Calling all Brits!

Discussion in 'The Cafe'' started by Argonaut, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Argonaut

    Argonaut Moderator Emeritus

    I've been reading a bit about English tea culture and find some of the points of contention pretty interesting. I wonder what our B&B Brits think about the proper way to do tea. I'm only interested in the traditional black tea and biscuits sorts. What's your routine, or religion? Milk first or last, if at all? Sugar or no? At what point of steeping time and amount of sugar added changes a proper tea into builders tea? What are your favorite biscuits, cakes or jammy dodgers? I've always just used Lipton tea for my hot tea, until a month ago when I was dumbfounded to find PG Tips in my local grocery store. I usually have some Twinnings Earl Grey on hand, but it's a once in a while tea for me. The green teas and exotics get lots of play here, but I hardly ever see anything on English teas, so let's hear about them. As always, pictures make everything better!
  2. I am not a subject of the crown, but I enjoy the heck out of black tea. I would much rather drink some good English breakfast tea or earl grey(cream, from teavana is good) or Irish or Scottish breakfast teas. Not that I mind green or even some white, but nothing extra please just one pack of sweetner. I'll keep and eye on this post. looking forward to what gets posted. Cheers, prophoss
  3. I only make my tea in a mug as I don't like it to steep too long, a couple of minutes is enough for me. Twining's English Breakfast, no sugar and milk in last.

    There is a place I go for breakfast near my office and they use Gryphon brand teas - that is served in a mini teapot, enough for 2.5 cups and is not too strong even after 15 mins in the pot. I would consider buying it but the supermarkets here have a useless stock policy and it's never on the shelf. Worth looking for but expensive even by Singapore standards (S$16.95 for 20 "silken sachets")...
  4. I warm the pot first, then using typhoo tea. Let brew for 5 mins then pour into cups already milked & sugared
  5. oc_in_fw

    oc_in_fw Contributor

    Not a Brit, but I love Twining's English Breakfast Tea, or, when i need more of kick, Irish Breakfast. I steep around.4 minutes, then add sugar first then milk
  6. Tetley British Blend bags, or if one has just returned from the Old Country, PG Tips, Tetley or Typhoo. (Tetley BB is milder than the originals, but not so mild as to mimic the brown-water-maker that is Liptons.)
    Place in mug.
    Pour boiling water into mug.
    Stir, steep for however long the day calls for, or until I stop doing one of the other 5 things I am doing before remembering that I have not added milk.
    Remove bag, add milk.

    I gave up sugar in tea 5 years ago and haven't missed it. Back in those days I always added sugar first, stirred to dissolve, then milk.

    If I'm feeling frisky I might get the teapot out. Always warm the pot. Always.
  7. Alacrity59

    Alacrity59 Moderator Emeritus

    A couple of generations away from Ireland, Scotland, England but traditions passed down. One of which is the tea cozy, but maybe that is Canadian? Here is one of mine.

    $Tea cozy (1 of 1).jpg
    (tower of beef stew from another thread tonight)

    An Irish fellow I worked with for many years would rant about the prewarming of the pot . . . and how we Canadians would make tea with hot tap water. He would actually warm his pot in the oven. Do any of you do this?
  8. Argonaut

    Argonaut Moderator Emeritus

    I haven't heard about warming the pot in the oven, but apparently it is a given that the pot be pre-warmed. Most I've read is with hot tap water which is dumped right before the tea and water from the kettle is added. Also, apparently you take the pot to the kettle, never take the kettle to the pot. I'm not sure if this was born from a safety standpoint or a water temperature one. Either way, it's these little details that I love to hear about. The tea cozy is still in use, but I believe a bit out of fashion as the polls show that most Brits make their tea by the cup these days instead of a pot.
  9. Brit here. Mostly a coffee drinker but I do have a tea now and then. As it's rare, I use tea bags in the mug.

    Favourite tea is Lapsang Souchong though I do have normal Brit tea in the cupboard for visitors as the Lapsang is a bit of an aquired taste. I like Islay malt whiskies too!

    I would agree that almost everyone here uses tea bags though you will get one of those special stainless steel tea pots in posh cafes, those ones that are designed to drip tea all over the tablecloth.

