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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Tea For Two

I tend to drink mainly coffee. That is my drink of choice to start the day but it really has a lot more to do with caffeine content then flavor choice. But tea is a whole different matter. Now while I drink my coffee completely black I do at times add a little bit of sweetener but that is usually when I am out someplace and I am forced to drink a coffee that I do not like the flavor of.

There are times though when I like a nice cup of black tea. When I do that I like it with some cream or milk and some sugar. To me that is super tasty. So lets talk about the how to make the perfect cup of tea. I found an interesting 11 step recipe for Tea from the BBC that "claims" they are from George Orwell. So without further adieu.

GEORGE ORWELL'S TEA RULES
1. Use tea from India or Ceylon (Sri Lanka), not China
2. Use a teapot, preferably ceramic
3. Warm the pot over direct heat
4. Tea should be strong - six spoons of leaves per 1 litre
5. Let the leaves move around the pot - no bags or strainers
6. Take the pot to the boiling kettle
7. Stir or shake the pot
8. Drink out of a tall, mug-shaped tea cup
9. Don't add creamy milk
10. Add milk to the tea, not vice versa
11. No sugar!

Now far be it from me to argue with George Orwell but I am going to. Really for two reasons. 1. He was British. 2. I am American and in our constitution I am guaranteed the right to give my opinion on issues I know next to nothing about and to hold so strongly to those opinions that I will stand and die upon that position. You know it and I know it. So it is best if we just understand that and move on.

The biggest problem that I have with Orewell's rules for tea is that I think it would be far to strong. Without sweetener black tea is really bitter so I just can't imagine drinking it without some kind of sweetener be it honey or sugar or something. Other then that it seems fine to me. Though there are some detractors mainly the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

1: Warm the pot using soft water
2: Synchronise. Bring the warmed pot straight to the just-boiled kettle and place a single heaped teaspoon of loose Assam leaves into the pot.

Pour in the boiling water immediately. If the water is allowed to cool, it is less effective in releasing the chemicals in the tea leaves. The use of a tea cosy is not recommended, since the liquid needs to cool before pouring.

3:Stir the brewing tea and leave it for three minutes. This time allows for the release of polyphenolic compounds, which will give the tea its rich colour and flavour. A longer infusion period will unlock high molecular weight chemicals which taste bitter.

You cannot reduce the amount of caffeine in your cuppa by shortening the infusion time, most of the stimulant is released within a minute.

4:Stir the brewing tea and leave it for three minutes. This time allows for the release of polyphenolic compounds, which will give the tea its rich colour and flavour. A longer infusion period will unlock high molecular weight chemicals which taste bitter.

You cannot reduce the amount of caffeine in your cuppa by shortening the infusion time, most of the stimulant is released within a minute.

5:The finished tea should be a "rich, attractive colour" and be somewhere in the region of 65 degrees centigrade – any hotter and scientists warn that "vulgar slurping" might be required.

Dr Andrew Stapley says: "For best results carry a heavy bag of shopping – or walk the dog – in cold, driving rain for at least half an hour beforehand. This will make the tea taste out of this world."

So there you go. That is the best way to make tea according to the RSC and they would know. I mean they are real scientists. Who else would know better?

As far as brand of tea goes. I like PGtips. It is an English brand and I get it at Cost Plus Wold Market. Not only do they have a large selection of beer and wine they also have some tasty snacks from all over the world as well as a large selection of coffees and tea. So if you are looking for something tasty or perhaps for some nice home furnishings then this store is the place for you.

I hope you enjoyed the shopping tips in the blog today.
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