Tuesday, October 13, 2020


An American woman made a video of how to make British tea. First she microwaved a mug of water. Then she added milk and plonked in a teabag. Then sugar. And then the British people on the internet got upset.

The correct way to make a British cup of tea is to heat the water in a kettle, warm the teapot, perhaps by rinsing it with boiling water, then put loose leaf tea in the pot and pour boiling water over it. Let it steep for about five minutes. Pour into a cup. Add a modicum of sugar, and cream or milk if desired. The choice of cream or milk is hotly debated, by the way.
Porcelain or ceramic is best, because of how
these hold the heat. Which is rather essential.

Then kick back and light up your pipe. Unfold a newspaper that has gravitas, and read the letters to the editor as well as the obituaries.

Hong Kong style milk-tea, which I prefer, is different. Tea leaves simmered for several minutes, strained through a mesh bag, and augmented with sweetened condensed milk. Strong, sweet, hot. Suitable for both the newspaper with gravitas, and going back up the bamboo scaffolding twenty stories to labour at international trade and banking for the rest of the day. 
In the middle of a howling typhoon.

The pipe is considered optional in the latter case.

In Hong Kong, you might have baked spaghetti with a porkchop and cheese (焗豬扒意粉 'guk jyu baa yi fan') or curried beef tongue (咖哩牛脷 'gaa lei ngau lei') and rice with your hot cup of tea instead of cake. It helps if you let the staff know what you prefer.

But cake is good.


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1 comment:

JCE said...

Cream?! I can assure you that in the north of the UK I've never heard of, seen or ever been offered cream with leaf tea.

The bitter (or should that be astringent) squabbling is centred on whether to add the milk before or after the tea. Purportedly the Queen herself puts the milk in after, illustrating the social and political redundancy of monarchy. The milk should go in first for reasons of flavour. If you know your pot and blend, you'll know how much milk to put in first.

Bone China cupware as much for the thinness of the lip of the cup, as the heat for me. And strangely, unsweetened soya milk seems to bring out more flavour of the tea than cloying dairy. Picked that tip up from a 'tea connoisseur'.

That, followed by a bowl of equally fragrant Germains. Perfection itself.

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