rooibos tea, which seems to have claimed its niche as caffeine free (and somehow therefore better for before bed?). If caffeine before bed wakes you up, it’s because you’ve not had enough caffeine earlier in the day for the stimulative effects to lessen in effectiveness. I’ve known people to have a cup of tea before bed to send them to sleep. Drink more tea, the real kind.

Don’t drink stewed tea. Keep it fresh, people, keep it fresh.
Some have been known to keep a teapot on the stove, and they top it up with water and teabags as it gets used – so it can get stronger and thicker throughout the day. I’ve known that to put people off tea for life.

Thank you for listening. I shall now dismount my soapbox.

2 thoughts on “Important points to remember when making a British cup of tea

  1. Brother I commend you for sharing this with the world. I hope that the standard of tea at Christian fellowships will now improve. I am interested in the theological implication of all that you’ve outlined. I remember once you likened the role of the Spirit to the teabag, with boiling water being the Christian life – we need to not have a dose of the Spirit but have the Spirit or we’ll never be the tea that we can be… Perhaps I paraphrase but it was an education.

    Doesn’t your wife make the tea?

    I’m still trying to find the lass that can pour the perfect irn-bru.


  2. I forgot how much I enjoyed your writing. I feel like this should be shared with the entire populace of the Americas right now! Well said 🙂


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