Thursday, September 16, 2010

The ultimate tea-making guide.

Right. I am alive again, kind of. While I was dying, it occurred to me that Death By Bad Tea must be one of the leading causes of death outside of the United Kingdom. I think it's a terrible thing that there are people out there who don't even know how to make tea! (I'm looking at you, boyfriend). So, being the kind person that I am, I have compiled a handy guide to tea-making. It covers the most common mistakes, including the fatal tea-making errors that will make you bleed out of your eyes.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First of all, let me present to you The Good Tea Guide.

A bone china mug is important, as it preserves the tea flavour very well and keeps it hot for a long time. The white interior of the cup is also vital - how else will you monitor your tea colour? Also I think it's just offputting to drink from a mug with a dark interior.

Let me take you through the vital steps involved in making a truly amazing cuppa.

  1. Teabag, obviously. Now the only blend I will accept is English Breakfast. I recognise that there are some heathens out there who seem to enjoy the soapy taste of Earl Grey, but we'll just pretend they don't exist for now. Herbal teas are not teas; we'll cover that later. As for loose leaf tea, well, I admit I haven't had much experience with it. However, I have nothing against it and will in fact respect you if you choose to take this difficult path in tea brewing. 
  2. Sugar. I take one. I don't really have any strong opinions on tea sweetening - oh wait, I do have one. My mum used to use those godawful Equal Sweettabs. They made the tea taste of Diet Coke. Foul things!
  3. Water. Now this step may seem simple, but believe me, it is fraught with difficulty! Firstly, the water MUST be boiling - if the water kind of ejaculates out of the spout of the kettle, you're doing something right. Secondly, the water must be poured from a reasonable height above the cup. This is to ensure adequate agitation of the teabag, giving you a stronger and more delicious brew. 
  4. Stir. Again, a seemingly simple step that people still fuck up. Make sure the teabag is agitated enough. The tea needs to permeate the water properly, or else your tea will be weak and nasty, like Earl Grey dishwater. Set your teabag rotating with your spoon, and then draw the spoon out of the cup in one quick motion, allowing the teabag to rotate unhindered by the spoon. Rest the spoon on top of your cup for convenience. 
  5. Milk. REMOVE YOUR TEABAG. I cannot stress this enough! Take it out and throw it in the bin. Now. Thank you. Now then, milk. Only full cream milk will do! None of this skim, low fat nonsense. There is a good reason for this - after 18 years of watching my mother use trim milk, I can assure you that it will turn your tea a nasty blue colour. Also it will taste like wee. Anyway, pour your milk and stir at the same time, so that you can monitor the colour of the tea effectively. 
Done! There, it's not so hard, is it? Well, according to lots of people, it bloody well is. Real tea is just splendid, and will probably make your day.

Bad tea, on the other hand, will make you dribble uncontrollably and bleed out of your eyes.

Clearly, this is not good for your overall health and wellbeing. So WHY do people make so many stupid mistakes while making tea? 

Firstly, people assume that things like herbal "tea" and skim "milk" are a good idea.

Herbal (oh, and fruit) teas are just abhorrent. They are also most misleading! Fruit teas smell so wonderful, and yet when you taste them ... well, there's no taste. It's all just smell. I might as well be drinking a mug of boiling water while sniffing a blackcurrant. Not impressed. Also, the kind of people who drink herbal and fruit teas should be avoided at all costs. They are probably activists and own numerous items of clothing made out of hemp.

As for skim milk, well we covered this earlier! It makes your tea blue. You got the message? Good. I will not take any responsibility for your foul tea made with devil milk. 

However, of all the deadly tea-making sins (did I mention that some people people put the milk in BEFORE the water?! AHHHH! This INSULATES the teabag, making it next to impossible for any delicious tea to seep through! Why would you do this to yourself!) I think the worst one of all would have to be something that I have thankfully never experienced first-hand. Legend has it that those ridiculous Americans hardly even know what an electric kettle is. They also seem to think you have to specify "hot tea" to get a cuppa, or else you'll get ICED TEA which is just as repulsive as fruit/herbal tea. Clearly they know nothing about tea-making. So next time you go to an American's house and request tea, prepare yourself for the following. I hear this is quite common. Are you ready?

They use WARM WATER to make tea. Out of the TAP.

This is so wrong on so many levels!!! I actually have nightmares about this!!

Ok. Breathe.

So there you have it, your guide to a perfect cuppa, every time!

Some people may have other opinions, but mine is always right. Yep.


  1. Loose leaf tea is FTW. I make it all the time and it tastes a million billion times better than tea bag tea. But not everyone has awesome skillz like me

  2. I make loose leaf tea all the time. It's actually really easy, and it tastes so much nicer than teabag tea. I *think* they put the crappy leaves in teabags, but that may also just be some rubbish I've made up.

    I'll bring you a real teapot when I eventually come visit and give you lessons.

  3. Mm, I have had loose leaf before and found it very pleasant! There's a speciality tea shop nearby that I might hit up and get a teapot and leaf tea.

    As for the crappy quality of leaves in teabags - I think it just varies depending on the brand. Lipton is crap; Dilmah not so crap (do try it!)

  4. I think I might be the devil

    1) place teabag in cup
    2) pour boiling water over teabag
    3) stir and drink
    (removal of the teabag is optional as is the addition of tasty lemons...mmm lemons)

    Also herb tea, fruit tea and iced tea are all DELICIOUS =)

  5. Are you Helen? I would expect nothing less from you, sadly ...

    Lemon? Ok I am not totally opposed to this. I think lemons can usually improve pretty much anything.

  6. I might be......I might also be THE WOE KITTEN......but you're right......I am Helen......I'd rather be THE WOE KITTEN

  7. Ahhh Tea. Yum yum yum. Speaking of tea, I haven't had one in quite a while. I might just go make myself one now. This is Jono by the way, but I have a feeling that I'm referred to as a fashion week slut these days.

  8. I love helen's breastsOctober 7, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    I'd just like to mention my grandparents have a boiling water tap and that it is awesome.