  10. I think traditionally, take pot to kettle, pour in some boiling water and swirl to warm the pot, then discard.
    Then one bag per person and "one for the pot", while making an educated guess (or WAG) about how much boiling water is need to serve all the tea drinkers.
  11. We have thesame pots in the States, but it usually brings only hot water, to be poured over the dry bag in the cup.
    This is why I never drink tea in (non-asian) US restaurants.
  12. What is it about those stupid tea pots, don't the designers test them, or are they in league with Persil?? And the handles burn your fingers!
  13. Argonaut

    Argonaut Moderator Emeritus

    Thanks for the info guys. I put in a small order for Typhoo, Taylor's of Harrogate South African Kwazulu loose leaf(it sounded interesting), and the English Tea Store brand Scottish breakfast loose leaf tea. When I first tried PG Tips I thought it was really good, but not much different than the regular old Lipton tea we've always had around. That is until I made a cup of Lipton after drinking PG exclusively for a week or so. I could hardly taste the tea, and when I made a stronger cup it just didn't taste right. I'm curious as to the difference in the milk you Brits have. I've seen mention that it's different from what we have in the US. I don't use a lot of milk in my tea, but I tend to like Half and Half over regular milk. I know the natural grocers market sells whole milk that still has some cream in it, and it's about the best milk I've ever had. At $8 for half a gallon, plus a special trip to that out of the way store, it's rare that I have any on hand. Would that milk be similar to what you folks have over there in England?
  14. Prof. Moriarty

    Prof. Moriarty Contributor

    My personal favourite is Teapigs Everyday Brew.
  15. I don't recall british milk being any different from US. Whole milk, sem skimmed and skimmed = full, 2%, 0% fat.
    I've been using semi skimmed so long I don't like whole milk in tea .tastes too creamy.
  16. oc_in_fw

    oc_in_fw Contributor

    Your milk cows are probably not injected with as much junk as ours are.
  17. Argonaut

    Argonaut Moderator Emeritus

    Maybe I'm wrong, I've just come across several comments while reading reviews about English tea and preferred preparations. Several of them mention not being able to get good milk in the US like they have in Great Britain, so I thought maybe there was something different about it.
  18. Bring the pot to the kettle means to keep the water boiling until you pour it over the bags (the hotter the better in the world of English tea preparation)

    Warming the pot goes for pottery pots, stainless does not matter. A heavy pottery pot should get boiling water in it, kettle back to the fire, lid on the pot, swirled and poured out, then tea in, back to the still boiling kettle and filled.

    Tea cozy is a given so is another vessel of hot water to be added for the 2nd and subsequent cups to "thin" out the still steeping tea.

    Milk and sugar in the cup first is the typical serving method but here in the US there are no "tea police" so anything goes, even honey in your tea.

    Betty's Tea Room in Harrogate has some pretty fantastic teas if you want some superb English tea.

    I see they have expanded when looking at their web site. When I was last there, only one tea room was in operation and it was more of an experience/adventure than just tea.

    Marks and Spencer had a very good selection and I am sure they are online now too as they are a pretty large retailer over there.

    Have fun with your "Brit tea adventures"
  19. I have no idea what milk is sold in the USA ... but there is no real difference between the milk I drink in the UK, and the milk that is sold here in Holland.

    About tea, I always preheat the teapot with hot water, swishing it around, and pouring it out, just before I put in the remaining kettle water with the tea.
  20. I am lazy myself so I tend to brew tea in the cup. If I do use a teapot, if its for 2 people then I will put three bags in there. Personally I like my tea strong, builders tea!
    Mostly I use Yorkshire tea as I find it the strongest, add a bag to the cup with brown sugar then dump the water in there. Leave it to brew for about four minutes and add a drop of milk. Personally I only like semi skimmed milk in tea, full fat milk is too creamy and ruins the brew for me.
    As for biscuits the best dunker is a Hob Nob! But they will drink the brew for you. Second to that it has to be the digestive, chocolate or otherwise. Then thirdly the custard cream.
    Now I need a brew and a biscuit!

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