Saturday, 13 December 2008


I love tea. I tell the children that, just as you put petrol in the car to keep it going, so you have to put tea in mummy! Occasionally I worry that I drink too much tea and sometimes I flirt with herbal 'tea' or green tea in an effort to drink less caffiene, but they never quite hit the spot.

I am very particular about which mug or cup I like. I have a huge mug which I use first thing in the morning as I settle down on the sofa to pray. It is plenty large enough to wrap both hands around and hug. It is also large enough to have to count as two when I tot up the day's tea comsumption.
On our mug tree there hang my stripy mug, my husband's mug, a Denby Imperial Blue Craftsmans mug which I use for guests, and my three other mugs.The heart one was a Valentine present and the pink one which says 'Mum' a Mother's Day present. I did tell my husband that I liked a mug I had seen and if he wanted to buy me a gift it was in Ruby's in Hampton. I bought one for my mother and my little girl commented that it was just like the one daddy had bought for me - so it wasn't a great surprise! It's quite fine china so it's a good one for the herbal tea too. The one with a gold pattern is, strictly speaking, for coffee. It just suits coffee better.
I also have a proper tea-cup and saucer with a matching plate. This is another charity shop find and is exclusively for poetry tea-time, usually with a home-made treat on the plate.I always, always, make tea in a tea-pot, even if it's just for me. I have a large tea-pot for the whole family, (another item seen in a charity shop, left on the shelf due to its huge price and then I had to call the shop and ask them to hold on to it for me until I had time to make a special trip to buy it!)and a smaller one if it's just for one or two. I usually use freshly drawn water and I try hard to only boil the amount I'm going to need, this is better for the planet! However, we have a new kettle and I haven't quite got the feel for it yet. I also hate pouring old water away as this seems wasteful too and I am not truly convinced that I can taste any difference if I use previously boiled water. If I really cared I could do a taste test, but I guess I'm not that obsessive! I usually warm the pot too. This keeps the tea hotter, but I've also heard that putting the tea-bag into a warm pot prevents the boiling water from scalding the tea. Then I pour the water on the moment it boils, stir it after a while and pour into a mug with milk already in. That is, if I haven't been distracted at some point and forgotten that I'm making tea. My husband makes great tea as it is something he takes very seriously and would never be distracted from. I, however, sometimes offer to make him a cup of tea and only get as far as boiling the kettle; sometimes I put the tea-bag in the warm pot and forget to pour on the water; sometimes I find a tea-pot, sitting on the side, full of luke warm tea. So there is something to be said for quickly making it in a mug - but there is nothing like a cup of properly made tea.


Kathy Grubb said...

This is what I was hoping for! Thank you, Gaynor!

What brands of tea are your favorite? Are you a tea bag girl or a loose leaf? How long do you steep?
What do you add?

You've answered a lot of questions for this curious American!

Gaynor said...

I'm not fussy about brand, but I do make sure that we get Fair Trade. I would love to use loose-leaf and I do notice that it tastes better, but I worry about blocking the drain and it becomes such a faff to clean the tea-pot that we use bags. Because I don't pay as much attention as I should, I often steep for just a few moments, and get disgusting weak tea, or I steep for ages and get treaclely, cold, equally disgusting tea! I guess about right is 3 or 4 minutes. Maybe my husband will add a comment on how long he steeps for. Interestingly, I would say 'brew' and my mother, who is from Yorkshire, uses the word 'mash'. However, if it's green tea I only leave the bag in for 30 seconds, otherwise it's foul, and even my attention span can last that long! I have a little milk in my tea.
Also, I never, ever squish the tea-bag!