Sunday, December 28, 2008

George Orwell and beFOODled on the perfect cup of tea

George Orwell and beFOODled on the perfect cup of teaGeorge Orwell and beFOODled on the perfect cup of tea, originally uploaded by beFOODled.

Author George Orwell, who voluntarily lived like a tramp in the late 1920s to research material for his book Down and Out in Paris and London, paradoxically had no fewer than 11 outstanding rules on how to make a nice cup of tea.

I wish I could tell George that, aside from loving his afore-mentioned book, I have unknowingly been following most of his advice when making tea, maybe because I come from a family of tea aficionados. But I differ from him on some key points, for example, in belonging to the milk-first school. And some of Orwell's points simply do not apply in today's society, such as making tea in urns and cauldrons versus teapots, which perhaps happens in the army, but I can't think of where else.

So here's beFOODled's list of no less than eight outstanding points on how to make the perfect cup of tea.

* First of all, dump out any old water in the kettle and only boil fresh water.

* Make tea in a teapot rather than in a cup for maximum steepage.

* Loose tea in big flakes that can swirl freely around the pot or in a wire mesh are preferable to tea bags. (George was anti-wire-mesh holders, so he might raise an argument against this one.)

* Blend your favourite teas for a unique taste. My favourite recipe is 1.5 to two teaspoons of a strong black Indian tea, such as Assam, Ceylon or Darjeeling, usually found in blends for English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast teas. I then add a pinch of smoky Lapsang Souchong, a black tea from China dried over burning pine, for flavour, and a couple of crushed cardamom pods and seeds. Do not make tea using only Lapsang Souchong (S did this once and it was a bit of an issue). It's so strong and smoky that most people find it undrinkable as a main brew.

* Bring the teapot to the kettle, not the kettle to the teapot. (On this point, George and I agree.)

* Let the tea steep in the teapot for about five minutes before pouring out.

* Nuke a bit of milk in the bottom of tea mugs in the microwave for about 20 seconds. (George, who belongs to the tea-first school, would have been at odds with this point.)

* Pour tea in your cups and enjoy!


S said...

Nice post. But I guess some people just don't appreciate the full force of Lapsang Souchong and feel the need to dilute it. Shame!

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