My Tea

Pick Your Potion

Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?

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Twenty-four years ago, my firstborn and I went on a school-study-vacation trip to England.  Long story about why I went with him, for another post someday.  It was a wonderful trip. We went with a congenial little group, had lots of independence, and the most glorious English spring weather.  It didn’t rain until the day we left, which was rather amazing for April. The trip was everything this English teacher could have wanted. Also a lover of British history, I felt like I had been dropped into a fairy tale. It would be very easy for me to follow that rabbit trail, but this post is about tea 🙂

Our guide, Richard, was a delightful young gentleman.  He was so pleasant, and did his best to give us a true taste of British life.  He chauffered us to all the major sites in the South of England, including Salisbury, Bath, Stonehenge (at that time, a person could still walk right into the circle and touch the stones) and Tintern Abbey. Then we went to London and did all the things tourists do there. So many wonderful memories.

A highlight, though, was the day Richard invited our little group to high tea at his home, where we would meet his family.  The family included his wife’s parents, who were Sir and Lady Something-I-don’t-Remember.   Sir ? had been equerry to Prince Charles.  Again, both of these people were completely enjoyable, interested in each of us and had done their homework so that they already knew a little bit about us and could ask questions accordingly.

Now, the tea.  I’d grown up popping a well-known brand of tea bag into a cup of boiling water.  Never, ever have done so again since the day we had tea with Richard. The tea his wife served was a completely different matter, and it has changed, for me, having a cup of tea into an art.

From the very first sip, I was enchanted with the flavor and the aroma of this amazing tea. Here’s what Diana, Richard’s wife, prepared for us:

1. Water for tea was boiled in a kettle.  Never in a microwave!

2. The teapot, not to be confused with the kettle, was filled with very hot tapwater while the kettle boiled.

3. Into a teaball,  she measured out the equivalent of two bags of Earl Grey tea. When the kettle whistled, the hot water was poured out of the teapot.  The Earl Grey was put into the pot, along with four bags of Typhoo tea (large pot, probably served ten cups of tea. The ratio here is two Earl Grey to one Typhoo). Then the boiling water from the kettle was poured into the pot. 

4. Diana let the tea steep for about three minutes.  Then she mashed the bags against the inside of the pot, removed them and the tea ball, and poured out this heavenly brew.

I sweetened mine with a spoon of sugar, and because I had no idea how good it was going to taste, I was unprepared for the way my taste buds leaped to attention and said, “Hey!  Give us some more of that!”

We all raved about the tea.  There was no magical recipe, just good tea made the way it ought to be made.  Diana sent bags of Typhoo home with each of us.  When I ran out, I looked for it all over the place and couldn’t find it.  Ended up ordering online from a place in Texas.

It was a very happy day, then, when my third son recently brought me a box of Typhoo that he’d found at Wegman’s, which has a section of British-style foods

You should try it.  You’ll like it 🙂

 

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16 thoughts on “My Tea

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  3. Never heard of Typhoo. Thanks for the new bit of information. We learn something everyday from someone every day, don’t we ?
    But Granonine, why did Diana pour the water out the teapot ? I really am a tube light – it takes for me a while to understand things.
    I want to try this method of steeping tea too.

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    1. The hot water in the tea pot was to warm the pot so that the boiling water wouldn’t crack the pot, and so that the boiling water wouldn’t cool down too much when poured in over the tea. It’s not for drinking the tea, just for warming the pot.

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  5. A neighbour of mine used to mix Earl Grey with another tea. Earl Grey is a lovely, unmistakable but for those who like strong tea another type must be added. It really does add to the flavour. Never, ever boil water for tea in a microwave…

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  7. I am a Brit and I live very near to Stonehenge and the Avebury circle as well as some of the other places that you mention. I love to hear about others talking of our culture because to us, tea is just part of our life. It what we always drink and what we are used to. It makes me smile whenever I go to France because although they have tea, it is not the same as we have over here and they don’t usually have milk with it. The further South you go, the less likely you are to find them even giving you milk and when I asked for it on a recent holiday to France, they just couldn’t understand why I would want to put cold milk into my tea. I have to say that I am not an Earl Grey lover but give me a cup of Yorkshire Tea and I am yours! Great post. Thank you for sharing your holiday memories of us over here. 🙂

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