Friday, January 7, 2011

The correct making of a good cup of tea.

Only last night, I was sitting on a beach with a badly made cup of tea after a night swim talking about this. And lo, dear old Chirstopher Hitchens writes an article on slate that eventually leads me here. As Hitchens says, some of these rules are a little ... strict. I would hazard that rule one is somewhat optional, as is the final, eleventh rule. Otherwise, they're all pretty much mandatory. I see Jerry Coyne has also found the article, though he does have some funny ideas on the correct use of a biscuit. Dunking chocolate biscuits in tea? That's just wrong. Ideally you want a gingernut for dunking (no more than 2 dunks), something nice and hard that isn't going to dissolve in your tea. Though he is quite right about the neccesity of a biscuit (or a piece of fruit cake) to go alongside a good cup of tea. Garibaldis are a fine choice, just not for dunking.

Sitting on the beach with my sad cup of tea made from hot-ish water out of a Thermos, it was brought to mind how important it is to have boiling water though at the time I couldn't recall why. It comes back to tea being a herbal infusion, which doesn't release all of it's lovely flavours without being at 100oC. Reminds me of walks in the bush with Dad when he was guiding tramping clubs from the city. They would all pull out their thermos and make sub-standard tea or vile instant coffee. Dad would pull out the white spirits burner and teh billy, put some water on and boil it up then and there. Extra strong, hot billy tea. With a gingernut.

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